Eagles

Corey Clement awaits phone call after doing all he could to make Eagles

Corey Clement awaits phone call after doing all he could to make Eagles

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.— Corey Clement walked off the MetLife field Thursday night knowing he did everything he could do to win a job.
 
The rest is up to Howie Roseman.
 
"It's like a re-draft," Clement said. "You either get a good phone call or a bad phone call. I've got a great head on my shoulders, and I don't think I'm looking forward to any bad news."
 
Clement ran only four times for 16 yards in the Eagles' preseason finale against the Jets and finished the preseason with a modest 3.8 per-carry average.
 
But over the last three games, he averaged 4.4 yards a pop and gradually was added to more and more special teams units, which is always a good sign for a young player.
 
Donnel Pumphrey was a fourth-round pick and Clement undrafted, but if the roster is based on merit, there'll be a roster spot for the Glassboro native and former Wisconsin Badger.
 
"I feel great," Clement said. "I feel like I'm in a positive spot. I didn't get as many carries as I expected, but I utilized everything on special teams. ... I had a great time out there actually getting more time on special teams, showing (special teams) coach (Dave) Fipp that I can utilize my skills more. It just shows growth. From day one to now, to the end of camp.
 
"I think I left it all out there on the field for the last game, and hopefully I made it as hard as possible for them (to cut me)."
 
Pumphrey averaged just 1.9 yards on 26 carries in the preseason, and his longest carry went five yards. It's hard to imagine the Eagles keeping five running backs — LeGarrette Blount, Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood are the top three — so unless the Eagles find a convenient injury for Pumphrey, they'll likely have to choose between Clement and Pumphrey, the record-setting back from San Diego State.
 
The Eagles haven't released a rookie fourth-round pick in 20 years, since Iowa safety Damien Robinson in 1997. Before that, it was Cal quarterback Dave Barr in 1995.

For the record, Robinson resurfaced with the Buccaneers and in 2000 ranked seventh in the NFL with six interceptions.

Another member of that 1997 draft class, Duce Staley, is now Clement's position coach.
 
"Duce opened up the doors for me," Clement said. "He's allowed me to get within my comfort zone and play as fast as possible. Everything started within the coaching room.
 
"The running backs beside me — Sproles, LeGarrette, Smallwood, Pumphrey and (Byron) Marshall — those guys stuck around me. We all competed and competition brings out the best in us."
 
NFL rosters must be reduced to the regular-season limit by 4 p.m. Saturday. Clement is going to get a call one way or another. His NFL fate will be on the other end of the line.
 
"I never know what they're thinking," he said. "I always want to avoid complacency. Just wanted to go out there and have fun and hopefully get some good news."
 
Bottom line: Do you think you'll make the 53?
 
"Yes, I do," Clement said. "You've always got to show confidence. If I said no, then I'm in the wrong sport. You've got to have confidence within yourself.
 
"I look forward to some great news and a smile from my parents and the (people in the) town of Glassboro, N.J., and Philadelphia as well. ...
 
"I just ... want to thank the coaching staff so much for giving me the opportunity from being an undrafted rookie free agent to possibly making this team."

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

usa-mack-hollins-eagles-bike.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — A few easy choices for once

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Mack Hollins
Roob: Hollins wasn't really a factor later in the season, once Torrey Smith got going, but he did show early in the year what kind of player he can be, notably with that 64-yard TD catch in the second Redskins game. Depending on what the Eagles do about Smith, Hollins should be either the Eagles' third or fourth receiver this fall. Either way, he'll be here, and I expect him to make a big jump in Year 2.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Hollins caught just 16 passes as a rookie and it seemed like he just never started producing the way he seems capable of. Even when Smith struggled, Hollins got more playing time and didn't produce. The good news is he's still young and plays a role on special teams. The Eagles will probably bolster their receiving corps in some way, but if they don't, Hollins will have a shot at starting if Smith is gone next season. 

Verdict: STAYS

Alshon Jeffery
Roob: Jeffery really played better than his stats this year. He made every big catch, caught every big third-down pass, made huge plays in the end zone. Jeffery was a star receiver without a star receiver's stats. His unselfish attitude carried over to the rest of the receivers and throughout the roster. And he did it all with a rotator cuff injury that required post-season surgery. Can't wait to see what Alshon can do healthy.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Jeffery didn't put up eye-popping numbers during the regular season, but if you needed any proof he's a No. 1 receiver, go back and watch Super Bowl LII, when he made that ridiculous catch in the end zone for a huge touchdown. The good thing about Jeffery is he really doesn't care at all about his numbers. There are a lot of diva receivers in the NFL, but Jeffery clearly isn't one of them. All he cared about last year was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and he certainly helped get the Eagles there. 

Verdict: STAYS

Malcolm Jenkins
Roob: Jenkins has so many roles on and off the field — community activist, NFLPA organizer, locker room leader — it's easy to forget just how good a player he is. Jenkins has been here four years and has had four very solid, very consistent, very productive seasons. He made his second Pro Bowl this year and joined Bill Bradley (3) and Dawk (7) as only the third Eagles safety since 1960 to make multiple Pro Bowls. Jenkins is signed to a cap-friendly deal through 2020 and should be an Eagle for many years to come.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: As important as Jenkins is to the Eagles as a safety and defensive back, you could make a legitimate argument that he's even more important to the team as a leader and man. There's a reason he became the guy to follow up Doug Pederson's postgame speeches. He isn't just the leader of the defense; he's the leader of the entire team. And on the field, he's still playing at a really high, Pro Bowl caliber level. He's 30 now but is still signed through 2020 and maybe outside of Fletcher Cox is the Eagles' most important defensive player. 

Verdict: STAYS

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

part6.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles Stay or Go — 2 young linebackers

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro continue our series examining the future of the world champion Eagles.

Darrell Greene
Roob: The Hall of Fame cornerback is now 58 years old and 21 years removed from his last Pro Bowl season with the Redskins. Oh wait … wrong Darrell Green. This is Darrell GREENE, and he's a 6-foot-3, 320-pound guard out of San Diego State who's been on the Eagles' practice squad most of the last two years. The Eagles liked Greene enough to keep him around the last couple years, and unless they see something in Chance Warmack that I missed, Greene has a chance to stick around as a young O-line prospect.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Greene has been around now for the last two seasons. He was without a team for most of 2017; the Eagles didn't bring him back to the practice squad until December. The offensive guard had some real potential coming out of San Diego State, and the Eagles paid him a lot of guaranteed money to sign as an undrafted free agent before 2016. But he's never really impressed them enough to stick around for good. 

Verdict: GOES

Jordan Hicks
Roob: With Hicks, it's always about durability, not ability. Hicks has played more than half a season only once in his three NFL seasons, and since he's under contract for 2018 with a modest $2.068 million cap figure, he's obviously not going anywhere. The question is what the Eagles do with him after 2018 when he's due to become a free agent. Hicks can play. We all know that. He needs to prove this year that he can stay healthy in order to get a big-money deal a year from now.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: Losing Hicks was a problem in 2017 and his absence started showing up late in the season. He's a big-time playmaker. It's a shame he got hurt last year because if he didn't, he'd be in line for a payday. For now, he'll be back in the final year of his four-year rookie contract until he can prove he's the same player he was pre-injury. 

Verdict: STAYS

Kamu Grugier-Hill
Roob: Grugier-Hill must be Howie Roseman's dream. He's signed at the minimum through 2019 but is an awfully valuable member of the roster — a reserve linebacker and emergency kicker and maybe the team's best special teamer. Kamu's not going anywhere.

Verdict: STAYS

Dave: He really doesn't play at all as a linebacker, but Grugier-Hill has become one of the best special teams players in the NFL and had a real chance to be named a Pro Bowler in 2017. He led the team in special teams tackles with 19 last season. He's still young, cheap and is a big part of Dave Fipp's group. 

Verdict: STAYS