April 07, 2017
Three weeks from right now, we'll know which player the Eagles decided to take with the 14th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Three weeks. We're almost there.
As expected, much of the conversation around the Eagles has to do with that first-round pick, but there are a few other odds and ends in Friday's edition of "What They're Saying."
[Of course, we know what you really want, so we'll start with the draft stuff.]
With the draft set for just a few weeks from now, NFL Nation reporters pick out the position of need for each team in 2017.
The Eagles need two new starters after releasing Leodis McKelvin and losing Nolan Carroll II to the Cowboys in free agency. While they recently added veteran Patrick Robinson, they remain very thin at the position. Look for the Eagles to target corner in the upcoming draft. [espn.com]
Four of the six NFL writers at CBSSports.com posted updated mock drafts on Thursday. Here’s a look at what each of them predicted Eagles will do in the first round.
Jabrill Peppers, SS, Michigan: Given the dynamic pass-catchers the Eagles face annually in the NFC East, addressing a leaky secondary should be among Philadelphia's top priorities. Peppers is a polarizing prospect in the scouting community based in large part because he recorded just one interception over his career at Michigan. However, he is an instinctive, versatile player with the open-field tackling skills and competitive nature to quickly become a fan favorite. [cbssports.com]
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: The Eagles have surrounded second-year quarterback Carson Wentz with weapons on offense, but adding a versatile threat like McCaffrey is something that should frighten the rest of the NFC East. [cbssports.com]
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: Some team is going to take McCaffrey and turn him into a monster, and I think the offense Doug Pederson runs fits the profile. Carson Wentz would be a huge offseason winner if the Eagles did this. [cbssports.com]
Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State: Played in the same secondary with Marshon Lattimore and Malik Hooper and started every game the last two seasons, replacing another first-rounder, Eli Apple, who was drafted by the Giants in 2015. At 6-0, 195 pounds, Conley has been compared to Aqib Talib, which would make him a valuable asset for the Eagles in the rough-and-tumble NFC East. [cbssports.com]
Like Logan, Jernigan is a force in the interior of the line. Last season, he had a 10.8% run stop percentage, which put him atop of the league in terms of run stopping. He has a high motor and will bolster Philly’s run defense.
Where he differs from Logan is his ability to get to the quarterback. Jernigan racked up 13 sacks in three seasons with the Ravens. In fact, his is one of only six defensive tackles in the NFL to average four sacks in the last three seasons.
Jernigan is going to add a highly sought after trait to the Eagles D-Line in his ability to get to the passer, something that is going to be crucial to the Eagles success in 2017. The interior pressure the Eagles will be able to get from both Jernigan and Fletcher Cox will be very hard to defend against. [sports.yahoo.com]
The Eagles caught people by surprise earlier this week by trading for Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan. … Ravens writer Vasilis Lericos of Baltimore Beatdown answered some of my questions about Jernigan.
To the best of your knowledge, what’s Jernigan like off the field?
"At FSU he kept his nose clean for the most part but did reportedly fail a drug test before the draft while caused his slide to the second round. There were rumors he clashed with HC John Harbaugh and Harbaugh did throw him under the bus in public once or twice which was out of character for him.
Timmy also has a bit of diva in him. For instance he told the local media he was aiming for the Pro Bowl before his second season which was unusual because the Ravens usually focus on team goals." [bleedinggreennation.com]
When it comes to being in the know about the NFL, there aren’t many better in the business that NFL.com national insider Ian Rapoport. “Rap Sheet” knows the ins and outs as well as anyone, and when Dave Spadaro caught up with him in Arizona at the NFL Annual Meeting, Rapoport explained how he believes the Eagles are taking all the steps toward building a winning team.
“They seem to be going in the right direction,” Rapoport said. “It’s so interesting. When you find a franchise quarterback, which obviously everyone wants to do, it’s almost like the weight of the world has been lifted off your shoulders. The Eagles, they’re good. I don’t know how good Carson Wentz is going to become and he probably doesn’t. It’s obviously up to him and there are circumstances that are certainly up in the air, but you know you’ve got him. It’s almost like ‘Alright, that’s good. Now we can focus on everything else’, where the teams that don’t have one spend every living, waking moment trying to maneuver to figure out how to get one, so that’s a big one to check off the list.” [philadelphiaeagles.com]
ESPN’s John Clayton knows that in the NFL, securing a starting quarterback has to be priority No. 1 for every team. At the NFL Annual Meeting in Arizona last week, Dave Spadaro chatted with Clayton about how the Eagles were able to land Carson Wentz last year and what the future may hold for the 24-year-old quarterback.
“How Cleveland made that trade is crazy because you could see the way that Carson came in and did better than expected in Training Camp. The mechanics weren’t there, but you could see the talent was there,” Clayton said. “You could see a little bit of a Joe Flacco developing. …”
Clayton made the comparison between Wentz and Flacco a few times in his conversation with Spadaro. Flacco, a former FCS-level quarterback at Delaware, led the Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory and as Clayton mentions, seems to be at his best in big moments, a trait that Wentz may possess as well.
“You put (Flacco in a big game), he can do some good things,” Clayton said. “I see Carson Wentz evolving in a similar way. You can see the way his style is, and it’s somewhere between Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco, and that was there from the very beginning when the scouting reports were there.” [philadelphiaeagles.com]
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