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Throwback Thursday: Sheldon Brown

Throwback Thursday: Sheldon Brown

Nnamdi Asomugha. Byron Maxwell. Cary Williams. Bradley Fletcher. Mention any one of those names to a Philadelphia sports fan and you’re likely to see a look of disdain, discomfort and disgust. The cornerback position has been largely underwhelming, to put it kindly, for the Eagles the last half-decade. Big-name free agent signings that were downright disappointing seem to have defined a pass defense that’s been inconsistent at best and horrific at worst. Who could forget Nnamdi’s legendary arm tackles or the time an Arizona tight end carried Byron Maxwell on his back like Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back?

The cornerback position hasn’t always been that bleak in Philadelphia though. In fact, there was a time when the Eagles possessed arguably the league’s best secondary year in and year out. Names like Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor, Lito Sheppard and Asante Samuel all cemented their place in the hearts of millions of Eagles fans. When I look back at Philadelphia’s cornerbacks and the tremendous success they’ve had, however, there’s one man that, to me, truly embodied the hard-hitting nature of the legendary Jim Johnson’s defense. That man is Sheldon Brown.

Born in Chester County, South Carolina on March 19, 1979, Sheldon Brown’s love of sports began at a young age and by the time he graduated high school, Brown had made a name for himself in both football and baseball. Opting to stay rooted in his home state, he attended the University of South Carolina where he excelled as one of the Southeastern Conference’s best defensive backs, twice earning All-SEC honors. After four years at USC, Sheldon Brown declared for the NFL Draft hoping to further capitalize on his college success.

At the time of the 2002 NFL Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles were coming off an unexpected and impressive Championship game appearance and appeared to be poised for a Super Bowl run heading into the next season. While third-year quarterback Donovan McNabb was the face of the franchise, the defense was the pulse to which the team’s heart beat. Sprinkled with Pro Bowl talent, the Eagles secondary seemed to be set for the most part, with veterans Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor anchoring the ascending unit. Despite their sustained success, Eagles Head Coach, Andy Reid, sought to be proactive with the cornerback position by investing high draft picks in it, especially when taking into consideration Vincent and Taylor’s age (31 and 28, respectively). So with the 59th pick in the 2002 Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles selected South Carolina’s own, Sheldon Brown.

Sheldon Brown, in many ways, entered a perfect situation. Unlike many rookie cornerbacks that are immediately thrust into the fire against the game’s top receivers, Brown benefited from the mentorship of Vincent and Taylor while mostly contributing on special teams. By the time the 2004 season began, Sheldon Brown was awarded the starting role – a role he would embrace and solidify for years to come. Through his first three seasons as a starting cornerback, Brown collected a total of 8 interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and developed a reputation as a physical, fundamentally sound, shutdown CB.

While Brown was viewed as a key cog in a stellar secondary, he had yet to make his name known nationally. That was until “The Hit” happened. It’s so permanently etched in my mind, I remember the exact moment I witnessed it, and the adrenaline rush that followed immediately thereafter, like it was yesterday. The date was January 13, 2007 and the red-hot “Cinderella” Eagles were riding a six game win streak into the divisional round of the playoffs in New Orleans. Early in the game, Saints quarterback Drew Brees lofted a swing pass to rookie sensation Reggie Bush with the intent of getting the young playmaker in open space. Sheldon Brown, anticipating the pass, violently charged towards Bush and BOOM! Bush, in an effort to show he could shake off such a collision, quickly jumped up, but the pain proved to be too much. He slowly dropped to the ground and began crawling towards the huddle. Sheldon Brown was now a household name.

Brown’s career continued to flourish in Philadelphia. 2007-2009 saw Brown deliver more of the violent hits he had become known for (his hit on Steven Jackson in the 2008 opener is among the best), while also managing to intercept 9 more passes in the process. After the end of the 2009 season, however, it was clear the organization was prepared to move in a different direction after Brown’s request for a new contract fell on deaf ears. Thus, he was traded to the Cleveland Browns after 8 memorable years with the franchise.

Although he never made a Pro Bowl, Sheldon Brown also never missed a game for the Eagles after becoming a starter in 2004. It’s often been said that “the best ability is durability” and Brown proved that on a consistent basis throughout his Philadelphia tenure. He finished his Eagles career with 19 interceptions but will always be remembered as the dependable and dangerous defensive back that could decimate an opponent at any time.

Throwback Thursday: Mike Mamula 

Throwback Thursday: Mike Mamula 

Bust: the prospect that never truly reached their potential. Whether it be due to injury, off-the-field foolishness or simply failing to transition from the college to professional level, the NFL has certainly seen its fair share of busts over the past several decades. Names like Ki-Jana Carter, Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell all invoke awkward memories relevant to the reasons rookies never pan out. But what about that highly drafted player that does just enough to leave folks asking 20 years later “was he worth it?”

Mike Mamula will always be an interesting footnote when reflecting on the history of the Philadelphia Eagles. The former Boston College defensive end finished his senior season in 1994 with an impressive 17 sacks. What was more impressive than anything, however, was how Mamula intended on approaching and preparing for the series of events leading up to the 1995 NFL Draft.

By the mid-1990’s, professional football’s popularity was at an all-time high. Gone were the days of just watching games in the Fall and Winter. With the emergence and soap opera-worthy drama of free agency, the growing spectacle that the draft was evolving into, and the larger-than-life personalities that now represented the league, it was painfully evident that any and everything to do with the NFL was worth covering in great detail. The league’s annual scouting combine, an event that serves as a means for representatives of each team to evaluate draft prospects in a standardized setting, also benefited from this increased coverage.

While the combine had been around for over a decade by 1995, the various series of drills featured was not something prospects rigorously prepared for at the time. The general consensus was that good football players were simply good football players, regardless of the amount of reps they could bench press or how high they could jump, so when Mike Mamula set his sights on mastering every aspect of every test he would encounter at the event, he was, in many ways, venturing into uncharted territory. His plan was simple: specifically prepare for and simulate every drill hundreds of times over.

By the time the combine arrived in February, the results were spectacular. Mamula jumped higher than defensive backs, benched more than top ranked offensive tackles (including 3x All Pro, Tony Boselli) and scored an outstanding 49 on the Wonderlic test. This, combined with his 4.58 40 yard dash time at a staggering 6’4 248 lbs., opened the eyes of countless General Managers across the league. Initially viewed as a potential 2nd-to-3rd round talent, Mamula’s consummate combine essentially made him an overnight prodigy with a first-round projection. The question was just how high did the workout warrior’s stock rise and who would be willing to take a chance?

Heading into the 1995 Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles were fresh off one of their more disappointing seasons in recent memory. The team started the season off 7-2, only to finish 7-9, fired their Head Coach and were now two full seasons removed from the departure of Reggie White to the Green Bay Packers. Desperately hoping to recapture Reggie’s magic, the Eagles dealt the 12th overall draft pick and two 2nd round picks to Tampa Bay for the 7th overall selection and a pick later in the 3rd round. With the 7th pick, the Eagles selected none other than Mike Mamula, the presumed successor to the incomparable Reggie White.

Mamula’s professional career started off rather promising. Through his first two seasons, he amassed a total of 13.5 sacks and was considered a key piece in a young, up-and-coming defense. Despite an underwhelming campaign in 1997 and a right knee injury in a 1998 preseason game (that forced him to miss the entire regular season), Mamula returned to full form in 1999 and eclipsed his previous single-season sack total with 8.5. He even managed to score a touchdown on an interception of NFL MVP, and eventual Super Bowl MVP, Kurt Warner to close out Philadelphia’s ’99 season. Unfortunately, for both Mamula and the Eagles, the 2000 season would not be as promising. After suffering a number of critical injuries, he was forced to retire at the early age of 28.

So how, one might ask, does a player that had 31.5 sacks in five fairly productive seasons come to be labeled a bust? Some would point to the fact that the Eagles traded a number of valuable picks to move up for a guy that had to retire before turning 30. Most choose to overlook Mamula entirely and focus their attention on who the Eagles didn’t draft when they exchanged picks with Tampa Bay. That would be eventual Hall-of-Famer, Warren Sapp. To make matters worse, Tampa Bay used Philadelphia’s two 2nd round picks to move back into the first round and select another eventual Hall of Fame inductee, Derrick Brooks.

I get it. The Eagles essentially passed on two legends to draft Mike freakin’ Mamula. It is very important to remember, however, that the Eagles’ intention at the time was to add a dynamic pass rusher to fill the void left by Reggie White. Taking this into consideration, it is safe to assume that even if the Eagles didn’t trade up for Mamula, they still probably wouldn’t have drafted Sapp with the 12th pick. Who they likely would have ended up with was Florida State defensive end, Derrick Alexander. Alexander, by comparison, was drafted 11th overall and finished with only 20 sacks in his short-lived career. That’s the thing about the draft: you never truly know until you know.

Looking back 20 years later, was Mike Mamula a perennial Hall of Fame-talent or the 2nd coming of Reggie White? Absolutely not. What he was, however, was a productive player that deserves to be remembered for more than just changing the way players approach the combine.

Throwback Thursday: Andre “Dirty” Waters

Throwback Thursday: Andre “Dirty” Waters

To the casual Philadelphia Eagles fan (and most Eagles fans under the age of 25), the number 20 is synonymous with one player – Brian Dawkins. The Eagles’ 2nd round pick in 1996 went on to play 13 Hall of Fame-worthy seasons for the Birds and, depending on who you ask, is arguably the franchise’s most beloved player. But before Dawkins dawned the number and later saw it retired with his name in the Linc’s rafters, it was sported by another hard-hitting Safety that captured the hearts of fans and teammates alike. His name was Andre Waters.

There is no question that the Eagles defense of the late 80’s and early 90’s was one of the most intimidating and talented units ever assembled. In an era that embraced the physicality of the game, Philadelphia’s defense was a direct reflection of their outspoken and in-your-face Head Coach, defensive mastermind and former Super Bowl champion, Buddy Ryan. While household names such as ‘The Minister of Defense’ (Reggie White) and ‘The Ultimate Weapon’ (Randall Cunningham) were easily the most recognizable faces of the franchise, the tenacity and intensity that Andre Waters displayed for 10 seasons as an Eagle is probably the most accurate portrayal of a team that instilled fear into opponents each and every Sunday.

Born the 9th of 11 children in poverty-stricken Belle Glade, Florida, Andre Waters (like many other Belle Glade residents) never had it easy. He gravitated towards football at a young age and eventually attended Pahokee High School; a school that later produced Rickey Jackson and Anquan Boldin, among others. After a moderately successful high school football career, Waters wound up at Cheyney University of Pennsylvania. Despite being an All-PSAC player his senior season, the 1984 NFL Draft (which boasted a bloated 12 rounds at the time) came, went and failed to see Waters selected by any of the league’s 28 teams. Waters did, however, make enough of an impression on Philadelphia Head Coach Marion Campbell, who opted to sign him as an undrafted free agent.

Although his first two seasons in the league were largely forgettable, statistically (Waters registered 10 total tackles in this span), Buddy Ryan’s arrival in 1986 saw Waters’ role and production increase dramatically. Ryan was instantly drawn to the young Safety’s intense approach to the game and while most scouts viewed Waters as a serviceable special teams player at best, Ryan recognized Waters’ ambition and helped mold him into one of the most feared players of his generation. Andre Waters wouldn’t just hit you: he would inflict pain. Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers, Running Backs…no one was spared. A hit on Rams’ Quarterback, Jim Everett, essentially forced the league to implement a rule banning defenders from hitting QB’s below the waist while in the pocket. Andre “Dirty” Waters had officially arrived.

From 1986 to 1991, Waters averaged an astounding 131.5 tackles a season, with his single season, career high 156 tackles occurring in Philadelphia’s historic 1991 campaign. Even with the firing of Ryan after the 1990 season, the Eagles’ D finished first in run, pass and total defense and carved out their place in history as arguably the most balanced defense of all time. Despite this tremendously successful season under Defensive Coordinator Bud Carson, the following two seasons saw Waters’ production significantly decrease as he managed to play in only 15 total games. Years of playing as if every down were his last appeared to be finally catching up to the once-indestructible warrior. After Philadelphia failed to offer him a new contract following the 1993 season, Waters followed former coach Buddy Ryan to Arizona where he played his final two years in the league for the Cardinals.

Life after football varies for a lot of ex-players. Most retire quietly, some transition into broadcasting and others have aspirations to coach. Andre Waters strived for the latter. Waters, as a Ryan disciple and with the ability to connect and teach fellow teammates the intricacies of the 46 defense, started off coaching at smaller universities such as Morgan State University, Alabama State University and the University of South Florida with the hopes of inevitably landing a gig in the pro’s. His intended climb from the university level to the mountaintop that is the NFL, however, proved to be more difficult than anticipated. In addition to being frustrated by the lack of opportunities at the next level, Waters also began to experience difficulties remembering even the simplest of things. Over a decade of repetitive head trauma, suffered from those same hits that everyone cheered, was now aggressively affecting Andre Waters’ brain. He once confirmed that even he stopped counting the number of concussions he sustained after surpassing 15. In the wee hours of November 20, 2006, Andre Waters tragically took his own life at the young age of 44; no suicide note was left.

Waters’ brain tissue, as confirmed by a study that took place after his death, mirrored that of an 85-90 year old man with early-stages of Alzheimer’s. This is believed to be the direct result of the numerous concussions that went largely unaccounted for. The controversy surrounding football-related head trauma, and Waters’ case in particular, has been well documented in various books, articles and most recently the movie ‘Concussion’ (which features a portrayal of Waters).

Most people will say football killed him. Others will choose to focus solely on the tragedy associated with the way he passed. To me, Waters’ story is about the hard-working and humble fan-favorite that embodied the essence of the Eagles. The man that, after hours of practicing in sweltering heat, would sign autographs and take pictures with any and all fans in attendance. The man that broke down in tears while speaking at the funeral of his former Defensive Coordinator, Bud Carson. The man whose infectious smile lit up the city of Philadelphia for 10 wonderful seasons. For these reasons and the countless others that constitute his legacy, we will always remember Andre Waters.

Introducing Joe Douglas

Introducing Joe Douglas

Joe Douglas is no stranger to success. Spending 15 years under genius GM Ozzie Newsome’s watchful eye in Baltimore, Douglas was awarded the opportunity to learn from the best in the business. His career began as a Player Personnel Assistant in 2000, the same year the Ravens won their first Super Bowl. Hard Knocks enthusiasts might even recall watching Douglas take on the difficult task of informing players that they were going to be cut by the team.

By 2003, he had been allocated the responsibility of scouting in the Northeast area; a position he held for five seasons. After transitioning to the East Coast (Douglas played a major role in the Ravens’ selection of franchise quarterback and Super Bowl XLVII MVP, Joe Flacco) in 2008 and Southeast region from 2009 through 2011, Douglas was named the team’s National Scout in 2012. As a National Scout, some of his responsibilities included coordinating the signing of undrafted free agents and overseeing the evaluation of potential prospects across the nation.

Considering Baltimore’s penchant for front office stability in an unforgiving and impatient NFL world, it came as somewhat of a surprise when Douglas accepted a position to become the College Scouting Director for the Chicago Bears in 2015. In his one season with Chicago, Douglas’s fingerprints were all over a critically acclaimed draft that saw the Bears select OLB Leonard Floyd, G Cody Whitehair, and DT Jonathan Bullard. Still, for reasons unknown, Chicago GM Ryan Pace allowed Douglas to interview for Philadelphia’s “personnel head” opening despite his relative success in his lone season with the Bears. After an interview with the Eagles that, per Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, was believed to be a mere formality, it looks as if Douglas will indeed be named Philadelphia’s new personnel chief.

One long-standing blemish on the Eagles de-facto General Manager Howie Roseman’s career is that he doesn’t necessarily have the best eye for talent. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone better at wheeling and dealing, negotiating contracts, or landing sought after, big name free agents, but his ability to identify and evaluate perennial All Pro players has been splotchy to say the least.

While it’s likely that Roseman will retain final control over personnel, the addition and presence of Joe Douglas should not be overlooked. Throughout the league, Douglas has been regarded as a high character “football guy” with a strong ability to communicate and unify staff. One NFL personnel man even went as far as to call Douglas a future GM, per ESN’s Geoff Mosher. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has referred to him as “one of the best talent evaluators I’ve ever been around.”

So, yes, Eagles fans should be excited about this move. Joe Douglas’s resume and ringing endorsements speak for themselves. He’s proven to be a bright, young mind that continues to succeed with each rise in the ranks of NFL hierarchy. Whether or not he can co-exist with the often prickly Roseman remains to be seen but the Eagles certainly appear to have hit a home run with this hire.

UPDATE: Per Neil Stratton, Douglas’s former colleague in Baltimore, Andy Weidl, has agreed to join the Eagles as Assistant Director of Player Personnel. Daniel Jeremiah then echoed what many in the league feel about the abilities of both Douglas and Weidl.

Although there was understandable concern when the Eagles initially suspended their search for Roseman’s second-in-command, things now seem to be shaping up nicely in the city of Brotherly Love.

Eagles new DB Jalen Mills is a Day 3 Steal

Eagles new DB Jalen Mills is a Day 3 Steal

It’s not very often that a talented early-to-mid-round prospect falls to the tail end of the 7th round. In fact, there are really only a few circumstances that would justify such a slip: either (A) the prospect suffered an injury that has teams weary of banking a more valuable pick on someone that might not see the field for the foreseeable future, or (B) said prospect has had an off-the-field incident (or incidents) that has caused his stock to drop, as most franchises are understandably skeptical of investing in a player with character concerns.

Unfortunately, Philadelphia’s 7th round selection, Jalen Mills, is associated with both the former and the latter. He missed a handful of games in 2015 after fracturing his fibula and tearing ligaments in his ankle during a preseason practice. Although Mills did return to finish the season, starting the final 5 games, the fairly significant injury did occur less than a year ago. Still, the promising four-year starter’s production on the field was largely overshadowed by an accusation of battery against a woman in 2014. Despite the charge being dropped as a result of his completing a pretrial diversion program (a program that required Mills to pay the victim’s medical bills, among other things), that type of baggage sticks around, especially when considering the number of domestic violence-related issues the league has encountered over the past few years.

Given these glaring red flags, drafting Mills seems like an unlikely gamble for an Eagles team that has managed to avoid off-the-field drama, right? Well, not exactly. You see, ‘Captain Culture’ himself (aka ex-Eagles coach/GM Charles Kelly) is no longer around to dictate the personality of the team. Kelly, to a fault, seemed to value a player’s propensity to follow rules and never question authority almost more than he valued a player’s talent. The selection of Jalen Mills, along with Alex McCalister and Wendell Smallwood, however, are indicative of a clear shift in the front office’s philosophy on building a winning team. Guys with warning labels plastered all over their resumes are not entirely off limits, provided both executive VP of football operations, Howie Roseman, and first-year head coach, Doug Pederson, believe they can handle themselves in a professional manner going forward.

Adding Mills, purely based on potential, is a no-brainer. What the Eagles have acquired is a versatile defensive back that has experience outside, in the slot and at safety. The 6’0”, 191 lb. former LSU Tiger is a consistent and sound tackler that finished his college career with 216 total tackles, 6 interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He should add immediate depth to an Eagles secondary that is currently comprised of two sure-starters at safety, a promising second-year outside CB and a whole lot of uncertainty. Mills will have the opportunity to compete for the primary nickel spot, along with a host of others, and as a backup to Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Ironically enough, his build reminds me of former Eagle Walter Thurmond (who, as a career slot corner showed he was more than capable of playing safety last season).

While the 2014 accusation against him is as unfortunate as it is uncomfortable, it is important to remember that there was no definitive proof of guilt. Assuming Mills is not the monster various members of the media have made him out to be, the Eagles might have just unearthed a diamond in the rough that can contribute to this team for years to come.

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.