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Eagles News: Wendell Smallwood is one of the offseason’s biggest winners

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/5/17.

Washington Redskins v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Post-Draft Winners - Rotoworld
Eagles RB Wendell SmallwoodRyan Mathews’ career is uncertain following last season’s neck injury that required surgery, and many of the Eagles’ beat writers still expect the team to release him once he’s healthy. Linked to Jamaal Charles early in the free-agent period because of his connection to coach Doug Pederson, the Eagles never showed any interest. They wanted Florida State RB Dalvin Cook in the second round, but the Vikings leapfrogged them and left Philly with injured CB Sidney Jones (Achilles’) in Round 2. In the fourth round, the Eagles took Donnel Pumphrey, a pint-sized (5’8/176) LaMichael James-type back out of San Diego State. He has no shot at taking early-down work at that size. This sets up as a committee-type backfield leaning on Smallwood and Darren Sproles. Sproles turns 34 next month and has said this will likely be his last season. Smallwood has the size at 5’10/208 to handle a bigger workload and had a strong Week 3 against the Steelers as a rookie, rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. But he remained behind Mathews and Sproles on the depth chart the rest of the year and sprained his MCL in Week 14, ending his season. Smallwood tested really well in the forty (4.47), 3-cone drill (6.83), and 60-yard shuttle (11.14) at last year’s Combine. Coaches spent much of 2016 praising his upside and practice habits. Everything has shaken out in his favor this offseason, and the Eagles get back RT Lane Johnson, which boosts an already-strong offensive line.

With uncertainty at position, is Wendell Smallwood ready to be Eagles' lead back? - CSN Philly
Once again the Eagles didn't select a running back early in the draft, and for the first time in probably a quarter of a century, they don't have a de facto starting running back on the roster. The Eagles haven't drafted a running back in the first three rounds since LeSean McCoy in the second round back in 2009. And it's left the position without a proven back for the first time in a generation.

Did the Eagles help Carson Wentz in the draft? - BGN
Listen to the latest episode of BGN Radio.

Eagles mailbag: Is the projected 2018 running back class just as strong as this year's group? - PhillyVoice
As for next year, I agree that running back looks like another strong class, though I don’t think it will be as good as this year’s group. Prior to the 2016 draft, the Eagles looked ahead to the 2017 draft to project what the quarterbacks would look like. They determined at the time that it would be a weak quarterback class, and the consensus opinion of nearly every draft expert is that indeed it was. That was part of the reasoning in why the Eagles were so aggressive last year in trying to land Carson Wentz. Prior to the draft this year, I asked Howie Roseman if they projected other positional groups in the 2018 draft.

The Rookie CBs - Iggles Blitz
Sidney Jones is the hotter topic, but Rasul Douglas is a good player in his own right. And he is more likely to help out this season. If you want to get a better feel for his game, watch this video. You aren’t going to see an elite athlete or dynamic cover guy. You will see a big CB who has a good skill set and who can play in the NFL. Douglas shows his ability to break on the ball. You can see his physicality. He has a couple of good tackles in the game, something you need in Jim Schwartz’s scheme. Douglas gives up some catches, but he makes the receivers work for them.

Here Are The Well-Hidden Philadelphia Eagles References In The Two Most Recent Star Wars Movies - Deadspin
David Acord is a sound engineer for Skywalker Sound, the sound division of Lucasfilm. He’s also a Philadelphia Eagles fan. And in an article by Chris McPherson on the Eagles’ website for Star Wars Day, he reveals that there are hidden Eagles references in the two most recent movies.

Chalk Talk: How The Corners Fit In Philly - PE.com
Greg Cosell joins Fran Duffy for the 100th Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast to talk about the Eagles newly drafted cornerbacks and how it will improve the secondary.

2017 NFL Draft class power rankings: Teams 1-4 - NFL.com
Some will look at the Eagles picks and say "yeah, but" to many of the selections, but I see a good draft. Derek Barnett isn't flashy, but he's productive and tough. If cornerback Sidney Jones comes back healthy, the Eagles stole a first-round talent in the second. CB Rasul Douglas isn't fast, but he's an absolute ballhawk. WR Mack Hollings is an electric deep threat and outstanding special-teams talent.

Scouting Report: Sidney Jones can be the elite cornerback the Eagles desperately need - NJ.com
With the 43rd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected the best shot they have had at a true, shut-down, No.1 cornerback in years. Can Washington's Sidney Jones overcome a torn left Achilles injury and live up to the hype? Here is a complete scouting report on Jones after spending time watching his tape from last season.

Draft's likely impact on 2017 Eagles - Daily News
It's a bit early to determine snap counts, and Bennett seems to be a low-risk talent at a really important position. I get the sentiment, though - my first-round preference would have been to add a high-octane offensive weapon that Wentz can grow with over the next several years. Like tight end O.J. Howard at 14. Or maybe trade back, pick up some assets, and select wideout Zay Jones, who went 37th overall, in the second round, to Buffalo. But Barnett was a very logical choice at 14, if not an exciting one. I am obligated to note that if Marcus Smith hadn't been a crushing disappointment, and if Vinny Curry had produced in line with his contract last season, the Eagles probably would have gone in another direction with their first pick. But reality is, they needed Barnett.

Tim Tebow Believes. Do You? - The MMQB
Van Wagenen agreed to take Tebow on as a client—but there was one problem. During their workout, Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles had called, offering Tebow a chance to play quarterback. That put his baseball idea on hold for a while. Tebow spent the summer with the Eagles, competing for a backup QB job, until he got cut again, at the end of the preseason in September 2015. At that point, Tebow and Van Wagenen decided to wait another year, until after the 2016 MLB draft, before announcing Tebow’s intention to play baseball. That way he could choose his team as a free agent, and he'd have time to train.

NFL teams are at it again on Star Wars Day - SB Nation
Plenty of NFL teams got in on the May the 4th fun, with varying results.

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