August 03, 2017
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2017 will be enshrined this weekend, which means that preseason football is back this Sunday. One player who many felt was snubbed from the Hall of Fame this season was former Eagles safety Brian Dawkins.
No worries, though. NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison made his predictions for the Class of 2018, and Weapon X is at the top of the list:
Putting Dawkins first on my faux ballot is intentional -- he's the most deserving. Dawkins has already waited one year. Given that he is a safety, a position to which the voters have demonstrated a decades-long aversion, he might have to sit next to the phone a bit longer in reality. But that's bunk. All of it, man. Forget that Dawkins was a four-time first-team All-Pro, the best player at his position in the early 2000s, or on the All-Decade Team for the 2000s, and remember what he wasn't: a distraction. (Take a look at the following names on this ballot for the relevance of that statement.) Remarkably, Dawkins isn't considered a shoo-in for the Hall despite compiling 91 impact plays over his career (37 interceptions, 28 forced fumbles and 26 sacks).
As a refresher, Brian Dawkins was better than your dumb favorite recent safety. The forced fumble numbers are really pretty staggering.
1. Practice notes: Even when the Eagles cornerbacks have a good day, it seems to come with a grain of salt.
2. Keeping busy: Sidney Jones has been a spectator at Eagles training camp, but Jim Schwartz is trying his best to keep the injured rookie corner up to speed.
3. Veteran presence: Doug Pederson likes what the Eagles second-year quarterback has brought to the table in terms of leadership.
4. Big blow? A key Giants receiver was carted off in tears at practice on Wednesday, but reports say that he may have avoided a long-term injury.
5. Tradewinds a blowin'? The Eagles are in dire need of a corner and the Bears seem to have a surplus ... hmmmm.
Let’s Get Physical: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz
Lawlor offered some perspective on Wendell Smallwood’s rookie season:
A few people have questioned Smallwood this spring/summer. I don’t get it. Smallwood didn’t have some great rookie year, but he showed legit NFL talent. I’m glad he had a strong day. I think some people were too down on him. Smallwood had a much better rookie year than Brian Westbrook did. I’m not saying Smallwood is anywhere close to the level of player Westbrook was, but I think Ezekiel Elliott’s success may have affected people and their expectations for a rookie RB. Zeke was a freak. Smallwood ran for 312 yards and returned a KO for a TD. There is nothing wrong with that from a 5th round pick who was the #3 RB for his team.
Analyzing top 20 NFC position battles: Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com
The corners obviously make the cut, but so does the Eagles depth chart at defensive end:
Playing opposite Brandon Graham and next to Fletcher Cox should provide plenty of big-play opportunities for the winner of this gig. Curry is best used as a part-time player despite his big contract, so the team brought in veteran Long and first-round pick Barnett to supplement the position. Everyone will play, but the Eagles would surely love Barnett to make an early impact.
32 teams, 32 rookies to watch: Williams Moy, Pro Football Focus
For the Eagles, the rookie to watch is Derek Barnett, who PFF is pretty high on coming out of college:
Barnett was our second highest FBS graded edge defender last season and his 91.3 pass rushing grade ranked first. Barnett ranked third among Power 5 edge defenders who saw at least 115 pass rush attempts last season with a 16.9 PRP. If he produces anywhere close to that Philadelphia may possess the best defensive line in the league.
Lane Johnson promises beers on him when Eagles win Super Bowl: Andrew Kulp, The 700 Level
This was a pretty good quote from Lane Johnson:
“I have a lot to prove to this city,” Johnson said. “I think if we have a few big years and make the playoffs if we win a Super Bowl, I’m giving out beer to everybody."
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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