Eagles

2018 NFL draft prospect watch: Plenty of RBs, OTs that can help Eagles next season

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2018 NFL draft prospect watch: Plenty of RBs, OTs that can help Eagles next season

It's just Week 2, but the debate over the Eagles' running game is already in midseason form.

With two veterans in Darren Sproles and LeGarrette Blount and a lot of uncertainty behind them, it's worth taking a look at some of the running back prospects that could be available in 2018.

And while we're on the subject of the running game and aging veterans, it's never too early for the Eagles to start looking for their right tackle of the future. They'll be in luck with this year's class.

Let's take a look at how those prospects fared.

Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State, senior (5-11/220)
If this kid wasn't on the national radar already, he's clearly put himself on there now. Donnel Pumphrey's replacement shined once again, this time in the Aztecs' 20-17 upset over Stanford. Penny rushed for 175 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown. Amazingly, this game knocked his yards per carry below 10. Penny now has 588 yards total in the first three games of the season. And it's not just his numbers that are impressive. He has great size, speed and vision. He's a sleeper... for now.

Bryce Love, RB, Stanford, junior (5-10/196)
Stanford's loss can't be pinned on Love who ran the ball 13 times for 184 yards and both Cardinal touchdowns. Unlike Penny, Love's yards per carry is still over 10 at a ridiculous 12.2. He's undersized but he's crazy explosive. He hasn't done much from a production standpoint in the passing game but this guy is a nightmare to tackle in space.

Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama, junior (6-2/235)
Scarbrough is a bruising back with unbelievable size and surprising speed. He wasn't needed much in Alabama's 41-23 win over Colorado State, but the junior back ran for 66 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown. Scarbrough has just 33 carries in the Crimson Tide's first three games. I imagine that number goes up as Alabama's schedule gets tougher.

Damien Harris, RB, Alabama, junior (5-11/221)
Harris isn't as highly touted as Scarbrough but may be more intriguing. Harris carried the ball 11 times for 53 yards and a touchdown. He actually carried the load for most of the season last year, rushing for 1,040 yards and 7.2 yards a carry. Harris is more versatile and offers more in the passing game.

Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan, senior (6-6/330)
Okorafor is what you'd call a road grader. He's big, strong and nasty. He's spent the last two seasons as Western Michigan's left tackle. For now, Okorafor is kind of a sleeper but could sneak up draft boards as the season goes on. Especially now that Texas tackle Connor Williams, arguably the best OT in college football, appears to be out for the season.

Trey Adams, OT, Washington, junior (6-8/327)
Luckily for a team like the Eagles that may be looking for a young tackle, there will plenty of them in this draft. The initial thing that stands out about Adams is his size, but he's surprisingly nimble for such a large human. He does an excellent job getting to the second level and sealing off blocks. The only concern I'd have is the system Adams currently plays in. The Huskies' offense is not a pro style and focuses on screens and creative ways to get the ball in the hands of some of their explosive playmakers.

Why the Eagles will (and why they won't) finish as NFC's top seed

Why the Eagles will (and why they won't) finish as NFC's top seed

All of you who predicted before the season that the Eagles would open with five wins in six games, raise your hand.
 
Put your hands down, liars.
 
If you made that prediction and acted on it, you're likely not reading this. You're probably taping the next episode of Island Hunters.
 
The Eagles haven't finished the regular season as the No. 1 seed in the NFC since 2004. The landscape can change any one of thousands of ways over the next 11 weeks. While I'm confident the Birds will return to the postseason for the first time since 2013, they're gunning for that No. 1 spot. Here are the reasons why they will, and why they won't, be atop the NFC standings after Week 17.
 
WILL
 
1. Carson Wentz

A little more than 13 months ago, we had no idea what we had in the #2 pick in the 2016 draft. Since then, he's shown that not only can he lead an offense, but he has grown as an NFL passer by leaps and bounds. He's the best QB in the game on 3rd down this season (130.5 rating), and it's no coincidence he's the favorite to win NFL MVP.
 
2. Lane Johnson
Wentz's performance, both last year and this year, can be directly linked to whether or not Johnson is protecting him. During Johnson's 10-game suspension for a second PED violation in 2016, the Eagles went 2-8. With him, they were 5-1 last year, 4-1 this year. It's impossible to undersell his role in the offense's efficiency.
 
3. Doug Pederson
If there are 70,000 fans who signed a petition to ban NFL referee Pete Morelli from working Eagles games, there should be at least three times that many that should write apology letters to the Eagles head coach. So many wanted to run him out of town for going for it on 4th & 8 against the Giants, but did you applaud him for calling the PERFECT play -- a 19-yard out route to Alshon Jeffery with seven seconds left -- a play that took EXACTLY six seconds. Since then, how many times have you screamed at your big screen over a Pederson mistake? I'm guessing not many. Give the guy some props.
 
4. The NFC is garbage
Who is going to beat them out for the #1 seed? The Giants are done. The Packers are done. They're two games in front of nearly half of the conference with ten games left. The way I see it, there aren't many teams that can catch them. Who's gonna do it... Case Keenum? Jared Goff?
 
5. You guys
If Carson Wentz has been the most pleasant surprise of the 2017 season, Eagles fans are a close second. The team opened the season with four road games in the first six weeks, but thanks to #EaglesNation, the more recent two away from the Linc sounded like home games. I defy you to name a fanbase that travels better than this one.
 
WHY THEY WON'T
 
1. The Cornerbacks
For a position group held together by chewing gum and chicken wire, they've been alright. But for every big play the corners have made, it seems like they've allowed two. They had better hope Ronald Darby returns to 100 percent sooner rather than later and that Patrick Robinson continues to find his footing in this secondary, or they'll face an uphill climb.
 
2. Doug Pederson
Yes, I mentioned he's been impressive as a play-caller, as well as the glue that holds the team together. But am I the only one waiting for the other shoe to drop in a close game? He's starting to win me over, but I can't be alone among those not completely sold on Doug.
 
3. The New Receivers
Last year, Nelson Agholor couldn't catch. This year, Torrey Smith can't catch. And for all that Wentz has done this season, it doesn't seem like the chemistry is there with Alshon Jeffery quite yet. Jeffery and Smith have been thrown to 73 times through six games. They have 38 catches (52.1 percent). That percentage must go up.
 
4. The schedule
To get to 5-1, the Eagles fought through some tough games. But December awaits. (Insert Game of Thrones reference.) They'll play three straight road games, including back-to-back West Coast games against the Seahawks and Rams. Throw in a Christmas night tilt with the Raiders and a New Year's Eve against a Cowboys team that could really need a win, and the season's final month will be anything but a cakewalk.
 
5. Chaos theory
The same thing that got us here could be a big reason it ends here. No one predicted the Eagles' 5-1 start. No one predicted the Giants' 0-5 start, or the Cowboys' 2-3 start. One thing we know, is that there's quite a bit we don't know. What I do know, is that I'm here for all of it. Eleven weeks to go ... hold on to your butts.

Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

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Eagles LB Joe Walker named Ed Block Courage Award winner

Eagles linebacker Joe Walker, who missed all of last year with a serious knee injury, has been voted by his teammates this year's Eagles recipient of the prestigious 2017 Ed Block Courage Award. 

Walker joins such hallowed names in Eagles history as Andre Waters, Kevin Turner, Correll Buckhalter, Chad Lewis and Jason Avant in receiving the award, given annually to a player on each team who shows a commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage on and off the field.   

Walker, a seventh-round pick out of Oregon in 2016, suffered a knee injury the second week of training camp last summer but bounced back to make the 53-man roster this year and has played in all six games for the 5-1 Eagles.

With Jordan Hicks hurt in the second half Thursday night in Charlotte, Walker played a career-high 13 snaps on defense against the Panthers. He's played 53 special teams snaps this year.

Ed Block was the Colts’ trainer from 1954 through 1977 after earning a Purple Heart in the Army under General Patton in the tank corps in World War II.

The 32 Ed Block Courage Award winners will be honored at the annual Ed Block Courage banquet in Baltimore this spring.

For more information on the program, go to www.EdBlock.org.

Here is a list of all the Eagles’ Ed Block Courage Award winners since the inception of the program in 1984: 
 
2017     Joe Walker
2016     Nolan Carroll
2015     Fletcher Cox
2014     Jeremy Maclin
2013     Jason Kelce
2012     Colt Anderson
2011     Mike Patterson
2010     Jason Avant
2009     Michael Vick
2008     Jon Dorenbos
2007     Montae Reagor
2006     Jerome McDougle
2005     Chad Lewis
2004     Derrick Burgess
2003     Correll Buckhalter
2002     Shawn Barber
2001     Duce Staley & Tommy Brasher
2000     Cecil Martin
1999     Mike Mamula
1998     Bobby Taylor
1997     Rhett Hall
1996     Kevin Turner
1995     Charlie Garner
1994     Fred Barnett
1993     Andre Waters
1992     Jerome Brown
1991     David Alexander
1990     Ron Solt
1989     Mike Quick
1988     Wes Hopkins
1987     Gerry Feehery
1986     Jody Schultz
1985     Ron Jaworski
1984     John Spagnola