Reviewing the 2013 NFL Draft
One of the 14 players released in the Eagles first cuts was defensive end Joe Kruger. Kruger's release means that all three Eagles seventh round picks in the 2013 NFL Draft are no longer on the roster. Take a look:
Kruger might have a chance to land elsewhere in the NFL on a roster/practice squad. Poyer, drafted as a cornerback, is listed as a second string safety on the Cleveland Browns depth chart. King, who was released in final cuts last year, can be found as a third string defensive tackle on the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Eagles still have their top five picks from 2013. Let's also not forget about the undrafted agents (listed below in italics) that are still with the team. Originally among those players but released on Saturday was inside linebacker Jake Knott.
That gives the Eagles a total of 8 players remaining. Of those 8, I think 7 are safe to make the team. The four game suspension for Lane Johnson is disappointing but he still has a ton of potential. Zach Ertz looks like he's going to be a real solid contributor moving forward. Bennie Logan did a nice job of taking over for the ineffective Isaac Sopoaga and could be a solid starting nose tackle. Matt Barkley has had an OK summer and is the third string quarterback. Earl Wolff figures to contribute as a third safety and on special teams. Matt Tobin could be a key backup on the offensive line who has the ability to play guard and tackle. Perhaps he could even be a future. Matthew Tucker seems bound to make the team as either the third or fourth string running back.
Oh, this again. For some reason people were really interested in pointing out that none of the first 14 players cut by the Eagles were Oregon players. They then went on to say how 11.8% of the Eagles' 76-man roster includes Oregon players.
Kelly was asked about his Oregon Bias prior to Saturday's practice, which was actually before the cuts were officially announced. Here's what Chip had to say.
Q. Why do you like having so many Oregon guys on your roster?
COACH KELLY: I like having good football players. So we think the guys we have are good football players. There are another 20 or 30 other Oregon guys in this league that are on other teams. They're good football players. We have a lot of Cincinnati guys on the team and they're good football players. That’s how we look at it.
Q. The percentage of your roster is way tipped more than any of the others. Is it the familiarity with the Oregon players and how they practice?
COACH KELLY: There is a combination. There was a stretch there for four years and they were really good, and those guys were part of that group.
Put another way...
Aka "shut the fuck up" RT @EliotShorrParks: Chip on why he likes having Oregon guys: "I like having good football players" #Eagles— Dan Klausner (@dklausner) August 23, 2014
Seriously, though, I think this thing gets over-blown. I would say three of those nine players have no chance at the roster: Will Murphy, Josh Kaddu, Wade Keliikipi. Conversely, three players seem like locks: Brandon Bair, Josh Huff, Taylor Hart. Jeff Maehl, Kenjon Barner, and Casey Matthews are on the bubble.
I really don't see what's so egregious about this. The bubble guys are really no different than other bubble guys around the league; below average starters that contribute on special teams. The locks include Bair, a player who will turn 30 in November but has played well this summer, and two draft picks. Some will argue that Kelly "reached" on Huff and Hart, but it would be pretty cool to, oh, you know, actually let them play before that's determined.
I understand there's an argument that Kelly is potentially passing up more talented players by instead selecting players he's more comfortable with. I get it. What I don't get is how this really matters in the big picture. If the players end up being good, will it really matter where Kelly got them from? If the players are bad, will it not be just as disappointing if Kelly drafted them from the Colorado School of Mines?
Knott a good ending
As I previously mentioned, second year inside linebacker Jake Knott was one of the first 14 cuts on Saturday. From I can gather, the team liked him. The problem was that the circumstances surrounding him outweighed his potential value. Knott's four game suspension was pretty disappointing. Then he suffered a hamstring injury in training camp practice and had been out since Friday, August 1st. He missed about three weeks of practice as well as the Eagles' first three preseason games.
Despite these disappointments, it seemed like the Eagles would at least keep Knott for the first four weeks of the 2014 NFL season because he wouldn't have counted against the final 53-man roster. The Eagles could have waited until then to make a decision on Knott. The fact that the Eagles wouldn't at least give Knott until then isn't a great sign.
Here are the rest of the Eagles' cuts.
Inside linebacker Jake Knott - Bad situation.
Defensive end Joe Kruger - Too raw.
Defensive end Alejandro Villanueva - Good story, but too raw.
Kicker Carey Spear - Just wasn't very good. I had him down at 22/31(71%) on field goals in training camp.
Defensive back Davon Morgan - Also a good story, but never stood out.
Safety Daytawion Lowe - Undrafted rookie free agent that struggled.
Defensive end Frank Mays - Intriguing size (6-9, 291) but very raw.
Tight end Blake Annen - Dropped a lot of passes in training camp.
Offensive lineman Michael Bamiro - Too raw.
Offensive guard Karim Barton - Reserve OL.
Wide receiver Kadron Boone - Flashed at times but never consistently impressed.
Wide receiver B.J. Cunningham - Would be surprised to see him not end up on a practice squad or roster.
Offensive lineman Donald Hawkins - Reserve OL.
Tight end Emil Igwenagu - With all due respect, I'm not sure how Iggy made the team last year. He dropped a lot of passes in camp. I never thought he looked like a tight end as much as he did look like a fullback (which is what he was) trying to play tight end.