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Eagles News: Some very high praise for DeVonta Smith

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/2/21.

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NFL: NFL Draft Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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NFL Draft 2021: Day 2 News and Rumors - Sports Illustrated
Speaking of the Giants, it doesn’t always work out this way, but Eagles GM Howie Roseman’s read was correct: New York would have taken DeVonta Smith with the 11th pick, I’m told. (The Patriots in 2010 are one example of how it doesn’t always go that way. They leapfrogged the Ravens to take Rob Gronkowski that year, but the Ravens had actually failed Gronkowski on his physical. I’d say New England was O.K. with the deal anyway.) The truth on Smith is that, really, the weight issue was the only one teams had about the Heisman winner. He was completely clean overwise. “We asked all the SEC guys who the best player they played against was over the last couple months,” said one rival NFC exec. “All of them, every one, said DeVonta. And the Bama guys all said, ‘He’s the best football player I’ve ever been around.’ ”

A glimpse into DeVonta Smith’s journey from small town to top 10 - NBCSP
Amite is a small town of less than 4,500 people tucked into the middle of the boot in Louisiana, about a 1 hour, 15 minute drive from Baton Rouge and 2 hours from New Orleans. If Smith can make LSU fans root for the Crimson Tide, then he’ll certainly be able to make Saints fans pull for the Eagles. “You’re gonna have a lot of New Orleans Saints fans in our area go out and get DeVonta Smith jerseys and become part-time Philadelphia Eagle fans,” Smith’s high school coach Zephaniah Powell said to NBC Sports Philadelphia on Friday. “To see that happen last night, you can’t help but to root for him, cheer for him and just hope that he doesn’t receive nothing but all the best.”

The Eagles’ 2021 NFL Draft is about setting a new tone - BGN
The Eagles crashed and burned in 2020 for a number of reasons: lack of playmakers at the offensive and defensive skill positions, poor quarterback play, bad injury luck, and worse depth … but what was evident over the whole year is that the team lacked an identity that had once powered it to a Super Bowl victor and subsequent playoff appearances. The team lacked spirit and fight. The Eagles hit the reset button when they hired Nick Sirianni and shipped Carson Wentz out of town. With not much cap space to spend in free agency, all eyes shifted to a draft class where they had 11 picks. A draft class that was deep at cornerback and wide receiver, key positions the team needed to address. Only a day later from the draft ending and it immediately feels like the team didn’t adequately address their needs in the secondary, or at linebacker, or honestly at receiver beyond their most premium pick. Yet, what feels clear is this class is not about addressing every need ASAP, but rather shifting the tone and identity of the team in a new direction. The 2021 draft class was about drafting winners and, for lack of a better term, drafting ass-kickers.

At the Podium: Eagles’ Day 3 Draft picks + front office presser - BGN Radio
Day 3 of the 2021 NFL Draft is in the books and all six of the Eagles’ Day 3 Draft picks speak with the Philly media. The draft picks are followed by Howie Roseman, Andy Weidl and Nick Sirianni who explain why the decisions made were the best picks for the team.

Draft Recap - Iggles Blitz
I think DeVonta Smith can start right away. Jalen Reagor was an explosive athlete coming out of college. Smith is a polished receiver who understands the game at a very high level. He just had one of the greatest WR seasons in the history of college football. That didn’t happen because of a gimmicky offense, poor competition or elite size/speed. Smith earned those catches and yards. His skills should translate to the NFL game right away.

What the Howie Roseman-Tom Donahoe awkwardness said about the Eagles’ 2021 draft process - Inquirer
“Not every decision is clear cut. You’re trying to balance all those factors together to make good decisions,” Roseman said Saturday. “It’s not a process where everybody is necessarily going to be perfect in it, because not everybody has all the same information.” If there’s been a consistent complaint across the spectrum — minus Jeffrey Lurie, of course — it’s that Roseman’s approach has lacked consistency. One year or one pick he’s favoring the scouts, the next it’s the coaches, the following it’s the owner (!). Maybe he’s tried too hard to please too many. Some scouts have felt that Roseman’s final board hasn’t reflected enough of their board as constructed by the vice president of player personnel, recently Andy Weidl and previously Joe Douglas.

’You want guys that are going to carry the flag’ -
This is not an instant analysis of the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles NFL Draft because it is far too early to know what kind of production the nine selections will offer as rookies. But the three-day draft did offer some insight into the kind of players the Eagles want to build around with Nick Sirianni as head coach. Starting with first-round choice DeVonta Smith, there are characteristics that translate throughout the 2021 Class – talent, production, toughness, high football IQ, love of the game, versatility, leadership. “You just want guys that are going to carry the flag, as they say,” Head Coach Nick Sirianni said on Saturday night following the end-of-draft press conference. “We’re going to be preaching a different message as coaches and saying the things that we want and how we want the program to look. My experience is that guys who have those qualities – the football IQ, the competitiveness, the toughness, and that love football – they have a better chance of reaching their potential because of those things. Those are the things that we really focus on. It was really great to get those guys in the draft that have all those things. They love ball. They want to get better and they want to be coached hard. That’s a good thing.

Zech McPhearson getting mixed reviews from draft scouts - Viva The Matadors
I’m no draft expert (yet) but I see Zech as being a steal if he makes it past the fourth round. He might not be the athlete that teams like to see in the first few rounds of the draft, but I see him being a good cornerback in this league. I would like to see him go to a team that has a solid starting cornerback that can allow him to not always be matched up with the opposing teams top receiver. I do believe he can develop into a number one corner but throwing him in right away might not be the best idea. I look forward to seeing Zech have success at the next level and I’m glad he was able to represent Texas Tech Football in the way that he did.

Best bloodlines of the 2021 NFL Draft: Texas Tech’s Zech McPhearson following in family’s athletic footsteps - CBS Sports
Just as impressive: A family tree that would seem to make McPhearson one of the safest bets of the draft. It’s not often you’re one of eight kids — seven of them boys. But it’s even more unusual when all seven siblings make college sports their athletic floor. And that’s not even accounting for Mom and Dad. Just see if you can keep up: Zech (short for Zechariah) is the son of Gerrick and Kim McPhearson. Gerrick played defensive back at Boston College, coming out of school alongside future Super Bowl champion Bill Romanowski, before earning a tryout with the Patriots in 1988. Kim played running back and offensive line for the Baltimore Burn of the former National Women’s Football League.

2021 NFL Draft Profile: Kenny Gainwell, Memphis - Underdog Dynasty
FINAL THOUGHTS: Teams shouldn’t overthink drafting Kenny Gainwell. His one year might tell people that he’s inexperienced, but at the same time that one year was phenomenal. While he might not have the game experience of others, that also means he’s taking less hits. He deserves to be a Day 1 or Day 2 pick, and the team that gets him gets a weapon that will threaten the front seven and the secondary.

Eagles draft RB Kenny Gainwell with No. 150 pick - DraftKings Nation
Long-term: He’s hoping to follow the blueprint of another Memphis Tigers: Tony Pollard or Antonio Gibson. Gainwell probably has a higher ceiling than both of those backs, who have been successful in their short NFL careers, but he’ll just need more time to develop that skillset over the first year or so of his career due to limited reps in-game action. Sanders, 24, is Gainwell’s biggest threat. The Penn State product is a versatile back that seems likely to get most of the work moving forward. If Sanders leaves once his rookie contract is up, Gainwell’s value could skyrocket.

2021 NFL Draft: JaCoby Stevens Selected 224th Overall by Philadelphia Eagles - And The Valley Shook
The city of brotherly love is welcoming in a DBU alum. The Philadelphia Eagles picked former Tiger safety JaCoby Stevens in the sixth round, 224th overall, on day three of the NFL Draft. It’s believed Stevens will be moving from safety to linebacker for the Eagles. In the 2017 draft, Philadelphia took Nate Gerry, then a safety out of Nebraska, and moved him to safety. Stevens is built along the same line as Gerry. Stevens was a leader on and off the field for LSU. He of course wore LSU’s famed No. 7 jersey given to the team’s playmaker, and off the field he was the university’s choice for the SEC’s 2020 Community Service team.

Tulane’s Sample, Johnson get taken on Day 3 of 2021 NFL Draft - Underdog Dynasty
It wasn’t just one Green Wave pass-rushing nightmare, though, that got the call this weekend. Three rounds later, Sample’s teammate Patrick Johnson found out that he was headed to Philadelphia. The Eagles used the 234th overall selection to nab Johnson and they got a steal in doing so. We had him pegged to go as a mid-rounder but he slipped all the way to the 7th. Johnson brings with him quite the resume to Philly. Finishing as Tulane’s all-time sack getter in his career with 24.5 and another 35 tackles for loss Johnson could be just what the doctor ordered for the Eagles to help bolster a defense that gave up over 2,000 yards on the ground in 2020 (20th in NFL).

Which newly drafted NFL rookies will make the biggest impact this season? - The Athletic
Philadelphia Eagles: DeVonta Smith, Alabama, WR. If it’s anyone else, something will have gone horribly wrong. The Eagles traded up to select Smith because they view him as a ready-made starting receiver who will change the face of the Eagles’ passing game, size concerns be damned. Smith will start opposite some combination of Jalen Reagor, Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham. It will be a minor disappointment if he doesn’t lead the team in receiving as a rookie.

Debrief: 32 thoughts for 32 teams after the 2021 NFL Draft -
It was shocking to see Memphis running back Kenneth Gainwell fall to the fifth round. He profiles as a third-down back, but he may have been the best pure receiver of any running back in the draft. While the level of draft capital invested in him indicates he’ll be a role player at best, it’s fun to imagine what the Eagles can do with the varied skill sets of Jalen Hurts, DeVonta Smith, Jalen Raegor, Dallas Goedert, Miles Sanders and Gainwell. Also: Zach Ertz remains on the roster until told otherwise.

Three Huskers Sign as Undrafted Free Agents - Corn Nation
On the surface Jack Stoll is a tough spot as the Eagles have one of the best tight end duos in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. But Ertz has been rumored to be traded as soon as the draft is over, which leaves a wide open spot on the roster. But keep an eye on Stoll making a transition to fullback where he may be suited. Stoll is much better blocking on the move and his 40 time could have opened up some eyes to the shift.

UDFA Spending Trends by Team - Over The Cap
The team that guarantees the most is Dallas and it is not even close. They have averaged $71.4K per player in guarantees, about $15K more than the Patriots who rank number two. Both rank relatively high in bonus spending too and given that they rank in the middle of the NFL in UDFA signings that probably makes these two of the top targets for UDFAs looking for the best offer. The 49ers and Eagles round out the teams who are over $40,000 in guarantees per player.

The Cowboys showed their cards on what they are going to do with Leighton Vander Esch - Blogging The Boys
Stephen really expects people to believe that the Cowboys haven’t made up their minds here? Are we really supposed to believe that the Cowboys are going to make this decision in less than two days and not buy the evidence that is Micah Parsons and Jabril Cox (not to mention Keanu Neal, who Dan Quinn specified will remain a linebacker)? It feels inevitable that one of Leighton Vander Esch or Jaylon Smith will be elsewhere in 2022, despite Stephen’s best efforts. A true and total answer will be found on Monday, but for now we can read the obvious tea leaves. Tick tock.

‘Things I think’ about the Giants’ 2021 draft class - Big Blue View
I have been saying for a while that perhaps the Giants like the young linemen already on their roster more and have higher expectations for them than many outside observers. The fact that they turned down six opportunities to select a lineman in the 2021 NFL Draft would seem to indicate as much. “It’s really apparent that we have a little more confidence in our offensive linemen than you guys do,” Gettleman said. “So I’m just going to say we’re happy with the group that we have. Obviously you’re always trying to get better and you’re not going to take a player just to take a player, you take a player because you think he’s going to improve the value of your team.” The Giants could have stayed put in Round 1 and selected Northwestern’s Rashawn Slater or USC’s Alijah Vera-Tucker. They moved down from No. 11 to No. 20 and took Toney.

WFT post-draft depth chart: we have a 90-man roster and still looking to upgrade - Hogs Haven
Wide Receiver - Dyami Brown looks like a player who may have been under-valued by teams due to his limited role in the UNC offense, but he is only the second D1 player ever to average 20 yards per catch in consecutive years. He should add an explosive element to the offense that can be exploited by Ryan Fitzpatrick, and which should open up the field for the other receiving targets in a way that we haven’t seen since the days when Desean Jackson wore burgundy & gold. The team added another 1,000-yard receiver in Dax Milne with its final pick in the draft.


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