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Eagles News: Linebacker in the first round for the first time since 1979?

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/14/20.

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

The Shocker - Iggles Blitz
It is interesting that both Jeremiah and Brugler had the Eagles take Kenneth Murray. He does make a lot of sense. He is extremely high character. This is a guy you want to be the captain of your defense for the next 5 to 10 years. Murray is a 3-down player. He’s got the speed, range and cover skills to impact the passing game. One of the reasons the Eagles have shied away from taking a LB is that the position didn’t always have enough of an impact on pass defense. Howie Roseman talked about the need for the Eagles to get faster. Murray would bring an instant jolt of speed to the middle of the defense. After the season, I re-watched some Eagles games. Nigel Bradham wasn’t painfully slow (think 2009 Jeremiah Trotter), but Bradham just didn’t run well enough to be the team’s key LB. He didn’t cover ground. He didn’t make plays. Murray would change that.

2020 Mock Draft 5.0: All seven rounds and 255 picks - The Athletic
21. Philadelphia Eagles – Kenneth Murray, LB, OklahomaUnder Howie Roseman, the Eagles traditionally draft the best player available at a position of relative need in the first round and Murray fits that criteria. He can be late to sort at times, but his play speed and competitive energy will quickly make him a fan favorite in Philadelphia.

2020 NFL Mock Draft: Philadelphia Eagles go cornerback at No. 21 - BGN
So now that I’ve lost of the rest of you with five paragraphs of self-promotion and draft philosophy, let’s get to the question that matters: Why CJ Henderson? I’ll start with my BPA. He was easily in the collection of 4-5 players I was targeting at 21 currently left on the board. His size, speed, and intelligence make him a dangerous cover corner. He clearly fits a position of need. If you count moving Mills to safety, we need to replace both starting CBs. Granted that need was mitigated in part by trading for Darius Slay, but that still leaves the other CB position. Finally, if you look at the draft talent at CB, after Henderson, Jeff Okudah, and Kristian Fulton, the talent level at CB drops off. Even Ben Natan will attest to that. For the record, I also considered a linebacker at this pick, as I thought there were two excellent LBs on the board (Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen). I’ve always felt that the Eagles have undervalued LBs to their detriment. However, I felt the value at CB was higher and taking a CB seemed more realistic for the Eagles in round 1 then a LB.

Eagles 2020 NFL Draft preview: Offensive tackle - PhillyVoice
Ben Bartch was the only D-III player to compete at the NFL Combine, after a good week at the Senior Bowl. He enrolled in college as a tight end, but was asked to put on weight and move to left tackle, which he did without losing his athleticism. In the pros, Bartch could probably play LT or LG, which makes him an interesting fit for the Eagles. In the short term, Jeff Stoutland could cross-train him at both spots, and Bartch could serve as depth on the left side of the line, as a backup to both Andre Dillard and Isaac Seumalo. In the long-term, he could fill in as a starter for Seumalo at LG, with Seumalo moving to center whenever Jason Kelce retires. Or alternatively, Bartch could be a contingency plan at LT if Dillard busts, which feels like a possibility. In other words, Bartch would be a player worth developing who would give the Eagles options.

Ruggs? Jefferson? Reagor? Eagles’ WR search could involve NFL draft trade - ESPN
Whether it’s a pretty significant trade up for Ruggs, or a smaller one for Jefferson, moving up will ensure they land a top-tier impact player. It’s a deep class, so the Eagles can still find difference-makers if they miss out on Ruggs and Jefferson. Players like Brandon Aiyuk, Jalen Reagor, KJ Hamler and Denzel Mims are notable names in the next wave of receiver talent that fit what the Eagles are looking for. However, they’re largely projected to go after the Eagles pick at 21 and before they’re back on the clock at 53 in the second round.

NFL draft 2020: Eagles have an all-or-nothing history with drafting safeties - NBCSP
It’s been all or nothing for the Eagles when it comes to drafting safeties. The Eagles have drafted eight safeties in the first three rounds since 1980, and three of them were Pro Bowlers — one a Hall of Famer — but four were flat-out catastrophes, three between 1991 and 1994. Which isn’t easy to do. (Unless you’re Rich Kotite.) The Eagles have never drafted a safety in the first round — Ben Smith became a safety later in his career— and they haven’t taken a safety in the first three rounds in nine years.

2014 NFL Draft: Six Years Later - Football Outsiders
Most of the graders were still willing to give Chip Kelly some of the benefit of the doubt as a talent evaluator. This was wrong. Jordan Matthews in the second round and maybe Beau Allen in the seventh are the only Eagle players from this draft to do anything of note, and neither are exactly world-shattering. When your draft includes Marcus Smith, Josh Huff, and Jaylen Watkins in the first 101 picks, you’ve not had a good time. Chip Kelly the coach was destroyed by Chip Kelly the talent evaluator.

One-on-One: Lane Johnson | April 13, 2020 -
T Lane Johnson chats with Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro to discuss how he is staying in shape during the pandemic, the 2019 season, and more.

NFL Draft 2020: How many QBs will be taken in the first round? Setting over/unders for every position - CBS Sports
Wide receivers: 4.5. There are probably seven at least worthy of being among these top 32 picks, but that is unlikely as many teams will be content to try to grab that last remaining OT, DT or EDGE late in the first round, knowing that receiver options will abound deeper in the draft. Perhaps the receiver run that is expected to get hot and heavy in the low teens will lead to six or more going in the top 32 picks in total. Right now I feel like I’d go with five. Which five remains to be seen, though we know CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs and Jerry Juedy will all be gone before pick 20.

Malcolm Jenkins sends important message regarding the pandemic - PFT
At a time when some football players are sending bad messages about how to behave during a pandemic, Saints defensive back Malcolm Jenkins is sending an important message to the African-American community, which has been hit disproportionately hard by the coronavirus. “This message is for my black brothers and sisters,” Jenkins said in a video posted on Twitter. “We must survive. This pandemic is real, and the damage that is left in wake of the coronavirus is realized mostly in our communities. Bad policy, institutional neglect, and overexposure place us disproportionately in arm’s reach of the dangers of this deadly virus.”

Five bold 2020 NFL draft predictions for the Cowboys - Blogging The Boys
2. The Cowboys trade out of the first round. Whether or not Herbert is still available, this seems to be more and more inevitable each day. Most of the prospects the Cowboys have (virtually) met with thus far (that we know of) have been fringe first-round, early second-round types of players, including Wisconsin’s Zack Baun, TCU’s Jalen Reagor, and Alabama’s Raekwon Davis. It seems like the Cowboys are preparing for the possibility that all of their top targets - such as Florida’s C.J. Henderson and South Carolina’s Javon Kinlaw - could be off the board by the time pick 17 comes up. If a high-value player like Herbert is also still available, then Dallas will definitely be offering up the pick to the highest bidder.

Think big — did Giants GM Dave Gettleman drop a draft hint on Monday? - Big Blue View
The money quote, though, when Gettleman was talking about offensive tackles was this: “Part of the unrestricted free agency piece is we’re also looking at the draft. You know what I’m saying? You kind of marry the two. We just felt with the depth of the tackle class in the draft we just felt like this was the best way for us to go.” Now, depending on which side of the glass you want to look at there are two ways to see that remark. One is that the Giants might feel they can wait and still get a quality tackle early on Day 2. My read, though, is that the Giants are planning on selecting one of the Big 4 offensive tackles in this draft class with their first pick. Either way, it’s apparent that offensive tackle is a high priority in the draft.

Ron Rivera’s mixed messages - Hogs Haven
Like Thomas Davis, Rivera is full of praise for Kyle Allen, who is “the right kind of person”. Once again, Rivera puts a huge amount of stock in his personal experience with the player (“I just know what kind of person he is”). Again, by completely disregarding Dwayne Haskins in his answer to the reporter’s question about the two players, Rivera is sending some passive-aggressive messages through his statements to the media.

Chase Young and the Perennial Draft Appeal of an Elite Pass Rusher - The Ringer
Edge rushers have been a hot commodity at the top of draft boards in the past 15 years. But are these players really the sure-fire bets they seem to be?

Chris Fowler: “I am convinced there will be a college football season.” But when? - DraftKings Nation
“There’s a third scenario that’s gaining momentum, and on the surface it might sound preposterous, but I think a lot of reasonable people feel like it might be the most prudent course of action, and that’s football in the spring. Beginning in February into March, April, May.”

Former Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson killed in automobile accident - Daily Norseman
In the Year Of The Gutpunch, 2020 just keeps on throwing haymakers, and this one really sucks. Most of us are waking up to the news that former Vikings quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was killed last night in a car accident in his hometown of Montgomery, AL.

How coronavirus is affecting the NFL’s offseason schedule - SB Nation
The league has approved a “virtual offseason” through the beginning of training camp, after negotiating with the NFL Players’ Association. Players can have virtual workouts to earn workout bonuses, with each individual team coming to their own agreements in terms of what counts toward offseason bonuses, per Charles Robinson of Yahoo. Teams cannot resume specific types of work until all 50 states remove the lockdowns currently in place.

What we know right now about Covid-19 immunity and the end of social distancing - Vox
For many of you, it probably feels as though it’s long past time we got to thinking about how to reopen society. We learned today that some of the public officials who will make those decisions have started doing so. Governors across the mid-Atlantic, from New England to Delaware, are working on a “regional reopening plan.” And the West Coast’s three governors announced shared principles that will guide their decisions to reopen. This is no time to celebrate, not with 22,000 people dead and more sadly to come, but life after coronavirus is becoming less of a hypothetical by the day. There are a few important scientific questions and pursuits that will underline those decisions. Many of these are within our control — testing, treatments, etc. — but there is one critical issue that is not: immunity to the coronavirus itself.


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