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[#] Tue Apr 25 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: Stupid NHL schedule strikes again.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*The NHL is annoying and dumb so we are without hockey until god dang Thursday. Here's the full second round schedule, if you're still interested in watching. [ProHockeyTalk]

*Our old pal Panotch reviews the Flyers' defensive corps and um....okay sure. [CSN Philly]

*Yesterday we kicked off Expansion Draft Week™ here at Broad Street Hockey dot com. First up, Kurt takes a look at which forward the Flyers might lose in the upcoming draft. [BSH]

*Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon was hurt during Saturday's game and, unfortunately, the news is pretty bad for the kid. [The Morning Call]

*T.J. Brennan is hoping the Phantoms can overcome injuries and a two-game hole to make it to the second round. [Courier-Post]

*Paul Stewart seems to think all of this newfangled "information" available to hockey fans and front offices is doing nothing to improve the game. [Hockeybuzz]

*The first round was pretty fun, and here are five impressive stats from the opening round of games. [ProHockeyTalk]

*Which first round exit surprised you the most? [The Hockey News]

*And finally, since we are in need of a goalie solution here in Philly, let's read a little piece on how sometimes taking a chance on an unknown works out really well. [Puck Daddy]





[#] Tue Apr 25 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: ESPN chooses Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/25/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Dream 2017 NFL draft scenarios for every team - ESPN
They get their choice of pass-catchers. Yes, I know I used this one already for Buffalo. Yes, I know the Eagles need a cornerback, too. No, I wouldn't consider it a bad move for them to draft Leonard Fournette or Christian McCaffrey here. But their dream scenario is to be able to select the best wide receiver in this draft, whoever they believe that is. If you think Alshon Jeffery is the long-term answer, you haven't been following him and his injury history very closely. There's a reason the Eagles were able to get Jeffery on a one-year deal. Mike Williams feels like a pick to make Carson Wentz's dreams come true

List of every 2017 NFL Draft prospect the Eagles have shown interest in - BGN
This always takes a long time to put together, so check it out.

Eagles-only mock draft: Final edition - PhillyVoice
So if Allen is so good, why might he be available at 14? Some teams will be concerned that there were so many good players around him in Alabama's defense that it was difficult for opposing offenses to key on him. Star defenders at other schools don't get that same benefit. The bigger concern, however, is that Allen has an arthritic shoulder, which has caused teams to lower his draft grade.

Sources: Joe Mixon still on Eagles' draft board - NJ.com
Less than a week away from the start of the 2017 NFL Draft, Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon is still on the Eagles' draft board, according to two people familiar with the situation who requested anonymity have informed NJ Advance Media. Not only do the Eagles still have Mixon -- who was video taped punching a woman in 2014 -- on their board, but they are very interested in him, have been doing extensive research into him off-the-field and would be willing to draft him.

Eagles Need To Draft Best Available Player - CBS Philly
Here’s a suggestion: Take the best player on the board that’s available, regardless of position. For example, if Alabama tight end O.J. Howard somehow drops to 14, the Eagles would be foolish not to take a good look. The same goes for Foster, Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams or Tennessee defensive end/outside Derek Barnett.

Mock Draft Monday - Iggles Blitz
I would love to have a terrific DB fall to 14, but I just don’t see that happening. Don’t worry, the Eagles end up getting some good DBs. I had them add a pair of CBs and a good S. I hope the team adds a group like that. The secondary doesn’t need one player to get fixed. That area needs an injection of talent. Add 3 or even 4 guys. That has been a weakness for too long.

Eagles must tackle some offensive needs in draft - Daily News
My understanding is that the Eagles aren't TOO spooked over John Ross' repeated medical issues. I think they'd sure love to have a guy like that, with 4.22 speed and elite hands. First round might be their only chance to draft a real difference-making wideout this year; unlike cornerback, which the Eagles also really, really need, I don't think the wide receiver class offers tremendous depth. First or second round seems likely. If not Ross, Corey Davis, if he's there at 14? Zay Jones in the second, if he lasts until 43rd? Cooper Kupp at 43rd or 99th? It's unlikely Mike Williams will last until 14. If somehow he did and the Eagles took him, that might hasten the departure of Jordan Matthews, heading into a contract year.

How Much Can Draft Help This Defense? - PE.com
By the end of this week, the Eagles are going to have a much different perspective on the 2017 roster. They’re going to add pieces they hope will make an immediate impact. And while the offense has been upgraded in free agency, the defense still has some areas to improve ...

Roob's 25 Random Points: NFL draft edition - CSN Philly
Sometimes I feel like people are underestimating the Eagles' defense. Let's not forget they ranked 12th in the NFL last year, held quarterbacks to the fifth-lowest completion percentage in the NFL, allowed the fifth-fewest first downs, allowed the eighth-fewest touchdowns and ranked third in the red zone. All this under a first-year defensive coordinator and rookie head coach. Now, they also ranked last in the NFL allowing big plays. Which is why they're focusing on corner and pass rush. But they have tools to work with. It's not a total rebuild at all. They underachieved up front last year, but they're still solid on the defensive line, linebacker and safety. If they figure cornerback out, there's absolutely no reason this can't be a top-10 defense in 2017.

NFL Draft: The intriguing prospect from each FBS program who could go undrafted - CBS
Everyone knows about the nation's top pro prospects, but below is a team-by-team look at one prospect from each of the 128 FBS programs who isn't expected to be drafted but has a good chance to keep his professional dream going. Although they might not hear their names called on draft weekend, these prospects have a realistic chance to make a NFL roster as undrafted free agents.

Corey Davis says he’s close to 100 percent after ankle surgery - PFT
Davis said at the Scouting Combine in early March that he was confident he would be “good by minicamp” and he offered another update recently. Davis told Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com that he expects to be 100 percent in a “few weeks,” which would allow him to get some work in with his new team ahead of training camp this summer. We’ll find out how much the injury impacted Davis’ draft standing later this week. He visited with the Ravens, Browns, Eagles and Titans, all of whom are thought to be good bets to add a receiver before the draft is out.

Northwestern St DB Adam Jones is one to watch on day 3 - EaglesWire
While most of the attention is paid to the first round of the NFL Draft, the teams that are able to hit in the later rounds are the ones that yield the best draft classes. Every year there are late round sleepers that come into the league and have an impact as a rookie. At 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Northwestern State defensive back Adam Jones is a player that teams should keep an eye on when day three of the draft rolls around.

Jared Goff and Carson Wentz have a lot at stake in the 2017 NFL draft - SB Nation
Brandon Lee Gowton of BGN believes the Eagles won’t got running back at No. 14 but could at No. 43, with Alvin Kamara of Tennessee. Even if they didn’t draft a running back that early, ESPN suggests that they target Jeremy McNichols out of Boise State. The team also has the permission of owner Jeffrey Lurie to draft Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon. In 2014, Mixon punched a woman in the face, a video of which was released to the public. Mel Kiper has also mocked Curtis Samuel, Ohio State’s H-back and biggest playmaker from 2016 to the Eagles. Samuel can play in many formations on offense, and is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

...

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[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 23:38:19 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 NFL Draft: Which position will the Eagles pick?

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The question is simple. Vote in our poll.

The 2017 NFL Draft is only a few days away so I thought it would be fun to see what everyone thinks the Eagles are going to do with their first round selection. Today's poll focuses on "What position will the Eagles pick first?" while tomorrow's poll will focus more specifically on individual players at that leading position.

Here’s a look at the positions the Eagles have been showing the most interest in.

24 WR
23 RB
20 CB
19 DE
18 OT
17 LB
15 DT

Those just so happen to line up with some of the Eagles’ biggest needs. And sitting there at No. 14, there are quite a few options the Eagles could consider. Here's how I see each position.

Wide Receiver

Receiver isn’t necessarily an immediate need for the Eagles. If the season started today, Philadelphia would have Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and Jordan Matthews as their main three players. No one is mistaking that for the best corps in the league, but it’s certainly an upgrade over last year. Still, the Eagles need more help at this spot. Jeffrey is on a one-year deal (though he can be franchise tagged) and Smith has no guaranteed money in his contract after this season. Matthews could potentially be traded and even if he stays he’ll be a free agent after the year. The Eagles told Carson Wentz to study wide receiver prospects for a reason.

Running back

The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first round in over 31 years. Is this the year they break that streak? I wouldn’t really count on it, but there’s no question it’s a big position of need. Wentz needs someone who can take the pressure off him in the running game. A new pass-catcher out of the backfield would be a nice gift to him as well.

Cornerback

You’re probably yelling at me through your screen to tell me that I didn’t mention this position sooner. Corner is the most obvious need on Philadelphia’s roster. They Eagles don’t have any sure-fire starters there if the season began today. Maybe Jalen Mills can be a reliable option on the outside, but he’s far from a sure thing at this point in his career. It’s a guarantee that Philadelphia will draft at least one (if not multiple) cornerbacks in this class. But do they go with a defensive back as soon as round one? Or do they wait until later on?

Defensive end

Some people might say defensive end isn’t really a need for the Eagles. I disagree. Chris Long is 32, Brandon Graham is 29, and Vinny Curry will be 29 soon. Long could easily be gone next offseason and Curry still hasn’t proved he’s a starter at this point in his career. So it’s not crazy to suggest any defensive end the Eagles take could be a full-time starter as soon as next season. They’d likely be a rotational player until then. Fans are going to want more instant impact than that, but keep in mind the Eagles have talked about not being “one player away.” Patience is a virtue. Oh and allow me to remind you for the billionth time that Philadelphia is rumored to be targeting a pass rusher in the first.

Offensive tackle

Much to the surprise of many, Joe Douglas said he actually likes the offensive line talent in this year’s class. The Eagles will eventually need to find a replacement for Lane Johnson at right tackle when he likely moves over to the left side after Jason Peters is done playing. Maybe Halapoulivaatai Vaitai can be that guy, but the Eagles could look to hedge their bet on him by drafting one early this year.

Linebacker

Can’t really see the Eagles going this direction in the first round, though the position is a future need. Nigel Bradham is a free agent after this year and Mychal Kendricks is expected to be traded at some point.

Defensive tackle

This was looking like a big position of need until the Eagles traded for Timmy Jernigan. But Jernigan is on a one-year deal and the injured Beau Allen will also be up after this season. So the Eagles will have to be thinking about the future of this spot as well.

Tight end

O.J. Howard? I’d be surprised.

Other

Anything I missed?


So I ask you again: which position will the Eagles pick first? Vote below.





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 22:20:11 EDT from rss

Subject: Corey Davis to the Eagles confirmed?!

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Indisputable evidence.

Want to see some undeniable proof that the Philadelphia Eagles will be drafting Corey Davis in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft this week? Look no further than this tweet he retweeted via his official Twitter account.

As you can see, the tweet Davis retweeted says "Future Eagle." So pretty much a done deal then.

BUT WAIT -- there’s more!

Hmm ... "AO1" ... where have we seen that before? Why does that sound so famil—-

Oh, that’s right! Carson Wentz has been tweeting AO1 for a long time now.

BUT IT DOESN'T END THERE!

As BGN Radio's Jack Fritz points out, Alshon Jeffrey recently followed Davis on Twitter!

So there you have it. Davis to the Eagles confirmed.


In all seriousness, though, it is a little weird that Davis did this. Maybe he just accidentally clicked a wrong button or something, but he hasn’t been the kind of athlete who constantly retweets fans recruiting him to their team.

There’s been a little buzz about Davis and the Eagles recently. Tommy Lawlor mocked Davis to Philadelphia in his mock posted on PhiladelphiaEagles.com. Les Bowen said he thinks the Eagles’ interest in Davis is "substantial." There’s a guy with a questionable track record (though he did break the second Lane Johnson suspension) saying Davis is "high atop" the Eagles’ board.

With all the rumors lately about the Eagles going defense in the first round, maybe that’s just a smokescreen. Maybe Philadelphia wants to keep along with the theme of "give Carson Wentz more weapons." Howie Roseman’s fate ultimately depends on Wentz, so he needs to do everything he can to make sure the young passer succeeds.

So maybe Davis really will be the pick. Or maybe I’m just overthinking all of this and need to get a life. You decide!





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 17:52:39 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 NFL Mock Draft: New Orleans Saints grab David Njoku

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With the No. 32 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, New Orleans Saints GM Huffs_cellmate selects ...

David Njoku, TE, Miami

The Saints came into this draft with 7 picks and more holes to fill than the SS Minnow. It has been well-documented that they need defensive help all over the field – pass rusher, linebacker, and secondary being most prominent. BUT... after trading a disgruntled Brandin Cooks to the Cheatriots, they actually also have a dearth of quality playmakers. Rookie Michael Thomas had a big year last year, but with Cooks gone I think Thomas will find it much harder to put up similar numbers. So with all of these needs, and two picks in the first, there’s absolutely no reason to reach for a player. BPA all the way baby... grab the best player available and find a way to use him.

After smartly taking Taco Charlton with pick #11, I watched as 20 more high-profile prospects fell off the board, hoping that SOME stud would magically fall through the cracks all the way to pick 32. And that is EXACTLY what happened.

"With the 32nd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the New Orleans Saints select....Jimmy Graham David Njoku, TE, University of Miami..."

STATS:

David Njoku

Height: 6’ 4"

Weight: 246

Spider Graph:



The latest model from the Pro Bowl Tight End Factory also known as the University of Miami Hurricanes,Njoku had 43 catches for 698 yards and 8 TD in a somewhat limited role in 2016. Not unlike O.J. Howard, Njoku’s production should only increase in the NFL. And let’s face it, things just haven’t been the same in the Big Easy since Jimmy Graham priced himself out of town. Coby Fleener is serviceable, but he’ll never be the monster that Drew Brees helped Graham to become. David Njoku, however, can ABSOLUTELY be that monster. It’ll be like deja vu all over again...

Njoku features a rare combination of size and speed, making him a natural mismatch problem for defenses. There just aren’t many individuals who can match Njoku’s length and overall athleticism. He is highly effective working down the field, and is able to outrun defenders as he attacks the seam.

But Njoku isn’t just a deep threat. He also does a good job working the underneath routes and across the middle. He runs clean routes and creates good separation, and has the ability to take a short pass and take it to the house.

As a blocker, Njoku does a good job using his long arms to seal the defender from the play. And while he does need to get stronger, he is a willing blocker who keeps his legs moving after contact. And just the fact that he’s a willing blocker only increases his value and makes him a more complete player.

David Njoku has been tagged as one of the more dangerous offensive weapons available in this draft, and has been consistently projected somewhere from around mid-first round to the low 20’s. For the Saints to nab him at the very end of the round is a BIG home run, and one that will have them rejoicing down Bourbon Street for the foreseeable future.

NOTE: I looked long and hard at the cornerbacks still on the board when this pick came up, especially local boy Tre’Davious White, but felt that any one of them would be a slight reach to fill a need. And with the 10th pick in the 2nd round, the Saints can probably get one of the good corners without reaching into the 1st anyway.

2017 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20) Broncos (NVEagleShark): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
21) Lions (Shark Fighter): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
22) Dolphins (J. Wil): Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
23) Giants (BigWardy59): Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
24) Raiders (big DUB): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
25) Texans (GotFunds): Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23): Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
29) Packers (Wutang_): Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
30) Steelers (General_Lee12): Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
31) Falcons (SirJon): T.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate): David Njoku, TE, Miami

Poll
Do you approve of this pick?

  91 votes | Results





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 17:29:21 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Mock Draft 2017: Atlanta Falcons take T.J. Watt

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With the No. 31 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Atlanta Falcons GM SirJon selects ...

T.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin

After a heart-breaking loss in the Super Bowl last year, Dan Quinn and the Falcons sit back and try to figure out what they need to get back to the big show. Their offence put up fantastic numbers last year and although they have quite a few young studs on the defensive side of the ball, but they also have some holes. The Falcons made sure to address some of those holes in free agency by signing two time Pro Bowler, Dontari Poe to work beside emerging talent Grady Jarrett.

The Falcons identified their top two needs as OG and DE but with Forrest Lamp off the board at 22 to the Miami Dolphins, no other OG has a first round grade on them. Atlanta decides to take their highest rated defensive end on their board that remains.

With the 31st pick in the 2017 draft, the Atlanta Falcons select DE from Wisconsin, TJ Watt.

At 6’4" and 252 lbs is slightly smaller than his older brother but as is to be expected with someone just coming out of school. TJ actually committed to Wisconsin as a TE and transitioned to DE. While his strength seems to be a knock on him right now, his tenacity, speed and willingness to chase down plays makes him a high quality, low risk prospect. Where TJ really shines is in the pass rush. His 11.5 sacks in his final year as a Badger screams elite, often using his speed to get around both left and right tackles. If he hits the gym hard and learns how to use his strength he could produce the same sack numbers with Atlanta.

2017 BGN Mock Draft Order

1) Browns (JALupowitz): Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
2) 49ers (sports00fan00): Solomon Thomas, DE, Stanford
3) Bears (gubby): Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
4) Jaguars (TheWhalwing): Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
5) Titans (drc242): Jamal Adams, S, LSU
6) Jets (boomorbust): Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
7) Chargers (NowWhat?): Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
8) Panthers (B-Potts): Corey Davis, WR, Western Michigan
9) Bengals (Kiko’s Delivery Service): Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
10) Bills (jimmyrustler): O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama
11) Saints (NotSoSlick): Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan
12) Browns (Straight Edge Sid): Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
13) Cardinals (Paulie97): Haason Reddick, LB, Temple
14) Eagles (ablesser88): Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
15) Colts (mconner96): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
16) Ravens (The Man, The Myth, the Matthews!): Zach Cunningham, LB, Vanderbilt
17) Washington (kbruneault): John Ross, WR, Washington
18) Titans (mchiodo): JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR USC
19) Buccaneers (ei78): Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
20) Broncos (NVEagleShark): Ryan Ramczyk, OT, Wisconsin
21) Lions (Shark Fighter): Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
22) Dolphins (J. Wil): Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky
23) Giants (BigWardy59): Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple
24) Raiders (big DUB): Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
25) Texans (GotFunds): Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
26) Seahawks (Rogmcc23): Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
27) Chiefs (B1G Cat): Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
28) Cowboys (RegalEagle): Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
29) Packers (Wutang_): Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA
30) Steelers (General_Lee12): Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech
31) Falcons (SirJon): T.J. Watt, DE, Wisconsin
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):

Poll
Do you approve of this selection?

  130 votes | Results





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 16:32:12 EDT from rss

Subject: Inside perspective on how Joe Douglas sets the Eagles

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Interesting insight.

Joe Douglas made a curious comment during his joint media session with Howie Roseman at the Philadelphia Eagles’ facility last week.

Usually you hear scouts/executives/analysts talk about how they have so many “first round grades” on players. Douglas doesn’t employ that line of thinking.

In order to better understand how Douglas presumably sets the Eagles board, check out this interesting note in an article from former NFL executive Michael Lombardi on The Ringer.

Thankfully, Bill Belichick and I were always on the same page. When Bill joined the Browns in 1991, the two of us spent the better part of his first season designing our grading system. We wanted to define the prospect’s role on our team, and we wanted to predict how long it would take for him to achieve that role. That’s it. Instead of predicting rounds, our system forced our scouts to grade every player as (1) a starter, (2) a potential starter, (3) a developmental player, (4) a backup, or (5) someone who couldn’t make any NFL team. In Belichick’s room, no one was permitted to mention rounds — that job was for useless coffee-guzzling scouts and cliché-spouting TV commentators.

Our grading system became a language of its own; it proved to be effective enough that, even all these years later in Foxborough, little has changed. Ever wonder why the Patriots always move backward in the draft? Most times, their draft board features maybe 14 or 15 potential day-one starters — grades dictate everything. Why waste a first-round pick (and first-round money) on one of those 14–15 prospects if you believe you can land one later and land another asset?

Sounds simple enough. But how does this relate to Douglas and the Eagles?

As it turns out, the grading system that Belichick and Lombardi designed with the Browns was eventually carried over to the Ravens when the team moved in 1996. And as we know, Douglas worked for Baltimore for 15 years from 2000-2015. Ergo, Douglas is the next Belichick. (OK maybe not, but at least that’s what Todd McShay seriously seems to think.)

The grading system Douglas uses has certainly worked out well for teams like the Ravens and Patriots. Here’s hoping the implementation of this strategy in Philadelphia is just as successful.





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 14:53:18 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft analyst thinks Eagles are deciding between two players in the first round

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Plus some more draft hints.

It’s been interesting to hear what NBC Sports and Rotoworld draft analyst Josh Norris has had to say about the Philadelphia Eagles leading up to this year’s 2017 NFL Draft. It seems like he’s plugged in.

Norris was the one to say the Eagles gave Carson Wentz a list of wide receiver prospects to study. Since then, we’ve learned that was true; Wentz spoke about it last week. Norris was first to note the Eagles as one of the few teams with owner permission to draft Joe Mixon. A number of local reporters have since confirmed that sentiment. Lastly, and most relevant to today’s story, Norris has been all over the Charles Harris to the Eagles buzz. Shortly after he connected Harris to Philadelphia in a mock draft last week, a rumor emerged that Harris is one of five players the Eagles are considering with the No. 14 pick.

So again, when Norris speaks, it’s interesting to hear what he has to say. Norris dropped some more information about the Eagles in a recent Rotoworld podcast.

Norris seems to believe the Eagles are basically considering two players with the No. 14 pick. Transcript below, bold emphasis is mine.

I’m not going to say Christian McCaffrey is NOT the pick, [but] I would be surprised if it was the pick. […] It’s not going to be Dalvin Cook. Sorry to ruin people’s dreams, it’s not going to be Dalvin Cook. I really don’t think it’s going to be John Ross, either. Not to ruin people’s dream.

Unless some one big name falls, like Jon Allen [or Leonard Fournette or Derek Barnett], someone like that, OK, I think this decision is between Gareon Conley […] and Charles Harris. I keep mentioning Charles Harris’ name.

I think that defensive end spot is pivotal for Jim Schwartz, obviously. And I think Charles Harris is widely, widely loved in the NFL and we’re catching up to it now. I think that he definitely fits.

And if we can talk about the draft narrative real quick, I think it’s absolutely telling that big draft [analysts such as] [NFL Network’s Daniel] Jeremiah, [NFL Network’s Mike] Mayock, [ESPN’s Todd] McShay, whoever, did not drop Charles Harris after his Combine performance, even though he tested in the ninth percentile. To me, that means the conversations that they’re having in the pro day circuit or whatever up until he tested at the pro day are still all positive stuff about Charles Harris. In fact, he climbed on a lot of peoples’ board after the Combine.

So, again, I think Charles Harris … I’m not going to say he’s the top selection here, but I think that he’s in that group of three that they can choose from. And then they kind of approach the cornerback position like the Carolina Panthers did last year [with multiple picks after Day 1]. And there’s a specific name that they might like in Round 3. Just to say.

Conley and Harris are two of the aforementioned five players the Eagles are rumored to take. Both players certainly make sense from a need perspective, so it’s not too hard to believe.

Also interesting to note how Norris snuck a line about the Eagles liking a certain third round cornerback prospect. He refused to say the name, unfortunately, so we’re left guessing. Rasul Douglas? Jourdan Lewis? Cordrea Tankersley? Teez Tabor? Cameron Sutton? Ahkello Witherspoon (visited Philly)? Shaquill Griffin (also visited Philly)? Sidney Jones if he falls that far?

Another Norris hint that didn’t appear in the Rotoworld podcast but got mentioned when he was talking about Mixon last week was a note on Alvin Kamara.

I would not be surprised if a number of those teams [interested in Mixon] think they can just pivot to a clean Alvin Kamara. Because I think Alvin Kamara out of Tennessee has a similar skill set for teams that want to deploy that type of receiving back with running upside as well. And again, Alvin Kamara has basically done nothing wrong in comparison to Joe Mixon.

The Eagles hosted Kamara on a pre-draft visit in Philadelphia. They also used one of their 60 NFL Combine meetings on him.

The truth is no one truly knows what’s going to happen this week. There are rumors and smokescreens and hidden agendas everywhere. But if I had to project a mini-mock draft based on the things we’ve heard so far, including this information from Norris, I’d say the Eagles’ first three picks will look someone thing like this.

Round 1 - Charles Harris (or Derek Barnett)
Round 2 - Running back (Joe Mixon or Alvin Kamara or Dalvin Cook)
Round 3 - Cornerback (Maybe one of the corners I listed above)

Now, of course, watch me be completely wrong as the Eagles draft Corey Davis at No. 14. Maybe all this hype about Harris and defensive players is a ploy to hide the Eagles’ true intentions of drafting a skill player at No. 14.

Man. Thursday night can’t get here soon enough.





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 13:18:24 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft Rumors: Eagles met with Reuben Foster again recently

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But will the Birds really draft him?

There’s been a lot of speculation about where one of the top defensive prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster, might end up. On talent alone, Foster could warrant a top 10 selection, but it’s not as simple as that. Foster comes with a number of red flags.

For what it’s worth, the Philadelphia Eagles are doing their homework on Foster. In fact, the Eagles recently met with Foster, according to a report from Eliot Shorr-Parks.

This report might excite people who want the Eagles to draft Foster. “Hey, look, they’re interested in him!” But is that really the case? Will Philadelphia really take him if he’s on the board at No. 14?

I don’t think so. Numerous reporters have shot down this possibility lately. PhillyVoice’s Jimmy Kempski said pretty definitively that the Eagles will not draft Foster in the first round. Jeff McLane of the Inquirer also said “no way” when asked if the Eagles would draft him.

In addition to these denials, the source of this latest Foster report is worth considering. I don’t doubt ESP when he says the Eagles met with Foster. The team could easily be trying to gather more information on him, especially given the recent news of a failed drug test. But I do think a report like this so late in the draft process is interesting.

ESP was the same person who first broke the story about Foster having an official pre-draft visit in Philadelphia. Is this latest report coming from Foster’s camp in an attempt to boost his draft stock at a time where he’s perceived to be in danger of falling? Hard to say for sure, but you always have to consider there are often hidden agendas behind draft rumors, especially at this time of year.

Adding Foster to the Eagles’ defense would be fun in theory. The combination of him and Jordan Hicks could be pretty great. But again, I don’t think Foster is the likely pick at No. 14.





[#] Tue Apr 25 2017 10:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL expansion 2017: Which defensemen and goalie will the Flyers protect?

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The Flyers have a couple of key decisions to be made when it comes to the last few protection spots heading into the expansion draft.

On Monday, we began what will be a week-long look at the Flyers’ situation heading into this June’s expansion draft by going through each of the seven forwards on the team that could either a) get the last protection spot that is realistically up for grabs among forwards, or b) get chosen by Vegas. Today, we’ll do the same for the Flyers’ defense and goaltending, taking a look at the four players who are really a part of the expansion puzzle in those groups.

We’ll assume, as spelled out in Monday’s post, that Shayne Gostisbehere and Radko Gudas are locks to be protected, which means that there is one spot for defensemen and one spot for goaltenders that remains up for grabs. There are probably four players that could fit into those two spots, so let’s talk about them now. We’ll go through the two defensemen and two goalies, listed within each group by the likelihood that the Flyers protect them.

***

Defensemen:

2. Brandon Manning

Contract Status: Manning is under contract for one more season at a cap hit of $975,000.

Chances of being protected: Pretty low. Manning has admirably played the role of third-pair/press box swing guy for the past two years, and he’s an NHL-caliber player, but it’s fair to say he’s a pretty replaceable player with the talent the Flyers have coming up into the system in the next couple of years. As we’ll get to momentarily, the only way I can see the Flyers protecting him is if they decide they want to expose Andrew MacDonald, at which point Manning may get the spot by default.

Why Vegas might want him: Because they play in the same division as the Edmonton Oilers and it would be funny to have Manning harassing Connor McDavid four or five times a year. Also, he’s inexpensive and only tied up for one more year.

Why Vegas might not want him: Because he’s probably a sixth or seventh defenseman on a typical NHL team and Vegas can find nine guys who are better options than him across the other 29 teams.

***

1. Andrew MacDonald

Contract Status: MacDonald, of course, is under contract for three more seasons at a cap hit of $5 million per year.

Chances of being protected: Pretty high. Put your pitchforks down, people, let me explain. MacDonald’s contract isn’t a good one, and the Flyers — who sent MacDonald to the AHL in October of 2015 knowing that his contract was specifically why he wouldn’t get claimed — probably wouldn’t be devastated were they to lose it, as well as the $5 million a year cap burden that comes with it. But MacDonald was second on the team last year among defensemen in average ice time per game, and the coaching staff has stuck up for him when given the chance. And unlike in the forward ranks, where there are three or four guys you know the Flyers would be disappointed to lose for nothing based on their current roles, there’s no obvious alternative to get the Flyers’ third protection spot on defense, no guy that you look at and say “yeah, I bet they really want to keep him around”. From where we stand now, it looks like MacDonald, a nominal top-4 defenseman on this team, is the closest to that kind of player that the Flyers have to account for.

Essentially, the only way Andrew MacDonald won’t get the Flyers’ last protection slot on defense is if they outright decide that they want to expose him, because the costs of his contract outweigh the benefits he brings on the ice and they’re not in a position to overpay anyone. Right now, I think they believe that balance is a favorable one to them, so he probably gets it. We’ll see.

Why Vegas might want him: MacDonald is a guy that it seems a lot of NHL front offices like. He’s seen as defensively responsible, he’s a solid skater who is considered by some to be a solid passer, and he can play on both special teams units. All of this leads to him getting a lot of ice time, here in Philadelphia as well as back when he was with the Islanders. The Flyers paired MacDonald with their top young defenseman this season, Ivan Provorov, and they wouldn’t have done that unless they trusted both of those players to take on big minutes. Multiple teams were interested in MacDonald back before he was traded to the Flyers in 2014, and chances are there are a number of front offices that still like him as a player. Vegas could be one of those, and could decide that they can stomach the hefty cap hit for a guy they may see as a top-4 defenseman.

Why Vegas might not want him: There’s that contract, and then there’s also the matter that MacDonald may actually not be nearly as good as some teams think he is. Possession numbers have always cast MacDonald as somewhere between “a third pair defenseman miscast in the role of a top-4 guy” and “an AHL-caliber player”. And while the “eye test” is certainly subjective, it didn’t seem like MacDonald looked that good on the ice this past season, either. If Vegas has a particularly stats-friendly front office, it’s hard to imagine them deciding that MacDonald is worth a selection. And if the Flyers did decide not to protect a guy that they gave 20 minutes a night to last season, doesn’t that seem like the kind of thing that may set off a warning sign if you’re Vegas GM George McPhee and co.?

***

Goalies:

2. Michal Neuvirth

Contract Status: Neuvirth will begin a two-year, $5 million contract next season.

Chances of being protected: A bit below 50 percent. The Flyers clearly like Neuvirth, having given him a contract extension mid-season this past year. They see him as a guy who, at the very least, is a competent backup at this level, and they may decide that’s worth protecting. (Some are convinced that the Flyers signed Neuvirth to that aforementioned extension solely so they could expose him in the expansion draft, but that seems a little conspiratorial when we’re talking about a two-year deal that involved a raise in pay.)

Why Vegas might want him: One interesting aspect here is that of familiarity; McPhee was the GM who drafted Neuvirth back when he was in Washington, and he oversaw Michal’s rise to the NHL. In addition, Neuvirth’s a year removed from a season in which he was one of the NHL’s better goalies, posting a .924 regular season save percentage and then basically winning the Flyers two playoff games by himself. His career save percentage is a .911, and that’s a mark fitting of a quality backup or timeshare kind of guy — in a vacuum, a useful kind of player for a team to have.

Why Vegas might not want him: Neuvirth’s coming off of a year in which he was literally the worst semi-regular goalie by save percentage in the NHL, and in which he couldn’t stay healthy (which is a recurring thing for him, it seems). The way the expansion draft is set up, there will be a number of goalies out there who are either more established starters that have shown they can handle a #1 goalie’s workload, or are younger guys who have played well in limited time and might have the potential to be a goalie like that given a larger workload. Neuvirth, who is 29 and hasn’t played more than 32 games in a season since 2011-12, is neither of those, and it’s fair to ask how much appeal he has to Vegas while he’s sitting in the middle of those two more-appealing endpoints, all while holding a contract that’s probably more expensive than that of a typical backup. And while McPhee did draft Neuvirth, he also traded Neuvirth just three years ago (for another goalie who will be eligible to be taken in this very expansion draft). Familiarity swings both ways.

***

1. Anthony Stolarz

Contract Status: Stolarz is a restricted free agent.

Chances of Being Protected: Around 50 percent**. Stolarz, whose season came to a premature end due to a leg injury, has manned the net for Lehigh Valley admirably for the last three seasons, even being named an AHL All-Star in 2016, and he’s played well in very limited NHL time. The Flyers surely don’t want to lose him. At the same time, they also have one of the deepest groups of goalie prospects in the NHL, and may think that the certainty of an established NHL backup in Neuvirth outweighs the upside of a young guy who has potential but also has been overall just-OK for the Phantoms.

** (We’ll leave a tiny bit of cushion here between Stolarz and Neuvirth just in case the Flyers and Steve Mason have a Say Anything moment between now and the draft, but I’m not holding my breath on that front.)

Why Vegas might want him: As mentioned above, it’d make sense for Vegas to look for a goalie or two that fit the profile of young goalie who hasn’t had a chance to be a starter for an NHL team yet. Stolarz could be that, and if he doesn’t make the team’s NHL roster out of camp he could be Vegas’ top AHL goalie. He’d make sense to have around as a prospect/potential “goalie of the future” type.

Why Vegas might not want him: Stolarz’s AHL resume is decent but not incredible — he’s been pretty average by league standards during his time with the Phantoms — and Vegas may just see guys out there with higher potential. For instance, Bruins goalie Malcolm Subban, who was drafted 21 picks before Stolarz back in 2012, is a lock to be exposed in the draft, and his AHL career as a whole has been more impressive than Stolarz’s has been. That’s not to say Vegas couldn’t prefer Stolarz to Subban or some other talented but unproven goalie, such as Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo or Washington’s Philipp Grubauer. And it’s possible that the Golden Knights take a number of these kinds of guys — they need at least three goalies, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take four. But in terms of the “mystery box” types of choices they’ll have in terms of goalies, Vegas may just find some of the other ones to be more appealing than Stolarz.

***

While we’ve covered just about everyone at the NHL level that could get taken, let’s briefly run through the remaining names of players that are under contract/team control through next year but are almost certainly not going to factor into expansion matters:

  • T.J. Brennan is the only person not mentioned so far who could, by some stretch of the imagination, feasibly be protected or taken in the expansion draft. Brennan is one of the best defensemen in the AHL, he’s under contract for next year at a six-figure cap hit, and is a crucial part of the best team the Phantoms have had in a decade, one which should only be better next year. If the Flyers decide they want to expose MacDonald and think that Brennan’s value to the Phantoms makes him a crucial part of the organizational depth chart, he could get that spot over Manning. Similarly, if Vegas wants to take a shot on a defenseman who’s torn up the minors but hasn’t really gotten a regular chance at the NHL level (the same way they may like Jordan Weal, as we discussed on Monday), he could be chosen here. But either of those things is a very long shot to happen.
  • Taylor Leier is a restricted free agent this summer, and is maybe the only expansion-eligible “prospect” left that we haven’t discussed. He may get a chance to make the Flyers next season, but he’s got a low enough profile here that it seems highly unlikely that he’s thought highly-of enough by McPhee and co. to be taken over the players mentioned on Monday.
  • There are some other Phantoms who are under contract through next year that are eligible to be taken - Colin McDonald, Greg Carey, Will O’Neill, Jesper Pettersson — but all of them are going to remain with the Phantoms and/or won’t be retained. For expansion draft purposes, they can largely be forgotten.

***

Tomorrow, we’ll step back and take another look at the names we’ve looked at so far, and try and pin down which one Vegas would be most likely to take and which ones the Flyers would have the toughest time replacing. Until then, vote in the poll below to let us know what you think the Flyers will do, and feel free to chime in down in the comments as well.





[#] Tue Apr 25 2017 11:00:06 EDT from rss

Subject: Our goalies are cursed, this is Philadelphia.

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The gang’s all here for episode #109, in which we yell a little bit about injuries and expansion drafts.

It's been weeks since the Flyers' season ended, but the BSH Radio gang is as passionate as ever. Joe Thornton's decision to play through a serious knee injury, the demise of the Maple Leafs, and the cautionary tale of Justin Williams are key topics of conversation, in addition to Carter Hart's Hinkie-esque admission that he "trusts the process" when it comes to his development. Using Hart as a springboard, the gang jumps into the Phantoms' playoff run, which has seen territorial dominance overshadowed by goaltending misfortune. Expansion draft planning closes out the show, as Bill imagines mass trades accompanying his long-standing "Michal Neuvirth to Vegas" theory, while Charlie and Steph try to evaluate more likely scenarios.

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and tell us what you think!





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