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Month: April 2016

The Eagles Running Back Situation

The Eagles Running Back Situation

The date is March 12, 2015. DeMarco Murray has just agreed to a 5 year, 42 million dollar contract and has essentially signed on to be the Eagles’ feature running back for the next half decade. Following a burdensome 392 carry, 1,845 yard campaign, the 2014 NFL rushing champion’s arrival is coupled with the signing of another starting running back and former first round pick, Ryan Mathews. The collective thought across the organization is that, with the addition of these two pieces, the team is poised for a deep playoff run that could potentially have them competing for a Lombardi trophy in February.

While 2014 saw the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, LeSean McCoy, eclipse 1,300 yards for the third time in his career, the frustration felt when the team failed to convert critical, short yardage 3rd and 4th down situations was difficult to ignore. Yes, a shaky and inconsistent offensive line was partly to blame. The fact remained however, that McCoy was often viewed as a running back that was looking for a home run on every play and, as a result, lost yards trying to make something out of nothing. His Barry Sanders-esque style of running made for memorable highlights that left fans’ jaws on the floor but former Eagles head coach Chip Kelly clearly lacked confidence in McCoy as it pertained to moving the chains when the offense needed a mere yard or two (the losses at San Francisco and Arizona come to mind).

So when Kelly jettisoned the soon-to-be 7th year running back (with a hefty cap hit nonetheless) to Buffalo for former Oregon LB Kiko Alonso, the signing of Murray seemed like a logical move at face value, right? Here was Kelly, practically stealing DeMarco from Dallas while also solving the short yardage woes that plagued them the previous season. Despite Murray’s ridiculous amount of touches in 2014, the addition of Mathews was clearly indicative of the Eagles’ intention to lighten the workload of Murray while also providing depth. The thought of a Murray/Mathews/Sproles three headed monster had both analysts and fans alike crowning the Eagles the league rushing champions before a single preseason game had even been played.

What a difference a year makes. To say DeMarco Murray was a disappointment is the understatement of the century. Not only did Murray fail to match even half of his rushing total from the previous season, he all too often looked like he was running in quicksand. There was no burst. There was no power. There appeared to be no effort. Adding insult to incompetency, Murray largely failed to embrace his new team and the city of Philadelphia as a whole – alienating players and coaches in the process. After the team’s biggest win of the season (one that saw the near-dead Eagles besting Bill Belichick and the mighty Patriots in New England), reports quickly surfaced of a conversation Murray had with owner Jeffrey Lurie on the plane ride back to Philadelphia. This “conversation”, by all accounts, consisted of Murray complaining about playing time and his role in Kelly’s offense. While Kelly had failed to capitalize on Murray’s strengths as a runner, it was painfully clear there was little left in the tank of the former All Pro.

Still, after Kelly’s abrupt firing a week before the season ended, there was a sense of slight optimism that perhaps the Eagles’ new head coach could salvage Murray, taking advantage of his skill set as a traditional down hill runner. Could Murray’s salty locker room relationship also be salvaged though? Freshly reinstated ‘General Manager’ Howie Roseman had no intention of finding out. In a brilliant front office move, Murray and his undeserving contract were shipped to Tennessee in a deal that saw the Eagles and Titans swap 4th round picks.

While ridding themselves of Murray (and his baggage) greatly benefited the team, there is now a glaring need at the running back position. Ryan Mathews, although effective when healthy, is simply too unreliable at this stage in his career. He is exactly what he was in San Diego – a quality back that cannot manage to stay on the field for a full season. Darren Sproles, despite being a consistent difference maker and fan favorite, is not the answer especially considering he’s 33 years old and might be nearing the end of his career. Kenjon Barner was a pleasant surprise in spurts last season but at 5’9 and with only 34 carries to his name, he is likely not your long term solution.

Heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, there was heavy speculation that the Eagles might address this need by selecting Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Eagles’ decision last Wednesday to move up from the 8th selection to the 2nd selection (and give up a handful of significant draft picks in the process), however, left little doubt that North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz will be the player selected when the Eagles are on the clock Thursday night in Chicago. So what exactly is the RB position looking like when training camp begins this summer? It is possible that the Eagles head into the season with a Mathews/Sproles/Barner rotation but I’d consider this scenario unlikely. Although the Eagles dealt away a number of picks to Cleveland in order to move up, they still hold a respectable seven picks in this year’s draft. While Elliott will certainly be gone by the end of Day 1’s festivities, there are a number of intriguing prospects the Eagles could target on Days 2 and 3.

As far as personal preference goes, look no further than UCLA’s Paul Perkins. The 5’10, 208 lb. Junior ran a 4.54 40 and finished his final season at UCLA with 1,343 yards and 14 TDs. A pass catching threat in open space, with the ability to make multiple defenders miss, Perkins would have no trouble transitioning to a Doug Pederson offense that featured the likes of Jamaal Charles in his previous stint in Kansas City. Another potential option is Utah’s Devontae Booker. A two year starter at Utah, he finished his 2015 campaign with 1,261 rushing yards, 11 TDs and 37 receptions. Booker, like Perkins, would also provide the Eagles with immediate production and versatility at the running back position, as he possesses great vision, balance and is dangerous in open space.

If the Eagles opt to wait until Day 3 to select a running back, one name to keep an eye on is Indiana University’s Jordan Howard. If this name sounds mildly familiar, it might be because former player-turned-analyst Ike Taylor, in his infinite wisdom, mocked Howard to the Eagles at 8th OVERALL a few weeks ago. While Howard is a physically intimidating bruiser that seems to take joy in punishing opposing defenders, he most certainly is not worth a first round selection but should be available on Saturday should the Eagles want to wait to address the RB position.

Make no mistake, Carson Wentz will have (to quote Kanye West) all of the lights on him for the foreseeable future. The team did, after all, pull off a blockbuster deal to ensure they landed their savior that will, in theory, inevitably lead them to the promised land. What cannot be ignored, however, is that no matter how much the running back position is seemingly devalued as time goes on, the Eagles are in immediate need of stability at the position and will look to make up for the costly mistakes of seasons past this weekend.

Film Room: Eric Rowe, Man Coverage

Film Room: Eric Rowe, Man Coverage

Talking about Eric Rowe’s rookie season isn’t easy. Whereas everyone would agree that Nelson Agholor had a disappointing rookie season (I wrote a film room piece about Agholor too here) a lot of Eagles fans would say Rowe had a good rookie season.

Yet when you step back and look at it, Rowe couldn’t really get on the field early on as Nolan Carroll beat him out and the Eagles didn’t want him to play in the slot. He came in against the Lions when Carroll got hurt and tried his hardest but struggled to cover Calvin Johnson (no surprise).

However, Rowe started the remainder of the season and it looked like he played really well. Stats wise, he was really impressive as this tweet shows.

I wanted to go back and watch Rowe because his stats were almost too good to be true. Also, Rowe is arguably the number 1 cornerback on the Eagles right now which is really interesting because he was only a second round pick last year. Unless Carroll got hurt last year he may not have played all season long and now he may be expected to cover number 1 receivers week in and week out.

In Schwartz’ defense, Rowe will play a good mix of man and zone coverage but I wanted to focus on Rowe’s man coverage for this article. In 2014, Schwartz had his cornerbacks play off coverage quite a lot. I would be surprised if he does that with Rowe a lot though as Rowe is better in press coverage than he is in off coverage.

I watched pretty much every snap Rowe played last year but will mainly post clips from the Bills and Redskins game as he had some really good individual battles that game. Just like the Agholor post, I can’t post clips of every play, so I’ll post examples of something that I see routinely and summarize my feelings on Rowe at the end. The majority of the post will be clips of Rowe in press coverage but I’ll put some clips of him in off coverage at the end too. Also, Rowe is playing the right cornerback position for every clip below.

The Bills game was fascinating because Rowe had to deal with Sammy Watkins 1 on 1 quite a few times and Rowe was not afraid to get up and his face and press him. Here’s the first example, Rowe wins this time without a doubt. When you’re jamming a receiver at the line of scrimmage, you’re attempting to throw the timing off the route. If you just watch Watkins and ignore Rowe, look how wide Watkins has to come inside just to get off Rowe’s press. You can see Tyrod Taylor get to the top of his drop and look at Watkins and there’s simply no way he can throw that ball as Rowe is all over him. Rowe’s technique here is very sound too, he gives Watkins a firm shove whilst staying square and he doesn’t lean in which a lot of rookie cornerbacks do. Rowe had quite a few plays like this against Watkins.

I posted this clip because I found it interesting. When you’re looking at cornerbacks, you have to consider the coverage that the defense is in. Although you could argue Rowe gets beat at the LOS here, Rowe knows that the Eagles are in cover-2 man coverage and he cannot let Watkins have an outside release. Rowe makes sure Watkins goes inside where he has safety help and there is no way Tyrod can make that throw. A corner has to play smart and know what coverage they are in and Rowe does have a good job of that here.

Covering Pierre Garcon is not an easy task for a rookie cornerback, Garcon is a savvy route runner and he can be tough to cover. Rowe had a pretty nice game against him though and this is nice coverage here. Again Rowe gets a decent jam at the line of scrimmage and when you get a jam like this it’s really difficult for the wide receiver to be able to shake you. Rowe’s technique is sound again as he keeps his balance whilst pressing and doesn’t lunge forward.

Apologies for the Fraps sign being in the way but I had to post this clip nonetheless. This is such a good example of the value of a press cornerback. It’s easy to forget sometimes how timing based NFL offenses are. When you have a cornerback who can press at the LOS and disrupt the timing it is so helpful. Rowe gets another great jam on Garcon here and he forces him really wide. Cousins releases the ball at the top of his drop but he has a very small window to fit it in as Garcon has been forced so wide. The ball is actually thrown pretty well but as you can see the timing is off and by the time Garcon has turned around the ball has just about passed him. This is down to Rowe’s great jam at the start of the route. If you look at the other side of the screen, you see Jaylen Watkins giving you a lesson in how not to press a receiver…

This is another great jam by Rowe at the LOS but it also highlights a weakness he showed on film. Rowe gets a decent jam that it could be argued he won the battle as he disrupted the timing and it took Garcon a long time to make his break. However, when Garcon does make his break, Rowe’s hips seem to be locked up and he’s pretty slow to change direction. He gets away with it this time though because his jam is very effective but I’d like him to move his feet quicker and stay on his toes after he’s jammed the receiver, he’s very flat footed here.

I’ll be honest, this clip doesn’t really show Rowe pressing. I just enjoy it because it shows how athletic he is. He looks very quick running across the middle and it’s a great tackle which pretty much stops Garcon from scoring.

Right, last clip I’ll slow of Garcon and this one is a negative one as Rowe gets beat. Rowe’s punch at the line of scrimmage is pretty weak here and Garcon doesn’t really do anything clever at the LOS but he manages to avoid Rowe’s jam. Similar to the earlier clip, Rowe’s change of direction isn’t the quickest and Garcon ends up getting quite a bit of separation and makes a nice catch. To be fair to Rowe, once you lose like that at the LOS you are going to have a hard time recovering as the receiver is in the driving seat. One issue Rowe has in press coverage that has come up a few times, sometimes he tries to jam with his wrong hand. You can see it here, when Garcon takes an inside release Rowe should be trying to get his outside hand on him. By going with his inside hand Garcon is able to swat it away and then Rowe’s in big trouble.

Rowe got beat in a similar fashion against the Giants a couple of times. You can see here Rowe doesn’t move his feet quick enough and he gives up the inside release to Hakeem Nicks. Rowe also makes the mistake here of trying to undercut the route despite being beat and he ends up almost directly behind Nicks and can’t make the tackle. I think Rowe is deliberately giving Nicks an inside release here though as he has a deep safety in the middle of the field and Kiko Alonso in a short zone too. He gets zero help here from the great Kiko Alonso though who moves like he’s made out of stone.

He gets beat here in almost the exact way he does against Garcon a couple of clips earlier. Once again he fails to jam the receiver with his outside hand which he should be doing when the receiver takes an inside release. He’s really flat footed at the start of the route too, he needs to be on the balls of his feet and not static. Once he’s been beat at the LOS, he could maybe be a little more savvy and try to grab hold of the receiver under the armpit to avoid him getting any real separation but I’m not sure he’s close enough to the receiver to do that without it being an obvious penalty.

There wasn’t many clips worth showing of Rowe in off coverage but I’ll leave you with a couple. I think you can tell Rowe is much more comfortable in press coverage and he often gives the receiver a lot of room when playing off coverage as I think he fears getting beat deep. He gives Watkins a good cushion and he’s not quick enough to accelerate forward and break the pass up. His feet seem to get stuck in the ground a little bit as he’s not on the balls of his feet. However, it’s important to give context, this was on a 2nd and 20 type play and Watkins ended up 3 yards short of the first down, whilst that’s not ideal, it’s better than being over aggressive and getting beat deep.

Here you can see him accelerate towards the ball much better and I love the way he punches the ball out of Watkins’ hand. His closing speed is much better here than it is in the previous clip which is good to see. His technique is better here than it is in the previous clip and that’s why he can explode forward, he’s leaning slightly further forward and is light on his feet.

Final clip I’m going to show. Although he isn’t in man coverage here, I found this clip slightly worrying as at times on tape he didn’t really look like he had a great deal of recovery speed. Rowe ran a 4.45 40 so he definitely has speed but here you can see John Brown pretty much run away from Rowe. However, the Eagles are playing quarters coverage and the Cardinals have called the ‘Mills’ concept which is designed to beat this type of coverage. Although it’s a very difficult route for Rowe to cover, I would have liked to have seen a little bit more speed shown. I don’t think this is down to just not being fast though, Rowe certainly is. It’s more technique based, again he’s caught flat footed like he is in a few of these clips and it makes it hard for him to really accelerate forward.

Overall

I like Eric Rowe a lot. However, he’ll probably struggle quite a bit at times next year if he’s asked to line up as the Eagles number 1 cornerback. That’s not a knock on Rowe, he’s a second round pick who started 5 games last year and only played one year as a cornerback in college. I do worry that some Eagles fans may have too high expectations for him next year and may be disappointed if he struggles at times.

I think Rowe can be a high level number 2 cornerback and maybe in the future a decent number 1 cornerback but he’ll have to improve on certain areas of his game a lot for that to happen. He’s much more comfortable in press coverage than he is in off coverage right now and I’m hoping Schwartz lets him press opposing receivers. Although I didn’t show any clips of Rowe in zone coverage, he’s pretty instinctive in zone coverage too and has decent ball skills and I think Schwartz will play a fair bit of zone next year so.

Rowe will have success against taller more physical receivers and may have some trouble covering the quicker smaller receivers who can get in and out of their breaks sharper. Rowe didn’t show great deep speed on tape but his jam was often so good that he was able to halt the receivers momentum on go routes so he rarely let the receiver get behind him and his 40 time shows he does have speed. He definitely seemed to have some issues changing direction quickly which he will have to work on a lot in the offseason.

Rowe is still relatively new to the cornerback position and his measurables show that he is a fantastic athlete and he therefore has the ability to improve on his weaknesses. His upside is sky high and although he’ll probably get beat more than he did at the end of last year, he should continue to develop into a really good cornerback. If he’s asked to cover the top guys next year, he will struggle I imagine but hey, most cornerbacks do.

You can check out my other film room pieces on Brandon Brooks and Nelson Agholor by clicking on their names! 

Eagles Fans Must Be Patient With Carson Wentz

Eagles Fans Must Be Patient With Carson Wentz

Let’s jump straight to it. The Eagles traded the Cleveland Browns for the 2nd overall pick in the 2016 draft. The Eagles also received the Browns’ 4th round pick in exchange for a 1st, 3rd and 4th in 2016, a 1st in 2017, and a 2nd in 2018. It’s a hefty price, but for the Eagles, they see this as a rare opportunity to not sacrifice too much of your future and land a potential franchise quarterback.

I had someone tell me yesterday that Jared Goff has informed friends close to him that the Rams will be picking him with the 1st overall pick. So I’ll go on and assume the Eagles will take Carson Wentz, who Doug Pederson has loved since he started scouting him, according to multiple reports.

A little background on Wentz: He’s 23 years old, stands in at 6’5, 240 pounds. He ran a 4.78 40-yard dash at the combine. He’s big, athletic and very competitive. He comes from North Dakota State where the level of competition was nothing like he’ll face in the NFL. Wentz is going to take some time adjusting to the speed of the NFL. Expect a lot of interceptions, lack-of-timing with receivers and happy-feet from him early on. Yes, he will be taken number two overall, but understand he is somewhat a project.

Because Wentz needs time, the Eagles picking him makes a ton of sense. Normally, a team picking in the top-five let alone, number two overall has an awfully bad roster. The Eagles don’t, though. Remember, the Eagles were originally picking 13th in the draft. Of course that isn’t great either, but a roster for a team picking 13th is much more talented with less holes than a team picking 2nd.

“Sam Bradford is our starting quarterback,” Howie Roseman said at his press conference, just minutes after the trade between the Eagles and Browns was announced.

The Eagles will not look into trading Bradford, as the Eagles plan is to start him, and let Wentz learn the NFL ropes behind Chase Daniel and Bradford. Again, a quarterback coming from North Dakota State, playing against FCS competition, having less pressure and more than a year to sit back and learn is ideal. So many great QB prospects are drafted high, and pressure is on them to turn the franchise around. Normally with bad offensive lines, piss poor defenses and awful coaching.

Wentz enters a situation where he can learn. He’s not being drafted by a team that doesn’t have talent. The Eagles have a core of players they want to build around, hence all the re-signings done in the off-season. The coaching staff the Eagles put together on the offensive side of the ball heavily favors the quarterback position. John DeFilippo, who was the Browns offensive coordinator in 2015, somehow managed to get 20 TD’s, 12 INT’s, and 4,156 yards out of Johnny Manziel, Josh McCown and Austin Davis playing quarterback. Frank Reich, the Eagles offensive coordinator came from San Diego where he was the offensive coordinator and coached Phillip Rivers. Lastly, Doug Pederson, the Head Coach of the Eagles, from the Andy Reid coaching tree, is a former quarterback who knows a thing or two about the position. Carson Wentz will benefit greatly from this staff.

Fans must go into this situation with patience. Wentz more than likely won’t see the field in 2016, and may not even in 2017. Remember, Aaron Rodgers threw 59 passes in his first three seasons after being drafted by the Packers. Finding a franchise quarterback is one of the toughest things to do in sports. 2-3 years from now, we may look back and say the Eagles didn’t give up enough for Wentz. Time will tell, but patience is needed.

Film Room: Nelson Agholor’s Route Running

Film Room: Nelson Agholor’s Route Running

Before last years draft, there was a big discussion about whether Nelson Agholor could be an outside receiver in the NFL amongst a lot of draft analysts. I thought he could be based on what I had seen of him but others saw him as a slot receiver only. After the Eagles drafted him with the 20th pick, it was clear he was going to play on the outside and pretty much attempt to replace Maclin.

Agholor’s rookie season was essentially a failure. Watching his tape genuinely frustrates me because I hate the way Chip Kelly used him last year. He ran so many go routes and we made no effort to get him the ball in space and let him run with it.

I wanted to go back and watch his route running because I think that determines if he can be a successful outside receiver or not. I think we know by now, Agholor isn’t going to dominate cornerbacks at the catch point on the outside with great size and ball skills. If Agholor wants to be an outside receiver, he needs to create separation. He had problems with press coverage at college and I wanted to see if he improved against this.

I’ll post a few clips from games I watched and then summarise everything I saw at the end. Obviously I can’t post clips of every play, so I normally post an example of something that I see routinely. Let’s begin with the Miami game.

Something clearly stood out to me throughout this game that probably won’t surprise anyone – Agholor is much better against off coverage than he is against press coverage. Agholor lines up on the right side of the screen and although the ball doesn’t come his way, he clearly gets himself open. Agholor has extremely quick feet and it shows here, he gives a strong outside step and then quickly cuts back inside. If I’m being extra critical, I’d like him to move his head and shoulders to the outside when he plants his foot to really sell the single step to the outside.

Here’s another example of him winning against off coverage. I actually think there are quite a few weaknesses in this route but he still gets separation. I think he should sell the vertical route more and attempt to close the gap with the cornerback quicker. However, he’s blessed with extremely quick feet and once again it gets him open here. He moves his head and shoulders with his feet here which he didn’t do in the first clip and it certainly helps him get open.

If Chip wanted him to be a deep threat last year, he was probably pretty disappointed as there were too many go routes where he couldn’t create separation against off or press coverage. Agholor’s on the right side here again. He doesn’t do a good enough job selling the route inside at all and although he spins the cornerback around, he isn’t able to get past him deep. He didn’t close the gap quick enough and he made his move when the gap was too large. He certainly ran in breaking routes better than go routes against off coverage in this game.

Let’s watch him against cornerbacks in a press position now. This is an okay route. Agholor needs to be far more aggressive at the start of the route though against press. The cornerback is playing shadow technique here and not trying to jam Agholor so he needs to reduce the separation between the two of them before attempting to get by him. Really though, I just want to see more explosiveness. Is that weird? He just doesn’t look that explosive to me, I wonder if he’s focusing too much on his footwork or something because he looked pretty explosive in college.

Here’s one where he does succeed against a cornerback in a press position to an extent, sadly though Mark Sanchez was in at quarterback at this point so the throw is bad. Here you can see that quick-twitch ability that he has to change direction that gets him free, he uses moves his head and shoulders to the inside to really sell the inside break too which allows him to create a bit of separation.

I wanted to show this one Giants clip because I thought he looked more explosive this game, he’s on the right side of the formation. He looked more explosive at the end of the season actually (as you’ll see with the next couple of clips against the Redskins) which makes me wonder if he was just thinking about other things such as his footwork and timing during the season which slowed him down. There’s still faults with this route but you can see him start to gain separation as he accelerates which is good to see.

This is what Agholor should have been running all year. He’s so much better at these shorter routes than he is at deeper routes currently. Watching this makes me think he would be pretty effective in the slot actually. Watch how quick the 4 steps are before he cuts inside, his feet are so quick. I have no idea why we didn’t use him in the slot at all last year to at least try and get him the ball more.

This is another example of his quickness against the Redskins, he should have had a touchdown here but Bradford decided to completely overthrow him. Once again it’s that quick inside step that gets him free. If you watch carefully, the cornerback isn’t biting on the slant but Agholor sticks his left leg firmly in the ground like he is cutting across the middle and this totally kills the cornerback who bites hard. Right, I’ve shown some positive clips but I’m sadly going to end with some bad clips against the Cardinals.

Agholor got absolutely dominated by Patrick Peterson last year, he’s on the right side of the formation here. Now I get it, Peterson had a great year and is a fantastic cornerback and Agholor is just a rookie. However, Peterson does give you a chance, it’s not like he shuts down every receiver with ease. For the 20th pick in the draft, I would have expected Agholor to put up more of a fight than he did. In this clip you can see he doesn’t really fake inside hard enough and Peterson is able to get his hands on Agholor and slow him down. You’ll notice from all the clips I’ve posted, Agholor is really poor with his hands. When you’re facing press coverage as an outside receiver you need to attack that defender and be aggressive with him. He seems to ignore his hands when route running and believes he can beat the defender just by faking an inside step and speeding past him. You can’t beat top level cornerbacks on the outside on a consistent basis without using your hands effectively.

Here’s another one where Agholor can’t shake Peterson. There’s no real fake to the inside here, he’s attempting to speed past him but he doesn’t look explosive enough. It’s hard to see on the clip but it looks like Agholor manages to slap away Peterson’s initial jam but with right hand but he doesn’t follow that up with a move with his left hand to create separation from Peterson. After the initial slap, it would be good to see his left hand chop or rip Peterson’s hand away to prevent him having a hold of him. You’ll notice with a lot of these clips it doesn’t really look like Bradford looks at him, I don’t think he expects Agholor to win deep which against Peterson is no real surprise.

Apologies here for the Fraps sign being in the way slightly but it’s another example of a pretty poor route. His step to the outside is weak and Peterson doesn’t jump at all. I want to see more explosion when he cuts in too, he really needs to use his hands better to create separation as this is way too easy for Peterson to jam him here and cut off the timing of the route. He is sometimes slow to get out his breaks here and he has to get better at this.

Overall

I’m slightly underwhelmed by Agholor. He shows some good stuff, his breaks are very clean for the most part and he has really quick feet which he uses well at times. However, for the 20th pick in the draft he didn’t have a great year. I know he ran a quick 40 but he didn’t play to that speed. He doesn’t really look like a great deep threat and he did struggle on the outside against press coverage. These were concerns that many people had with him before he was drafted.

There’s a lot of things that Agholor needs to work on. At the moment he really doesn’t use his hands well at all against press coverage and his release off the line of scrimmage isn’t great. When you aren’t a big receiver on the outside you have to deceive the cornerback and sometimes Agholor would make a great fake inside but at other times he didn’t really sell the fake hard enough. I’m glad the Eagles have a new wide receiver coach and coaching staff as I hated the way Chip used him last season.

I think this Eagles coaching staff have their doubts about Agholor being an outside receiver and a great deep threat too. I think this because they have signed Rueben Randle who is a big body on the outside, they signed Chris Givens who gives them an outside deep threat and they have said that Jordan Matthews will see more outside looks. This makes me wonder if we’ll see more of Agholor in the slot next year.

Although that would be disappointing for a guy who was picked 20th overall, I do think Agholor could really dominate inside, especially on shorter routes. I’d like to see him run some curls and double moves too as he has such quick feet. I’m hoping that those analysts who said he would only ever be a slot receiver are wrong and I hope he bounces back next year on the outside and shows his potential. He does flash real talent at times so let’s just hope this coaching staff uses him better and gets him the ball in space whether he’s on the outside or in the slot.

The Eagles should not be afraid to trade up for Carson Wentz

The Eagles should not be afraid to trade up for Carson Wentz

Remember the 2014 draft? That was a fun draft. The Texans needed a quarterback. However, there was this generational talent available to them in Jadeveon Clowney. So they took him instead of reaching for a quarterback who probably wasn’t worth the first pick. Smart right?

The Jaguars on the other hand, reached for a QB at pick number 3 who wasn’t even considered to be the best QB in the draft by most analysts, Blake Bortles. Draft twitter erupted. I was watching the draft with my best friend who happens to be a Jaguars fan, he looked so depressed. He kept checking twitter and everyone was just killing the Jags. Most of draft twitter, and many analysts had Bridgewater and even Manziel ahead of Bortles.

Not only that, the Jags passed on some unbelievable talent on both defense and offense. Khalil Mack. Sammy Watkins. Mike Evans. Odell Beckham. The list goes on and on. That was such a talented draft and the Jaguars had to go and screw it up and take a QB at number 3 who just simply wasn’t that good. What were the Jaguars thinking? Bortles had so many flaws and the other guys were just better players.

Guess what? The Jaguars made the right pick. Would the Texans trade Clowney for Bortles right now? Of course they would. The whole of twitter basically had Bridgewater rated higher than Bortles. He was more pro-ready, a better decision maker, more accurate. Bortles had upside though, huge upside. It’s why I had him ranked in my top 15 players, I just thought he could be great.

But I hear you say, why reach for a QB this year when we can just take one next year in the first who will be better? It’s not that simple. Have you seen the Eagles defense right now? With Bradford at quarterback, the Eagles will win a decent amount of games. I’d be stunned if they are picking inside the top 10 next year, so it won’t be easy for them to get one of the top 1 or 2 QBs next year either. Roseman and Pederson will know this too.

Looking back at last year, Winston and Mariota weren’t the consensus 1/2 best players on everyone’s draft board. I find it funny how because Winston and Mariota were so great last year, everyone now just assumes like it was obvious. Go and look at draft analysts draft boards from last year. Loads of them had Winston around 5 and Mariota just after or vice versa. I saw Leonard Williams, Kevin White, Amari Cooper and Dante Fowler constantly ranked above Winston and Mariota.

I remember draft twitter being worried about Winston’s decision making. Lots of people in the media where worried about Mariota’s offense at Oregon and how he would translate. But hey guess what, there is no perfect QB prospect. They all have flaws.

So should the Bucs have taken Leonard Williams last year at 1 because technically he may have been BPA? No. If you like the QB you take him, simple.

So where does this leave the Eagles? I haven’t mentioned Bradford yet and I like Bradford but he should not impact who you draft though. Nothing against Ben Natan of BGN because I like him a lot, but when I hear takes like this I just do not get it. At all.

Who cares if we draft a QB and he sits for 2 years if he turns out to be a true franchise quarterback?! Don’t forget, Roseman didn’t bring in Bradford at first. Pederson didn’t trade for him. He was signed because he makes you competitive for the next couple of the years. He does give you a chance to win. I honestly believe Bradford can be a very good QB but that still shouldn’t impact you in the draft. I also think, if they got Wentz, he would sit for one year and start next year.

Look at the staff Pederson has here with Reich and DeFilippo, you know that they are confident they can develop a guy who has talent. They are going to want a guy with huge upside because they will think that they can make him something special. Yes, loads of coaches lose their jobs because they believe this. But they will always want the guy with more talent because they believe in their coaching abilities. That’s just the way it is.

Which leads me on to the QB class this year. I think Goff is the best QB in the draft right now. However, I think Wentz has an extremely high ceiling. He could be really good. Is he perfect? No. Could he be a bust? Yes. But he has talent. Bridgewater was better than Bortles coming out of College but Bortles had more upside. So did Derek Carr. Both Carr and Bortles are better than Bridgewater at this point and I can’t see that changing. Wentz just reminds me of Bortles in a lot of ways.

Personally, I have Wentz as about the 8th best player or so in this years class. Some people really don’t rate him. I don’t pretend to be an expert though. Analysts that I trust a lot, such as Mike Mayock, Daniel Jeremiah and Greg Cosell have Wentz as there number one quarterback this year. Cosell compares Wentz to Luck here.

The Eagles may never pick this high again and they may not ever have a better chance of taking such a talented QB. I’m not going to be ecstatic if the Eagles trade up for Wentz and I’m not going to go crazy if they don’t. My opinion doesn’t matter really. I do think Wentz could be a perfect fit with that Pederson wants to do on offense.

If Pederson believes Wentz is ‘his guy’. Then go and get him. Trade away a 3rd round pick. Trade away next years 1st. If you think he’s that good and you believe in him, then do it. Do I think he’s worth it? I’m not sure. But I understand the reasoning. Obviously don’t trade away elite players like Fletcher Cox because giving away draft picks is totally different to giving away established players.

The same thing applies for Paxton Lynch. Maybe the whole Wentz thing is a smokescreen and the Eagles really want Lynch at 8. I prefer Wentz to Lynch but if Pederson believes Lynch can be a franchise QB and he can coach him in to something great. Then go for it. Shoot for the stars. You have to do what you have to do.