Eagles

2018 NFL draft prospect watch: Donnel Pumphrey's replacement running wild at San Diego State

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2018 NFL draft prospect watch: Donnel Pumphrey's replacement running wild at San Diego State

The Eagles are 1-0 so it seems like a waste of time doing a prospect watch in the midst of a perfect season.

But seriously, even if the Eagles are hoisting the Lombardi trophy at the end of the season, they'll need to draft players in the 2018 draft.

Here are a few players that could fit the Eagles in 2018 and beyond.

Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State, senior (5-11/220)
Donnel Pumphrey's replacement is running wild in the leading role. After going for 197 yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns in Week 1, Penny carried the ball 18 times for 216 yards with a touchdown in a win over Arizona State. He also added four catches for 38 yards and a receiving touchdown. In two games, Penny is averaging a healthy 10.6 yards a carry. He has prototypical running back size with an impressive burst.

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU, junior (6-4/216)
Sutton caught eight passes for 163 yards. Pretty impressive. Oh, and half of those catches were touchdowns. Yes, it was against North Texas, but four touchdowns is four touchdowns. Sutton to me is like 2017 top-10 pick Corey Davis. Coming from a small school could hurt him, but his route running and production will be too great to ignore.

Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson, junior (6-5/305)
Hyatt helped lead No. 3 Clemson in a slugfest win over No. 13 Auburn. Hyatt doesn't necessarily fit the physical profile of an NFL tackle, but man, can he play. He's been a starter for Clemson since his freshman year in 2015 — including starting two national championship games — so he's got plenty of experience. What he lacks physically he makes up for in savvy, quick hands and toughness. Just watch his game last season against Alabama. That defense threw a variety of talented players at him and he was excellent.

Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech, junior (6-5/236)
Edmunds was all over the place against Delaware, recording 14 tackles, 1½ sacks and a forced fumble. The junior is extremely aggressive and is always playing the game 100 miles an hour. That will cause him to be overaggressive at times, but he has decent instincts so his play recognition and reaction time should get only better. In the current climate of the NFL, it's good to have a 'backer like Edmunds that can run with tight ends and running backs.

Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC, senior (6-2/240)
Like Edmunds, Nwosu was everywhere in last Saturday's win over Stanford. He had four tackles, a sack and, most impressively, five passes defensed. Nwosu took over Su'a Cravens' role for the Trojans as a general wreaker of havoc. At 240, he definitely sports more of a linebacker build than Cravens and ultimately his position in the NFL could be as a 3-4 OLB.

Kyzir White, S, West Virginia, senior (6-2/216)
As a junior college transfer in 2016, White proved he could play a physical brand of football. He played a hybrid OLB/safety role for the Mountaineers. This season, White is evidently out to prove that he can do more than just deliver big hits. He collected two interceptions in West Virginia's blowout win over ECU. I'd love for the Eagles to draft a hybrid-type player — like I thought maybe Nathan Gerry could be — and White would add some physicality to the Eagles' back end.

Eagles use dominant second half to blow out Cowboys

Eagles use dominant second half to blow out Cowboys

ARLINGTON, Texas — There was no fiery halftime speech. There were no lineup changes. There weren’t even any major adjustments. The Eagles went into the locker room Sunday night at halftime flat and rusty. They came out unstoppable.
 
“It shows we're resilient,” Carson Wentz said. “We knew coming into the locker room at halftime that we left a lot out there. We knew that we're much better than that and we had to go execute. It shows that we have a lot of believe in each other and we can get the job done.”
 
The Eagles couldn't do much right in the first half and couldn't do much wrong in the second half.
 
"We were positive," guard Stefen Wisniewski said after the Eagles had finished off a 37-9 destruction of the Cowboys at AT&T Stadium (see Roob's observations). "No one is going to get our heads down.
 
"We know we’ve got a lot of talent on this offense. It’s one of the best offenses in the league. Even if someone slows us down for a little while, we’re not going to panic. We’re just going to keep believing in what we do, keep swinging, just keep believing it’s going to work and it did.” 
 
First half: They scored seven points.
Second half: They scored 30 points.
 
First half: They gained 115 yards.
Second half: They gained 268 yards.
 
First half: Their running backs gained 25 yards
Second half: Their running backs gained 202 yards.
 
A different team.
 
“We just decided to run the ball,” Lane Johnson said.
 
“The first series (of the game), we ran the ball and got a touchdown. Then we got away from it a little bit. We came out the second half and ran the ball right at ‘em, and they didn’t have an answer.”
 
The Eagles outscored the Cowboys, 30-0, in the second half, turning a two-point deficit into their eighth consecutive win. At 9-1, the Eagles have not only the best record in the NFL but a four-game lead in the NFC East with six games to go.
 
This was the first time in franchise history the Eagles have scored 30 second-half points after going into halftime trailing. It’s only the fifth time they’ve scored seven or fewer first-half points and 30 or more second-half points (see breakdown).
 
“We were kind of a little bit asleep in the first half,” Jay Ajayi said. “We woke up in the second half, got to our run game and just dominated after that.”
 
The Eagles finished the first half with five straight drives that netted five yards or less. They opened the second half with touchdown drives of 75, 90 and 85 yards.
 
In the first half, the Eagles didn’t have a running play longer than seven yards. In the second half? Ajayi had a 71-yarder, LeGarrette Blount had a 30-yarder and Corey Clement had an 11-yarder for a TD.
 
The Eagles’ backs averaged 3.1 yards per carry before halftime and 8.4 after halftime.
 
“We just had to stay relaxed," Clement said. "We knew the game plan that was worked up by coach (Doug) Pederson was going eventually pan out."
 
Wentz didn’t have a huge day, but he didn’t need one (see report card). In the second half, he was 7 for 9 for 88 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and a couple two-point conversion passes.
 
“We were just off a little bit in the passing game (in the first half),” head coach Doug Pederson said. “You could see a little bit of the frustration with (Wentz). I just keep talking to him and saying, 'Hey we just have to keep with the game plan. Trust the game plan. Trust the guys. We'll get this thing fixed,' and (he) just did that.
 
“Just kept shooting. Kept dialing up throws. Wanted to get him on the edge a little bit, so we moved the pocket some. That also can help the quarterback get in a little bit of a rhythm but just stayed the course.”
 
How rare is it for the Cowboys to lead a game at halftime and then allow 30 or more second-half points? It's now happened four times in franchise history.
 
The last time the Cowboys were shut out for a second half while allowing 30 or more points? It was 1962.
 
“The biggest thing was just staying with the game plan,” Wentz said. “They made plays and we didn't later in that first half. We just had to stay with what we knew what we could do. Execute better and stay out of some of those 3rd-and-long situations."
 
Maybe it had something to do with the bye week. The Eagles sure opened the game like a team that hadn't played in two weeks.
 
"I hate using the term rusty, but we weren't playing up to our ability in the first half," Johnson said. "Came back in the second half and just dominated."

Kamu Grugier-Hill proves everyone wrong as … Eagles' kicker

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Kamu Grugier-Hill proves everyone wrong as … Eagles' kicker

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kamu Grugier-Hill's career as an NFL kicker got off to a rather inauspicious start. 

After Jake Elliott left the game with a concussion, the linebacker began to warm up his right leg on the Eagles' sideline in the first half of the 37-9 win over the Cowboys (see breakdown)

His first kick sailed wide right, missing the net and soaring into the stands. 

"Oh yeah," fellow linebacker Najee Goode said with a smile. "He definitely hit somebody. He hit a fan and the fan stood up."

Before that practice kick, punter Donnie Jones offered to move the net closer to Grugier-Hill, but the emergency kicker declined. 

That was a mistake. 

"I was like, 'Oh this is going to be a little rough,'" Grugier-Hill said about that miss. "After that, I kind of got a hold of it."

After that first bad attempt, Grugier-Hill settled down and actually had a decent showing as a kicker (see Roob's observations). He practiced some in the dark during a Jerry Jones ceremony at halftime. 

He didn't attempt any field goals or extra points, but he did kick off after four touchdowns and even got a touchback on one of them. 

Grugier-Hill, 23, practiced kicking just one time this season. Chris Maragos had been the Eagles' emergency kicker until he went down for the season with a knee injury. Fipp made Grugier-Hill practice it once. 

Despite practice time, Grugier-Hill was confident in his kicking abilities. He played soccer through sophomore year in high school and said he was an All-Conference and second-team All-State punter in high school in Hawaii. 

"I knew he could kick," cornerback Jalen Mills said. "We call him the Flying Hawaiian. He can do it all."

The Eagles were able to joke about Grugier-Hill's kicking prowess in the winning locker room, but for a while, they were in a precarious situation. 

Coming out after halftime, they were trailing 9-7 and had to play the rest of what looked like a close game without a kicker. 

Goode said it was obviously a blow, but noted the Eagles' offense was able to help out because they can put up points (see report card)

It did change the game because the Eagles didn't try any field goals after Elliott left the game and they went for two on all four of their second-half touchdowns. They converted on three of four. 

"I don't even know if everybody on offense knew right away," Carson Wentz said. "I was in the know, but I don't even think everyone knew. It is what it is. We executed I thought pretty well on those two-point plays. That's why you have a lot of those plays dialed up. You don't think too much about it." 

While the Eagles didn't announce when Elliott suffered his concussion, it's likely it happened on the opening kickoff. Return man Ryan Switzer took the kickoff 61 yards, but Elliott was there to greet him on the sideline to help prevent a touchdown. It looked like Elliott took a shot to the head. 

He continued to play, but after missing a 34-yard attempt was taken inside to get checked out. 

After Elliott went inside, Grugier-Hill began to practice kicking. It was an unusual situation for him, but he claimed he wasn't nervous. 

"Everyone expected me to do bad anyways," he said, "so I [didn't] have anything to lose."