Eagles

Gunner's 10 NFL draft thoughts: Eagles have to get plug-and-play guy with 1st pick

Gunner's 10 NFL draft thoughts: Eagles have to get plug-and-play guy with 1st pick

Live draft coverage begins Thursday at 5 p.m. with Philly Sports Talk and continues until midnight on CSN, CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App.

CSN's Derrick Gunn checks in with his 10 thoughts before the NFL draft kicks off in Philadelphia on Thursday night with Round 1.

1. Wouldn't it be great if the NFL draft opened up Thursday night with Sylvester Stallone on top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art steps announcing the first pick in the draft? 

It would be an iconic moment that both Philadelphia and the NFL could own. We can talk all we want about how world class our Art Museum is (and it is!), but let's face it — the NFL didn't choose the Art Museum steps for its world-class art. The league chose it because Rocky made those steps synonymous with Philadelphia.

2. Who dresses some of the soon-to-be millionaire athletes the night they are drafted? Some of the outfits end up looking like a cross between Easter Sunday's best and Halloween.

3. So much has been said about which direction the Eagles will go in this draft, but one thing is crucial: whether the Birds go offense or defense first, it better be a player that can be plugged in and play right now. The development of Carson Wentz goes much further than QB play or a playmaker to throw to. Even on defense, this year's draft will affect both the Eagles' and Wentz's future.

4. I wish the decibel level would be broadcast when Roger Goodell steps onto the stage to open the 2017 NFL draft. With all those loud boos, Arrowhead Stadium's world record noise level could be in jeopardy.

5. I wonder if they are going to have cheesesteaks backstage. If so, how cliché. But I wonder where they would come from: Geno's, Pat's, Tony Luke's, Jim's, Steve's and many more?

6. Think about this … in the last few years, Philly has hosted the Pope, the Democratic National Convention and now the NFL draft. It would be hard to argue that Philadelphia isn't a must-see destination.

7. After the first two rounds of the NFL draft, do we really care about rounds three through seven? I do, but that's because it's my job.

8. I firmly believe that Myles Garrett, the defensive end from Texas A&M, will be the first name announced Thursday night. He will bring some much-needed defensive help to Cleveland. The Browns have been woeful on defense the last several years. Too bad LeBron can't play defense for the Browns — he would be an upgrade. Goodness knows the Browns have screwed up enough first-round picks over the last decade. It's about time they hit on one.

9. Speaking of picks, I think the Eagles go with Corey Davis, the wide receiver from Western Michigan. Here's why: The Eagles invested in Wentz last year. You don't make that investment and not build around him. Howie Roseman said as much when he stated: "We want to build around our quarterback." Davis will be the perfect complementary building block to the Wentz foundation.

10. If you go down to the Ben Franklin Parkway for this year's NFL draft, have fun and enjoy. Things like this don't come around that often. Soak it in. I'll be back at CSN's command headquarters keeping you up to date online and on TV. I hope my boss is catering this thing. (I'm making a request for smoked ribs!)

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

usa-rasul-douglas-eagles.jpg
USA Today Images

Eagles' rookie schools veteran in intense practice

Rasul Douglas made a huge play during the special teams portion of Wednesday's practice. Going 1-on-1 against veteran special teamer Najee Goode, the Eagles' rookie plowed through him and sent Goode to the turf inside the practice bubble. 

Goode bounced up and locked down the next rep, but for a few seconds, there was pure exuberance on the practice field. A bunch of Douglas' teammates ran toward him and celebrated, while coaches gave him kudos. 

A couple hours later, Douglas didn't even remember it. 

"What play?" the rookie asked. 

After making sure he was serious, out came an iPhone to show Douglas this video: 

"Oh, I don't even remember that," he said. 

While Douglas might have been locked in and focused enough to forget about the most exciting play during the open portion of Wednesday's practice, it was the kind of play that got the whole team going. 

Without remembering the specific instance, Douglas rightly guessed that it was his defensive back teammates, who ran over to congratulate him and celebrate. 

"We get so happy when one of us makes a play because we work hard and we know our goals in our room," Douglas said. "And we know our energy transforms and just passes along to other people. You can get somebody energized and they get somebody else energized." 

Head coach Doug Pederson elected to have his team in pads Wednesday in an effort to keep the team's intensity and physicality high as the team gets ready for the NFC Championship Game. 

That play helped. 

"I think Coach Pederson talks about it all the time; match his intensity," linebacker Nate Gerry said. "So when you see something like that, I guess that's matching the intensity. It just kind of sets the tone for practice."

During the Eagles' first-round bye, the team's players council went to Pederson and asked for an extra day in pads. Pederson planned on one leading into the divisional round game against the Falcons, but his veteran leaders didn't want to go an extra week without that intensity, so the Eagles strapped on their pads. 

They did it again last week and they did it again Wednesday. 

All season the Eagles have believed they're going to play the way they practice, so it shouldn't be much of a shocker. Pederson and the Eagles — despite all the hoopla around the championship — tried to treat Wednesday like any other Wednesday. In part, that meant getting the pads on and going through a tough practice. 

"We ain't going to play on Sunday without pads, so you just have keep in tune with what you do," Douglas said. "I think pads are good." 

Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

usa-zach-ertz-eagles-falcons.jpg
USA Today Images

Zach Ertz makes largest jump in NFL jersey sales

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has moved into the top 10 in NFL jersey sales this week, according to national sales figures from Dick’s Sporting Goods.

This week’s Dick’s Jersey Report shows Ertz making the biggest jump in the top 10, moving up 22 spots from No. 29 last week to No. 7 this week.

“There must have been a lot of women’s soccer fans buying jerseys this week,” Ertz said jokingly, referring to his wife Julie, a member of the U.S. Olympic soccer team.

Could be. It’s not like Ertz had a huge game Saturday. He caught three passes for 32 yards in the Eagles’ 15-10 win over the Falcons in the conference semifinal playoff round at the Linc. But he did make his first Pro Bowl this year and finished the season with 74 catches for 824 yards and eight touchdowns.

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs, who caught the miracle last-second pass from Case Keenum to send the Vikings into the NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia on Sunday, also made a huge jump, moving from No. 23 to No. 4.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz remains in the No. 2 position in jersey sales, despite not playing since he tore his ACL Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. Only Tom Brady’s jersey sold better over the past week.

The rest of the top 10 is Rob Gronkowski third, Antonio Brown fifth, Leonard Fournette sixth, T.J. Watt eighth, Julio Jones ninth and Le’Veon Bell 10th.

Wentz remains the top-selling jersey this year, according to Dick’s after finishing last year at No. 3. Tom Brady, the top-selling jersey last year, is No. 2, followed by Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Gronkowski.

There are no Eagles other than Wentz and Ertz in the top 50.