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Eagles News: The best edge rusher fit for Philly?

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/9/23.


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2023 NFL Draft: Pro comparisons and analytical team fits for top edge-rushing prospects -
LUKAS VAN NESS — PRO COMPARISON: Trey Hendrickson. Van Ness generated 46 QB pressures in 2022, per PFF, ranking third in the Big Ten and tied for 17th in the Power Five. PFF also credited him with nine sacks, which was tied for second in the Big Ten and tied for 10th in the Power Five. Van Ness led the Big Ten in PFF’s run-stopping grade (80.9), as well. All of this is quite impressive considering he didn’t start and had to share snaps with more experienced teammates, given how Kirk Ferentz likes to run his Iowa program.TEAM FIT: Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles had the least-fatigued defensive front in 2022 as measured by computer vision (change in burst speed in fourth quarter vs. the first quarter). Their subbing strategy was impeccable and likely will be emulated across the league going forward. With some offseason attrition and aging on Philadelphia’s defense, Van Ness could help ensure continued success for the unit. Drafting Van Ness could spawn a “greater than the sum of the parts” type of impact for the Eagles, which is why I like the Hendrickson comp here. We knew Hendrickson was talented in New Orleans, but he turned into a Pro Bowler in Cincinnati, playing on a defense that was set up in a way that magnified his strengths. I think Van Ness and Philly would similarly benefit from joining forces.

2023 NFL draft edge rusher projections: Rankings, stats, comps - ESPN+
2. Lukas Van Ness, Iowa. SackSEER projection: 24.5 sacks through five NFL seasons. Scouts Inc.: No. 11 overall. Similar historical prospects: Ezekiel Ansah, Rashan Gary. Van Ness never truly broke out as a pass-rusher at Iowa, but SackSEER suggests that his best days could be in front of him. He had a good combine, running the 40-yard dash in only 4.58 seconds and the 3-cone in only 7.02 seconds. These are extremely good times for a player who weighs in at 272 pounds. Van Ness’s weakness is his production. His passes defended rate was average, and his best season for sack numbers was his freshman year, when he recorded seven sacks in 13 games. Production is not everything, and there is a fairly long list of edge rushers who never hit double-digit sacks in a season in college but later did so several times in the NFL. You never want to bet too hard on an edge rusher without tremendous college production, but Van Ness offers tantalizing upside as a player with a great combination of size and skill.

2023 NFL Mock Draft: Philadelphia Eagles pick cornerback at No. 10 - BGN
Is he a scheme fit in Philly? We do not yet know what type of coverage new Eagles DC Sean Desai will run. When in Chicago, his scheme was like what Jonathan Gannon ran here. We know the Vic Fangio school prefers zone coverage. The issue is Witherspoon better fits a man coverage scheme than a zone scheme. Could he make the change? I think so. His instincts will certainly give him a great chance to read plays if he is facing the QB rather than following one WR like he would in man. What is good about him is even in man coverage, it is not like he was pressing on every play. Go back and watch Illinois on defense and you will see the CBs playing back in coverage very much like the Eagles do. It won’t be as big of a change to adapt to for Witherspoon as it might be for someone like Joey Porter Jr. who is constantly pressing with the WR off the snap.

The EPA Podcast #20: Players the Eagles should target at No.10 overall - BGN Radio
Shane Haff and Victor Williams each look at three guys they think Eagles should take with the No.10 overall pick.

A peek ahead to the Eagles’ 2024 free agents - PhillyVoice
DE Derek Barnett: It’s not a lock that Barnett will even be back with the team in 2023, as the team could still opt to release him once he is able to pass a physical. But if he does stick, he’s scheduled to hit the open market in 2024. WR Quez Watkins: Watkins is another player whose roster spot isn’t guaranteed in 2023. He earned a bump in base salary to $2,743,000 after hitting playing time benchmarks his first three years in the league. That bump is not guaranteed, and the Eagles will have to decide if Watkins is worth that figure. If he does play for the Eagles in 2023, he is scheduled for free agency in 2024.

Sunday Notebook - Iggles Blitz
I hadn’t really thought of him, but there is some logic here. The Eagles may prefer to see how the draft shakes out before considering a move like this. I think they could take a WR as early as the 2nd round. I don’t anticipate that, but anything outside of the 1st round is possible. Golladay was a volume receiver in Detroit. He caught 135 passes in 2018 and 2019 combined. In the three seasons since, he’s caught 63. There are circumstances that led to the decline, but you wonder if Golladay would embrace being a role player now.

In Roob’s Observations, a unique challenge facing Nick Sirianni in Year 3 - NBCSP
1. In Rich Kotite’s second year as head coach, the Eagles went 11-5 and won a playoff game. It was their last winning season under Kotite. In Ray Rhodes’ second season, they won 10 games and reached the postseason. It was their last winning season under Rhodes. In Chip Kelly’s second season, the Eagles went 10-6. He was fired before the next season ended. In Doug Pederson’s second season, the Eagles won the Super Bowl. They dropped from 13 to 9 wins the next year and he was fired two years later. The only Eagles head coach in the last 30 years that didn’t experience a significant decline in Year 3 was Andy Reid. And the last Eagles coach to do better in Year 3 than Year 2 was Dick Vermeil and that was nearly half a century ago (throwing out the strike-shortened 1987 season for Buddy Ryan). By Year 3, head coaches have made all their motivational speeches, opened up their entire playbook, given the rest of the league a pretty good idea of how they’re going to play offense and defense. When you can remain innovative and constantly reinvent yourself and your scheme – and keep finding good players - you have a chance at sustained success. But it’s crazy that Kotite, Rhodes, Kelly and Pederson all had terrific Year 2’s but never matched that success again. Those four coaches were a combined 44-20 in Year 2 and 52-73-2 in the rest of their Eagles coaching careers. Sirianni goes into Year 3 with the same critical thing Reid had – an elite young quarterback – and that gives the Eagles an opportunity to have another big year in 2023. But there’s still a real challenge facing Sirianni as he approaches his third season. Don’t get stale. Don’t sit still. Don’t continue doing exactly what you’ve been doing, even though it worked. We’ve seen what can happen in Year 3. Several times.

Oklahoma native D.J. Eliot’s move to the Philadelphia Eagles has taken him ‘past my dream’ - Oklahoman
D.J. Eliot pulled into the parking lot on his first day of work and had a pinch-me moment before he even put the car in park. His spot was marked by a sign with his name and a Philadelphia Eagles logo. “Wow,” he marveled. “This is pretty cool.” He never expected to make it to the NFL. Never even dreamed of it. It’s been a month since the Eagles hired Eliot, 46, to be their linebackers coach, and even though the Oklahoman is coaching football much the same as he has for almost 25 years, he admits his new gig is different. For example, he has never walked through the locker room before and seen the likes of Jalen Hurts and Jason Kelce.

Thirteen years ago, the football world got a major Easter Sunday surprise - PFT
It’s Easter Sunday. The last day of a fairly quiet and slow four-day stretch of NFL news. Nothing of any significance will happen today. Nothing at all. Unless it does. On Easter Sunday in 2010, something happened. The Eagles completed a stunning trade of quarterback Donovan McNabb to Washington. It was a move no one saw coming. Only three days earlier, then-Eagles coach Andy Reid told reporters that McNabb would remain the team’s starting quarterback.

Even after Stephon Gilmore trade, Cowboys could still target CB early in draft - Blogging The Boys
After the Cowboys traded for veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore last month, one might assume they won’t be looking at cornerbacks in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft. But given their present and future situation at the position, Dallas could certainly justify another significant investment; perhaps even as high as their first-round pick. Gilmore’s arrival, which cost the Cowboys one of their fifth-round picks this year, seems to round out the CB depth chart nicely. He walks in as a starter opposite Trevon Diggs, leaving Jourdan Lewis and DaRon Bland to battle it out for the slot role. You also have Kelvin Joseph, Nahshon Wright, and Israel Mukuamu as solid depth options to compete for the remaining roster spots. But things could change very quickly after this season. Diggs, Gilmore, and Lewis all have expiring contracts. While keeping Gilmore and Lewis shouldn’t be too costly if they choose to do it, Diggs will likely be looking at a $20 million average on his next contract, if not a little more.

Ed’s Giants mock draft: Going a full 7 rounds - Big Blue View
Round 1 (No. 25) — Emmanuel Forbes, CB, Mississippi State. I’m really not thrilled with how the first 24 picks turned out. The top four wide receivers — Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, Quentin Johnston — are off the board. The top four cornerbacks — Christian Gonzalez, Devon Witherspoon, Joey Porter Jr., Deonte Banks — are also off the board. Thing is, if the Giants sit at No. 25 it is very possible that this is exactly how things will play out on April 27. So, what do do? It would be easy to make the obvious need pick here and select a center. The chalk, obvious choice here no one would complain about is center John Michael Schmitz of Minnesota. Mock drafters would approve. And that would be fine. I could easily do that, and I can live with it if that is what the Giants do. Schmitz is likely to be a good player for a long time. Nothing wrong with that.

Clemson’s Myles Murphy is the forgotten pass rusher in the 2023 NFL Draft - SB Nation
One of the quickest edge rushers in this draft, Murphy is quick off the snap and has impressive straight-line speed. His athleticism makes him a difficult defender to block on outside speed rushes. Even without concrete testing from the combine to go off of, it seems likely he would’ve been among the top testers at his position off of his tape alone. Murphy plays hard on a consistent basis, thus maximizing his athletic tools. Whether he’s in a stand-up edge role, as a 5-, 3- or 4-tech, he plays very hard and has a relentless approach towards getting into the backfield. Clemson dropped Murphy out in coverage sometimes, and he’s a nimble athlete with loose hips and good lateral quickness. This also makes him a good pursuit defender in space and a nice option for stunt calls. His sheer natural flexibility allows him to turn the corner well on the outside, even when his pad level isn’t perfect.


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