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Eagles News: NFL executives believe Lukas Van Ness won’t make it past Philadelphia’s first pick

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/20/23.

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Adam Caplan’s 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud Only QBs in Top 10, Tyree Wilson Goes No. 2 - PFN
10) Philadelphia Eagles (From NO): Lukas Van Ness, EDGE, Iowa. The Eagles are one of the most forward-thinking teams in the NFL, and when they’ve gotten it right with their first-round picks in years past, they do so with more of an eye on the future (see: DeVonta Smith) rather than the current season. Lukas Van Ness, who several personnel executives I’ve spoken to of late believe won’t make it past the Eagles here, can line up at a few defensive line positions due to his size and versatility. With veteran DE Brandon Graham turning 35 recently, they’ll be able to replace him for the long term with Van Ness here. It’s worth noting that the Eagles had some interest in former Cardinals DE Zach Allen during free agency, according to a league source, who has a similar skill set to Van Ness.

Olamide Zaccheaus, Eagles agree to contract - BGN
The Philadelphia Eagles are signing free agent wide receiver Olamide Zaccheaus, according to his agency. That’s pronounced: oh-llama-day zah-key-us. Zaccheaus had somewhat curiously lingered on the open market despite being a 25-year-old coming off a career season. The 2019 undrafted rookie free agent saw 61 targets for 40 receptions, 533 yards (13.3 average), and three touchdowns with the Atlanta Falcons last year. Quarterbacks had a 109.5 passer rating when throwing his way. Perhaps teams were deterred by his size. Listed at 5’8”, 193 pounds, he’s certainly not the most physically imposing player. He’s also not an amazing athlete, relatively speaking.

Olamide, Oh My - Iggles Blitz
First, Quez Watkins has competition for the #3 spot. Watkins had a down year. The Eagles needed someone to push him. Zaccheaus can do that. At the same time, if he’s the #4 receiver, that works too. Zaccheaus isn’t going to come in expecting a ton of touches. He can start and be a key role player, but has also gone through a season with only 20 catches. Zaccheaus makes sense from a fit standpoint. AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith can play outside. Zaccheaus is at home in the slot. Watkins can play in there or out wide. Adding Zaccheaus doesn’t mean the Eagles will pass on receivers in the draft. It could be a sign that they aren’t high on their likely choices. Or it could just be the Eagles playing it safe. Add a veteran now and you don’t have to take a receiver unless there is someone you really want. The Eagles are still very top heavy at WR.

The PFF Analytics 2023 NFL Mock Draft: Four QBs go off the board first, Will Anderson Jr. lands in Seattle - PFF
10. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: OT PETER SKORONSKI, NORTHWESTERN. The tough part with this selection in an “analytics mock” is that it relies on Skoronski being able to play tackle at the next level. In his final season at Northwestern, the short-armed Skoronski allowed a 1.3% quarterback pressure rate, the third-best mark in the FBS going against quality Big Ten edge defenders. If Skoronski cannot hold up as a left tackle at the NFL level, could he perhaps play right guard next to future Hall of Fame right tackle Lane Johnson and then get a shot to take over his job at right tackle? While the value of a guard in the top 10 is debatable, no longer should right tackle be viewed as significantly less valuable than left tackle; if anything, there is a marginal difference between the two positions.

Examining the Pros and Cons of Void Years for Salary Cap Relief - Over The Cap
The Eagles have been the first to get very creative to avoid the impact of void years hitting at once by finding a way to get players to agree to allow themselves to be cut as a post June 1 cut rather than just having their contracts expire. The Browns have begun to follow the lead of the Eagles and more should follow but at some point agents and the players association will begin fighting back on this unless there is more of a benefit (i.e money exchanged for helping the team) to a player “managing the team’s salary cap” and making it easier for them to be cut. So I don’t think this will be a long term mechanism once it has more widespread adoption.

Eagles Fans Can Thank the Rookie Contract System for Jalen Hurts’s Deal - SI
I haven’t seen all the numbers, but the media is drawn to the five-year, $255 million number like moths to a flame. In my time as a team executive, I was always fine with the agent framing the contract in the best light for them; it was certainly no skin off my back and usually helped close the deal. But if Hurts truly won the average-per-year PR ($51 million is a new record), I suspect the Eagles won the most important things to them, such as early money and structure. Hurts’s two-year earnings appear to be $64 million, almost 20 million below the amount the Giants’ Daniel Jones will be receiving. As for structure, it appears all the risk is allocated to Hurts halfway through the six-year deal. Having said this, I do understand agent Nicole Lynn taking this deal for Hurts. The situation shows the incredible power of the rookie salary scale. No player making relative peanuts in his fourth year in the NFL, as necessitated by mandatory four-year contracts for drafted players, can reasonably turn down life-changing wealth of $110 million guaranteed. The Eagles, Bengals and Chargers know this.

Jones: Nicole Lynn’s legacy as a sports agent has reached new level with Jalen Hurts deal - The Athletic
In a world where she’s an outsider in multiple ways, Nicole Lynn cannot be ignored. Lynn was a rising star in the sports agency business four years ago when she became the third woman — and first Black woman — to represent an NFL first-round draft pick when Alabama’s Quinnen Williams was picked third by the New York Jets in 2019. There’s no “rising” needed in front of Lynn’s name anymore. She’s a force, a history maker as the first Black woman to represent a quarterback in the Super Bowl — Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts. Lynn has made herself at home in a world that’s not necessarily welcoming. This week, she negotiated the largest contract in total value in NFL history (five years, $255 million, $179.3 million guaranteed) for Hurts, as well as the first no-trade clause in team history as part of the extension to Hurts’ rookie deal. From an up-and-comer in the business to completing the league’s biggest deal in less than a five-year span — that’s major.

‘You’re never alone’: How a family found a community through the Eagles Autism Challenge -
The countdown to the Eagles Autism Challenge has begun and there is still plenty time to sign up! Each year, the Eagles community comes together to raise funds that directly benefit autism research and care programs through a bike ride, 5k run/walk, and a sensory walk at Lincoln Financial Field. Are you considering signing up? Take it from fourth-year participant Jamie Aldridge. Her experience at the event and the fundraising efforts leading up to it have made a world of difference for her 10-year-old son, Jaxon. He was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at age 3. “It’s given him confidence, to be honest. His confidence has tripled since we started this whole thing,” Jamie said. The Aldridge family was first introduced to EAC through Jamie’s coworker, Skyler Austin, whose son is also on the spectrum. In 2020, they took part in their first challenge, albeit virtually, and have been participants since. “In 2021, we fundraised and went to the challenge. My son lit up. He had all these new friends and he just felt like he belonged,” said Aldridge.

Why the 49ers are banking on Javon Hargrave being the Christian McCaffrey of the defense. - Niners Nation
In their first season following the departure of defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, many may expect a regression from a defense that has lost talent in free agency. With Hargrave complementing the edge-rushing force of Bosa with the havoc he can wreak on the interior, that regression can be prevented and the 49ers’ defense can remain firmly among the NFL’s elite through defensive line dominance. McCaffrey served as a force multiplier who made life significantly easier for the offense last season. Hargrave’s prowess as an interior pass rusher is such that he can fill the same role for a defense that does not have as much depth, but may now have an even higher ceiling with his signing.

NFL burning questions: What’s next for Lamar Jackson? Who SHOULD be drafted No. 1 overall? -
6) Do the Giants have a Saquon Barkley problem? Honestly, I’m surprised that anyone is surprised Saquon Barkley hasn’t signed his franchise tag and isn’t attending voluntary workouts this week. I do not think his absence is at all newsworthy. Barkley isn’t signing that tag anytime soon. That’s OK. I’m pretty confident this athletic specimen will keep himself in tip-top shape. And I think he’s pretty familiar with the offense. Breathe, everyone. The Giants actually have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal with the former No. 2 overall pick. But given Barkley’s injury history, position and Big Blue’s financial commitments elsewhere (remember, Dexter Lawrence, who’s also skipping these workouts, still needs a long-term deal), that doesn’t seem likely. Barkley knows this. I don’t foresee him sitting out the season, which is really all that matters. Barkley missing the offseason — even missing training camp — isn’t the end of the world for Brian Daboll and Co.

The Giants need a ball hawk, and Big Blue View snags one with Emmanuel Forbes at No. 25 - Big Blue View
Turns out, we agreed. The choice would be Mississippi State cornerback Emmanuel Forbes. Yes, he’s just 166 pounds. He is, though, a ball-hawking cornerback with man-to-man coverage skills and excellent instincts. The Giants need a cornerback who can not only cover, but who can turn the ball over. Forbes had 14 interceptions, six returned for touchdowns, in college. Falato said: “I love Forbes…I get the outlier trait but the guy is a ball hawk and the Giants ranked last in interceptions last season.” Pflum said: “I do agree on Forbes, and I’m not sure how much Schoen and Co. care about physical thresholds. They didn’t care with Wan’Dale or Flott, but those are also Day 2 picks. I wish we had more data points to get their preferences. “If we think they don’t care about the size, then I’d go with Forbes. I’d rather take a cornerstone position in the first.”

Blogging the Boys rounds out a strong Cowboys WR depth chart with Quentin Johnston at No. 26 - Blogging The Boys
With the 26th pick in the first round of the 2023 SB Nation NFL mock draft, the Dallas Cowboys (by way of the Blogging The Boys staff) select wide receiver Quentin Johnston out of TCU. This was not an easy choice. There were arguments made to go with Dalton Kincaid at tight end, or even an offensive lineman in the form of O’Cyrus Torrence or Steve Avila (with Avila being attached to a possible trade-back scenario). Names like defensive tackle Bryan Breese or EDGE Lukas Van Ness were also in the mix. In the end, Quentin Johnston won the vote but it was close. Johnston has been in the conversation among the best WR draft prospects in this draft, and here is picked fourth among that group after Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11th overall), Jordan Addison (12th) and Zay Flowers (21st) all went earlier. The Cowboys need at wide receiver is in the eye of the beholder. For 2023, it’s likely that CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Brandin Cooks will see the majority of targets at the wide receiver spot regardless of what happens in this draft. So Johnston’s importance in 2023 isn’t immediate. But, there is always injury to worry about. And then there are contracts. Lamb needs to be extended. Gallup has an out year in 2024 if he hasn’t returned to form. And Cooks is a wild card pending how he’ll fit in the offense and is signed only through 2024.

Three possible trade back scenarios on Day 1 of the draft - Hogs Haven
For the past several years, I’ve advocated for trading back in the first round of the draft. In 2022, Washington’s front office finally listened, and the results were pretty spectacular by almost every metric. In effect, Washington passed on Saints wide receiver Chris Olave - who had a great rookie season - for Jahan Dotson (WR), Brian Robinson (RB), Cole Turner (TE), and Sam Howell (QB). It’s obviously still early in their respective careers, but it looks like that trade probably swapped a WR1 for a WR2, an RB1, a depth TE, and a potential starting QB (and, at a minimum, a QB2). On a team that needed broad improvement, that simple trade back last year was a massive coup. With so much talent in the late first and second round of this draft, I’d be very interested in seeing Washington trade back again next week and pick up several potential roster upgrades. Three potential scenarios are below.

The 13 best QBs in the 2023 NFL Draft, ranked - SB Nation
9. Dorian Thompson Robinson, UCLA. “DTR” had a strong five-year career for the UCLA Bruins where he passed for 10,710 yards and threw 88 touchdowns. On the ground, he rushed for 1,826 yards and picked up another 28 touchdowns. Despite his college success though, it is likely he will become a backup at best in the NFL due to multiple shortcomings as a passer.


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