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[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 10:50:09 EDT from rss

Subject: Ranking the top 75 players in the 2017 NFL Draft

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Which players will the Eagles end up with?

We are less than a week away from the 2017 NFL Draft. It’s exciting and after watching hundreds of players, teams and analysts are ready to see all their work come to fruition. This class is awesome and a vertical board really does not due the depth of this class justice. Even in a Top 75 ranking, there are players who are not listed who I think are second round level talents. This class is insanely deep and it will be exciting to see how the Eagles walk away from this draft.

This board is purely a reflection of my evaluation and opinion. I do not pretend to know how the NFL feels nor does that really factor into how I look at a player. There will be guys I am higher on and lower on than the big media draft guys and that is OK. Also, with a deep class, realize a guy being ranked 75th is still someone I think should be a second round pick. “Lower guys” on this ranking are still very good, exciting prospects.

1) Myles Garrett, Edge Defender, Texas A&M: Well built, super athletic and incredibly productive defender who is a very good pass rusher and an even better run defender. Game changing defensive talent.

2) Reuben Foster, Linebacker, Alabama: Questions linger about his shoulder and positional value will push Foster down in the draft. On tape, however, he is one of the better linebackers to come out of college in the last few years.

3) Marshon Lattimore, Cornerback, Ohio State: Prototypical athlete at the cornerback position with incredible footwork in man coverage. Health checks are a question.

4) Cam Robinson, Tackle, Alabama: Seasoned veteran of the offensive line, Cam Robinson has all the tools you want from a 20 year old prospect who started three years for Alabama. Can he become more consistent?

5) Corey Davis, Wide Receiver, Western Michigan: Corey Davis probably hurt his NFL stock by missing the Senior Bowl and the Combine and questions about his health will not go away. What we do know is that Davis was dominant his entire career at Western Michigan and can win as a wide receiver in multiple ways.

6) OJ Howard, Tight End, Alabama: Despite being underused at Alabama, OJ Howard can be a game changer in the NFL. He has NFL size at tight end, receiver speed and can block like a lineman. Yes please.

7) Solomon Thomas, Edge Defender, Stanford: Solomon Thomas may be more of a project, but his peaks as a player are as high as anyone in this class. He is a freak athlete who can rush off the edge and kick inside occasionally. If he can put it together, watch out.

8) Forrest Lamp, Offensive Lineman, Western Kentucky: One of the draft’s safer players, Lamp could be an outstanding NFL guard or a very good tackle, just like he was in college. He is experienced, a very good athlete and a consistent technician. Only thing holding him back could be his size.

9) Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Florida State: Cook has had a rough offseason, but it is hard to completely write off his game changing ability because of the combine. He is a home run threat with the ball in his hands and is a weapon on third down as well.

10) John Ross, Wide Receiver, Washington: John Ross was an exciting prospect before the combine where he ran a record breaking 4.22 40. Ross was scoring touchdowns at an incredible rate his past season at Washington and, if he can stay healthy, he should be a seriously dangerous playmaker in the NFL.

11) Sidney Jones, Cornerback, Washington: Jones went down with an injury during draft workouts, but on tape he is an incredibly well rounded defender. With rumor that he could still play towards the end of his rookie year, teams should consider him in the second round.

12) Budda Baker, Safety, Washington: While there are flashier safeties in this draft, Baker is a the most well rounded and consistent of all of them. He will be an impact free safety in the NFL who can cover the slot.

13) Gareon Conley, Cornerback, Ohio State: Gareon Conley is considered by some to be the best cornerback in this class and he can certainly cover like it. He just needs to learn how to tackle now.

14) Malik Hooker, Safety, Ohio State: A one year starter and former basketball player, Malik Hooker is a game changing ball hawk. There are areas in his game that need to improve, but as a younger more inexperienced prospect, there is certainly an ability to grow.

15) Evan Engram, Tight End, Ole Miss: It’s amazing how little a tight end gets talked about despite having sub 4.45 speed and having an incredibly productive college career. Engram may be more of a “move” tight end than a traditional player, but he is a dangerous mismatch for a defense.

16) Curtis Samuel, Offensive Player, Ohio State: I will unabashedly be higher on Samuel than most of draft media. He is a polished wide receiver who is also deadly with the ball in his hands. Give him 10-15 total touches in an NFL game and he will make returns with big plays.

17) Ryan Ramczyk, Tackle, Wisconsin: Another one of this class’ more safe players. Ramczyk has great size, technique and strength. His biggest concern is proving he can be healthy for the NFL.

18) David Njoku, Tight End, Miami: A freak at the tight end position, Njoku may be a bit raw, but he also has among the highest ceilings in this class.

19) Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, Clemson: A career winner, Deshaun Watson has been overthought during this draft process. He is a tough, intelligent player who is not afraid of any moment or throw.

20) Leonard Fournette, Running Back, Louisiana State: Fournette is a gifted downhill runner who can take over a game with his size and speed. He is schematically limited and needs to grow as a third down option, but he is the type of player to go 1000 yards his rookie season.

21) Pat Elflein, Offensive Lineman, Ohio State: A solid, well built lineman who can play multiple positions. Elflein is tough, athletic and intelligent. Exactly what you want from a center.

22) Malik McDowell, Defensive Lineman, Michigan State: Malik McDowell has the potential to be one of the best players in this class. He also has the inconsistency to frustrate coaches and fans alike. Can the gifted defensive lineman turn it on for the NFL?

23) Jamal Adams, Safety, Louisiana Sate: A true intimidator at the safety position. While Adams has the athletic ability to play downfield, he is at his best closer to the line of scrimmage where he can cover the shallow middle and come up against the run.

24) Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Stanford: McCaffrey is being woefully overthought in terms of who he is in the NFL. He can be a lead back as he showed he could at Stanford and is no smaller than Lesean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Chris Johnson and several other good backs when they came out for the draft. McCaffrey has the savvy and athletic ability to affect every down for an offense. That is valuable.

25) Haason Reddick, Linebacker, Temple: Reddick will likely be moving off ball in the NFL after being a destroyer of worlds at Temple off the edge. He is a super athletic and smart player whose transition to linebacker should be seamless.

26) Patrick Mahomes, Quarterback, Texas Tech: Patrick Mahomes is a smart, gutsy passer with the physical tools to be a top tier quarterback in the NFL. The learning curve of Texas Tech’s offense to the NFL may be a bit steep, but Mahomes has what it takes to rise to the challenge.

27) Dan Feeney, Guard, Indiana: Feeney started over 40 games during his college career and can plug in all over the offensive line. He is just a damn solid player. His biggest question will come down to his concussion history.

28) Derek Rivers, Edge Defender, Youngstown State: When smaller school guys come out, they need to be dominant to garner attention. Not only was Rivers absolutely impossible to block while at YSU, he had a great combine as well. Underrated player who could end up being a steal on draft weekend.

29) Jordan Willis, Edge Defender, Kansas State: Despite being a more raw player, Willis’ combination of size, athletic ability and relentless motor will make a team very happy on draft day.

30) Tre’Davious White, Cornerback, Louisiana State: White is a bit skinnier and that affects his tackling, but he is a very polished and consistent coverage defender who may not be a huge playmaker, but will rarely give up a big play either.

31) Deshone Kizer, Quarterback, Notre Dame: Marred by coaching staff woes, Kizer took a step back in his second year starting at Notre Dame. If he can regain form, he is an immensely talented and game changing passer.

32) JuJu Smith-Schuster, Wide Receiver, Southern California: An incredibly physical receiver with strong hands and ability to pick up tough yards after the catch. Don’t let the helmet on this 20-year-old prospect fool you into thinking he’s just another USC receiver.

33) Jaleel Johnson, Defensive Tackle, Iowa: While he may not overwhelm with athletic ability, Johnson’s combination of consistency and physicality make him an affective interior presence for a defense.

34) Carl Lawson, Edge Defender, Auburn: Lawson is a polished, physical pass rusher with a high motor. If he is healthy, Lawson will be a very solid contributor in the NFL.

35) Tim Williams, Edge Defender, Alabama: Off field issues and bad combine testing will hurt Williams on draft day, but he has been one of the most efficient pass rushers in college football so it is hard to completely write him off.

36) Derek Barnett, Edge Defender, Tennessee: Barnett might not be a great athlete, but he is an incredibly physical and consistent defender who will provide a high motor player who can finish for a defensive line.

37) Zach Cunningham, Linebacker, Vanderbilt: Cunningham was the only star on the Vandy defense but still made his presence felt as an intelligent player who is an incredibly good run defender and solid coverage linebacker.

38) Cordrea Tankersley, Cornerback, Clemson: A pure man cover corner who, even as an older prospect, should go earlier in this draft due to his size and athletic ability.

39) Marlon Humphrey, Cornerback, Alabama: Humphrey is a player whose ranking doesn’t reflect how much I like him. He is very inconsistent as a coverage guy now, but his flashes, athletic ability and incredible run defense get me excited about where this younger prospect is heading.

40) Marcus Williams, Safety, Utah: A pure centerfielder, Williams makes up for poor tackling with great range over the top and awesome, game changing ball skills.

41) Raekwon McMillan, Linebacker, Ohio State: Solid in every regard, Raekwon McMillan is not a flashy player, but will be living in the middle of an NFL defense for the next decade.

42) Obi Melifonwu, Safety, Connecticut: Hyper athletic and massive safety who has the range to cover over the top and the size to play in the box. He is a bit raw, but his ceiling is impossible to see.

43) Taywan Taylor, Wide Receiver, Western Kentucky: Incredibly productive and athletic wide receiver who can be a deep threat or make plays after the catch in the short game.

44) Mike Williams, Wide Receiver, Clemson: Williams is a huge, physical receiver who can dominate the catch point. Questions about health, speed and consistency catching the ball keep him lower on this ranking.

45) Mitch Trubisky, Quarterback, North Carolina: In his one year starting, Trubisky flashed impressive accuracy and poise in big moments. However, he is still a work in progress and his lack of experience historically is not good for top quarterback prospects.

46) Carlos Henderson, Wide Receiver, Louisiana Tech: An exciting player with the ball in his hands, Henderson can take games over with his YAC ability and is also incredibly physical for a smaller receiver.

47) Taylor Moton, Tackle, Western Michigan: Moton is a well sized lineman who dominated the MAC, dominated the Senior Bowl and yet some people do not think he is an NFL tackle. Not sure why.

48) Garett Bolles, Tackle, Utah: Bolles has incredibly impressive tape and athletic testing, but the history of sub 300 tackles to come into the NFL AND players who are 25 before their rookie season is not good.

49) Jonathan Allen, Defensive Lineman, Alabama: Allen is a solid football player who can move all around a defense. I have doubts about a smaller player who is also a middling athlete making a massive impact in the NFL There is no doubt the league is much higher on him than me.

50) Caleb Brantley, Defensive Tackle, Florida: A tough, stout defender who is an awesome run defender and can be a problem on passing downs, especially if he develops more moves. The question remains why he was not on the field much for Florida.

51) Adoree Jackson, Cornerback, Southern California: Jackson is a freakish athlete who is electric with the ball in his hands but he is also a very good cornerback. Jackson is a playmaking cornerback who has gotten better every season at USC. If he continues his improvement, he could be a very good NFL player.

52) Jarrad Davis, Linebacker, Florida: Davis is a human cruise missile who will wreck a play if he fires in the right direction. The issue is tempering his aggressiveness in coverage and against the run so he does not become a liability.

53) Tyus Bowser, Linebacker, Houston: Bowser is an athletic player who can play off ball or on the edge of a defense. He has a high ceiling at either position.

54) Teez Tabor, Cornerback, Florida: Tabor’s offseason has been tumultuous to say the least for his stock. Incredibly bad testing at his pro day and the combine may scare teams away from a guy who already has off field questions. For me, I have a hard time giving up completely on one of my favorite cornerbacks from the season. Tabor is still the heady, physical cornerback who dominated at Florida.

55) Fabian Moreau, Cornerback, UCLA: Moreau is a solid man cover cornerback who may not be a playmaker but is very dependable on every down. Hopefully he can be healthy come time for the season.

56) Tedric Thompson, Safety, Colorado: Another intelligent, ball hawking center fielding safety in this class. Thompson will be a good consolation prize for the teams that miss out on Hooker, Baker or Williams to play free safety.

57) Isaiah Ford, Wide Receiver, Virginia Tech: Ford is not a flashy receiver, but he does everything so well and so consistently it is hard to not see him making an impact on Sundays.

58) Ahkello Witherspoon, Cornerback, Colorado: Long, ball hawking athletes usually don’t last very long on draft day. Witherspoon has all the tools to be a star in the NFL. Can he put them together.

59) Samaje Perine, Running Back, Oklahoma: Another guy I am admittedly much higher on than the league is. Perine produced consistently for three years at Oklahoma and his low, powerful running style is conducive to dependable yardage on every play. Perine will probably go lower than his running mate on draft day, but he will make a team very happy with their decision.

60) Alvin Kamara, Running Back, Tennessee: Kamara is incredibly physically gifted and his tape when he gets the ball is incredibly impressive. However, lack of college touches and high fumble rate could make teams a bit wary.

61) Michael Roberts, Tight End, Toledo: Roberts is a huge tight end with great hands and a sneaky ability to pick up YAC. He was a touchdown machine at Toledo and could be a steal on draft weekend.

62) Isaac Asiata, Guard, Utah: Nasty, powerful run blocker who can help boost any offensive line’s physicality. Sign me up.

63) Joe Mixon, Running Back, Oklahoma: One of the most polarizing players in the class, Mixon is no doubt a talented running back. The questions, besides the obvious off field ones, come for him as to whether or not he can consistently run in-between the tackles and not create so many negative plays as a runner. He should impact immediately as a receiver out of the backfield, but he has work to do as a pure running back.

64) Quincy Wilson, Cornerback, Florida: An impressive cover cornerback with good size but Wilson’s lack of physicality hurts him in a very deep cornerback class.

65) Chidobe Awuzie, Cornerback, Colorado: An athletic, physical and feisty cornerback who could play inside, outside or even safety with his skill set. Could be a very nice defensive role player.

66) Josh Jones, Safety, NC State: Incredibly aggressive, physical and athletic safety who will punish offensive players. His aggressiveness can hurt and help him, so he will need to become more consistent in the NFL.

67) Chris Wormley, Defensive Lineman, Michigan: An athletic specimen, Wormley could play various spots on the offensive line and likely will be a better pro than college player.

68) Eddie Jackson, Safety, Alabama: A broken arm shortened his season, but Jackson is a very savvy safety who has very good ball skills over the top of a defense. If he is healthy, the coverted cornerback could offer great value on draft day.

69) Jabrill Peppers, Safety, Michigan: A man with no position in college, the very athletic Peppers will likely improve massively when he gets to spend more than a season at one spot on defense. He has safety size and his experience at linebacker could make him a better run defender going forward.

70) Bucky Hodges, Tight End, Virginia Tech: A massive target, the former quarterback is still very raw as a pass catcher and blocker. However, his flashes are Jimmy Graham-ish and are easy to fall for.

71) Jalen Robinette, Wide Receiver, Air Force: Coming from a run heavy offense, it is amazing how productive Robinette was able to be as an explosive deep threat. He is a bit raw coming from such a simple passing game, but his size and tools will be tantalizing in the NFL.

72) Ryan Switzer, Wide Receiver, North Carolina: More of an “on the ground” receiver, Ryan Switzer is a tremendous route runner with great YAC ability, dependable hands in space and returner skills.

73) Marcus Maye, Safety, Florida: A solid all around player who may not be flashy, but if healthy he will be a dependable contributor on an NFL defense.

74) Dalvin Tomlinson, Defensive Tackle, Alabama: A stout, nasty run defender who can also push the pocket a bit in the passing game. Tomlinson is not a dynamic player but he is a major badass.

75) George Kittle, Tight End, Iowa: Super athletic tight end with great blocking ability; Kittle’s best football is still ahead of him.

Top 75 Fun Facts

Players I am higher on: Curtis Samuel, Evan Engram, Michael Roberts, Taywan Taylor and Samaje Perine are all guys who will go later than I think their talent warrants but they could reward the teams that take a chance on them.

Players I am lower on: Mike Williams, Joe Mixon, Quincy Wilson, Taco Charlton (Not in Top 75), Charles Harris (Not in Top 75), Jabrill Peppers and Jonathan Allen are guys I consistently see being mocked high and I would not be surprised if they went high, I just think that they are not the prospects some make them out to be. They are good players, no doubt, but expectations should be tempered.

42 Players I think are worthy of a first round pick. Insanely deep class. 12 cornerbacks in the Top 75 is a good sign for the cornerback needy Eagles.

22 offensive skill players in the top 75 (WR/TE/RB). Eagles have a great chance to add talent to the offense to help Carson Wentz. Four quarterbacks with second round grades or higher. This is a bad class?





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 09:00:05 EDT from rss

Subject: Analyzing the Eagles

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Will 2017 be kinder than 2016?

In case you missed it, the 2017 NFL schedule was released on Thursday night. At a glance, it looks like the Eagles were dealt a better hand then they were in 2016 when they played three straights games against teams coming off of a bye (Minnesota, Dallas and New York) and a fourth game against a team that had ten days rest when the Falcons came to town. Couple that stretch with an early Week 4 bye that killed the momentum of a 3-0 start and playing 13 games against teams that finished with a record of .500 or better, the schedule wasn't in the Eagles’ favor.

The good news about the 2017 schedule is that the Eagles will not play a single team coming off of a bye and will have their bye week later in the season in Week 10. The bad news is that they will be playing 10 games against teams that finished above .500, five of which made the playoffs, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Three of the teams the Eagles play in 2017 (Broncos, Cardinals and Panthers) are just 15 months removed from playing in conference championship games. We knew coming into 2017 that the Eagles would be playing the AFC West, a division that was arguably the best in 2016, but the unfortunate part of that is 2017 being the year the NFC East and NFC West play each other as well. Instead of just two West Coast games, the Eagles will be playing a three of their games on the other side of the country.

As far as individual matchups go, the Eagles may have some favorable looks. Away matchups include the Rams and Chargers, two teams that struggled through last year and so far this offseason, they haven't done much to improve their rosters. Other away games include a Week 2 matchup against a Chiefs team that has lost one of it’s cornerstone defensive players in Dontari Poe and seems content to trot out Alex Smith and a Seahawks team that dismantled the Eagles in Seattle last season. Adding in the NFC East matchups that can go one way or another, back-to-back games on the West coast and the Thursday night game in Charlotte the Eagles away schedule isn't terrible.

I don’t like to do predictions, at least game-by-game ones until the regular season starts (BLG has us covered there), but I believe based on the improvements the team has made and will make, a 10-6 record is realistic. The Redskins and Cowboys are noticeably worse, the Chiefs have the league’s most conservative QB, the Broncos still don't have an answer at QB, the Cardinals let two of their best defensive players walk, Da Bears lost Alshon, Phillip Rivers isn't getting any younger, the 49ers were Chip Kelly’d, the Rams are trotting out a QB that looked pedestrian at best while losing their most productive receiver and the Eagles own the Giants. Can the season hurry up and get here already?!





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 07:12:05 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Zach Ertz says Christian McCaffrey is the new Darren Sproles

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/21/17.

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

Zach Ertz on Christian McCaffrey: 'He's kind of Darren Sproles 2.0' - CSN Philly
Zach Ertz and Christian McCaffrey were never teammates at Stanford. But the Eagles' tight end knows plenty about the dynamic running back. "The guy is a stud," Ertz said Thursday. McCaffrey is a projected first-round pick in the upcoming draft, which begins next Thursday. And the versatile back, who put up huge numbers at Stanford in the last two years, could be a possibility for the Eagles at 14. And with 2017 being Darren Sproles' last season in the NFL, McCaffrey could be a pretty good replacement. "We kind of joke around, back in San Diego, that he's kind of Darren Sproles 2.0, just a little taller," Ertz said. "But he's so explosive. He's a great player and he's a great person as well.”

Philadelphia Eagles Schedule 2017: Game-by-game record predictions - BGN
Eagles going undefeated this year.

Howie Roseman explains Eagles' trade-up and trade-back philosophies - PhillyVoice
"You get into these situations where it's pretty clear cut when you have a draft board, you're picking at 14, you have a list of guys that you have graded as worth going at 14," he said. "If you have a bunch of those guys that are available when you pick, you entertain trade-down offers, far enough that you can still get one of those top guys. If you don't have 14 guys, you see if there's an opportunity to move up.

Busy Day - Iggles Blitz
A horrible postseason continues for Foster. He got kicked out of the Combine for berating a hospital worker. He then didn’t handle the fallout from that situation very well. Foster still has some issues with his shoulders. His interviews with teams have reportedly not been ideal. Now he fails a drug test. He is not worth pick 14. Good player, but not as good as the hype. Foster might be a terrific NFL player, but he isn’t showing the league that he can handle his business right now. I think he will slide. Does that mean to the late 1st? Does that mean the 2nd round? Further?

Joe Mixon still on Eagles' draft radar? Don't rule it out - Inquirer
Only Chargers coach Anthony Lynn, among NFL decision makers, has publicly said that the 20-year-old tailback was still on his team's board. There have been reports that the Eagles are also among the teams that have owner backing to still consider Mixon, and two sources familiar with the team's draft plans confirmed those accounts to the Inquirer.

Wrong time, wrong place for Eagles and Joe Mixon - ESPN
The answer to the question was staring right back at Philadelphia Eagles executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman. With Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon the topic of conversation during a pre-draft media gathering, Roseman was asked if the Eagles are uniquely qualified to handle the public relations backlash that comes with bringing in a controversial player. They were the ones, after all, who took a chance on Michael Vick following his release from prison.

On An Unusual Schedule, News And Notes - PE.com
At first glance, the 2017 schedule is one of the most unusual the Eagles have ever been given. They open with road games at Washington and Kansas City, play four of their first six away from Lincoln Financial Field, and later in the season have a killer three weeks at Seattle, at Los Angeles Rams, and at the New York Giants ...

The 10 freakiest athletes in this year’s draft class - PFF
Up until now we’ve dealt solely with explosive numbers like jumps and sprints. It’s the change-of-direction drills, though, where King is literally the king. The Washington corner back had the quickest 3-cone (6.56 seconds) and short shuttle (3.89 seconds) of any player at the combine. That’s bananas for a 6-3, 200-pound corner.

Who’s Your JaMarcus Russell? - The Ringer
NFL scouts and former front-office members recount their biggest draft misses.

The Patriots’ visit to the White House was always going to be wack - SB Nation
With so many players opting out, the Patriots’ visit with Donald Trump felt weird before it even began.

Los Angeles hosting simultaneous NFL games three times - PFT
On December 10, the Rams host the Philadelphia Eagles in a 1:25 p.m. PT kickoff while the Chargers play at 1:05 against the Redskins. Both teams finish the regular season at home in Week 17 on December 31 as well. The Rams host the San Francisco 49ers with the Chargers playing the Oakland Raiders. Both games kickoff at 1:25 p.m.

BLG talks about the Eagles’ 2017 schedule - BGN Facebook
Check out some of my thoughts on the schedule.

The Eagles schedule is here! Share your reaction with us. (And don't forget to like our podcast page: BGN Radio)

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, April 20, 2017

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[#] Thu Apr 20 2017 23:25:04 EDT from rss

Subject: Three great things about the Eagles

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It’s all about the byes.

Now that there’s been some time to digest the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2017 schedule (click here), there are three great things about it that stick out to me. It’s not the easiest schedule, no, and there are definitely some downsides. But for now I’m focusing on the positives.

The Eagles don’t play a single team coming off a bye

No team will have extra time to prepare for the Eagles. That’s pretty awesome considering how last year the Eagles got screwed by playing three teams coming off bye weeks ... in a row. And two of those games were divisional matchups on the road. Unsurprisingly, Philadelphia lost those two games.

No early bye week

The Eagles were on a roll before that dumb Week 4 bye last season. Thankfully they won’t have to deal with that this year. Their bye is in week 10. In fact, no NFL team will have to deal with the early bye this year.

Oh, so the NFL takes away Week 4 byes AFTER the Eagles got screwed by it last year. Thanks a lot.

Extra rest against division opponents

Last year the Eagles were at a disadvantage against division teams coming off their bye weeks. This year, the tables have turned. Philadelphia comes off their Week 10 bye to play the Cowboys in Week 11. The Eagles also get to play Washington in Week 7 after playing the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football in Week 6. That means the Eagles will have 11 days of rest before playing at home against Washington.

...

Alright, so if you think I’m too much of an optimist and want to see some negatives about the Eagles schedule, well, here you go.





[#] Thu Apr 20 2017 21:39:13 EDT from rss

Subject: Philadelphia Eagles Schedule 2017: Game-by-game record predictions

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Useless prediction time!

The Philadelphia Eagles 2017 schedule is officially HERE! There's still a lot of time (... five months ...) before the regular season actually begins in September, but it's NEVER too soon for some ridiculously early game-by-game record predictions!

The only problem is ... it totally IS way too early for those. Especially since the 2017 NFL Draft hasn’t even happened yet. But that's not going to stop me from doing meaningless predictions anyway. Lighten up and have some fun.

Last year I predicted the Eagles would go 8-8. I was only off by one game since they went 7-9. Now it’s time for this year’s version!

Eagles 2017 Schedule

Week 1 - at Washington Redskins (Sept. 10, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: The Eagles haven’t beaten Washington since 2014. They haven’t gotten a win at FedEx Field since September 2013. The Eagles are going to want this game real bad. It’s time to put their losing streak to an end. Washington has had a dysfunctional offseason and they’ve lost some key players, such as DeSean Jackson. Carson Wentz outperforms Kurt Coupons in an Eagles win to open the 2017 campaign. You like that?

1-0

Week 2 - at Kansas City Chiefs (Sept. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Loss: This will be the second time the Eagles have played against Andy Reid since the team fired him in 2012. His side was victorious in his 2013 return to Philadelphia. Now the Eagles will go on the road to face him in his new home. This game also marks Doug Pederson’s first return back to Kansas City since becoming the head coach of the Eagles. Should be interesting to see how this game goes since Pederson is so heavily influenced by Big Red. The Chiefs haven’t had a lot of post-season success but they’ve been a really good regular season team under Reid. I wouldn’t bet against them at their house.

1-1

Week 3 - vs. New York Giants (Sept. 24, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: I’d be remiss not to mention the Eagles are 14-4 in their last 18 games against the Giants. Some of those losses were really close, too. New York always blew their win last season. One of those losses also features a matchup where Matt Barkley had to play most of the game … and the Eagles still only lost by seven points. In short, the Eagles own the Giants. New York had a legit defense last season, yes, but that offense is still skeptical due to a declining Eli Manning. I can’t pick against the Eagles when it comes to the Giants.

2-1

Week 4 - at Los Angeles Chargers (Oct. 1, 4:05 PM ET, FOX)

Win: The San Diego Chargers are no more. They are now the Los Angeles Chargers. I really wonder what their crowds are going to be like this year. It didn’t seem like L.A. desired them. The feeling here is this might not be a real tough road venue to play in. San Diego still has Philip Rivers and a few talented players so I’m not expecting a free win, but I feel fairly comfortable projecting a victory for the Eagles.

3-1

Week 5 - vs. Arizona Cardinals (Oct. 12, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: Carson Palmer turns 38 this season. After having an MVP-like season in 2015, he really cooled off last year. Arizona doesn’t project to be an easy matchup since Bruce Arians seems like one of the league’s better coaches, but given the fact the Eagles have home field advantage, I’ll side with Philly.

4-1

Week 6 - at Carolina Panthers (Oct. 15, 8:25 PM ET, CBS/NFLN) Thursday Night Football

Loss: Really down year for the Panthers last season. They went from being the Super Bowl runner-up to finishing the season at 6-10 and sporting the league’s eighth worst point differential. I don’t know what to make of the 2017 Panthers. I’d expect them to bounce back to some extent. Just how much, though, I’m not sure. I’d lean towards a loss since it’s on the road. I’m really 50-50 on it though.

4-2

Week 7 - vs. Washington Redskins (Oct. 23, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football

Loss: I have Washington’s winning streak against the Eagles ending in Week 1 but I can’t project Philadelphia to sweep them this year. As nice as that would be, Kirk Cousins has had Philadelphia’s number recently and I can’t say the Birds will completely dominate him until I see it first. I think splitting is a fair projection.

4-3

Week 8 - vs. San Francisco 49ers (Oct. 29, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: San Francisco looked even worse than the NFL’s worst team, the Browns, at times last season. Chip Kelly is gone and now Kyle Shanahan is in. The 49ers only have room to go up, but there’s a lot of work to be done. New and untested general manager John Lynch has a tall task of improving the 49ers’ massively untalented roster. The 49ers are especially unthreatening at quarterback with Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley in the fold. This is a win for the Eagles.

5-3

Week 9 - vs. Denver Broncos (Nov. 5, 1:00 PM ET, CBS)

Loss: The Broncos were unable to make the playoffs in the season after they won Super Bowl 50. They weren’t awful, though. Denver finished as the best team not to make the post-season. They had a 9-7 record and were tied for the ninth best point differential in the league. The Broncos’ defense is still good, though not necessary as elite as it was during their title run. Denver’s quarterback situation is still up in the air. Perhaps 2016 draft pick Paxton Lynch will win the starting job and square off against Wentz. This is a coin toss for me, but I’ll say Eagles lose.

5-4

Week 10 - BYE

This is certainly a whole lot better than last year’s dumb Week 4 bye.

Week 11 - at Dallas Cowboys (Nov. 19, 8:30 PM ET, NBC) Sunday Night Football

Loss: It used to be that the Cowboys couldn’t beat the Eagles in Dallas and the Eagles couldn’t beat the Cowboys in Philadelphia. The two teams flipped the script last year when the Eagles suffered a overtime loss in a game they controlled and easily could have won. This game figures to be the second real Carson Wentz versus Dak Prescott battle since last year’s second Eagles-Cowboys game was meaningless and Prescott barely played. I feel good about how the Eagles played the Cowboys last year, but I’ll take them to lose since they’re on the road.

5-5

Week 12 - vs. Chicago Bears (Nov. 26, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: Chicago’s top two quarterbacks right now? Mike Glennon and Mark Sanchez. Maybe they’ll draft one at No. 3 overall, but that’s not really intimidating right now. The Eagles have Alshon Jeffery now and I think he’ll enjoy putting up a big game against his former team.

6-5

Week 13 - at Seattle Seahawks (Dec. 3, 8:30 PM ET, NCB) Sunday Night Football

Loss: The Eagles looked surprisingly competitive in their game against the Seahawks last season until a disastrous series from Nelson Agholor basically ended any remote shot Philadelphia had at winning. The good news is, if all goes to plan, Agholor should have a lesser role this year. The bad news is the Seahawks will still probably be pretty good. And winning in Seattle is really tough to do. This is a loss.

6-6

Week 14 - at Los Angeles Rams (Dec. 10, 4:25 PM ET, FOX)

Win: The top two picks from the 2016 NFL Draft will go head-to-head in Los Angeles: Carson Wentz versus Jared Goff. That’s assuming Goff can even hold on to his starting job after looking really awful as a rookie. Los Angeles figures to have a good defense with Wade Phillips in the fold. But man, that offense, and that quarterback situation … just not really fearing it. This could be an ugly game but I think Wentz wants to make the Rams regret passing on him.

7-6

Week 15 - at New York Giants (Dec. 17, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: Again, the Eagles own the Giants. Coming off two straight road games on the West Coast could be tough, so I don’t doubt this game could be tough. But I always have faith in the Eagles to beat the G-Men.

8-6

Week 16 - vs. Oakland Raiders (Dec. 25, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN) Monday Night Football on Christmas

Loss: What a game this has the potential to be. Eagles versus Raiders on Christmas … on Monday Night Football. The last time these two teams met, Nick Foles threw seven touchdown on Oakland’s awful defense. A lot has sure changed since then. The Raiders are a lot better, mainly thanks in part to young stud quarterback Derek Carr. Oakland has a lot of talent on their roster. They won 12 games last season despite playing in a tough division. This will be a hard one for the Birds, though not necessary unwinnable since it’s at home. It would be a great Christmas gift to see an Eagles win.

8-7

Week 17 - vs. Dallas Cowboys (Dec. 31, 1:00 PM ET, FOX)

Win: Just like with the Washington series, I think the Eagles split with the Cowboys. In this instance I think the Eagles win at home in the final game of the year in order to potentially clinch a wild card spot.

9-7

...

Final record: 9-7

As I’ve written many times before, the Eagles were better in 2016 than their 7-9 record indicated. Philadelphia finished tied for the ninth best point differential and tied for the seventh best point differential. Historically speaking, teams that underperform their record in one season tend to improve the next year. With that in mind, I expect the Eagles to take a step forward.

But there no guarantees. For better or worse, this 2017 squad isn’t the same unit from last year. The Eagles lost multiple defensive starters. Then again, they added some actual NFL receivers to the roster, so that’s nice.

The real needle-mover, if you will, as far as the Eagles’ success is concerned is the development of Wentz. If he takes that next step forward, the Eagles definitely have the potential to improve in 2017. If he continues to struggle, well, things might not be so pretty.

For now I’ll split the difference and project Wentz to be average. Factoring in Wentz, the play of an Eagles defense that showed positive flashes last year, and an elite special teams unit ... I think that’s enough to be at least a .500 team in 2017. I’ll predict 9-7 with a ceiling of 10-6.





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 14:51:57 EDT from rss

Subject: How the NHL Draft Lottery odds are totally screwing the Philadelphia Flyers

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It’s probably not a vast NHL conspiracy against the Flyers, but hey ... we can never be too sure.

We all know that the NHL is specifically rigged against our team, the Flyers. But now, we have definitive proof. A huge thanks to Micah @IneffectiveMath for bringing this issue to my attention.

Let’s talk about the math of the NHL Draft Lottery, which will be held on April 29. There’s a nice explanation of how it works on hockeyviz.com, but I’ll cover the important points. If you don’t care about math, feel free to skip to the end of this piece, or even share it without reading. Just make sure you’re mad about it.

You may recall that last year, the Maple Leafs had a 20% chance to win the first overall pick, followed by the Oilers’ 13.50% chance, the Canucks’ 11.5% chance, etc. This year, due to the addition of the Vegas Golden Knights, the NHL has to modify some things about their lottery odds.

According to expansion draft rules, Vegas gets the same odds as the third-worst team, which is Arizona this year. So, Vegas has an 11.5% chance of winning the draft lottery.

But that’s added in with the rest of the teams, so the probabilities now sum to 111.5%. As we know, having 111.5% of anything is only mathematically possible if it’s the amount of effort that a player puts into a hockey game.

So we must divide every team’s probability by 111.5% to rescale things, which slightly hurts every team’s chances across the board.

Now, the NHL has a problem, because they don’t just randomize the draft lottery by putting the probabilities into a computer program. They like to televise it, after all.

Here’s a detailed explanation of the process from 2015, but the gist is pretty simple: They draw 4 numbered balls from a lottery machine that holds 14 balls in total. There are 1,001 possible combinations of balls — they’re picking 4 out of 14 balls without replacement, or 14 choose 4. In the past, 1,000 of those combinations were allocated randomly to teams, and the last one was discarded.

Using 2016 as an example, the last place Maple Leafs had a 20% chance of winning, which amounted to 200 winning combinations. If the Flyers finished 19th during the 2015-16 season, they would’ve had a 2.5% chance, or 25 combinations. But they were busy being in the playoffs, and I was busy watching them play hockey instead of writing articles like this one.

So the NHL has to give each team their share of winning ball combinations based on the new probabilities that include Vegas. But these rescaled probabilities present a challenge if you want to use the same lottery system, because you can’t have fractions of balls. Therefore, the probability percentages have to be rounded to the nearest tenth, because 0.10% of 1000 combinations = one whole combination.

The Flyers’ chances go from 2.242% to 2.2%, which implies 22 winning combinations in total. This seems unimportant because many other teams are slightly hurt by rounding as well, but the Flyers lose 0.042%, which is the most out of any team. Still, everything that’s been calculated so far is very reasonable.

But now this starts to get interesting (relatively speaking). Rounding hurts more than it helps in terms of team probabilities, and the new rounded probabilities sum to 99.8%. That’s 99.8% x 1,000 = 998 ball combinations for the lottery process that have been accounted for.

There are two left that need to be allocated to teams or tossed aside. What happens to those combinations?

There are a couple of ways to intuitively deal with this issue. You could give the extra combinations to the worst teams, this year’s Avalanche and Canucks. Maybe even give both combinations to the Avs because of how uniquely awful they were.

Alternatively, you could give the extras to the teams that are penalized most by rounding their win probability. That would be the Flyers and Hurricanes. Remember that giving an extra combination to a team is equivalent to giving them a .10% higher chance of landing the first overall pick.

As it turns out, we already have an answer from the NHL on how they’ll handle this.

Look at the table below and compare the rounded probabilities we just calculated to the actual probabilities listed in this article. They look the same, right?

But there are two teams with differences: the Hurricanes and the Avalanche. Their probabilities are .10% higher than we expected. That means one extra combination each, so now all 1,000 combinations are accounted for.

But why did the Canes and Avs get the extra combinations? I don’t have the answer to this question, I’m seriously asking.

Could it be random? Sure, but I have an easier time believing there’s a systematic and highly-effective NHL conspiracy against the Flyers. I mean, the NHL has two extra combinations to allocate and they’re given to the teams right below the Flyers in terms of being unfairly penalized due to rounding.

A potential 0.10% difference in probabilities isn’t huge, but it isn’t nothing, and we have no explanation for this discrepancy.

This isn’t some secretive rigging operation that I happened to witness. Every article I’ve linked to is freely available on NHL.com. The evidence is clear, and the math doesn’t lie. So what’s the deal? Where’s the Flyers’ extra combination?

Maybe it’s a typo. Either way: your move, NHL.

***

By the way, long-time reader, first-time writer. Feel free to ask me questions on Twitter and/or check out some of my less conspiracy-based work at Hockey Graphs.





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 17:11:27 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers sign forward Connor Bunnaman to entry-level contract

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The 19-year old center, a 2016 fourth-round pick, played with the Kitchener Rangers during the last three seasons.

Per the Flyers’ Twitter account and GM Ron Hextall, the Flyers have signed 2016 fourth-round pick Connor Bunnaman to an entry-level deal.

Bunnaman has played his last three seasons in the OHL with the Kitchener Rangers. He has improved in point totals over the last three seasons, with 15 points in his first year, 38 in his draft year, and 52 this past season. He has also improved mightily in his goal totals this year with 37 goals this year as compared to 10 and 16 in his first two. He came in 3rd on the team in points this year and 1st in goals.

Bunnaman has been described as a 2-way forward with a physical, gritty edge. The 19-year old center is strong on the boards and a very aggressive player. See what Future Considerations had to say about Bunnaman when he was drafted:

Bunnaman is an aggressive, two-way center who contributes in all aspects of the game. He is strong defensively, picking up his check. He consistently is hard on the puck carrier and looks to force turnovers every chance he gets. He is a mainstay on the Rangers' penalty killing unit as he anticipates the play very well and is an intimidating forechecker who forces the puck carrier into making rushed plays in the neutral zone. Fairly uid and strong on his feet, Bunnaman is a heavy forward who the reads the play well and gets right on the man with the puck to quickly establish his presence and work to gain possession of the puck. An absolute beast on the wall, he can lay crushing hits when he sees the opportunity, and is able to absorb checks and stay upright on the wall. This big power forward can do more than be a physical presence though; he is extremely fast in pursuit and possesses above-average speed in his class. He is quick on the puck and is hungry to gain possession of the biscuit. Bunnaman also has a decent set of hands and quick release. He positions himself well in the offensive zone and shows off his ability to quickly settle bouncing pucks to get a shot off from the slot. He's a bit of a project, but could surprise with his upside when he gains confidence and realizes what type of player he could become.

I don’t quite know if there is a spot for him on the roster in the near-future, but the more competition, the better. He will be returning to Kitchener next year for his 4th season with the team.





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 17:38:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Phantoms vs. Bears, Game 1 preview: After 7 years, welcome back to the AHL playoffs

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It’s been a while, but the Phantoms are back in the hunt for the Calder Cup. It kicks off Friday night in Allentown.

2,919 days ago, the Phantoms played in their most recent playoff game. It was a 1-0 loss to the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center, the final game in the history of the Philadelphia Phantoms. It closed out a sweep in that East Division Semifinal series, and it was the first of four series wins for the eventual 2009 Calder Cup Champion Bears.

Some things have changed in those 2,919 days. The now-Lehigh Valley Phantoms have called two different cities home since. They’ve recycled mediocre prospect after mediocre prospect, toiling away for six seasons in AHL irrelevancy. They’ve opened a brand new arena in Allentown, and they’ve finally reached the playoffs again thanks to Ron Hextall’s commitment to building the Flyers organization at all levels.

Tonight, it’s a bit fitting that the Phantoms will host the Hershey Bears in Game 1 of the Atlantic Division Semifinals at PPL Center in what’s sure to be a difficult first round, best-of-five series. It could have all the hallmarks of the Bears-Phantoms rivalry of old.

The Bears finished just four points behind Lehigh Valley in the Atlantic Division with 97 points, but the Phantoms played them better than most other opponents in the division in terms of the head-to-head. Lehigh Valley went 7-4-1-0 against Hershey this season, including a 3-2-1-0 record on home ice.

Hershey has the league’s third-ranked offense with 3.32 goals per game, and they’re led by Travis Boyd, who scored 16 goals and 47 assists on the year. Chris Bourque (60 points), defenseman Christian Djoos (58 points) and Paul Carey (55 points) round out the list of top performers on offense for Hershey, who in total have six players with 40 or more points on the year.

That all sounds good, but the Phantoms can do them one better. Lehigh Valley’s 3.42 goals per game are best in the American Hockey League, and they have seven players — T.J. Brennan, Andy Miele, Chris Conner, Greg Carey, Colin McDonald, Danick Martel, and Corban Knight — with more than 40 points on the year. (Jordan Weal had 47 points in 43 AHL games this season, but we’re not counting him since he is not on the roster for the postseason.) Scott Laughton finished with 39, Taylor Leier with 37 (in just 48 games) and Travis Sanheim with 37. The team is, quite frankly, stacked.

Both teams are deep offensively, but Lehigh Valley is probably deeper across the board. We all know about the big names on defense: Sanheim, Brennan, Sam Morin, Robert Hagg. Unfortunately, veteran Will O’Neill is out for the foreseeable future with an injury, so that’s a blow. But the Phantoms have heavy minute-eaters that they can rely on here as the postseason carries on.

It’s likely going to be the Alex Lyon show in goal unless something goes awry. Lyon was signed last season after his final season at Yale and as undrafted prospect that’s a touch older than others in the organization, he hasn’t seen the same sort of recognition. But he actually had a better statistical year than Anthony Stolarz, putting up a .912 save percentage in 47 games compared to Stolie’s .911 in just 29 games.

Stolarz is injured and done for the year, so it’s Lyon’s net. Martin Ouellete — who played mostly in Reading this season but did perform well in four AHL games -- will serve as backup. Carter Hart, called up from juniors for the playoff ride, is likely just around the team to soak it all in as they go for a Calder Cup and might not suit up.

It’s sure to be an electric atmosphere inside PPL Center -- get it, it’s an electric company — for this first playoff game in Allentown AHL history.

If you’d like to watch tonight’s game, Service Electric TV 2 has the broadcast in the Lehigh Valley. Elsewhere, you’re going to have to purchase AHL Live, the $44.99 package that’ll get you all Phantoms games in the first two rounds. If you’re not willing to pay, you’ll be relegated to the radio, where Bob Rotruck has the call.

You can listen from anywhere via the Phantoms Hockey 365 app, the iHeartRadio app or the TuneIn Radio app. We’ll also have live game coverage at @BroadStHockey on Twitter.





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 18:39:40 EDT from rss

Subject: Zach Ertz believes quarterback continuity with Carson Wentz will be huge for the Eagles

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Hear from the Eagles’ tight end.

We’ve heard “this is going to be Zach Ertz’s breakout year” all too often by now. Every season follows the same script. The Philadelphia Eagles tight end starts out slow but then finishes strong. So when people say that this year, the 2017 season, is going to be the real year that Ertz breaks out ... it’s easy to be skeptical.

But for those still holding out hope, there’s some reason for optimism. This season marks the first time in his career that Ertz will have the same Week 1 opening day starting quarterback in place. Ertz believes the continuity that Carson Wentz provides is something that will benefit not only him but the entire team.

Ertz touched on this topic and more in a Thursday press conference. Just out the entire transcript below.

YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE BACK-TO-BACK YEARS WITH THE SAME QUARTERBACK. HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO HAVE THAT CHEMISTRY?

It’s going to be huge. I think when Carson [Wentz] was drafted, from the receivers and the tight end [perspective], that was the one thing we were really excited about. We knew for the next five, 10, 20 years in Philadelphia hopefully, we knew who our quarterback was going to be. And the guy is an unbelievable player. I think we saw the situation he was presented and the way he was able to kind of just step in Game 1 after not really having a preseason. Kind of just OTAs. And the way he took off at the beginning of the year, I think that just allowed us to be really excited about the future.

And from my perspective, I’m just excited about finally having the same quarterback. Having the whole offseason, the summer, really getting into the fine details of the route-running with him. How he sees things, how I see things based on certain coverages. I think that’s really exciting for me and all the other guys as well.

HOW DID THAT IMPACT YOU HAVING A DIFFERENT QB EVERY YEAR?

I think the chemistry part of football is huge. Whether that’s a tackle playing next to a guard or a receiver playing with a quarterback, I think the chemistry is very important for any team to be successful. And it wasn’t the easiest of situations going from quarterback to quarterback, but I thought as a team we did as well as we could have given the circumstances. Like I said with Carson, we know who the quarterback is going to be and we’re going to be able to fine tune all those little minute details that we didn’t really have the time in the past to go with. I think that’s why we’re excited about it.

IS THAT WHY YOU’RE TRYING TO HANG OUT WITH CARSON A LOT? TO BUILD THAT CHEMISTRY?

Yeah, I think when you look at the great great tight end-quarterback relationships in this league, whether it be Tom [Brady] and [Rob Gronkowski], Jimmy [Graham] and Drew Brees when they were together in New Orleans, they were with each other for a long time. Even Cam [Newton] and [Greg] Olsen down in Carolina. Those guys have been together for a long time. I think just having that — when we’re on the same page regardless of the coverage or if they give you this coverage we know exactly what they’re gonna do if they give you that coverage. He knows exactly what I’m going to do. When to expect the ball versus certain coverages. It might be a little bit earlier, might be a little bit later. It’s just that constant camraderie, kind of, where we’re able to know what the other person is thinking without speaking about it.

YOU’VE ADDED A LOT MORE OFFENSIVE WEAPONS AROUND CARSON. IS THAT A RELIEF?

Yeah, I mean I think you look at those two guys, we’ve only been around Alshon [Jeffery] and Torrey [Smith] for the past couple weeks. I mean if you look at Alshon, the guy is 6-3, 220 pounds. And even watching him run routes, he’s smooth for how big he is. Torrey is extremely fast and explosive as well. So I think adding those two guys to our team as a whole is going to be very helpful for us. Anytime you can add talent to this team, whether it be in free agency or the draft, we’re going to be really excited about it.

IN YOUR FIRST TWO YEARS, THE TOP RECEIVER WAS IN THE SLOT. NOW THEY’RE ON THE OUTSIDE. HOW IS THAT DIFFERENT FOR THE TIGHT END?

It definitely, hopefully opens up the field a little bit. If you have someone who can stretch the field on the outside or wherever they can be, whether it’s a slot receiver or that can kind of run deep, by nature the safety has gotta back up a little bit. I think you see that a lot in Dallas with Dez [Bryant] and Jason [Witten]. Hopefully those guys will have the same kind of relationship that Alshon, Torrey, Jordan [Matthews] and myself will have.

HOW MUCH HAVE YOU THROWN WITH CARSON THIS OFFSEASON?

I know he took a while off. We both went our separate ways for a little bit. But since we’ve been back here — we’ve been back here for about two weeks now — we’ve thrown a lot. Probably four times maybe. And I know we’re going to stick around this weekend and throw. And we throw probably twice a week during the workouts. I know this is only Phase One, when Phase Two comes along in a couple weeks it’s going to be every day.

ANYTHING DIFFERENT ABOUT THE WAY CARSON IS THROWING?

I don’t think throwing wise, but when you’re around him, you can feel the confidence that he has. Telling people how he wants something run. The overall communication aspect … I think he’s really taken on that leadership role that the quarterback needs to do.

HE SAID THAT HE WANTED TO STEP FORWARD AS A LEADER. WHAT DOES HE NEED TO DO AND WHAT HAS HE DONE?

I just think this transition from Year 1 to Year 2, the vocal leadership, the demanding of others he’s done. Even the first week we’ve been back here, we’ve seen the way he’s approached this first week of the offseason. Kind of leading the whole offense, not only the position players, but the o-linemen as well. Being the vocal guy before the workouts, after the workouts. I think that vocal transition is already taking place and I think it’s going to continue.

IN THE SECOND HALF OF LAST SEASON, CARSON SHOWED HIS ABILITY TO EXTEND PLAYS. HOW IMPORTANT ARE SCRAMBLE DRILLS?

I think when you have an athletic quarterback like Carson, he has the ability to extend plays, it really obviously stands out. And when you’re able to have a whole offseason, spring and summer, with a guy like that, you’re able to talk about scramble rules as an entire offense. The last year I don’t think we were as detailed overall in our scramble rules just because the whole group had never really been together. But this whole offseason I think that’s something that we’re really going to emphasize. Whether it be early in the offseason or even in training camp. I’m sure with an athletic quarterback with Carson that’s something that we have to take advantage of. And you see huge plays often take place in those scramble drills because the DB’s aren’t used to covering for that extended period of time.

IN PAST YEARS YOU’VE EXPRESSED YOUR FRUSTRATIONS WITH NOT GETTING MORE LOOKS AT TIMES IN GAMES. WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO BE A MORE VIABLE TARGET IN THE OFFENSE?

I think first of all I have to stay healthy, first and foremost. And just that consistency. Obviously having the same quarterback for an entire offseason, spring, summer, and obviously during the season is going to be huge for me in particular. I think that consistency is going to be here this season. I’ve worked extremely hard. We’re analyzing the film right now. Kind of fine tuning the little things that I could get better at. I think it’s going to be there this year.

DO YOU THINK YOU CAN IMPROVE AT SCORING TOUCHDOWNS?

I want to be the guy in the red zone, believe me. The first four years of my career, I think the most touchdowns I’ve had in a year was four. Last year, we honestly didn’t have a lot of red zone touchdowns, and that falls on us as players to get it done when we get down there. Make plays when the ball is in the air. But that’s something I do pride myself on, is making those tough and contested catches. Whether it be in the red zone or third down. I want to be more of a go-to guy in the red zone. But I’ve got to earn that throughout this spring and summer. Earn that trust with the quarterback as well as Doug [Pederson]. It’s going to be a process, but I think when you look at the great tight ends in the league, the first thing that stands out is the touchdowns. And especially in this fantasy [football] age as well. Where a lot of guys get their respect is from the touchdowns and a lot of the “fantasy points” that everyone points out. But I think at the end of the day I’m just trying to help this team win. We’ve got a lot of guys now on offense that can go up and high-point a football. Whether it’s Alshon, Jordan, myself, and some of the other guys. I think the red zone numbers are going to be very improved this year from last year just from some of the guys we’ve added.

YOU’RE EXPECTING MORE TOUCHDOWNS, BUT CAN YOU GET THEM AFTER THE EAGLES HAVE ADDED THESE NEW RECEIVERS?

Yeah, I mean we’ll see if we’re more efficient on third down. We’ll be able to stay on the field longer, and we’ll have more plays. I’m not really worried about the amount of targets or catches I get this year. I’ve had a lot of catches and targets in this league, but I’ve only been in one playoff game and we lost that one playoff game. No skill position player here is going to be vocal and disappointed if they don’t get X amount of catches or Y amount of targets. We’re focused on winning football games. It’s what this city deserves. When we don’t win games, we’re frustrated and the city is frustrated. Our most important goal this year is getting to the playoffs, winning the division. That’s the only goal we’re focused on right now.

DO YOU KNOW CHRISTIAN MCCAFFREY AT ALL? WHAT’S YOUR EVALUATION OF HIM?

The guy is a stud. He came in the year that I left. I know talking to some of the other guys, the younger guys I still communicate with at the time when I was here, I was asking about how the team was going to be this year, and they said I think we’re going to be pretty good but there’s this freshman that you gotta keep your eye on. Even the coaches, I’d talk to them, they’d say there’s this freshman that you’ve got to keep your eyes on. And it turns out it was Christian. You go back there [to Stanford], and they say this guy is one of the hardest workers they’ve ever had in the program. His production is obviously off the charts. He should have won the Heisman two years ago. Wherever he’s going to get drafted in the NFL, I think he’s going to be successful just because he’s so versatile and his overall game. Whether it be in the return game, and on offense you can move him all over the place. We kind of joked around back in San Diego that he’s kind of Darren Sproles 2.0, just a little taller. He’s so explosive. He’s a great player and a great person as well.

HAVE YOU WATCHED ANY TIGHT ENDS IN THE DRAFT? LOTS OF DEPTH THERE. ANYONE STICK OUT TO YOU?

I haven’t watched too much film on that honestly. Whenever I watch the college games, I’ll notice them per se. But the only guy that’s consistently on TV is O.J. Howard. And obviously I’ve heard amazing things about him. I’ve heard this draft class is probably the best overall draft class from a tight end perspective since we came into the league [in 2013]. So I think it’s going to be a great class, I wish them all the best. All of them.

ALONG THOSE LINES, IT’S POSSIBLE THE EAGLES COULD DRAFT O.J. HOWARD. YOU GUYS ARE SET AT TIGHT END. COULD THAT POSSIBLY WORK?

I think Howie [Roseman] and Joe [Douglas] are going to do a great job of bringing in the best players for this team. And if they think that tight end is a position that they want to draft, that’s what we’re going to draft. Obviously we don’t really know about [the future] of [Brent] Celek and Trey [Burton]. I know Trey has just signed a [one-year] tender and Brent’s kind of getting to that age. But I mean whoever they bring in, we know he’s going to be a dynamic football player when you’re drafting that high in the draft. You’ve got to add impact players, and whether it be a defensive player or offensive player, we trust Howie and Joe.


Check out video of Zach Ertz’s press conference via the Bleeding Green Nation Facebook page.

Zach Ertz speaking at NovaCare!

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, April 20, 2017

Zachary Ertz still live at NovaCare

Posted by Bleeding Green Nation: For Philadelphia Eagles Fans on Thursday, April 20, 2017




[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 16:03:29 EDT from rss

Subject: The Giants have a big schedule disadvantage, but no one should feel bad for them

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Cry me a river.

The New York Giants’ 2017 schedule features some significant disadvantages. The G-Men have to play a total of four teams coming off bye weeks this upcoming season. ESPN also notes New York will have a “net total of minus-22 days of rest compared to their opponents” which is the worst in the NFL. These inconveniences have led to an outcry.

There’s no denying the Giants are at a disadvantage. But the truth is ... no one should really feel bad about that.

Now, coming from a Philadelphia Eagles writer, you probably wouldn’t expect me to say anything otherwise. But there are some other good reasons to not feel bad for the Giants.

The first is that the Eagles totally got hosed last season. Philadelphia had to play three straight teams coming off their bye weeks, including two road games against division opponents. The Giants won’t play any division opponents coming off their bye. One of those games the Giants play is also a week where New York is coming off their own bye, so that kind of evens out. And the Giants only have two games in a row where their opponents are coming off a bye. I didn’t even mention the fact that after the Eagles played those three teams coming off bye weeks in 2016, they also had to play the Falcons coming off extra rest in the fourth week. But I didn’t see any national outrage when the Eagles got screwed last season.

The second thing is that the Giants have been very fortunate with scheduling in the past. As Jimmy Kempski notes:

In addition, the Giants play a fake “away” game each time they go up against the New York Jets “on the road” in their own stadium.

Making the NFL schedule seems like a pretty difficult process when you have to factor in a bunch of considerations. Some teams are always going to get screwed, just like the Eagles were last year. The Giants aren’t even getting as hosed as badly as Philadelphia was in 2016. The Giants can complain if they want to, but no one should feel bad for them.





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 14:57:53 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Schedule 2017 Predictions: ESPN projects Eagles to finish with losing record

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Opponent writers think the Eagles will be losers again this year.

The 2017 NFL schedule is out and everyone has made their way-too-early record predictions for the upcoming season. I personally have the Eagles finishing at 9-7. In evidence that great minds think alike, ESPN Eagles writer Tim McManus is predicting the same result.

The rest of ESPN is more down on the Eagles. I went through the game-by-game predictions from the ESPN writer for each of the Eagles' 2017 opponents. Here are the results.

Week 1 at Washington Redskins - EAGLES LOSE

“The Redskins have won five straight against the Eagles, and quarterback Kirk Cousins has led four of those victories. In five starts against the Eagles, Cousins has thrown 12 touchdowns to three interceptions and owns a 4-1 record. This could be the start of his final season in Washington.” - John Keim

Week 2 at Kansas City Chiefs - EAGLES LOSE

“The rematch between Andy Reid’s new and old teams comes early. The Chiefs beat the Eagles 26-16 in Philadelphia in 2013, and they’ll notch another win in their home opener.” - Adam Teicher

Week 3 versus New York Giants - EAGLES WIN

“Back on the road for a division game. Home is where the Eagles (and young quarterbacks) want to be. Carson Wentz was 6-2 at Lincoln Financial Field as a rookie. It spells for an 0-2 start in the NFC East for the Giants.” - Jordan Raanan

Week 4 at Los Angeles Chargers - EAGLES LOSE

“The Chargers get their first look at second-year Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz. Running back Ryan Mathews, meanwhile, plays against his former team for the first time since moving on to the Eagles in free agency two years ago.” - Eric D. Williams

[BLG note: About that Ryan Mathews thing ...]

Week 5 versus Arizona Cardinals - EAGLES WIN

“The Cardinals' first cross-country road trip comes in Week 5. It'll be their first chance to see if they have gotten over the East Coast woes that plagued them in 2016. Couple the three-hour time difference with a talented young quarterback and the Cardinals will go down.” - John Weinfuss

Week 6 at Carolina Panthers - EAGLES LOSE

“Maybe this game will bring back good memories for Carolina. The last time these teams met in Charlotte the Panthers won 27-16 in a prime-time game during a magical 15-1 2015 season. The whole stadium was dabbing then.” - David Newton

Week 7 versus Washington Redskins - EAGLES WIN

“It’s hard to keep beating a divisional opponent, unless their nickname is the Browns. So the Redskins' six-game winning streak will come to an end in another night game. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has legitimate weapons this season.” - John Keim

Week 8 versus San Francisco 49ers - EAGLES WIN

“This should be a game the 49ers can keep close, but they haven't shown the ability to travel cross-country and play well in recent years. They allow the Eagles to steal this one late.” - Nick Wagoner

Week 9 versus Denver Broncos - EAGLES LOSE

“This is another trip the Broncos haven’t made since 2009, so nobody on the roster was with the team that season. It will be the first look the Broncos’ defense, which has finished No. 1 in pass defense in each of the past two years, has at Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.” - Jeff Legwold

Week 10 - BYE

The Eagles are 4-5 at the bye in this projection.

Week 11 at Dallas Cowboys - EAGLES LOSE

“Prescott struggled in his one full game against the Eagles last year but figured it out in the fourth quarter and overtime to deliver the win. He won’t struggle this time, but former Eagle Nolan Carroll will make the clinching play.” - Todd Archer

[BLG note: LOL]

Week 12 versus Chicago Bears - EAGLES WIN

“It is safe to assume Alshon Jeffery has this one circled on the calendar. The Eagles clobbered the Bears at Soldier Field last year, and quarterback Carson Wentz is only expected to get better in season two. Jeffery (if healthy) will be looking for payback after Chicago made almost no effort to re-sign him in free agency.” - Jeff Dickerson

Week 13 at Seattle Seahawks - EAGLES LOSE

“Carson Wentz comes to Seattle for the second consecutive season and fares better than he did as a rookie, but it's not enough for an Eagles victory.” - Sheil Kapadia

Week 14 at Los Angeles Rams - EAGLES LOSE

“This will be the most highly anticipated game of the season. Goff, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick, goes up against Carson Wentz, the 2016 No. 2 overall pick. Wentz entered the NFL with more experienced coaching than Goff, and now he has something Goff still lacks: a true No. 1 receiver in Alshon Jeffery. But maybe I just have a gut feeling about this one.” - Alden Gonzalez

Week 15 at New York Giants - EAGLES LOSE

“Wentz and the Eagles got the better of the Giants in Philadelphia, but they won't in East Rutherford. Safety Darian Thompson nabs the key interception for the touchdown. Call it a hunch.” - Jordan Raanan

Week 16 versus Oakland Raiders - EAGLES WIN

“A (green and) white Christmas for the Raiders, and on national television? Such a high-profile intra-conference game gives credence to the notion that the Raiders are again a national brand and a team expected to make noise late in the regular season and into the postseason. Maybe Carr and Mack finally settle their foot-speed beef and race up the Rocky steps? Perhaps the elements get the win here, rather than Carr or Carson Wentz.” - Paul Gutierrez

Week 17 versus Dallas Cowboys - EAGLES WIN

“Could the division title be on the line? The Cowboys have won six of their last seven games at Lincoln Financial Field. The Eagles added big-play receivers in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to help Carson Wentz. At some point, Philly has to regain home-field advantage on Dallas.” - Todd Archer

...

EAGLES FINAL RECORD: 7-9

If the schedule plays out this way, the Eagles would be 7-9 for the third consecutive season. Such a mediocre finish would be a drag.

But hey, what does ESPN necessarily know? Opposing writers had the Eagles going 5-11 last season and they ended up two wins better than that mark. We’ll see if the Birds outperform their projections again in 2017. Barring something catastrophic, I think Philly will at least be 8-8 this season.





[#] Fri Apr 21 2017 23:13:54 EDT from rss

Subject: Phantoms vs. Bears recap: Hershey takes 1-0 series lead over the Phantoms in an overtime thriller

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The Phantoms’ first playoff game since 2009 ended in an overtime loss at home.

The Phantoms are in the playoffs! The Phantoms are in the playoffs!

Finally, for the first time since 2009, the top minor league team of the Philadelphia Flyers is big in the hunt for the Calder Cup this season. After an unbelievable season, where they held a record of 48-23-5-0, they finished 2nd in the quality-heavy Atlantic Division, only behind the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. That’s also true for the league standings: the Phantoms were 2nd in the entirety of the AHL.

It had been an absolutely incredible season for the Phantoms this year, and seeing the top prospects in the Flyers’ pipeline in the playoffs is hopefully an indicator of things to come...

Their opponent in the first round? The Hershey Bears. This Bears team is not one to be taken lightly; they made a late-season surge to steal a playoff spot away from the clutches of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers (RIP Halak). The Bears finished 3rd in the Atlantic by virtue of beating the Providence Bruins on the final day of the regular season. They hold a record of 43-22-8-3.

Hershey’s Chocolate, you shall be no more.

Game 1 was to be held in the Valley at the PPL Center. In the AHL, the first round is a best-of-5, so whichever team gets to 3 wins first moves on. It’s a 2-2-1 format, so the first 2 games will be in Allentown with the next 2 going to Hershey, and if a decisive game 5 needs to be held, it will be in Allentown.

The Phantoms absolutely dominated the 1st period with a 15-5 shot advantage over Hershey. However, both teams could not score, even with two power plays going to the Phantoms and one going to the Bears. Phoenix Copley, the top goaltender for Hershey, was standing on his head in the 1st period. He has done this all year; after being traded to Washington in the Kevin Shattenkirk deal, he was assigned to Hershey and ended the season with a .931 save percentage.

Speaking of goalies, with Anthony Stolarz getting injured in the final week of the regular season, the spotlight turned to Alex Lyon. Lyon started the majority of the games for the Phantoms this season, and he finished with a .912 save percentage. For game 1, he was the starter, and Martin Ouellette was the backup. Ouellette is like a career Flyers organization-er. He’s played with the Royals this season until he needed to be called up.

In the 2nd, the Bears started to gain some footing. At one point, Hampus Gustafsson and Liam O’Brien were on a break down low in the Phantoms zone, but Alex Lyon’s presence scared them away. Because he is a lion.

Late in the second, Danick Martel was called offside on a stretch pass from the Phantoms’ end. This was very much the wrong call, and Danick Martel would’ve been on breakaway. Flyers fans, this is a usual feeling. (No, I’m not trying to act like bad reffing doesn’t happen all the time for every team. No, I don’t think it happens to just the Flyers. Yes, I’m trying to spark a reaction. Call me Howard Eskin.)

But there was another terrible call that sent Martel to the penalty box with under 2 minutes remaining in the period. Martel was called for cross-checking Madison Bowey, but honestly, Bowey would’ve fallen with a gust of wind here.

In good 2nd period news, Samuel Morin is a (Bob Ro)truck.

Into the third period, the defensive struggle continued. Nathan Walker, six minutes into the final frame of regulation, grabbed the puck on the right wing side and raced towards the net. Before he could pull the trigger, Maxim Lamarche got a stick in between the puck and Walker’s stick, and the puck was cleared as Walker went down to the ice.

Just a couple minutes later, Liam O’Brien laid an illegal hit on Steve Swavely near the Hershey benches, and right after that, Tyrell Goulborune challenged O’Brien to a fight. And fight there was! Both players were swinging and kind of connecting. Nonetheless, a spirited bout spurred an exciting bit of action in the scoreless game. O’Brien was called for interference, and the Phantoms went to the power play. Unfortunately, they couldn’t capitalize on the power play.

With opportunities aplent for the Bears, they couldn’t put any pucks past Lyon. The third period ended with a 0-0 scoreline, meaning overtime would be required to finish this game. The last time the Phantoms won an OT game in the playoffs was the famous 5OT game against the Albany River Rats in the 2008 playoffs.

Immediately, Danick Martel had an amazing opportunity directly in front of Copley, but he couldn’t finish it! He pulled back his own rebound, and his second shot was again saved! ONCE AGAIN, he got his own rebound, and Nathan Walker finally got over to poke the puck away. What chaos!

Colin McDonald had another huge opportunity for the Phantoms when he blew by Hurbert Labrie and had an extremely tight-angle breakaway, but his shot was turned aside by Copley. That was his 30th save of the night.

Coming the other way, a breakdown by the Phantoms defensively gave Nathan Walker of the Bears a clear chance in front of Lyon, and after a small bit of patience by Walker, he whipped the puck into the back of the net to secure game 1 for the Bears.

This defensive game was a great test for the first timers in the playoffs for the Phantoms. Alex Lyon had a fantastic game in net, stopping 19 of 20 shots. Just watching the Phantoms back in the playoffs is seriously such a joyous experience, and (even though they lost game 1, you better believe they will be hungrier in game 2 (if that’s even possible).

Game 2 is tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Go Phantoms!





[#] Sat Apr 22 2017 13:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles schedule and NFL Draft rumors: Listen to BGN Radio on SportsRadio 94WIP

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Your favorite Eagles podcast is on the airwaves again this week!

BGN Radio is back on the airwaves again this weekend. There’s plenty of Philadelphia Eagles topics to talk about as the 2017 NFL Draft is only a few days away! (Click here to listen). Call in at 888.729.9494!

John Barchard, James Seltzer, and Brandon Lee Gowton will be in studio to talk about Eagles draft rumors, Philadelphia’s schedule, BGN Radio draft party events, Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Joe Mixon, Charles Harris, and more.

Our site's podcast will be streaming live on SportsRadio 94WIP today (Saturday, April 22) from 1:00 - 3:00 PM ET. This show is brought to you by our sponsor Clippit - Watch TV. Make Clips. Share. (www.clippit.tv). Check them out on Twitter: @clippittv

Listen to the show via online stream by [CLICKING HERE].

http://player.radio.com/listen/station/sportsradio-94wip

...

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[#] Sat Apr 22 2017 11:09:31 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles fans can get a big discount on cool t-shirts and more

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Special offer for BGN readers.

Hey Eagles fans, looking to stock up on some new gear? If so, you’re in luck. Our good friends over at Philly Phaithful are offering a 30% discount on ALL of their merch. You can [click here] to head on over to their online selection. Just make sure you act quickly because this deal is only good through the end of this month (April). Just use the exclusive code for Bleeding Green Nation readers: bgndraft30

As far as their football t-shirts go, here’s a great one in honor of a certain Eagles quarterback.

Here's one that is very true: Dallas Sucks.

Fly, Eagles, fly:

Here's their Bleeding Green Nation inspired shirt:

There are just a few examples of Philly Phaithful's entire selection.

They also carry gear related to basketball, baseball, hockey, and college football. They even have some cool general non-sports Philly apparel.

...

ALSO: In addition to this generous discount that Philly Phaithful is offering right now, they’ll be teaming up with us to give away a prize to the winner of this year’s annual BGN Draft Prediction Game. More details on that in a few days!





[#] Sat Apr 22 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia makes big changes to locker room area

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/22/17.

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

A Bold New Look For 2017 - PE.com
The idea, says head coach Doug Pederson, is to foster camaraderie, provide some reminders about what the Philadelphia Eagles are all about, and give players a moment to think about the daily mission when they are in the NovaCare Complex. With that, the Eagles players walked into the building to open the offseason conditioning program on Monday and were greeted with a stunning graphics upgrade in the players’ area of the building. From the time they walk through the players’ entrance and get to their lockers, the team will notice the dramatic change, one that includes sweeping graphics with inspirational phrases from history, bold images from great franchise moments of the past, and a game and recreation area that is second to none.

How many games will the Eagles win? - BGN
Check out the latest episode of BGN Radio.

Eagles mailbag: Are the Eagles likely to trade Jordan Matthews this offseason? - PhillyVoice
I think it would make a lot of sense, as we noted in depth at the beginning of March. Matthews has good numbers over the first three seasons of his career, but in a way, those numbers almost kind of work against the possibility of him staying an Eagle past 2017 because he's going to expect more money than what he's worth. I would be surprised if the Eagles retain him in 2018 and beyond. If you can get something for him now, like, say, a third-round pick, it might be wise to take it before you lose him for nothing next offseason. But I don't think you force it.

Now teamed with Joe Douglas, will Howie Roseman finally get it right? - CSN Philly
It was always about what Howie wanted. It was always about doing it Howie's way with no room for compromise. It was always about Howie and nobody else. It didn't work. And Howie Roseman knew that if he was going to continue in his dream job running the Eagles' personnel department, things had to change. And they have changed. Roseman is now in his second year as the Eagles' executive vice president of football operations after five years as general manager and one year in exile while Chip Kelly called the shots. He's working with Joe Douglas these days, and Roseman sounds genuinely humbled when he talks about compromise and collaboration -- two things he was admittedly terrible at in his first go-round running the show.

Mike Mayock to feature his Philly roots during NFL draft coverage - Inquirer
At times during the three-day marathon telecast of the NFL draft, Mike Mayock will discuss Temple linebacker Haason Reddick's Camden roots, or he'll tell the story of how Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon was discovered at Wissahickon High School. Whenever he says "league," it will sound like "lig." If he asks for "wooder," only someone from the Philadelphia area might understand. And when the draft is finished, he won't hail a taxi to the airport but instead drive back to a home in Wayne.c

2017 Philadelphia Eagles game-by-game predictions - ESPN
The Eagles closed out the season with a home game against Dallas, which proved to be Tony Romo's last appearance in the NFL. Dak Prescott is the man now, and he and Wentz will be judged side-by-side for years to come. Record: 9-7

Amelia Molitor and Joe Mixon meet, agree to lawsuit settlement - NewsOK
The civil lawsuit against former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon has been settled out of court, Mixon and Amelia Molitor said in a joint statement Friday. Mixon punched Molitor in a restaurant near the OU campus in 2014 and Molitor filed the civil lawsuit last summer. The terms of the settlement are confidential.

Oklahoma Sooners 2017 NFL Draft Profile: Joe Mixon - Crimson and Cream Machine
With Mixon, a coach doesn’t have to choose between a traditional three-down back or a pass-catching back. Why do that when you have both? The playbook is effectively expanded, making it tough on the defense to scheme around.

Dear SEPTA Users, The NFL Draft Is Adjusting Your Commute - NBC Philadelphia
From April 27 to 29, the NFL 2017 Draft will take over the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and construction is already underway. As the NFL is putting together their game plan, SEPTA has put together theirs as well.

Malik McDowell is ready to wreck havoc in the NFL - SB Nation
Malik McDowell is a very interesting prospect if for no other reason than — and this happens sometimes when you're breaking down a guy's film — it was apparent a game or two into watching his tape that he was playing out of position at Michigan State. Which isn't an excuse, it just ... is. You don't normally put a guy who is 6'6, almost 300 pounds and with arms that are almost 35 inches long inside.

...

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[#] Sat Apr 22 2017 00:15:33 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Mock Draft 2017: Pittsburgh Steelers select Patrick Mahomes II

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With the No. 30 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Pittsburgh Steelers GM General_Lee12 selects ...

Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech

After beginning the 2016 season with a paltry record of 4-5, The Steelers evolved into an unstoppable force, defeating their next 9 opponents in a row. Unfortunately, as they say, all great things must come to an end and in this case, the end was located 570 miles away in Foxboro, Massachusetts where Tom Brady and his haphazard cast of nobodies completely dismantled the Pittsburgh defense for 36 points and 431 yards. The Steelers, who were starting 2 rookies in the secondary, were absolutely picked apart by the Future Hall of Fame Quarterback displaying to the world the importance of a good secondary for any team attempting to make a championship run.

Entering the 2017 offseason, the Steelers made a series of promising moves by extending All Pro WR Antonio Brown's contract by 5 years, bringing back Pro Bowl RB Le'Veon Bell via the exclusive rights franchise tag & resigning the ageless LB James Harrison. The team subsequently made a few good depth signings in DE Tyson Alualu, CB Cody Sensabaugh, RB Knile Davis, & WR Justin Hunter. As a team not known for making big splashes in FA, the offseason was off to a hot start. With these recent additions, the Steelers Offensive depth chart beginning to look something like this (all depth charts courtesy of ESPN.com):

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

As is usually the case, the offense line could certainly use some depth, but the starting 5 make up what could be a top 5 unit entering the 2017 season. While Antonio Brown is arguably the best wide receiver in the game, the loss of Markus Wheaton paired with the unknown availability of Martavis Bryant & the splotchy play of Sammie Coates, the wide receiver position is somewhat of a need entering the 2017 draft. With Roethlisberger hinting at retirement and no solid back up plan in place, Quarterback needs to be considered a very high priority for the Steelers entering the draft.

Offensive needs (ranked from highest priority to lowest): QB, WR, TE, OG, RB, OT, C, FB

With the offense looking pretty solid overall, let's take a peek at the current depth chart of the Defense:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Upcoming star Cam Heyward is apparently going to start at both defensive end positions, so nice work there, ESPN! For the sake of this exercise, let's pretend that the RDE position is instead filled by Stephon Tuitt. With the departure of ILB Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers have a gaping hole at Inside Linebacker making LB a position of dire need. After getting roasted by Brady, it would be foolish to assume the team is set at Cornerback or Safety, although Artie Burns and Sean Davis both had very inspiring rookie campaigns.

Defensive needs (ranked from highest priority to lowest): ILB, CB, OLB, DE, S, DT

My top 5 prospects available:

  1. David Njoku TE, Miami

  2. Malik McDowell DT, Michigan State

  3. Patrick Mahomes II, QB Texas Tech

  4. Budda Baker S, Washington

  5. Tre'Davious White CB, LSU

My top 5 needs for the Steelers:

  1. ILB

  2. QB

  3. CB

  4. OLB

  5. WR

With the 30th overall selection in the 2017 draft, The Pittsburgh Steelers select Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II out of Texas Tech.

I know, I know, I know, the guy who doesn't shut up about always choosing the best player available disregarded his own word and reached a good bit for a position of need. There is a solid chance I will regret making this pick, but the allure of Mahomes II is just too much for me to pass on. I ultimately came down to a pretty tough decision between Njoku, who could turn out to be a perennial pro-bowl caliber tight end if he hits his ceiling and Mahomes II, who is very reminiscent of a young Big Ben. I also gave McDowell real consideration but finally concluded that his questionable work ethic will simply not cut it in Pittsburgh, a proud blue collar city, and for that reason I had to jump over him.

Mahomes II just screams Pittsburgh Steeler when I watch his game play. He has that hard headed can't lose attitude that will almost certainly lead him into dangerous situations throughout his career, but I think that same attitude will allow him to pick up wins for his team that wouldn't have been possible otherwise. With Big Ben flashing the notion that he could retire any year now, it is time for the Steelers front office to start thinking about the future at quarterback. Landry Jones, although he had his contract extended recently, is simply not the answer for when Ben decides to hang them up. If the Steelers bring in Mahomes II and allow him to be Ben's understudy for a year or two, I think the offense could seamlessly transition quarterbacks without having to modify the system at all.

Spider Graph:

The obvious difference between Mahomes II & Roethlisberger is the size. Ben is 4 inches taller, weighs more and was even a hair faster than Mahomes II coming out of college. Mahomes II, however, does have fantastic mobility and elusiveness, which Ben was also known for upon entering the NFL. I am not saying they will be the same quarterback, but Patrick Mahomes II has all of the traits that have made both Big Ben & the Steelers franchise a successful organization for the last 13 year and because of that, I do not think the Steelers can afford to miss drafting this kid.

Antonio Brown will feast on the Playmaking ability of Mahomes, allowing him to remain one of the highest producing players in the game for the foreseeable future. With a successor to Ben in place paired with the likes of Antonio Brown, Le'Veon Bell and Ladarius Green, the team will be able to focus heavy on drafting defense for the next few years, allowing Pittsburgh to retain its status as a perennial powerhouse in the AFC. In 2016 the Steelers were a very good team and considering they are bringing back almost all of their starting 22, they are one of the few teams who can afford to gamble a little with their first round pick. If Mahomes can be coached, they have found their franchise QB for the indefinite future, and as us Eagles fans know, that can be a very difficult thing to find.

We will end on a quote that describes Patrick Mahomes II best. While this quote was written about Mahomes II, tell me this doesn't sound like it could be written about Roethlisberger:

"He's got a great arm, big balls and he's mobile. He is going to drive his head coach crazy for the first couple of years and there is no getting around that. If it clicks for him and he's coachable, I think he could become a special quarterback." - NFC executive

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):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):

Poll
Do you approve of this pick?

  170 votes | Results





[#] Sat Apr 22 2017 00:02:07 EDT from rss

Subject: 2017 NFL Mock Draft: Green Bay Packers pick Takkarist McKinley

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With the No. 29 overall pick in the 2017 Bleeding Green Nation community mock draft, Green Bay Packers GM Wutang_ selects ...

Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA

[EXT. 100 Miles Northeast of Oshkosh, WI, there is a scattering of mills and wind turbines, which also happen to denote the Canadian border. The frozen soil does not yield a harvest, so this land remains mostly untouched by humans, save for the researchers and technicians who snowmobile out to check on the turbines and collect wind data. By day, the only signs of life on the ground are  deer, hares, and the occasional black bear. However, after the sun sets over the daily smooth sheet of Wisconsin snow, a faint light can be seen from the top window of the oldest, most dilapidated, abandoned mill.]

[INT. Nighttime. In a room lit by two candles on opposite ends of the room, a man sits at his desk, eyes closed, with impeccable stillness. The desk is meticulously organized; five stacks of paper of even height take up the space in front of the man, while a single golf pencil, a pink eraser, and a large golden ring make up the rest of its decorations. The ring rests squarely upon the middle stack and faces outward, towards a door with a flap labelled FOOD, and several old, rusty locks that have clearly not been unlatched in weeks. Behind the man are three filing cabinets, labelled OUR GUYS, DRAFT, and OTHER. The first two are teeming over with papers, files, and envelopes, their hinges barely remaining intact under the immense weight of literary data. The latter cabinet, is nearly empty, and looks brand-new. Above the cabinets is an ancient, mounted clock, whose unrelenting ticks would be torturous over the span of months to a conventional man. This man is anything but. He opens his eyes and his lips crumble into a grin.]

It’s been weeks since his skin has tasted sunlight. What was once a rosy complexion is now replaced by a sallow, gaunt face, the permanence of which has recently seemed more assured by the day. As his eyes readjust to the candlelit room, he allows himself to spare a moment’s thought on his past. What were the sequential events that led him here? Memories of lost love and friendship dance across his mind, and his grin slips as his face begins to contort further. Quickly, he jerks himself out of a dangerous train of thought, and his dark eyes flit towards his ring. Its simple beauty quells any notions of unfulfillment, save that of the need for another of its kind. And beneath it, within the strongest of his five proposals, lies the key to attaining his next piece of jewelry. The grin returns to his face. Ted Thompson has made his decision.

The Pick.

A freaky, relentless monster on the edge, Takkarist McKinley is one of the most volatile first round prospects in this year’s draft.  His game tape screams, both pass rusher and leader, as he bounces off blocks, viciously attacks quarterbacks and ball carriers alike behind the line of scrimmage, and plays through the whistle on every down. His combine numbers confirmed his athleticism, as he posted a >10’ broad jump and a sub-4.6 40 yard dash. While his height and weight are far below average, his bench press quelled any fears over his upper body strength at 258 pounds. He tested far below average in agility drills, however his game tape reflects a highly instinctive player who can make up for it. If he has a major weakness, it is that his pass rushing technique has left a lot to be desired. Aside from a gnarly spin, he has shown no plus-moves against offensive tackles. While his effort often makes up for it, his swim, cut, and power moves will need to be refined at the next level. Still, this did not hamper his production in college. In his senior year at UCLA, McKinley racked up ten sacks, eighteen tackles for loss, and six pass breakups en route to All PAC-12 honors. He was generally positioned on either edge (both standing up and hand-in-dirt), but at times would be asked to rush through the A gap. He is a candidate to be selected by a team that runs a 3-4 anywhere between picks 10-30.

The Packers’ fluid 3-4 is a dream come true for an edge defender like Takk, as is he for their franchise. Julius Peppers and Datone Jones are both gone, leaving Nick Perry, Kyler Fackrell, and Clay Matthews as Dom Capers’s options at OLB. The prevailing opinion in Green Bay is that Matthews will eventually end up at ILB as his athleticism wanes, and I believe that this is the year to do so.  If the Packers want to win the NFC North again, they will have to be able to get in Matthew Stafford’s grill, while also preying on the Bears’ and Vikings’ tackles. Investing in Perry was a shrewd move, but adding a versatile torpedo to complement him and Matthews.  After addressing the front seven, Green Bay will then be free to take advantage of the depth of this year’s CB and RB class in the later rounds.

Highlights:



Spider Graph:

Player Comparison:

There are many lazy comparisons flying around, ranging from DeMarcus Ware (not at all) to Marcus Smith (scarily similar physique-wise, but these two are wired oppositely). If McKinley can add around ten pounds to his frame, he could be a Whitney Mercilus-type presence within the Packers defense, playing all over the front seven.

The Four Other Options:

TreDavious White CB LSU; Charles Harris DE MIZZOU; TJ Watt OLB WISC; Marlon Humphrey RB BAMA

Wu-Tang is for the children!

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): 
31) Falcons (SirJon):
32) Saints (Huffs_cellmate):

Poll
Do you approve of this pick?

  188 votes | Results





[#] Sat Apr 22 2017 23:06:43 EDT from rss

Subject: Phantoms vs. Bears Game 2 recap: That

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The Phantoms blew three leads on home ice, lost their starting goaltender to injury, and went down 0-2 in the best-of-five series with Game 3 looming on the road.

There aren’t many more heartbreaking ways to lose a hockey game than what the Lehigh Valley Phantoms did on Saturday night.

Down 0-1 in their best-of-five series with the Hershey Bears after a tough OT loss on Friday in Game 1, the Phantoms blew leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 4-2 en route to a backbreaking, deflating, probably season-killing 5-4 defeat.

They’ll now need three straight wins to keep their season alive now, two on the road, against the defending Eastern Conference Champion Bears.

It started out great, at least. On the first shift of the game, Colin McDonald stepped up and absolutely wrecked a Bear with a devastating hit that was honestly pretty reminiscent of a certain Claude Giroux hit on Sidney Crosby that took place five years ago today. The result was the same, too, as T.J. Brennan scored on the next shift to give Lehigh Valley the 1-0 lead.

The Phantoms dominated play for the first six minutes of the first, picking up two power plays and that early lead. But on Hershey’s first shot of the game, you could tell it was going to be one of those nights. Stanislav Galiev put that first shot behind goaltender Alex Lyon to tie the game at 1-1.

Lehigh Valley kept coming, though, ultimately outshooting Hershey 16-4 in the first period. Andy Miele scored with just 12 seconds left in the period, and the Phantoms went into the locker room up 2-1.

But the lead didn’t last long, as would become the theme of the night. Christian Djoos — he pronounces that like “juice,” I guess — scored just 3:47 into the second period to again tie the game, this time at 2-2.

The Phantoms again kept up the pressure, largely outplaying the Bears in just about every facet of the game throughout the second period, hitting multiple posts, carrying play and really not giving Hershey much to work with. It seemed as though it was finally going to turn their way, too, with two goals in the last five minutes of the period by Andy Miele.

They had the 4-2 lead and a 25-8 edge in shots entering the final frame. Had they kept playing the game they had for the first 40, it certainly seemed as though the Phantoms would be fine. And they did for roughly the first 10 minutes, but things quickly went south.

With about 10 minutes to go, Lyon went down awkwardly on a save and stayed down, unable to put pressure on his right leg as he was helped off the ice. With Anthony Stolarz already out for the year due to a leg injury of his own, Martin Ouellette stepped in to finish out the game. And from that point forward, you could see Hershey’s eyes light up with the thoughts of the comeback.

Not that it was Ouellette’s fault. Neither of the three goals ultimately scored against the ECHL-regular should have been expected saves, as the Bears just swarmed the Phantoms, who for the first time all series looked like they couldn’t skate with their opponent. In fact, it’s really the only time all series in which Lehigh Valley didn’t outright dominate the Bears, even including the 1-0 Game 1 loss. But of course, as these things tend to go, the lull came in the most important part of the series so far. The Phantoms just couldn’t weather the storm.

Lyon’s status is unknown entering Game 3 on Wednesday in Hershey. We could see Carter Hart -- as a backup behind Ouellette, more than likely — suit up should Lyon not be able to play. No matter who dresses in goal, though, it’s very possible it’s the last time anybody does it in a Phantoms uniform in 2016-17.





[#] Mon Apr 24 2017 01:52:25 EDT from rss

Subject: BGN Mock Draft 2017: Best/worst picks from 21-30

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A look at the next 10 picks from the 2017 BGN community mock draft.

Picks 21-30 of the 2017 BGN Community Mock Draft are in. Let's take a look at some of the best and worst picks so far based on the approval polls.

Best pick: Forrest Lamp at No. 22 to the Dolphins

Worst pick: Dion Dawkins at No. 23 to the Giants

An entire recap of the third week of picks.

21) Detroit Lions: Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama - [Pick]

GM: Shark Fighter
Approval: 65%

A lot of people don’t seem to like Humphrey. I feel like I’m one of the few people who are higher on him than most.

22) Miami Dolphins: Forrest Lamp, OG, Western Kentucky - [Pick]

GM: J. Wil
Approval: 79%

This would be the Dolphins’ third first round pick on an offensive linemen in four years. Building the o-line through the draft has worked well for Dallas, so why not.

23) New York Giants: Dion Dawkins, OT, Temple - [Pick]

GM: BigWardy59
Approval: 33%

Surprising pick. It’d be kind of weird to have so much Philly influence on the Giants’ offensive line with Justin Pugh growing up an Eagles fans. Plus 2016 Giants first round pick Eli Apple is also an Eagles fan. Go figure.

24) Oakland Raiders: Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State - [Pick]

GM: big DUB
Approval: 69%

Nice. This pick was made before the Marshawn Lynch stuff happened ... which still actually hasn’t officially happened yet. So maybe this pick could still make sense?

25) Houston Texans: Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina - [Pick]

GM: GotFunds
Approval: 72%

I sure hope it doesn’t take this long for a quarterback to go off the board in the real NFL Draft. The Texans would love for a passer to fall to them like this. But is Trubisky the guy Bill O’Brien wants?

26) Seattle Seahawks: Garett Bolles, OT, Utah - [Pick]

GM: Rogmcc23
Approval: 59%

27) Kansas City Chiefs: Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson - [Pick]

GM: B1G Cat
Approval: 77%

The Chiefs need a long-term replacement for Alex Smith. Andy Reid would probably love to Watson to fall to him here like this.

28) Dallas Cowboys: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State - [Pick]

GM: RegalEagle
Approval: 64%

There’s talk Conley could possibly be the top cornerback off the board. Maybe even as high as No. 6 or so. How did we let him fall to Dallas like this?!

29) Green Bay Packers: Takkarist McKinley, OLB, UCLA - [Pick]

GM: Wutang_
Approval: 58%

I actually think this is a real Packers pick.

30) Pittsburgh Steelers: Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech - [Pick]

GM: General_Lee12
Approval: 52%

I like this pick for the Steelers. I realize there’s an argument they should maximize 35-year-old Ben Roethlisberger’s window by getting a non-quarterback. But taking Mahomes might actually help Big Ben’s window because he’s bound to miss some playing time each season anyway. There would be short-term value in upgrading on the terrible Landry Jones and long-term value in grooming Mahomes for the future.

...

Up next: Final two picks tomorrow! Then a recap of the entire draft.





[#] Sun Apr 23 2017 18:14:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Name one player you really want the Eagles to take in the 2017 NFL Draft

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Who will the Eagles keep?

Welcome to this week’s edition of the Bleeding Green Nation mailbag! I'll be taking your Philadelphia Eagles questions and answering them here in this post. As always, thanks to everyone who sent in a question. We already answered some of your questions during the BGN Facebook Live session I hosted. (Shameless plug: please like on the BGN Facebook page and the BGN Radio Facebook page.) Watch the Q&A below:

Now it's time for some of the questions I didn’t get a chance to answer (contact me: @BrandonGowton). Let's get started.

@mfegs2 asks: Who is your (and rest of BGN crew’s) favorite player for the Eagles in this draft? A player that you absolutely want to have?

BLG: Dalvin Cook
John Barchard: O.J. Howard
James Seltzer: Leonard Fournette
Ben Natan: Samaje Perine
Matt Dering: Evan Engram
Patrick Wall: Reuben Foster
Dan Klausner: Tarik Cohen
BGN alumnus Jimmy Kempski: Solomon Thomas

I can’t speak for everyone else, so allow me to only explain my pick. I really want the Eagles to get a legitimate three down running back. I’d written time and time again that getting such a player is critical for Carson Wentz’s development. With that in mind, I really like Dalvin Cook’s tape. He’s a very fun player to watch. Now, with that said, I wouldn’t take him at No. 14. There are too many red flags there with the character concerns, fumbling issues, etc. But I think it’d be really fun to have him on the Eagles.

This wasn’t an easy pick for me. I was tempted to say John Ross. It’s just that his injury history scares me. I also like Christian McCaffrey a lot. I kind of want to be ironic and say Charles Harris because I think the more people hate on him the more I like him. Marshon Lattimore would probably be the pick if I didn’t think it was very unrealistic.

Let’s turn this question over to you, the readers. I’m curious to hear your picks. Who is the one player you really want the Eagles to draft? It doesn’t have to be a first round guy. There could be a Day 2 or Day 3 pick you really want Philadelphia to get. Let’s hear what’s on your mind.

@GLCrandall asks: Do the Eagles finally have a good dynamic with Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas between Howie's money savvy and Joe's talent evaluation?

Great question. It’s honestly too early to say, though there’s certainly reason for optimism. The Timmy Jernigan trade, for example, seemed like a great example of the “unbelievable collaboration” (Jeffrey Lurie’s words) between Roseman and Douglas. From an outsider’s perspective, it really seems like the two guys are on the same page.

But their biggest test is yet to come. It’ll be interesting to see how the two guys work through the 2017 NFL Draft. Roseman looks to be active and aggressive in making trades. The sense is that Douglas generally favors a more patient approach. We’ll see how the dynamic works out. Douglas is responsible for setting the board, but it’s ultimately Roseman who has final say on the picks.

We won’t know for sure if this relationship is really working out for the Eagles until we see how these draft picks turn out.

@BigBoiDrew asks: Did you or anyone you know win the draft lottery to be inside the draft theatre? — @smithnfl asks: I won seats at the 2017 NFL Draft! You going to be there? Which playmaker are we hoping for?

Well this second question answers the first one. And to answer the first: no, I won’t be in the draft threatre itself, but as you know by now BGN Radio WILL be broadcasting live from the 2017 NFL Draft itself. Here’s a look at our location in Draft Town, which is free to the public.

Don’t forget, there are several opportunities to hang out with BGN Radio in Philadelphia this week. [Click here for full details.] A brief summary below:

Wednesday, Apr. 26: Pre-draft party at Delilah’s from 9:00 - 10:00 PM. Make sure to RSVP in order to avoid paying the cover charge. Email info@bgnradio.com with the subject heading "BGNR Guest List" and your name in order to get free admission.

Thursday Apr. 27 thru Saturday Apr. 29: BGN Radio is broadcasting LIVE from the NFL Draft. Hang out at the NFL Draft Bud Light Tavern near our broadcast location.

Saturday, Apr. 29: After the draft is over, head on over to Adobe Cafe in South Philly. The BGN Radio post-draft party starts at 8:00 PM and rages on all night long.

Hope to see you at any/all of these events!

@NoVA_Wolverine asks: Since the rumor is lots of teams will want to trade back this draft, is this a good year for Eagles to push to move up in several rounds?

I think the Eagles will definitely try to move up from pick No. 99 in the third round. There’s a big gap from their second round selection at No. 43 until then. I think the Eagles would love to trade Jason Kelce or Mychal Kendricks (or Jordan Matthews?) along with pick No. 99 in order to move up into the late 60’s / early 70’s or so. And I’m definitely OK with trading up depending who’s on the board.

As far as trading down goes, I really don’t want the Eagles to do that in the first round. I explained why recently.

Another reason why I hate the idea of trading down is because it lacks conviction. Admittedly, this might be a very rudimentary way of thinking about it, but I want the Eagles to draft a guy they love at No. 14. Or even trade up a few picks if they have to. I want them to feel strongly about “their” guy. Not just trade back because they ran out of options they really loved, as was the case in 2014.

@ThePhiltz asks: Of the players projected to be drafted 11-24 in the first round, what ones do you feel are going to be flops?

Whoever the Eagles pick. So, Charles Harris. Just kidding. Maybe. Uh, for real though, probably one of the quarterbacks.

@CLafferty214 asks: What Eagle would be the best guest to have at your wedding?

Jon Dorenbos. He’d give a great best man speech (he’s a motivational speaker, mind you) and he’d keep everyone entertained with his magic tricks.

@TriumpMcCloud asks: Carson Wentz: great quarterback or the greatest quarterback?

Carson has some distance to go before he considered to be either of those two things. It certainly seems like he’s a guy worth betting on, though. The kid works extremely hard, says all the right things, seems to have a great demeanor, and is very physically gifted. A ton of NFL people rave about his intelligence.

Personally, I really feel like Carson has that “it” factor. That’s typically something I might make fun of if someone else said it, but it’s true. Carson isn’t without flaws but he did some really special things at times last year. I think back to that crazy play against the Giants.

This is just one play but his pocket presence was unreal (in a good way) by the end of the season. He had an uncanny knack for avoiding sacks.

Avoiding pressure clearly isn’t the only factor into becoming a successful quarterback. But my point is that he showed a lot of improvement in that regard over the course of the season. There’s certainly a lot of room for growth in his game. Remember, the Eagles were going to sit him for the majority of last year for a reason.

I’m certainly not saying Wentz is about criticism, but I do think those holding off to see how he progresses in Year 2 will be well rewarded.

(I like how I took a silly question and turned it all serious.)





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