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Eagles News: Philadelphia’s most underappreciated player

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/25/23.

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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 ...

NFL’s most underappreciated players: Kirk Cousins, Osa Odighizuwa among NFC picks -
Philadelphia Eagles: Jordan Mailata. APY: $16 million (11th among left tackles). According to computer vision, Mailata was able to keep defenders away from runners behind him — or to the two gaps to either side of him — longer than any other left tackle in 2022. PFF gave him the ninth-best overall grade among all tackles last season. I really like tracking Mailata, as the former rugby player is still new to this game. Thus, he’s probably still a ways away from peak performance, which is frightening for all Eagles opponents.

Eagles All-22 Film Review: D’Andre Swift is a perfect fit in Philly - BGN
I’m a big believer in powerful running backs on early downs who can break tackles (it’s just my philosophy) so I wouldn’t want Swift to be my ‘foundational’ or starting running back. Pairing him with Rashaad Penny is just perfect. I expect Penny to take most of the early down work and Swift to be on the field on every 3rd down. It is such an awesome backfield (if they are both healthy of course). I could see Penny taking about 55% of the carries and Swift having around 35% with 5-7 targets per game. The Eagles haven’t targeted their running backs much in recent years but... the Eagles haven’t had D’Andre Swift in recent years. He’s so much better than Sanders out of the backfield. I wonder if the Eagles will use more 2-back sets with both Penny and Swift on the field too, and then motion Swift to wide receiver. I still won’t be drafting Swift as high as some in fantasy (I just traded for Rashaad Penny in one league...) but I think he is a fantastic fit for this offense. He may not have 20-25 touches a game, but he will make this team and this offense better. I do not have any doubts about that.

Eagles player review: CB Greedy Williams edition - PhillyVoice
Williams has some intriguing traits. He’s 6’2 and he ran a 4.37 40 at the Combine, which is a nice start for a cornerback. However, after cutting up his 2022 targets, it is easy to see why the Browns seemingly showed no interest in trying to bring him back. The Eagles are deep at cornerback, with a great starting trio in Darius Slay, James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox. They also used a 2024 third-round pick on Kelee Ringo, and at a minimum, Zech McPhearson has made himself into a quality special teams player while waiting for an opportunity to play in the regular defense. They also have Josh Jobe, who made the team as an undrafted rookie free agent a season ago. Williams will have a chance to impress in training camp, but heading into the summer he can’t be viewed as any higher than seventh on the Eagles’ cornerback totem pole, and will probably have to decisively outplay McPhearson and/or Jobe to make the roster.

Eagles’ DeVonta Smith says he’s always ‘humbly’ seen himself as a top-10 receiver - Inquirer
“As you go on, you just continue to raise your level of play,” Smith said Wednesday during a media availability session at the NovaCare Complex. “I think that comes [with] more understanding of the game and things like that. Just being confident in myself, in my abilities. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have many guys that come up here and say they don’t think they’re not.” Smith is entering his third season in the NFL. In Year 1, he set a franchise record for receiving yards by a rookie. In Year 2, he finished with 95 regular-season receptions to set another record for most catches by a receiver in franchise history. In an interview Tuesday on the Paper Route podcast, featuring host Brandon Marshall, who was an NFL wide receiver for 13 seasons, Smith was asked if he felt slighted by not being in the top-five-receiver conversation.“Nah, nope, I wouldn’t put myself nowhere up there with those guys,” Smith said on the show. “Those guys, they have the numbers to speak for it. I still have a long way to go. Do I envision myself being there? ... Eventually. “Definitely, I would say top 10.”

Nakobe Dean: ‘Time to take it to another level’ -
After a long and grueling rookie season that ended in the Super Bowl following a long and grueling final season at the University of Georgia that ended with a National Championship, Eagles linebacker Nakobe Dean wanted to relax. So, he enrolled at Georgia and returned to Athens for two classes: Heat Transfer and Fluid Mechanics. “Mathematical stuff. It was just six hours of classes. I had to catch up some because the classes started in January and we didn’t finish the season until February 12, but I was back in the classroom the following Monday,” Dean said. “They were hard classes. The concept was easy, but doing the math could take a long time. At times there were pages and pages of work on one problem, but I had fun with it, actually. They didn’t offer the classes online, which would have been ideal. But I made it. I passed the classes – I don’t know the exact grade, but I passed it at a high-enough level to get the credits – and I had received the credits and I’m still chipping away at my degree. I’m going to get it. It’s a goal of mine and I’m going to get there – I’m just 26 hours away. Little by little, I’m going to get it.”

May Owners Meeting Votes Reflect a Hard Truth About the NFL - SI
From JR (@JayRuhRoh): Josh Harris’s head of bball ops at the 76ers is credited with revolutionizing the modern NBA. The Commanders’ football decision-makers want to have a 2:1 run-to-pass approach on offense ... in 2023. So, who could be Josh Harris’s NFL version of Daryl Morey in Washington? ... JR, I wouldn’t give up on Ron Rivera, Martin Mayhew and Marty Hurney quite yet. But if you’re looking for outside-the-box football executives that I think could have that sort of impact on a franchise down the line, there are a few that are interesting. New Titans assistant GM Chad Brinker is one, for sure. He was a Division I player, but he also has a business background, having earned an MBA from Kellogg and worked in a hybrid role in Green Bay that encompassed scouting, cap, analytics and operations functions. Eagles assistant GM Alec Halaby is another one, though far more purely on the analytics side. But, again, don’t give up on the current Washington staff quite yet. I think they’ve got a pretty decent team for you to root for, particularly if Sam Howell is as good as they think he is.

Top 5 defenses the Dallas Cowboys will face in the 2023 season - Blogging The Boys
The Eagles’ defense sacked opposing quarterbacks a staggering 70 times last season. Hasson Reddick vaulted himself into the conversation as one of the game’s most disruptive edge rushers. His 16 sacks last year were a career best and he may still be improving. The Cowboys and their bitter rival are locked into an arms race for NFC East supremacy. The Eagles also replenished their defensive arsenal. Philadelphia landed Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter with their first of two first-round picks. They then selected another Bulldog defender after taking edge rusher Nolan Smith with the 30th pick in the draft. In addition to the draft, they also retained cornerback Darius Slay after a separation from the team seemed all but imminent. In total, the Eagles created pressure on 25.5 percent of their defensive snaps in 2022. Yet, there is reason for optimism. Dak Prescott got the best of them in the team’s second meeting of last season, scoring 40 points on Christmas Eve. That said, the Eagles’ interior front could present problems for the Cowboys who have lingering questions about what to do at left guard.

Here’s how a Saquon Barkley contract extension could look - Big Blue View
Ultimately, I believe that the Giants have a lot of leverage in this situation. As valuable as Barkley is, this year’s free agency period, especially Miles Sanders’ $6.35 million average annual value, showed that he is unlikely to command anywhere close to the money he seeks on the open market. After they misread the market, it might behoove Barkley and his agent to salvage what they can rather than risk the possibility that the Giants will let him walk after the 2023 season. My gut instinct is that Barkley will play on the tag in 2023. However, deadlines spur action, and in this case, the deadline for an extension is July 17. There’s plenty of time left.

Ranking the best, worst 2023 NFL offseasons: Which teams improved? - ESPN+
Jones ranked sixth in Total QBR last season, so I won’t be arguing that he played poorly. In terms of Jones’ development, though, coach Brian Daboll squeezed just about everything out of him. The 2019 first-rounder threw the shortest average pass of any quarterback (6.0 air yards per attempt), which helped drop his interception rate to an unsustainably-low mark of 1.1%. Jones was incredible as a scrambler, but his 708 rushing yards nearly doubled his career rushing total from Years 1 through 3. He averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt and still managed to take sacks on nearly 9% of his dropbacks. Plus, he attempted just 29.5 passes per game. On a rookie deal, that sort of production is incredibly valuable. At $40 million per year, it wouldn’t be a good use of resources. Jones has to improve as a passer to justify that sort of contract, and the steps he has to take as a downfield thrower and a post-snap processor likely open him up to the turnovers he avoided in 2022. The cap space the Giants were supposed to be clearing last year went to Jones and Barkley, which limited what they could do to upgrade a defense that ranked 29th in DVOA last season. I liked the addition of A’Shawn Robinson to one of the league’s worst rush defenses, but a four-year, $40 million deal for off-ball linebacker Bobby Okereke was too aggressive at a position where the majority of useful players settled for much smaller commitments. Schoen used the team’s first-round pick on much-needed cornerback Deonte Banks, but this secondary is going to struggle against an NFC East full of imposing receivers. [BLG Note: Bill Barnwell says the Giants had the 4th worst offseason of any team.]

The 5 O’Clock Club: Using veteran free agency to improve the Commanders tight end depth chart - Hogs Haven
Free agency never really ends. Two free agent players have been signed by the Commanders over the past week (with two other players released to make room for them). First, the team added offensive tackle Jaryd Jones-Smith, and a few days later LB Ferrod Gardner. To make room for them, the team released OT Drew Himmelman and LB Nathan Gerry. Both Jones-Smith and Gardner had just completed stints in the XFL, though both had been under contract to NFL teams prior to that. Jones-Smith actually has 4 NFL starts on his resume, while Gardner was in training camp with the Commanders last year, making this something of a ‘homecoming’ for him.

Team turnover: Which NFL teams have seen the most roster turnover over the last three seasons? - PFF
Highest return rates: From 2021 to 2022, the Los Angeles Rams had the highest return rate at 86.8%. Next were the Washington Commanders, Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions at 81%. Lowest return rates: The Chicago Bears (34%), Las Vegas Raiders at (41%) and Atlanta Falcons (45%) had the lowest return rates over that same stretch. By division: Looking at roster retention by division since 2020, the NFC West had the highest average rate of return (72%), while the AFC South and NFC North had the lowest average rate of return (63%).

The Buccaneers have the saddest QB competition in NFL OTAs - SB Nation
If you were ranking the saddest QB competitions in the NFL this year by how much they depress you, I’m pretty sure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be at the top of the list. The inspiring group of Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask and John Wolford are jockeying for the position of Buccaneers signal caller to begin the 2023 NFL season. Tom Brady is off doing God knows what, and new offensive coordinator Dave Canales is left to work with the three of these QBs. This video from OTAs isn’t encouraging. [BLG Note: Eagles vs. Bucs on MNF in Week 3.]


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