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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s rookie class ranked last in the NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 2/26/21.

Dallas Cowboys v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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

2020 NFL rookie grades, NFC East: Washington, Giants earn early returns from late-round steals -
C: For a team that was in need of receiving help, the Eagles didn’t quite find much of it in 2020 despite spending three picks, including a first-rounder, on the position. Reagor had some positive moments, but missed five games with a torn ligament in his thumb, which hampered his ability to establish a rhythm in Year 1. Hurts found himself in a QB controversy upon taking over as the team’s starter in Week 14 following Carson Wentz’s benching. With Doug Pederson out, Nick Sirianni in and [Wentz out], Hurts will enter Year 2 under drastically different circumstances. Amid all the madness last season, the rookie passer showed glimpses of franchise-quarterback potential, but his evaluation remains incomplete. Taylor is a raw player with great upside because of his premier athleticism, but will require more time than usual to become a productive NFL linebacker. Wallace didn’t see significant defensive time until injuries/personnel moves gave him an opportunity (albeit a small one), though he was effective on special teams. Driscoll was selected as a depth lineman but was called into action because of the many injuries the Eagles suffered. He gave up three sacks in 299 offensive snaps, earning a PFF pass-blocking grade of 69.6 while gaining valuable experience. Hightower struggled to make a difference in the passing game. Bradley primarily played special teams, breaking 20 defensive snaps in a game only once in 2020. Watkins was a sporadic participant on offense, catching seven passes for 106 yards and one touchdown on 116 snaps. Wanogho spent nearly the entire season on the Eagles’ practice squad before seeing game action in Week 17. He signed a futures contract with the Chiefs in late January. Toohill was scooped up by Washington after appearing in one game with the Eagles.

Ranking the NFL’s most productive 2020 rookie draft classes from 1 to 32 - ESPN+
22. Philadelphia Eagles. Why they’re ranked here: Philly had 16 rookies record a snap, but none made a major impact for the 4-11-1 Eagles. Second-round quarterback Jalen Hurts did lead a more efficient passing offense than Carson Wentz, but he still had his fair share of struggles with a 57.5 passing grade. How their top pick fared: Wide receiver Jalen Reagor battled through some bad quarterback play in his final season at TCU and went through the same in Year 1 as a rookie. At the same time, though, he didn’t do much on his end, producing just a 64.2 receiving grade and 1.30 yards per route run.

Mel Kiper’s second mock draft has the Eagles passing on a quarterback at No. 6 - BGN
Kiper has three straight quarterbacks going off the board after the Eagles pick Chase with Justin Fields to the San Francisco 49ers (via trade up) at No. 7, Mac Jones (!) to the Carolina Panthers at No. 8, and Trey Lance to the New England Patriots (via trade up) at No. 9. From everything we’ve heard since the Eagles traded Wentz, quarterback is expected to be in play at No. 6. That’s not to say it’s a lock to happen but you can hardly rule it out. The feeling here, as I wrote on Wednesday, is that the Eagles should only pull the trigger on drafting a quarterback if they feel like he offers elite potential. The objective can’t be to merely upgrade on Hurts. Forcing a pick on the third quarterback (at best) to go off the board while passing on a potential blue-chip player would be hard to stomach. The talent-deprived Eagles really need to add an elite prospect, almost regardless of position, at No. 6.

From the Bleachers #54: Goodbye, Carson. Hello, Jale‪n‬ - BGN Radio
In the latest episode of From the Bleachers, Shamus Clancy bids farewell to the Carson Wentz era, memorializes his 2017 and 2019 runs and illustrates why it was time for the Birds to move forward. Shamus is also ready for Jalen Hurts QB1.

Eagles 2021 draft prospect review: North Dakota State QB Trey Lance - PhillyVoice
Lance completed 65.4 percent of his passes and only threw 1 INT over his college career, so his accuracy looks good on paper. However, I wouldn’t exactly call it a strength, especially on deep throws down the field. While Lance did connect on his share of bombs (sometimes right on the money), he also left a bunch of big play opportunities on the field, and he misses in all directions. He’ll overthrow, underthrow, he’ll throw too far inside, and he’ll throw the ball five yards out of bounds. But he’ll also miss his share of layups too, in which he’ll either short hop the ball to receivers in the flat, or his ball placement will be a little off on completions to receivers on the run, causing them to slow their strides, thus limiting YAC potential.

Some Eagles candidates for extensions this offseason - NBCSP
Derek Barnett: Barnett was the 1st-round pick in 2017 so his rookie contract is up and as things stand now, he’s in line to play the 2021 season on his fifth-year option. The problem with that is the fifth-year option comes with a price tag of over $10 million with a cap hit to match. The Eagles are in a tough salary cap situation and that’s not going to fly. So something has to give. Either they cut Barnett and move on before that option year becomes guaranteed (that happens at the start of the league year on March 17) or they try to extend him to a modest deal. Because Barnett still has plenty of upside but he’s not worth $10 mil. Barnett came into the league young so he won’t even turn 25 until June. Has he become a star worthy of the No. 14 pick? No. From that standpoint, Barnett has been disappointing. But he’s probably better than most people think and he’s certainly not a bust. He has struggled with injuries at times but when he’s been on the field, he’s been moderately productive, picking up 12 sacks in 27 games over the last two seasons. If the Eagles can reach terms on a modest extension, it would probably be worth it. It will be interesting to see if Barnett’s and Sweat’s futures are tied to each other this offseason.

Which pending free agents should the Eagles make an effort to keep? - Inquirer
Jalen Mills, S/CB: We don’t know what the new coaching staff thinks, but if new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon does indeed want to play a lot of Cover 2, as has been speculated, Mills could be an effective corner. Or he could stay at safety, last year’s primary position, where he didn’t tackle or anticipate at Malcolm Jenkins’ level, but he did improve as the season developed. And he played a team-high 1,013 defensive snaps. If I had to pick one guy out of this group to keep, Mills would be it. The key here is price. Mills, who turns 27 in April, carried a $4 million cap number last season; if some team out there wants to pay him a lot more than that, the Eagles should pass. Otherwise, he shouldn’t have to change his hair dye color after five years of bright green.

The Nick Sirianni Way: Energy, passion, love for the game -
Talking ball. That’s what he does. We have ourselves a young head coach who is learning more every day about the responsibilities of the job. He’s heading into this thing full force, all systems go, and while there are going to be mistakes made along the way – everyone makes them – Sirianni is going to do it the way he does it: with an infectious passion. Everyone loves him. He’s the kind of guy the players will want to play for and the coaches will want to coach for. In the end, the wins are what matters, and we will judge Nick Sirianni when the Eagles hit the field in the regular season starting in September. Until then, what we know is what we know. And I’ve had two sit-downs with him – albeit virtually – and the guy just oozes energy and knowledge and love of the sport and of the Eagles and that’s a great way to start a head coaching career.

Frank Reich: Michael Pittman looks good in No. 11 - PFT
Colts coach Frank Reich is not surprised or concerned about Pittman declining to give up the number to Wentz once the team’s trade for the quarterback becomes official next month. “No, I wasn’t surprised at all,” Reich said, via Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan. “I would have been shocked (if Pittman had given up his number). Players don’t like to give up numbers easily. I think Michael looks good in that number and he played good in that number. I’m excited that he’s keeping that number.”

Russell Wilson potential trade scenarios: Cowboys, Bears, Raiders, Saints top list for Seahawks star - ESPN
How doable it is for your team — and what comes next: Anything is doable, but the Cowboys are committed to Prescott. They have made him their priority and believe he is their quarterback for the present and future. If the Cowboys get frustrated in upcoming talks with Prescott’s agent regarding a long-term contract, perhaps they visit this option, but it seems remote at best.

Seahawks listening to Russell Wilson offers? Wild offseason QB carousel spinning at another level - CBS Sports
Ciara is from Texas. The Cowboys are, they tell me, America’s Team. The offensive line is a little long in the tooth. The defense needs help ... But you could win some serious shootouts with Wilson. Pay Dak Prescott over $40M a year with a second franchise tag looming, or make a run at Wilson? If I were Jerry Jones, I would at least make a few calls before I married Prescott as a quarterback for good.

Looking at the Trade Options For Russell Wilson - Over The Cap
What would be the cost: Seattle really would need a starting QB and Dallas does not have one. Most likely this would be pretty complicated with Dallas having to tag Prescott just for the purpose of trading him, which really is not the way things are supposed to work. Dallas would need to give Prescott’s agent the ability to negotiate direct with Seattle and come to terms on a contract extension. That makes almost no sense for Seattle unless Dallas picks up some of the cost as relief for Seattle having prepaid so much of the Wilson contract. That would still be cheaper for Dallas than signing Prescott to a new contract. I’m not sure Seattle could ask for much more than Prescott in a straight up trade. If the numbers worked out financially this is probably a fair trade for both sides.

Report: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson’s preferred list of teams includes the Dallas Cowboys - Blogging The Boys
The Cowboys clearly want to win in their standoff with Dak Prescott, publicly speaking. If they ultimately bend the knee and cave to his contract demands the situation will ultimately be seen as them blinking and him getting the better of them. Wilson - again, a clear upgrade over Prescott - would present them getting better at the position and doing so on their terms, pulling off some grand master plan that they would have seemingly lucked into. Rob “Stats” Guerrera and I spoke to ProFootballTalk’s Charean Williams about the importance of Dallas needing to “win” this whole thing on the latest episode of The SB Nation NFL Show which you can listen to right above here. Time will tell whether there is legitimate life to the idea of Russell Wilson joining the Cowboys. For now it all seems a bit farfetched, but we are at this point, it is certainly possible that it could go all the way.

NFC East Notebook: How and why strength of schedule will be important in the division next season - Big Blue View
Meanwhile the Eagles are still in the process of determining who their next franchise quarterback will be now that Carson Wentz has been traded to the Indianapolis Colts. Our colleagues at Bleeding Green Nation made an important point as Philly continues their QB search. Wentz revealed himself as an entitled quarterback, but the Eagles organization also enabled him. Up until this point in his career, Wentz only knows Philadelphia. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2017 after a stellar sophomore campaign. Life was good for Wentz - until it wasn’t anymore. He may be gone now but the Eagles can’t repeat the same mistakes with their next signal caller. Enabling a quarterback might have been an effective strategy in the short term but it is not a long-term solution.

GamePlan: With No NFL Combine, Companies Like EXOS Are Trying to Fill the Void - MMQB
So with that in mind, all three of those dates remain in play, as I understand it. The least likely outcome, it seems, would be keeping the game on Feb. 6, since you’d have to kill the Super Bowl bye week to do that. As such, moving the game to Feb. 13 would be least disruptive, since you’d just be backing up the normal playoff slate a week to accommodate the 18th week (and 17th games) of the regular season. But there’s an appeal to Feb. 20, too, in that it falls on Presidents’ Day Weekend, and moving the game to that particular holiday weekend has always been an interesting talking point. Lots of people have that Monday off, and in some states (like the one I live in) it’s a school vacation week. And it’s possible that I’m personally too in the weeds on this, but it feels to me like what the NFL decides to do here will be a pretty big deal, since it really is charting the course for what’s annually one of, if not the, biggest weekends on the U.S. sports calendar.

The Look Ahead #25: PFT’s Charean Williams on Dak + Taylor Swift NFL Storyline‪s‬ - The SB Nation NFL Show
Rob “Stats” Guerrera (@StatsOnFire) and RJ Ochoa (@RJOchoa) talk with Pro Football Talk’s Charean Williams about the possibility that Dak Prescott may not be the Cowboys quarterback much longer (46:00). Before that, the guys take a turn into Crazy Town and relate Taylor Swift songs to current NFL storylines in honor of TSwift re-recording her first few albums.


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