May 27, 2019
Happy Memorial Day, all. Hopefully, if you're reading this, it's while you're between drinks at a holiday barbecue. Otherwise, get outside and come back to read this later.
If you're sticking around, let's not waste time with a big intro. The Birds will be back on the practice field on Tuesday, and we'll have you covered with coverage from the second week of OTAs. In the meantime, let's take a look at what they're saying about the Eagles...
Tell us something we didn't know. Among Eagles fans, Jason Kelce is anything but underappreciated, especially after giving that epic Super Bowl parade speech on the art museum steps. But the same cannot be said nationally. And Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com thinks the Birds center was the most underappreciated player in the whole league last season.
If you want more on how she came up with her list of players — and to see the full Top 5 — head over to NFL.com to check out the full story. Otherwise, here's what she had to say about Kelce:
1) Jason Kelce, C, Philadelphia Eagles
Drafted: Sixth round (No. 191 overall), 2011
Pro Bowls: Two (2014, 2016)
Kelce had the highest win-contribution metric for any center in the NFL last season. My favorite stat on him: No center kept opposing defenders at least five feet from his quarterback on passing downs more than Kelce last season (24.1%; next closest was 18.8%). Measuring O-line play this way helps quantify "stopping pressure" or "clean pockets" and it shows Kelce set the standard for elite at his position last season. [nfl.com]
On Sunday, our own Jimmy Kempski took a look at the Eagles' players over 30 and how they plan on replacing them. Over at Bleeding Green, Kist and Solak did the opposite, looking at the team's top players under 25 years old. Their top pick should be a surprise. What is somewhat surprising, however, is that it wasn't unanimous.
DALLAS GOEDERT (Kist: 1st, Solak: 2nd)
Even as a “backup”, Goedert contributed on nearly half of the offensive snaps as a rookie. He accumulated a modest 334 yards receiving, adding 4 touchdowns and an unexpected penchant for run blocking. Moving forward, Goedert projects as a versatile move piece that should see the field on over half the snaps. It’s worth noting that he was Pro Football Focus’ 10th graded tight end when filtering out low usage players. Not bad for a second round selection. [bleedinggreennation.com]
The Eagles, like every NFL team, have some injuries left over from the 2018 season as they head into their summer workouts. But are there any worth really worrying about? Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com broke down the 10 biggest injuries the Eagles are currently facing. And while the No. 1 injury is more of a mystery than a concern with Mack Hollins, who we touched on in our last WTS, the No. 2 player is expected to be a starter for Jim Schwartz's defense.
2. CB Jalen Mills
Thoughts: Mills’ injury and recovery timeline has been a concerning one. Mills suffered the injury in Week 8 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 28 and he lingered on the Eagles roster all the way until Dec. 8, when he was finally placed on injured reserve. Mills was “day by day” in early November after suffering the injury, Doug Pederson said at the time, then progressively the tone changed to where Pederson would say he was “further way” before eventually he went on injured reserve. He was still in a boot as recently as a month or two ago, though Mills was seen in the locker room without a boot. That the injury has lingered this long is definitely a reason for concern, until the Eagles provide any sort of actual update on his status. [nj.com]
Keeping with the theme that's dominated this post so far, let's take a look at The Sporting News' rankings of the top tight ends in football, which no longer includes retired Rob Gronkowski.
Zach Ertz remains a top 3 tight end, but while it used to be Gronk and Travis Kelce in the two spots ahead of him, it's now Kelce and George Kittle, who took over the No. 1 spot this season. Here's what they had to say about Ertz:
3. Zach Ertz, Eagles
Ertz serves as the ultimate wide receiver hybrid, and he raised his game last season as a No. 1 target with 116 catches for 1,163 yards and 10 TDs, all career highs. He falls a little behind Kittle and Kelce for his relative blocking deficiency. [sportingnews.com]
Over at PFF, they took a look at all the WRs and TEs drafted in the first three rounds and listed the best route for each.
JJ ARCEGA-WHITESIDE, PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Best Route: Go
This one wasn’t even close. Arcega-Whiteside was the draft class’ highest-graded receiver on go concepts, including seams, back-shoulder go, end-zone fades and flys that broke off another route. On those go route concepts, Arcega-Whiteside showcased what made us here at PFF come to love him. He has an innate ability to high point the football while also dominating over defensive backs at the catch point. He made 11 contested catches on go routes last year and turned 39 targets into 14 explosive plays of 15 or more yards. All 20 of his go route receptions either moved the chains (eight) or scored six points (12).
This is arguably one of the more perfect matches made in draft heaven as Carson Wentz has been downright tremendous on go routes in his short career. Just last year alone, he threw six big-time throws and despite three dropped passes, completed 12 go routes for 271 yards and two scores. Arcega-Whiteside’s ability on go routes and contested-catch situations both in the red zone and in the open field should go a long way at continuing Wentz’ development into one of the league’s top-end signal-callers. [profootballfocus.com]
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