April 01, 2015
As we noted last month, if the Eagles bring in a prospect for a pre-draft visit, their chances of being drafted by Chip Kelly go up drastically. Six of the seven Eagles draft picks a year ago were among the Eagles' 30 allotted pre-draft visits, which means that it is absolutely worthwhile paying attention to who stops by the NovaCare Complex this time of year.
The reported visits so far (You can click on each name for detailed analysis and how they might fit with the Eagles):
• Jaelen Strong, WR, Arizona State
• Benardrick McKinney, ILB, Mississippi State
• Kevin Johnson, CB, Wake Forest
• Damarious Randall, S, Arizona State
Today we'll look at the latest three reported visitors:
• Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State
• Joe Cardona, LS, Navy
• Terry Poole, OG, San Diego State
Greene has quietly had one of the best careers of any wide receiver in Florida State history, a school that has churned out a number of high draft picks at that position. He has been a contributor in every one of his seasons at FSU since his freshman year, improving his production with each new season:
Florida State lined Greene up all over the place. He has good speed and is able to juke defenders in small areas, which makes him a threat to gobble up yards after the catch. He's also a polished route runner, he's happy to go over the middle to make catches in traffic, he is a willing (although less than awesome) blocker, and he also has value as a punt returner. Basically, he does a lot of the dirty work that Chip Kelly likes from his receivers, although at 5'11, 182, he does not have good size.
Here's his highlight reel. The word "smooth" comes to mind:
Cardona was the only long snapper invited to the Combine, and he also competed at the Senior Bowl, where he spent quite some time talking to Chip Kelly during one of the practices.
"I try to keep my punt snaps between 0.65 and 0.7 seconds," said Cardona at the Combine. "That's considered pretty fast." Cardona noted that his snaps were clocked at the Kohl's kicking camp at 41 miles per hour.
I also asked him if there is a long snapper he models himself after, the same way a running back might model their game after Barry Sanders, and impressively, he had an answer ready to go. "David Binns, 15 year long snapper for the San Diego Chargers," said Cardona. "He had consistency, a little-known player, but I think he's the longest tenured player in the Charger organization... He was someone I emulated, and hope to one day attain the same level of career that he had and the level of success he had."
Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos is coming off a season in which Jason Garrett named him to the Pro Bowl. Every offseason, during the dead times, I'll take a look at every one of Dorenbos' punt snaps. In 2012 he simply wasn't very good, and the punting game suffered. In 2013, he was very good. I haven't had a chance to look for myself how he performed in 2014.
Kelly's admiration for the United States military has to be in play here some. Last offseason, he brought former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva to training camp, and let him compete for a job. He has also visited the Naval academy several times in the past.
Because of his commitment to Navy, Cardona may or may not be able to play in the NFL in 2015, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
Cardona has a pending service commitment. He is required to serve five years in the Navy as an officer and will be commissioned in May.
There have been exceptions granted in the past, though, including special clearance given to former Navy fullback Eric Kettani, which allowed him to play in the NFL.
“Ultimately, it’s whatever the Navy wants to do with me and I'm ready and willing to do whatever they ask,” Cardona said during the NFL scouting combine.“It's something that I'm definitely looking into applying for. All that comes down to the needs of the Navy and what they foresee me doing and how they want me to serve, what they see serving the country.”
Spending a draft pick on a long snapper seems like a terrible use of resources for a team with holes galore and a good long snapper already in place. However, if the Eagles can bring Cardona in as an undrafted free agent and he can at least come close to beating out Dorenbos for the job, he could be a younger, cheaper alternative. Dorenbos will turn 35 in July and count for $1,070,000 against the cap in 2015.
Magician vs. Marine would be a fun training camp battle.
Even before the Eagles released Todd Herremans they were sorely in need of help along their offensive line. With Herremans gone and Evan Mathis rumored to be following behind, the Eagles may be in rather desperate need to add youth and depth along their OL, particularly at guard.
I came up empty after a quick search for San Diego State games, so I haven't watched Poole play at all, but his athletic measurables at the Combine are good:
Here's a scouting report on Poole. He looks like a late-round pick or UDFA target.
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