I told (warned) you I would do an offensive version of my post about defensive players and here we are. I wanted to post it before the combine because of some predictions I make with some draftable players. I list offensive free agents, draftable players, and players that have as good of a chance of making the team as you or me that have ties to Oregon and Chip. For what its worth this post is damn near 5000 words so feel free to skim it, I wont hold it against you if you don't read it all (yes I will). I am getting tired of typing and this introduction is the last thing left to write so without further ado: An OrEagles Offseason, Potential Offensive Additions.
LeGarrette Blount - Unrestricted free agent. Played great for the Patriots the latter part of the year and the first playoff game. Is a big back (6’ 250+) but doesn’t play like one, showing surprising speed and elusiveness along with good vision. Even returned kicks for the Patriots and was good at it. Was an UDFA in 2010, due to in large part "The Punch", picked up by the Titans under Fisher, tried to sneak him onto their practice squad by cutting him late but the Buccaneers and then head coach Raheem Morris picked him up. Had a great rookie year running for over 1000 yards in basically nine games. The Bucs won 10 games that year too but missed the playoffs. The next year wasn’t nearly as fruitful for Blount or the Bucs, Morris is fired, Schiano hired, Doug Martin is drafted and instead of giving Martin a breather every now and then Manly-man Schiano put Blount in the dog house for no real reason and gave him almost no carries. Belichick then fleeced his "friend" Schiano by trading a professional sprinter and a 7th rounder for Blount. Blount took a pay cut with no guaranteed money to stay in New England and he finally got a chance to show the professional football world that he’s not a bad player, basically the same player he was back during his rookie year finally free from Schiano. Was awesome his junior year of college, but I think he played at a lighter weight, like 235. His senior year, in the few games we saw him, he looked slower than his old self. The thing about "The Punch" is it forced Oregon to make LaMichael James the starter and he only ended up having one of the best careers ever for a Pac-10/12 running back.
Final Prognostication - I personally want him to end up back in New England, things seem to be good for him there but I’m afraid some desperate team is going to throw a lot of money at him and he’s going to take it. Basically zero chance he ends up on the Eagles because of how well he played the end of this past season. As far as I know he and Chip are on good terms so maybe some day Blount will come to Philly, just not this off season.
For Your Viewing Pleasure - 08 college highlights (NSFW music), Rookie year highlights (he is such a damn beast), Crazy run versus Green Bay in 2011, 2013 regular season highlights (NSFW music)
DeAnthony Thomas - I was going to create an offensive weapons section for DeAnthony, because he isn’t really a true running back but he would have been the only person in that section so it would have been a waste of space. DAT (as he goes by, he also goes by "The Black Momba [the o is on purpose] a nickname given to him by Snoop Dogg and a nickname he’s had before Kobe FWIW) is a running back/wide receiver/returner/offensive dynamo in one package (although a smaller one 5’9’’ 175). I can’t believe my eyes when people are listing him as a fifth round possibility. That is not going to be possible after the combine. He was projected as a first rounder until his fluke ankle injury. One simple flukish injury is going to drop him that far? Maybe he never should have been considered a first rounder but he definitely is not a fifth rounder. He’s most likely going to end up a second day pick. DAT is similar to Coradelle Patterson and Percy Harvin but in a smaller package. He is insanely fast, jukes at full speed and has the ability to make something out of nothing though he follows the play, he doesn’t cut back if nothing is there, he knows 2 yards is better than -5. His professional position is probably slot receiver that can line up in the back field now and again and if he goes to a team with a smart OC or head coach he will get 5 carries a game or so. Thomas simply needs to learn the finer points of route running. He already has great hands. People are worried about his slight frame and injury concerns. He had never been injured before the ankle injury when he slipped on a return. He ran up the middle against an SEC defense multiple times and did not get injured. There is a legendary play vs. Arizona St in 2012 where Will Sutton causes a sack fumble on Mariota, some defensive lineman for ASU picks up the ball and DAT tackles him HARD. He delivers a hit reminiscent of TJ Ward. In my opinion to say there are injury concerns for DAT just because his he is smaller than other players is ridiculous and ignorant. I can’t wait to watch him at the combine because I am expecting a show.
Final Prognostication - I’m sure Chip would love a reunion with DAT. He is a touchdown machine, you don’t even have to come up with plays for him, just run normal plays and he’ll score touchdowns. If he really does fall to the fifth (I really really doubt it) and is available for the Eagles to pick him up they will. I just don’t think he will be available at a spot the Eagles would want no matter how badly I want him on Philadelphia. I’d say 10% chance he ends up and Eagle, unfortunately. I think some teams may draft him just to keep him away from Chip.
For Your Viewing Pleasure:30 minutes of college highlights (AKA watch this and tell me he's a fifth rounder), The greatest gif ever
Why Am I Listing These Guys?/90 Man Roster Possibilities/Blasts From the Past
Jeremiah Johnson - A shifty, one cut and go type of runner. Has a surprising stiff arm for his size (5’9’’ 195). Good catcher out of the back field. Doesn’t have great top end speed (probably 4.5 forty). Was Jonathan Stewarts running mate during his time at UO. Chips first year as offensive coordinator, Johnson was actually playing better and putting up better stats than Stewart before having a season ending injury. It wasn’t just Dixon that went down in 07, it was everyone. Jeff Maehl was a red shirting safety who moved to wide receiver for the end of the season (and ended up staying there) so there would be enough players at the position. Back to Johnson, was the starter in 08’ with Blount his backup and rushed for over 1200+ yards. Went undrafted, probably due to injury concerns. Bounced around a ton of teams. Was on Denver’s active roster for a while and their practice squad a LONG while. Is defiantly a Chip guy. Might be a guy to bring in during the 90 man roster.
Players that may become available/ You never know
Jonathan Stewart - The Panthers have way too much money tied up in running backs in a passing league and need to decide who they want to keep and who they want to cut. This offseason they will probably cut one of Stewart, Deangelo Williams or Mike Tolbert. Stewart, when healthy, is a beast. A tremendous combination of size, speed and power (5‘10‘’ 220). Great in pass protection and can catch out of the back field well. He was Trent Richardson (the prospect, not the player) before Trent Richardson. Went over 1000 yards his rookie year. Chip was J-Stews OC during his last season at Oregon when he went for over 1700 yards. His pro career has been slowed considerably by his feet and ankle injuries and he battled those during college career as well. Would be a great backup if he became available. I doubt any team would offer him huge money because of his durability issues. I believe Stewarts never gone through training camp in his pro career because of injuries to his ankles. Is a good guy and teammate too for what its worth.
LaMichael James - The 49ers drafted James as a BPA but have misused him tremendously when he actually gets a chance on the field. The 49ers backfield is also going to be ridiculously loaded so the may be willing to move one of their pieces. They are going into the offseason with a depth chart of Frank Gore/Kendall Hunter/LaMichael James/Anthony Dixon/Marcus Lattimore. Maybe they cut Gore and that solves all of their problems, but I don’t think that’s what they do. James may be available for extremely cheap and I’m certain Chip would love to have him. Even though he’s small (5’9’’ 195) he’s a great between the tackles runner. Of his 5000+ career college yards, over 90% have come between the tackles. Everyone looks at him and his speed and says he’s a scat back but that’s not true at all. James is a powerback in a small body with 4.37 speed. In college James would find a hole that no one else could see, pop through it and gain ten yards. Every now and again those ten yards would turn into 80 yard touch downs. He also has a nice spin move that he’s shown off more professionally it seems than he did in college. The one good thing about his time in San Francisco is he has become a good punt returner. In college he was a shaky punt returner but the 49er coaches seem to have taught him the skill of catching punts (in a notoriously difficult stadium to field punts). If the 49ers put out feelers and the price is right (like 6th round draft pick + a player that can return) Chip would jump on that in an instant IMO. James has NFL level skill but the 49ers only use him in gimmicky situations. James is a true running back and San Francisco doesn’t seem to understand that. They always try to get him to the edge, I don’t think they’ve ever let him run it up the middle in a meaningful game in his career and that’s where he is at his best.
Drew (DJ) Davis - Restricted free agent of the Atlanta Falcons. Was an UDFA, ended up on the Falcons practice squad his first year and spent the last two years on the active roster. Bigger wide receiver (6’2’’ 215) has good speed and hands but best ability is blocking. Is tenacious when it comes to blocking. Falcons have special packages where they bring Davis in just to block. Also has great hustle. If you watch Bowman’s game winning pick versus the Falcons in the last Monday night game of the season, the only Falcon chasing him down the field trying to tackle him is Davis. Plays on a lot of special teams. Is currently the Falcons #4 wide receiver, but it seems like they would be fine with him taking over the #3/slot receiver role if they where to cut Harry Douglas (who a lot of Falcons fans dislike due to easy drops).
Final Prognostication - Restricted free agents are rarely signed away, especially non-superstar ones like Davis. 1% chance the Eagles sign him, maybe next year when he’s unrestricted, I’m sure Chip would love to have him on the roster.
Josh Huff- Huff is a slot receiver in a running backs body (5’11’’ 205). He has speed, good hands, and power, lots and lots of power. Great blocker, like most Oregon wideouts have to be in order to play. Would be used as a running back in certain situations at Oregon like the triple option. Would take both hand offs and run inside and would be the pitchman in the triple options. Have to say this, unfortunately, but seems moody and would voice his displeasure with whatever he was upset with on twitter (mostly Darron Thomas’ inaccuracies passing the ball). Said multiple times he was close to transferring. Might be a bit of a diva unfortunately. Has dealt with injuries his entire career except this past season. Freshman year was injured on the first play of the National Championship game when he slipped on the turf returning a kick and didn‘t play another snap. Can’t remember his injury his sophomore year, but his junior year had an ankle sprain that took a long time to come back from. Had he not been injured his junior year he would have had back to back 1000 yard seasons with Mariota as his quarterback. Finally was healthy his senior year and ended with 1000+ yards, with his second to last game of his UO career being complete domination of Oregon St. Draftniks are projecting him as a second day pick. I will guess he runs a 4.48 or 4.5 forty at the combine. He doesn’t have elite speed, but when he catches the ball he’s very difficult to bring down and fights for yards.
Final Prognostication - I think the Eagles take care of wide receiver in free agency so I’m not sure they would be willing to spend a 2nd, 3rd or 4th on Huff. If he falls further I could defiantly see him reuniting with Chip. Probably 15% chance he ends up on the Eagles.
For Your Viewing Pleasure - College Career Highlights
Daryle Hawkins - Fifth year senior, was offered a scholarship late in the process because Oregon had struck out on Quarterbacks and needed another scholarship Quarterback on the team. Picked Oregon over Northern Iowa, was a really unknown recruit. Redshirted as a quarterback, his redshirt freshman year was a fourth string running back and then his sophomore year finally moved to wide receiver full time. Was willing to do anything for the team. Is a tall lanky type possession receiver at 6’3’’ 210. Not exceptionally fast or quick. His hands have improved every year. Is related to Harold Reynolds, I believe he’s his nephew, so athleticism is in the family. Not invited to the combine, not even sure he’s pursuing a professional career.
Final Prognostication - Probably a 7th- UDFA player, I could see the Eagles bringing him in as an UDFA, hell they brought in Will Murphy and I didn’t think he would ever get a pro try out let alone make a practice squad.
Why Am I Listing These Guys?/90 Man Roster Possibilities/Blasts From the Past
Lavasier Tuinei (Lah-vas-EE-Aye Too-aye-nee) - Eagles and Chip like big wide receivers, well why not go with one Chip’s familiar with. Tuinei is 6’5’’, has long arms and a big catching radius, was a senior the Rose Bowl winning year (winning Offensive MVP of the game). Came to Oregon from a JUCO with three years to play. Got playing time over higher rated receivers from the same class as him. Two year starter, doesn’t have outstanding stats because his quarterbacks he had to play with where Jeremiah Masoli and Darron Thomas. Ended up in Seattle as an UDFA, was on their practice squad for a while, cut, went to the CFL, bounced back to Seattle’s practice squad. This past offseason was signed by the Bengals and was cut soon after, then signed by the Cowboys, couldn’t pass the conditioning test and was given an injury settlement. Seems like he had an injury that affected his chances of being a pro that year, but he had to try.
Samie Parker - Some of you may be laughing if you recognize this name because he has been out of the NFL for maybe five years now, but he’s still trying to get back in. Played at Oregon long before Chip came to Eugene. Was drafted in 04’ by Kansas City and has been on about half the league since then. Was last on a roster with the Raiders in 09’, but that was only during the offseason. Has also played in the UFL, CFL, and apparently is currently a member of the Los Angeles Kiss AFL team. The reason I list him is because I read last year that he showed up to a regional NFL combine and ran a 4.37. Is smaller (5’11’’ 185) and speed is his specialty, was on the track team while at Oregon, but has good hands too. Unlikely, but he loves his Ducks so has probably met Chip a few times and there may be a relationship there from previous meetings, but again, unlikely.
Ed Dickson - Unrestricted free agent of the Ravens. Was drafted in the third round by Baltimore in the 10’ draft. Even though Pitta became Flacco’s favorite tight end, especially on third downs, Dickson was still the starter because of his ability to block and catch. Has been molded to be more of a traditional tight end (6’4’’ 250) with blocking and receiving abilities. He was a beast at Oregon (his entire time as a tight end came with Chip as his coach one way or another) after the catch but that has not translated well to his pro career. Dickson seems to have lost confidence in his hands. In the games I watched from the past two seasons it seemed like he needed to catch an easy pass early in the game in order to catch the more difficult ones later in the game. Flacco also developed favor to Pitta, probably because of Dickson’s uncertain hands. It is weird he developed this in the Pros because he was sure handed at Oregon and pre-draft was seen as a catch only type of tight end that wasn‘t good at blocking. It seemed like Internet Duck fans would always be angry after games that he did not have 10 targets because he was such an awesome weapon for the team.
Final Prognostication- Does Philadelphia really need more tight ends? Dickson played his best ball under Chip but that doesn’t necessarily mean Chip will pursue Dickson in free agency. I hope Dickson leaves Baltimore and has a fresh start some where but I fear he is going to re-sign with the Ravens. He is a great athlete playing with a quarterback that doesn’t trust him, not the best situation to be in if you want to advance your career as a modern day tight end. I’ll say 10% chance he becomes an Eagle, Philly doesn’t need another tight end and a different team will offer more money to Dickson.
For Your Viewing Pleasure - His Signature College Game vs #6 Cal, NFL highlights
Dante Rosario - Was drafted in 07’ by the Panthers so was never coached by Chip. Was pretty good with the Panthers, you may remember his game winning touchdown catch the first game of the season in 08‘, but was cut in 11’ after the team signed Jeremy Shockey and has been a journeyman ever since. Has spent seasons with the Broncos, Chargers (he had a three touchdown game with them), and spent the last season with the Bears (was traded there by the Cowboys for a 7th rounder). Is considered a receiving tight end (6’4’’ 250) and a good special teams player. Would be a good cheap option if the Eagles want another tight end.
Final Prognostication - Why do I do these? I have no idea if he ends up on the Eagles, but he would be a much cheaper option than Dickson with a similar skill set (Dickson is a much better athlete IMO) if the Eagles want another tight end. He also plays special teams which you know Chip likes in his players. The one thing different between Rosario and Dickson is that Chip is not familiar with Rosario like he is with Dickson.
Colt Lyerla - A player most Philadelphia fans know a lot about. First round talent, undraftable maturity. Was rumored to be really hurt emotionally when Chip left for the pros, so maybe Chip can reel him back in. He needs a team or a coach that will keep him in line. It would also be beneficial if he were to be drafted by a team not on the west coast so he can’t be dragged down by bad influences so easily. You all know about the athletic ability, is 6’ 5’’ 260 and unbelievably hard to bring down and tackle. Sounding more and more likely will actually be drafted on the third day. Will probably do extremely well at the athletic portion of the combine, but the interviews will be the most important thing for him.
Final Prognostication - He has stated he would like to be coached by Chip again and Chip seemed to keep him under control. It’s just where do you finally say, "Ok, he’s worth a pick in this round." Some team might get anxious and draft him as early as the fourth. If he’s still there in the 6th I think the Eagles should take him immediately. Where he’s drafted is really a crapshoot because of his athletic ability combined with his extreme lack of maturity. If he falls all the way to undrafted I would bet he ends up on the Eagles. If he’s drafted, who knows.
For Your Viewing Pleasure - 2012 Highlights, Pool Jump, 62" box jump from three years ago
Geoff Schwartz - Unrestricted free agent of the Kansas City Chiefs, started at guard for them and has value because of his positional flexibility. Can play either guard spot or right tackle. Played right tackle the first year Chip was OC at Oregon. Actually had a rushing attempt when Dennis Dixon pitched him the ball thinking he was an option man. Is athletic enough to play in a spread system. Was drafted by Carolina in seventh round of the 08’ draft and started quite a few games for them. Unfortunately was injured for most of his final season in Carolina. Spent a year with Minnesota (a year where Viking fans were perplexed about why he wasn’t starting) before signing with the Chiefs.
Final Prognostication - I doubt he ends up in Philadelphia with the Eagles line basically set in stone. Probably wants to go (or stay) somewhere with a chance to start. If he doesn’t get that opportunity though, would be a great option to be first lineman off the bench for the Eagles. Always tweets about the Ducks and is a huge Chip fan, often tweeting about the Eagles during their primetime games. I’ll say 5% chance he ends up on the Eagles, he’ll go somewhere (or stay in KC) he has a chance of starting, but again would be a great first player off the bench because of his familiarity of Chips system and positional versatility.
Why Am I Listing These Guys?/90 Man Roster Possibilities/Blasts From the Past
I could list about a million guys that never got so much as a tryout in the NFL but wont. It was always surprising to me that the offensive linemen on Chips teams for the most part couldn’t even get a spot on a 90 man roster. I’ll just say don’t be surprised if you see Chip bring in some of his former linemen for 90 man spots. Names to keep an eye on would be Ryan Clanton (guard), Bo Thran (right tackle and guard), Jordan Holmes (center and guard), and Nick Cody (guard). I don’t know how many of these players are still even pursing a professional career, but they were all thought of as players who would get a shot in the pros and didn’t.
Dennis Dixon - Is currently on the Bills practice squad. I think that means he can be signed off of it if the Eagles deem it necessary. Unlikely considering he was in camp with the Birds last offseason and did not end up on the team. Maybe if there is an injury during the season they call him, but at this point I think Chip wants some new toys to play with.
Final Prognostication - Like I said above, Chip knows what he has with Dixon so maybe he gives him a call mid season if there are injuries at quarterback. I’m guessing Chip wants to draft a quarterback and see what he has with him. 1% chance Philadelphia signs Dixon this offseason.
Kellen Clemens - Never played under Chip at Oregon but did play the first year Oregon went to a spread system and had a great season. Was a second round pick of the Jets in 06’ after breaking his leg in season (and possibly knocking him out of the first round) and has bounced around the league since his release from the Jets in 11’. Went from Washington to Houston to finally St. Louis where he has established himself as a decent back up quarterback. Started nine games this past season for the Rams and played ok. Will probably be resigned by the Rams but the Eagles need a back up and Clemens has played in a spread system (has surprising speed) so he may be a one year option for Philly as the number 2 QB.
Final Prognostication - Will probably be resigned by the Rams, but there are way worse options for the Eagles than Clemens as the primary backup. I think Chip probably wants a quarterback on the roster that has good running ability like Vick as a backup to Foles so Clemens is only a possibility if they trade Barkley which seems highly unlikely. I don’t think Clemens and Philadelphia is the best fit for either team or player. I’ll say 5% chance Clemens is signed as the primary backup.
Why Am I Listing These Guys?/90 Man Roster Possibilities/Blasts From the Past
Darron Thomas - Currently a member of Portland’s new Arena League team (I have no idea what the team is called). Famously left school early, some say because he was scared of Mariota, and not only went undrafted, wasn’t even signed as an UDFA. Had a couple tryouts that went no where. Could be wildly inaccurate at times and is quicker than fast. He is a winner though, probably should be labeled a game manager. He has the record for most passing yards in the BCS title game, so that’s something. I don’t think he comes close to the Eagles. Chip spent five years with him (Thomas enrolled early) and knows exactly what he has so if he didn’t bring him in last year I think its unlikely he’s brought in this year.
Jeremiah Masoli - For those of you who don’t know the saga of Jeremiah Masoli, after winning the Pac-10 outright and having some Heisman dark horse buzz, Masoli got drunk and stole a projector and guitar from a frat. He pleaded down and was charged with a misdemeanor. Chip suspended him for a year with a zero tolerance policy in place. If he messed up again he would be kicked off the team. He spent the spring playing slot receiver, but come summer he was busted when police found pot in his car and he was kicked off the team. Masoli was one of the first to use the graduate transfer rule that is now so prevalent in NCAA sports. He transferred to Ole Miss, was an UDFA of the 49ers where he played quarterback and running back before being cut. Is now bouncing around CFL teams. Not a good passer, is a quarterback in a full backs body. The truth is, if he doesn’t steal from that frat, Oregon probably doesn’t end up in the Title game. Even though Thomas wasn’t a great passer, he was much better than Masoli at passing and it opened up the offense. I doubt Chip brings him in for any role, quarterback, running back, slot receiver due to their history.
So there you have it, potential offensive additions with Oregon and Chip ties. I think of all the players listed the most likely additions would be the draftable players. Philadelphia is pretty set on offense outside of a second receiver and good backup quarterback. If you have any questions about any of the players listed, ask away in the comments and I'll try to answer to the best of my ability.