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Mailbag: Matt Barkley, Eagles pass rushers, rookies, and more

Eagles Q&A. Send your questions to or @BrandonLeeSBN on Twitter!

Matt Barkley has a sword and he's not afraid to use it.
Matt Barkley has a sword and he's not afraid to use it.
Stephen Dunn

Welcome to the BGN Mailbag!

First, thanks for all your questions. Be sure to keep sending them in! Remember, there's 2 ways to enter a question:

  1. Email your question(s) to: BGNmailbag (at)
  2. Follow me on Twitter (@BrandonLeeSBN) and tweet me your question. (Using the hashtag "#BGNmailbag" is helpful so I know to save it for the mailbag.)

To the Q&A...


milroyigglesfan - Which of the 8 drafted prospects has the best fit with Chip Kelly? Which of the 8 prospects has the least fit?

I think we have to start right at the top with Lane Johnson. We know Chip Kelly wants to run an uptempo system where he's running a play every 12 seconds or so and we know he's going to have his lineman out running in front of backs. There was no better potential fit for that in this entire draft than Lane Johnson. Eric Fisher may be the better overall prospect, but Johnson's athleticism is almost unheard of for an OT and I think that's something Chip Kelly is going to make good use of.

Least fit? I dunno, I don't see anyone as a bad fit. These guys won't all become good players and surely there will be a few full on busts there, but I think all fit the prototypes of what the scheme needs very well.

@milroyiggles fan - - Barkley is one of the most polarizing prospects we've had in awhile. Some love him, some loathe him. How are you sitting?

Even the Eagles passed on him 3 times, which is a pretty good indication that they didn't see Barkley as a sure fire franchise QB.

Somewhere in between. I wrote about this last week. I don't dislike the pick, but I'm also not getting super excited about what an amazing value he was in the 4th round. I think there's a reason that NFL teams with more knowledge and resources than anyone chose not to pick him until then. Even the Eagles passed on him 3 times, which is a pretty good indication that they didn't see Barkley as a sure fire franchise QB

@Lolarsystem - Who starts at safety?

Well I actually already did make this prediction a couple weeks ago, so I'll stick with my picks. Kenny Phillips & Nate Allen.

@The_Henf - which Philly team college or pro will be the next to win a championship?

Quick process of elimination. The college teams likely have no shot. Plus they're really only competing in one sport, basketball (unless you count Penn State as a Philly team which I don't.) So they're out.

Then you look at a team on the way down the like the Phillies and eliminate them. So we look at who is up and coming. The Sixers really don't fall into that category. So we get rid of them.

I think it comes down the Flyers or Eagles. You can see how by shedding some vets, the Flyers could find themselves as a much younger up and comer.The Eagles are really only a QB away from being a very young up and coming team.

@say_voy - Your most underrated team for the upcoming season?

I actually think the Bears could be very good next year. Maybe even win that division. I think they're already a better team than the Vikings.


Mike Kaye:

@ZipSquad_JihaD - Speculate: Does Chip feel comfortable [with] our remade secondary or do we look for help after camp cuts?

I think the only way to know if Chip is comfortable with his secondary, is to either guess or give him some truth serum. If you take the former route, I think it speaks to the team's approach to the draft. I think Bradley Fletcher is probably the most intriguing player we have had in the secondary since Lito Sheppard was drafted, in that, you know he has talent but how much he has is unknown. Fletcher could turn into a ten-year starter or he could fizzle out like Ellis Hobbs (talent wasn't utilized, even prior to the neck injury). I think Kenny Phillips deal makes you comfortable with him and the fact that Nate Allen has shown flashes in a plus. Pat Chung came here to start and I think Chip is fine with that (while I am not). I think Cary Williams is a number 2 cornerback but is being considered the one due to his higher-profile. If you follow me on Twitter, you know I am probably the biggest Jordan Poyer fan among those that write about the draft. He can play nickel and play outside. He and Fletcher are really the wild cards of the cornerback group. I am interested to see if Curtis Marsh stands out at all. I could see him moved to safety. Earl Wolff will likely be brought along slowly, but make no mistake, the kid can play and soon. I think the team will keep 10 DBs and the guys that are guaranteed to make the team really only Williams, Chung, Wolff, Fletcher, and maybe Allen. I think Allen, Phillips, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson, Marsh, Brandon Hughes, Poyer, Brandon Boykin, and Trevard Lindley are competing for like 5-6 spots. I don't see the team looking into cut vets for the secondary, simply because there was older talent out there that was pretty good (Marcus Trufant, Charles Woodson, Kerry Rhodes) and the team never budged.

@milroyigglesfan - - Between draft and UDFA, how many rookies will survive onto the first 53 man roster of Chip Kelly?

Great question. I think Lane Johnson, Zach Ertz, Bennie Logan, Matt Barkley and Earl Wolff are easy locks. I also would be surprised if Joe Kruger was let go, because he was an obvious "Chip pick." Aside from those six, I think Jordan Poyer is a good bet to beat out Brandon Hughes or Curtis Marsh. I think Dave King will likely be red-shirted on the IR. So I think all the draft picks will be on the team payroll in 2013, but I would say King and Kruger could be redshirted. As far as undrafted free agents go, I look at the running backs in Matt Tucker and Miguel Maysonet, just because I think the team could keep four running backs. Kelly did not draft a running back (which surprised me), so I would say his confidence in Chris Polk is pretty high. Two other guys that have a decent shot are Arizona center Kyle Quinn and Iowa State linebacker, Jake Knott, simply because the competition is not that overwhelming. I would say at least two UFAs make the team, so my number for the active roster would be 9 (with King IRed).

@GoingHard_inger - How do you think the pass rushing situation shakes out with Cole, Graham, Barwin, Curry, etc? Positions, results, etc

I believe Trent Cole is going to surprise us.

I believe Trent Cole is going to surprise us. He has been really working to lose weight and gain speed. I think he genuinely likes playing in Philadelphia and wants to retire here. The thing to remember is that while he is not much younger than Dwight Freeney, unlike the elder pass rusher, he played rush linebacker in college. His college measureables were also outstanding, so if he regain some speed, I think he starts. Brandon Graham is really interesting because he closed well last year and was considered a rush linebacker coming out of Michigan. I am pretty sure if he had not had those good games down the stretch, he would be another team's property by now. I think Graham and Cole are competing to start in the Predator position's rotation (they will rotate quite a bit I believe, given Graham's durability history and Cole's age). I think Barwin was brought here to be the SAM, despite what Howie said about playing on the open (weak) side when he was signed. Curry I think will play 5-tech and I think you will see Cox dominate as a 3-tech. The front-7 could be a sack machine or they can falter. It really all depends on Billy Davis's playcalling.

@EaglesJake - do you feel as though the defense is worse or equal to what they were last season?

Last year really had two defenses: the Juan defense and the Bowles defense. Juan really did some work to begin the year, and in my opinion, he was the reason the team won three of the four games that they emerged victorious. Against the Steelers and Lions, Juan questioned his own playcalling and that reverted it to 2011 and that is why he was canned. Todd Bowles was put in a horrible position, but his secondary really just was horrid in the last 8 games of the season. I was not impressed by that team at all. This year, the defense will be trying to find itself. That said, I would find it hard to believe that we would be as bad as the Bowles-tenured defense of 2012. I think it will have similar success to Juan's defense in the first 6 games. So, in short, I think they will rank in the middle of most statistical categories.

@milroyigglesfan - Do you see Eagles grabbing any more free agents near term? What about after teams cut to 53?

I really thought they would grab Karlos Dansby because of his familiarity with Davis, but that did not happen (Dansby signed with ARI). I just do not see "Chip guys" out there. I would not be surprised if the team brought back Jake Scott, because I am not so confident that Kelly is a fan of Dallas Reynolds or Danny Watkins. Another guy that I could see them take a flyer on is Ramses Barden, just because of his size, but I would not hold my breath. I think who the team goes after during final cuts depends on who gets cut.


That's it for this mailbag. Look out for another edition coming soon.

And don't forget to keep the questions coming!

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