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Eagles News: No more color rush on Thursday Night Football

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/11/18.

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Carolina Panthers Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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Color Rush on Thursday nights is no more, according to Fox - SB Nation
After three seasons of “Color Rush,” the monochromatic uniforms won’t be a Thursday Night Football staple anymore, according to Fox Sports executive Bill Wanger. At NAB Show — a convention for the media, entertainment and technology industry — Wanger said Fox plans to go in a different direction for Thursday Night Football and steer away from “gimmicks” to get fans to watch. Color Rush was apparently one of those gimmicks.

The Draft Bag: Post-Free Agency Eagles Depth Chart, Duke Ejiofor, and Bad Scheme Fits - BGN
Brandon Graham is a more interesting conversation. It’s been made very clear by Graham that he expects elite EDGE money (>$15M/year) when he hits the open market, but he just turned 30 and has never broken double-digit sacks in his career. I acknowledge how frequently he pressures, and what that does to a passer; I recognize how well he plays the run; I want Brandon Graham to retire an Eagle and never go anywhere else. But I do not want to pay him $15M per year. I can’t afford to. As such, I’m not at all adverse to the idea of going EDGE early in this draft—not necessarily in the first round, but snagging a developmental starter should be a priority move. All of a sudden, at a premiere position that demands some of the richest contracts in the, the Eagles have two rookie starters (Derek Barnett) until 2022, and the Carson Wentz extension seems a little less onerous.

Where Are You Concerned The Eagles Might Drop Off? - BGN Radio
James Seltzer and Brandon Lee Gowton discuss where they’re most concerned the Eagles might suffer a drop off next season. The guys discuss the biggest positions of need, potential targets in the draft, who scares them the most in the NFC, and much more. Plus, Tra Thomas joins the guys in studio for the final portion of the show.

Eagles 2018 NFL Draft preview: Running back - PhillyVoice
Guice is similar to Fournette to a small degree in that he will occasionally dish out punishment to defenders when finishing runs, but not to the level that Fournette did. Where Guice stands out is his quick feet and cutting ability in the hole, as well as his balance and change of direction at top speed. Guice was reportedly one of the Eagles’ 30 allotted pre-draft visits.

Mock Time - Iggles Blitz
The one position I think that comes closest to a need is slot corner. The Eagles have some options on the roster, but no one that is ideal. You certainly can’t count on a rookie to come in right away and be your primary slot, but it does happen every year. We’re seeing more and more DBs play in the slot on a regular basis in college. That helps the transition to the NFL.

Why the Eagles could add running back early in draft - ESPN
The top of the second round looks like running back territory. In his latest mock draft, Mel Kiper has LSU’s Derrius Guice and USC’s Ronald Jones going 34th and 38th, respectively, with Rashaad Penny of San Diego State and Georgia’s Sony Michel getting plucked a short time later. While it’s possible one or two of these backs goes off the board before the Eagles get back on the clock, there’s a good chance they’ll have multiple quality options.

Thoughts on breakout Eagles players, Wendell Smallwood, and Richard Rodgers - Inquirer
Smallwood rushed for 312 yards on 4.1 yards per carry as a rookie. He dropped to 174 yards on 3.7 yard yards per carry last season, and he was active for only eight games. Smallwood fell out of the rotation when the Eagles traded for Ajayi. But there wouldn’t have been a need for Ajayi if Smallwood had been consistent. He’s far from a lock to make the roster. If the Eagles draft a running back that fits into the top three on the depth chart, look for Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey to compete for the No. 4 running back job. Smallwood could also be trade bait if a team was intrigued by the 2016 film and thinks he can benefit from a change of scenery.

Jay Ajayi’s future, Super Bowl euphoria in this Eagles mailbag - NBC Sports Philadelphia
In the short term, this is an easy answer. Ajayi will be the Eagles’ top running back in 2018. He finished up the 2017 season strong and will have an entire offseason in Philly; that’ll help. The 24-year-old is just a year removed from his Pro Bowl season in Miami, so there’s a chance he can be something special again this season. The real problem for the running back is his health. He has a long-term knee injury that has been labeled as “chronic.” That’s a scary label for any player’s knees, but especially a running back who was a workhorse in his one stellar season. There are reasons the Dolphins were willing to give up on him. The big one was reportedly his impact in the locker room, but it’s fair to wonder if the Dolphins thought they were never going to bring him back for a high salary because of his knee problem. That’s a question the Eagles will have to answer soon enough, especially if Ajayi has a big 2018.

Meet The Prospect: Harrison Phillips -
Stanford defensive tackle Harrison Phillips is the subject of today’s Meet The Prospect as Fran Duffy explains what makes him such a good fit in Philadelphia and why he can line up and play in the NFL right away.

Top 300 Big Board for the 2018 NFL Draft - NDT Scouting
4. Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville. Injured most of the year, Jaire Alexander was not able to quell concerns about his long-term durability at the next level, but when healthy, he was able to show why many were so high on him to begin with. When I watched him on film, Alexander checked every box that I look for in a cover corner. He can play press man, off man, different variances of zone coverage, come up in run support, attack the ball in the air, and stay attached on the hip pocket. The way he is able to close separation and make plays on a consistent basis in either man or zone from either the outside or the slot is what reminds me of Chris Harris Jr. His size won’t be for everybody, but he has true shutdown cornerback potential. Comparison: Chris Harris Jr.

NFL Draft WR Rankings - Rotoworld
D.J. Moore’s ascension continued in Indianapolis, where he measured in bigger than expected and then dominated in tests. He’s a short speed merchant, but he’s more than that. He’s thick and quick, he runs good routes, and he’s a crafty and explosive runner after the catch, sometimes erasing good angles being taken by defenders by taking a false or exaggerated step. He’s well-built, competitive and tough, and he has good hands and body control. Does any of that sound like Steve Smith? That’s Dane Brugler’s comp. To become that caliber of player, Moore will need to continue to hone his technique. He piled up his collegiate production through a combination of athletic superiority and manufactured touches. He doesn’t create as much separation as his athletic profile suggests he should, and his route-running needs refinement. Moore sometimes lets the ball get into his body, a bad habit he hopefully can be coached out of. He’ll likely never be great in contested situations. You’re not drafting him to get a downfield jump-ball type. Not his game. Get him the ball in space and watch him go.

Hidden Gems – most underrated players in the 2018 NFL Draft - PFF
Edge Joe Ostman, Central Michigan. Another productive edge defender, Ostman finished with 14 sacks, nine QB hits and 29 hurries on only 339 rushes on his way to a career-high 90.4 overall grade. Unlike Lawler, Ostman had a strong pro day, showing a solid 10-yard split at 1.68 seconds to go with a 7.02 3-cone. It’s always good to combine production with athleticism, and Ostman ticks those boxes. On the field, he uses his hands as well as any edge defender in the class, while showing strong balance when working through contact. Ostman is slightly undersized and he only has one year of production under his belt, but continued progression combined with solid athleticism make him one of the more intriguing mid-to-late round options.

Joe Thomas All-Stars (Defensive Edition) - Football Outsiders
Closest Call: Oh, where to begin? Takeo Spikes somehow managed to find one of only two Eagles teams in the 2000s to miss the playoffs. He got replaced by NaVorro Bowman in San Francisco just before Jim Harbaugh turned the 49ers into Super Bowl contenders. He was part of the aforementioned 2004 Bills team that somehow missed the playoffs. The Eagles, 49ers, and Chargers all made the playoffs the year after he left. Takeo Spikes was cursed, I tells you.


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