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Eagles News: Darius Slay talks about how he almost left Philly

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/3/23.

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Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

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

CB Darius Slay reveals he almost signed with the Ravens - Baltimore Beatdown
Among the Baltimore Ravens’ list of needs this offseason, adding talent to their cornerback room ranks highly. Veteran Marcus Peters is an unrestricted free agent, leaving a vacancy at the No. 2 spot on the depth chart — should the Ravens not re-sign him. It’s now apparent that the Ravens attempted to replace Peters with another free agent cornerback not long ago. On an episode of his “Big Play Slay” podcast this week, Philadelphia Eagles’ cornerback Darius Slay revealed that he nearly agreed to a deal with the Ravens in free agency.

Eagles All-22 Film Review: Justin Evans offers versatility - BGN
I like the Justin Evans signing as a low-risk move, even if I am by no means convinced by the player. I am not sure he is very good, and I don’t think he should be starting for the Eagles. However, I think stylistically and positionally, he is pretty similar to CGJ. He is more of a safety than a cornerback in my opinion, but he can give you snaps at both positions if needed.

Ranking the Eagles’ positional needs in the 2023 NFL Draft - PhillyVoice
3) Quarterback aside, they value their offensive line above all else, and they build it specifically through the draft: The Eagles’ starting five along their offensive line were all drafted by the Eagles. And for good reason. When you look at the available free agents this offseason, Dillard was the sixth highest-paid offensive lineman to move from one team to another in the entire league. Dude has single-digit career starts and he got paid just under $10 million per year because teams around the league are desperate for anyone who might be able to protect the edge. If you don’t/can’t draft and develop offensive linemen, you can be left to take costly risks for guys like Dillard in free agency. That usually doesn’t work out. Do the Eagles have more immediate needs at, saaayyy, safety and linebacker? They sure do! But unlike a number of other franchises around the league, they have figured out that great offensive line play can win championships and bad offensive line play gets people fired. You can’t say that about safety.

2023 NFL Draft: Top selections for every NFL team according to PFF’s Mock Draft Simulator - PFF
10. Philadelphia Eagles. Top Choice: DB Brian Branch (15.1%). Other Selections: DI Calijah Kancey (13.7%), CB Devon Witherspoon (11.7%). The Eagles getting a top-10 pick after making the Super Bowl is a Howie Roseman masterclass. After the team lost C.J. Gardner-Johnson to Detroit in free agency, Philadelphia mock drafters are selecting Alabama’s Brian Branch, who earned a career-high 89.5 PFF grade in his final college season.

Roob’s Observations: A look at Kenny Gainwell’s other skill - NBCSP
1. No doubt in my mind Kenny Gainwell can be a 60-catch guy in addition to everything he gives the Eagles as a ball carrier. Consider this: Over the last two years, Gainwell has played only 629 snaps – just 18 ½ per game – but has 56 catches on 79 targets. That’s outstanding efficiency and production in the receiving game as a part-time player. Gainwell is very smooth as a pass catcher, sees the field well, understands where his blockers are and is fast, slippery, elusive and tough. He had issues with drops in training camp last summer but had only two drops during the regular season, and Jalen Hurts seems to really trust him on third down. Since 1990, only four backs drafted in the fifth round or later have had 500 rushing yards, 50 catches and a 4.4 average in their first two years – Terry Allen, Terrell Davis, Jordan Howard and Gainwell. Only Gainwell wasn’t a starter. It’s easy to be excited about Rashaad Penny and his potential, but Gainwell will be RB1 in 2023, and there’s no reason he can’t handle it.

What the First Four Teams Will Do on Draft Night and Owners Challenging Goodell - FMIA
My conversation with Sean McVay on assisting the runner told me why nothing will happen to get rid of pushing the runner from behind until someone gets hurt. It’s simple: Coaches look at what the Eagles did and think: Wish I thought of that. And those coaches don’t want to see Nick Sirianni and his team punished for simply playing by the rules and excelling at it. I get it.

2023 NFL draft: Every prospect with a first-round grade, plus comps - ESPN+
Nolan Smith, Georgia (No. 14). Comp: Dante Fowler Jr. Smith’s healthy return at the combine following a late-season pectoral injury helped shoot his stock back into the first round. Smith is undersized at 238 pounds but has a dominant first step and uses his length well to create separation from opposing offensive tackles. His production at Georgia netted just three sacks in 2022, but his positional tools and potential as an outside rusher are worthy of a top-15 selection.

Cowboys kicking situation still very uncertain going into April - Blogging The Boys
Jerry Jones said a few months ago that the Dallas Cowboys were “starting over” at kicker. Hopefully they get started soon, because right now there isn’t a clear plan to replace Brett Maher ahead of the 2023 season. After his infamous four missed extra points in Dallas’ playoff win over Tampa Bay, Maher seems to have fallen out of the team’s plans for the future. Despite hitting 90.6% of his field goals and going 50-of-53 on extra points in the regular season, Maher’s postseason meltdown appears to have been enough for the Cowboys to move on. He remains a free agent after his contract expired. Dallas did sign a kicker, journeyman Tristan Viizcaino, to at least put one body at the position going forward. Vizcaino was brought in after Maher’s disastrous day in Tampa as a backup plan for the next playoff game, but Maher did enough in practice that he held onto the job for one more week.

Tulane RB Tyjae Spears is the most overlooked prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft - SB Nation
The 2023 NFL Draft running back class is loaded. It features one of the better backfield prospects we’ve seen in recent memory in Texas’ Brian Robinson. Behind him includes prospects from the first three rounds in Alabama’s Jahmyr Gibbs, UCLA’s Zach Charbonnet and Texas A&M’s Devon Achane, among others. The least discussed of that group though, and one of the more underrated prospects in this class, is Tulane back Tyjae Spears. Not going to a Power-5 school like everyone listed above certainly hurts the hype around him. But he has more than shown throughout his career that he has the talent to become a starting NFL running back.


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