In The News Cycle
Much of the news cycles in the Draft are tired and worn to this point. As such, you’re only gonna get quick-hitters from me.
Preseason press conferences: Malcolm Jenkins is such a stud, Carson obviously wants to be back but there’s really no new info (also his Audience of One gear is surprisingly fresh), I wish Jordan Hicks never got injured ever.
Top of the Draft rumors: USC QB Sam Darnold is going 1, PSU RB Saquon Barkley is going 2, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield is going 3, NC State EDGE Bradley Chubb is going 4, Buffalo is trading up to 5 to get Wyoming QB Josh Allen, Miami is trading up to 6 to get UCLA QB Josh Rosen, after that nothing is real.
Middle of the Draft rumors: Green Bay’s gonna take Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch if he’s there and Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick isn’t. Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey to Oakland has serious legs. There are some whispers about Louisville QB Lamar Jackson to Baltimore and I think that’s exciting. Dallas may not be high on SMU WR Courtland Sutton as a Dez replacement
Oh, that reminds me.
Cowboys cut Dez: lol
End of the Draft rumors: I for one believe there’s credence to the idea that New England is willing to move up for a QB, but I’ve heard it both ways. Seattle, Minnesota, and Philly all want to move down badly. It likely won’t cost 27 OVR, but the Saints’ interest in Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta is very legit.
Giants rumors: Apparently Buffalo has already put their two first rounders, as well as a future first/this year’s second, on the table for New York. I can understand Gettleman hard-balling it, especially if he really wants one of Darnold/Allen (read: Darnold) and thinks the Browns may indeed let his target drop. But if the Giants aren’t taking a QB, and they don’t take that deal, I will laugh for actually 24 hours straight.
Despite having Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod both on the roster, the potential for a safety at 32 is very real for Philadelphia. Reid is the hot name from the building, and he’ll be the featured scouting report below—but don’t ignore Jessie Bates III (Wake Forest) or Ronnie Harrison (Alabama) as two other options at 32.
Equanimeous St. Brown, besides having the studliest name in the class, has a really cool profile for Philadelphia’s purposes. Size-wise he can play on the outside (6’5, 214 lbs, 33” arms), but the route running and body control also allow him to generate throwing windows, and thereby he can rock it as a big slot as well. He’s not super physical, so it may be a better fit for him overall. With St. Brown, Agholor, and Hollins, Philadelphia has three receivers that can play both inside and out—good deal.
From what we understand from the insiders, Geron Christian may be far off the board before Philly picks at 32. NFL teams are understandably excited about his athletic profile, though I think a selection before the fourth round would qualify as a reach. That said, Christian does represent a nice developmental prospect in that he’s got right/left experience, foot speed, and length. Weight room work is a must.
I like an Ostman-esque player in the middle of Day 3 (Ja’Von Rolland-Jones from Arkansas State; Hercules Mata’afa of Washington State are other options) for this reason: pass rush. Ostman lacks the length and size to be a super-reliable run defender in a 4-3 alignment. What he does have is decent bend, great cornering velocity, and good hand usage. He can attack angles and generate rush—simple as that. Store him on your depth chart, get him on the field in obvious passing situations, cause problems. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Schultz has been a common option for Philadelphia on Day 3, and there was no reason to select otherwise at this point. Zach Ertz highlighted Schultz as a favorite TE option of his in this class—they have the same agent and went to the same school, so color me shocked. Ertz should also like Schultz because he won’t be pushing for any of Zach’s receiving snaps anytime soon—he’ll slide into the Celek role instead.
Fullback in the seventh for the win! Dimitri Flowers is the FB 2.0, with a ton of experience at the tight end and H-back position in Oklahoma’s innovative offensive scheme. He’s a natural pass-catcher, a decisive runner, a good blocker, and a worthy special-teamer. Flowers improves the pass-protection options for Philadelphia quite quickly, which is a sneaky need for the Birds’ backfield.
Scouting Report: Justin Reid, Stanford
I, for one, am thrilled to see Justin Reid get first-round buzz. He popped for me early in the season, and while I originally pegged him as a Day 2 guy (and that’s where he ended up on my board) it isn’t tough to see why NFL teams are bullish on him in the back-half of the first.
It starts here:
Ninetieth percentile athlete in the 3-cone, 40, and broad jump? Yeah, I’ll take that in a position like safety, where explosiveness and fluidity in space are key.
The first thing that you notice on Reid’s tape are those explosive athletic traits, and how they marry with his recognition and instincts from high zones. A film rat, Reid regularly anticipates breaks and route concepts he has no business jumping. The mental and physical game really worked in harmony in his final year, where he exploded onto the scene with 5 INTs and 6 PBUs
All but one of Justin Reid's college INTs #Steelers pic.twitter.com/L7s9S0N2hB— Steelers Depot (@Steelersdepot) March 6, 2018
The other thing you’ll notice with Reid, however, is that he still has the short-area agility to match up with slot receivers and tight ends in man coverage—and that’s his biggest plus. He’s a true move piece on the back-end that would help fill Philadelphia’s need at nickel corner, as well as providing depth at the thin safety position.
Despite Malcolm Jenkins’ success at the line of scrimmage, Reid would immediately become the best cover man among the safeties in Philadelphia’s locker room. You’d see him often deployed near the box, especially over tight ends, giving Jenkins more time as a traditional Cover 2 safety—and if the offense went spread, bump Reid out to the slot and rotate Jenkins down into the box.
Justin Reid doing cornerback things pic.twitter.com/0PVQnpIEMr— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) February 12, 2018
A physical finisher, Reid likely replaces Malcolm Jenkins by 2019, spelling the end for the 30+ player’s time as a starter for the Eagles. It’s a sad thing to think about, given what Jenkins means to this team as a leader—but with few needs, Philadelphia does have the freedom to prepare for veteran departures, and this is a looming one indeed.
Outside of trading back from 32, what reasonable / realistic move(s) do you see the Eagles making that nets them a 2nd (highly unlikely) or 3rd round pick in this year's draft. Or is trading back the only realistic option?— Patrick (@PatrickMCausey) April 17, 2018
Good question! As we near the day, I still think the goal for Philadelphia is a trade-back from 32, and that’s obviously the clearest avenue. But there are still ways to get there: trading players on Draft night.
There are currently 3 players I would expect are clearly on Philadelphia’s trade block. Weakside ‘backer Mychal Kendricks is the easy and obvious one, as Philadelphia’s been looking to move him for the past century or so. Kendricks on his own wouldn’t warrant a Day 2 selections, but with two Round 4 selections already in the holster, moving Kendricks likely gets Philly another Round 4/5 pick, and if that happens by Day 2, they can easily package some later picks to snipe a target in Round 3.
The player who would warrant at least a Round 2 selection (likely better) is DE Brandon Graham. In his contract year with a big rookie investment behind him, Graham isn’t an automatic extension despite his wonderful talent. If Philadelphia is even the slightest bit unsure of his future—which they should be, given the money he’ll likely demand and their lack of cap room—they should put him on the block. Graham would warrant a first-rounder in trade as a Top-10 EDGE in the league, and a team with the cap room to sign him should seriously consider making the swap and beating the market of Graham’s eventual free agency.
Lastly, CB Ronald Darby is still a name tumbling about the rumor mill. Like Graham, he’s a skilled player at a premiere position in the last year of his deal, and he may not fit in Philly’s long-term plans. Unlike Graham, however, Darby isn’t a Top-10 talent at his position. He once was—or at least, was on that track—but an up-and-down year and a decent chunk of missed games for the Eagles has his name cool right now. Darby warranted a third and decent wide receiver not last year—it’s fair to think he’d command a third again on the open market.
One final note: with comp picks likely on their way in 2019, Philadelphia shouldn’t be too fearful of packaging 2019 Day 3 selections into potential deals.
We have all come to expect a surprise move by Howie Roseman during the draft. What surprise move do you think Howie will make this year?— Leonard Gordon (@leng305) April 17, 2018
After he trades back from 32, he trades back again.
He moves Malcolm Jenkins.
Is there any developmental OL prospect(s) that would satisfy the needs of Eagles offensive linemen corps?— Gabriela Jorge (@Gabsjorge) April 17, 2018
Offensive tackles who aren’t starters tomorrow, but could be good starters down the line (in order of their skill level and fit for Philadelphia.
0. Alex Cappa, Humboldt State (he could probably start for you tomorrow, but he also has a lot of room to improve.)
- Jamarco Jones, Ohio State
- Will Richardson, NC State
- Jamil Demby, Maine
- Brandon Parker, NC State
- Desmond Harrison, West Georgia
- Geron Christian, Louisville
- Toby Weathersby, LSU
- Brett Toth, Army
Some other names, such as TCU’s Joseph Noteboom or Stony Brook’s Timon Parris may float around, but those guys are dart throws at best in my eyes.
Philly brought in Demby for a local visit, and I think he’s a great value for their late Round 4 selections (Cappa, Jones, and Richardson should all already be off the board).
Rank your top 5 “smaller” backs in this draft (i.e. Hines, Walton, Wadley, Ito Smith, etc.)— Charles “Chux” Maranan (@ChuxMaranan) April 17, 2018
If we’re talking 205 lbs and lower:
- Ronald Jones, USC
- Nyheim Hines, NC State
- Mark Walton, Miami
- Justin Jackson, Northwestern
- Chase Edmonds, Fordham
- Roc Thomas, Jacksonville State
- Ito Smith, Southern Miss
- Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
- Akrum Wadley, Iowa
- Kyle Hicks, TCU
- Justin Crawford, West Virginia
How would you rank the top TEs and when would you feel comfortable taking one as a TE2— Jackson Posey (@AceHoops) April 17, 2018
(Follow up- if you could have anyone as a cheese statue who would you want?)
- Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State
- Mike Gesicki, Penn State
- Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
- Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
- Marcus Baugh, Ohio State
- Tyler Conklin, Central Michigan
- Durham Smythe, Notre Dame
- Chris Herndon, Miami
- Jaylen Samuels, NC State
- Jordan Akins, UCF
- Ian Thomas, Indiana
- Dalton Schultz, Stanford
- Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
- Deon Yelder, Western Kentucky
- Ryan Izzo, Florida State
I’d take Goedert at 32 without blinking. Gesicki too.
To answer your follow-up: is this simply limited to the TEs in this class? If so, I’ll take Jordan Thomas out of Mississippi State. At 265 lbs, he’s the biggest TE in this class, and I sure like cheese.