Eagles

Didinger: Chance Warmack could rediscover dominant form with Eagles

Didinger: Chance Warmack could rediscover dominant form with Eagles

Give Howie Roseman high marks for his moves on Day One of free agency. He did some pretty slick maneuvering for a guy who didn't have a lot of money to spend and multiple holes to fill.

Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith are the talk of the town today and justly so. It is abundantly clear the Eagles' mission this offseason is to build around quarterback Carson Wentz and with the acquisition of Jeffery, the best receiver on the market, and Smith, a legitimate deep threat, they have begun the process.

But don't overlook the other signing. Chance Warmack could be an impact player as well.

When Warmack played at the University of Alabama, he was a dominant force. At 6-foot-2 and 325 pounds, he was the best guard in college football and it wasn't even close. I had him graded highest -- 9.53 on a 10-point scale -- among all offensive linemen in the 2013 draft. That included three tackles -- Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel and Lane Johnson -- who were among the top four picks overall.

Guards are seldom drafted high but Warmack was. He was selected 10th by Tennessee and, to be frank, his four seasons with the Titans were disappointing. Perhaps it was moving from left guard, where he excelled in college, to right guard in the NFL. But when I saw him with the Titans he didn't look like the same player. Maybe it was the system, maybe he was slow adjusting to the pro game. Whatever, he wasn't the same confident mauler I saw at Alabama.

But there is reason to believe Warmack can recapture his old form with the Eagles. That's because Jeff Stoutland is the Eagles' offensive line coach and if anyone knows Warmack's strengths it is Stoutland, an excellent teacher who coached the O-line at Alabama. My guess is since the Eagles have Brandon Brooks at right guard, they will move Warmack to left guard, his natural position, and hope that by reuniting him with his former college coach it will unlock his potential.

When Warmack was at Alabama, I spoke to a long-time fan of the Crimson Tide. He said, "Chance Warmack is the best lineman we've had here since John Hannah." Hannah, you'll recall, was a 10-time All-Pro with the New England Patriots. Sports Illustrated once put him on the cover with the title "The Best Offensive Lineman of All-Time." Guards rarely achieve such acclaim but Hannah did. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Class of 1991.

That's not to say Warmack's career will follow the same trajectory. It certainly didn't in Tennessee. But it is clear he needed a change and it would seem the Eagles represent a great opportunity for a 25-year-old lineman with such a formidable skill set.

I went back to my 2013 scouting report on Warmack and reviewed my notes.

Thick build, natural power...

Dominates at the point of attack...

Strong base, heavyweight punch...

Can pull and block on the second level...

Surprisingly agile for a big man...

Intimidator...

I had 25 pluses in all and only a few negatives, most of them the nit-picking variety. I noted Warmack seemed to tire late in warm weather games so I thought he might need to work harder on conditioning. He was fooled every so often on a line stunt or delayed blitz but mostly it was correctable stuff. Everything else on his college tape was impressive.

To me, several things stood out. One, he finished plays. He didn't just screen off defenders; he put them on the ground. He kept his hands inside, not extended so he was rarely penalized. It was an indication of a well-coached player, something that reflects on Stoutland as well. Warmack was never on the ground. He was always on his feet. He wasn't lunging or diving at shoetops. He had great balance and moved better than his 40-yard dash time (5.49) would suggest.

Signing Warmack one year after signing Brooks indicates a new philosophy for the Eagles' offense. This coaching staff wants more power up front. By retaining Jason Peters (330 pounds), signing Brooks (335) and Warmack (325) to go along with Lane Johnson (320), the Eagles are clearly going to a more physical O-line which raises the question of how soon will center Jason Kelce be giving way to Isaac Seumalo? (My guess is pretty soon.)

For a while now the Eagles have struggled in short yardage. Their O-line couldn't knock the other team off the ball. Adding muscle in the trenches is the quickest way to rectify that.

This was the final entry in my 2013 scouting report on Chance Warmack: Has Pro Bowl tools.

We'll see now if that's still true.

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

Despite raising bar in 2017, Philadelphia won't host 2018 NFL draft

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Despite raising bar in 2017, Philadelphia won't host 2018 NFL draft

The City of Philadelphia did an incredible job hosting the 2017 draft.

And it still wasn't enough to keep the event. 

The NFL announced the 2018 draft will be held in the Dallas Cowboys' home, AT&T Stadium. Dallas — or technically Arlington, Texas — will be the third city to host the draft in three years, following Chicago and Philly. 

It has been rumored for months that Jerry Jones had his city as the favorite to host the next draft. Turns out those rumors were right. 

Good luck topping what Philly did in 2017 though. 

“Philadelphia raised the bar by taking the Draft to another level, and this new opportunity in Dallas will enable us to continue the event’s evolution and grow it even further,” commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We are grateful to the Dallas Cowboys, the cities of Arlington, Dallas, and Frisco, and the Dallas Sports Commission for their leadership in turning this vision into reality.” 

The 2018 draft will begin on April 26. The NFL's release said the draft site will include the field, stands and outdoor plazas. 

According to the NFL, at the 2017 draft, a record 250,000 fans attended the three-day event along the Ben Franklin Parkway. The estimated economic impact for the city was $94.9 million. 

“The Draft was a family-friendly event for Philadelphians and visitors across the country,” Mayor Jim Kenney said. “I thank all of our public and private partners, especially the City employees and first responders, who made this event a success and allowed Philly to shine in the national spotlight once again.”

Aside from the numbers, the draft in Philly was aesthetically pleasing. The television shots from the Parkway were gorgeous and the vibe around the entire event was special. 

Things went so well, NFL senior vice president of events Peter O'Reilly said the draft in Philly was a "resounding success." 

It won't be coming back in 2018, but the next time it does, the city will be ready.