Eagles

Hudrick's 2017 seven-round Eagles mock draft 1.0

Hudrick's 2017 seven-round Eagles mock draft 1.0

Paul Hudrick's first seven-round mock draft for the Eagles in 2017 is here. In his NFL mock draft 1.0, he had the Eagles taking Washington corner Sidney Jones. With Jones suffering an Achilles injury during his pro day, the Eagles go in a different direction.

First round (14th overall (from Vikings)): Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee, 6-3/259
Yes, I'm aware corner may be a bigger need, but with Washington's Sidney Jones suffering a torn Achilles, Barnett is the best player available that would also fit a need. Barnett accumulated 32 sacks in his three seasons at Tennessee. He could be the type of player that registers double-digit sacks consistently on the next level. Last I checked, the Eagles don't have a player like that on their roster.

Barnett isn't the twitchy, physical specimen of a pass rusher we've seen drafted recently. He wins more with brute strength and violent hands. He's not just a one-trick pony either. He defends the run well, setting the edge while also making plays on the ball carrier (52 tackles for a loss in his career). He tries to make up for his lack of twitch by anticipating snap counts and will get flagged for the occasional neutral zone infraction. That's something Jim Schwartz and the Eagles will likely live with.

A popular notion is that the Eagles have to take a corner, but that type of thinking has gotten them into the trouble in the past. To grab a potentially elite pass rusher at 14 is excellent value. Much more than say, a certain Florida State running back.

Second round (43rd overall) Fabian Moreau, CB, UCLA, 6-0/206
In the second round, the Eagles get their corner. In a different draft, Moreau might be a first-round talent. In a stupid deep class, he slips to the second round. Moreau missed most of 2015 with a broken foot so he was actually a redshirt senior in 2016. He played and started every game this season and excelled. His 4.35 40 at the combine matched what you see on tape.

The obvious knock on Moreau will be his lack of interceptions. He picked off just three passes in 38 career games. More importantly, Moreau is excellent at mirroring receivers and has the makeup speed to not get beat deep. He's learning more and more how to use his athleticism. He'll give Schwartz plenty to work with. My knock on him would be that he needs to get a little stronger to contend with some of the bigger, more physical receivers in the NFL.

Third round (74th overall): Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado, 6-3/198
Again, with such a deep corner class, players are bound to get lost in the shuffle. With how great Washington's secondary was this year, Colorado's fantastic back end might have been overlooked in the Pac 12. Witherspoon played on the other side of Chidobe Awuzie, arguably the best corner in the conference not named Sidney Jones. Tested frequently on the opposite side, Witherspoon only had one pick but registered 19 passes defended. Proof that he was tested often and passed those tests. 

Witherspoon has prototypical size, but he also showed he can compete with faster, quicker receivers like Washington's explosive John Ross. I see Moreau and Witherspoon as an intriguing tandem. Neither player is excellent in the run game, so be prepared for a missed tackle or two. But before you moan and groan, remember that a corner's primary function is to cover receivers. Both of these guys do that well.

Fourth round (119th overall): Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech, 5-11/199
Henderson is explosive and quick. His 40 time wasn't elite (4.46) but he shows plenty of game speed. He's coming out early after having a monster junior season, hauling in 82 catches for 1,535 yards and 19 receiving touchdowns. He's also a dangerous kick returner, taking two returns to the house last season. 

He's small and his level of competition wasn't great. He's not the greatest route runner either, but he'll have time to develop behind Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Jordan Matthews. With Matthews not having a contract for next season, Henderson could be an ideal replacement for a more traditional slot. Henderson is excellent in the screen game and at making people miss in tight quarters.

Fourth round (139th overall (from Browns)): Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson, 6-0/215
Gallman seemed to be the player lost in the shuffle in Clemson's star-studded offense. He had a huge sophomore season running for 1,514 yards on 282 carries. His numbers dipped a little in 2016 because the team didn't want to overuse him. He's got the ideal size and a nose for the end zone (30 rushing TDs last two seasons combined). 

The knocks on Gallman are his lack of footwork and patience. From watching him, I'd say these concerns are slightly overblown. The Eagles are lacking a back with his physical mentality and toughness. He also has decent hands out of the backfield. 

Fifth round (155th overall): Tanzel Smart, DT, Tulane, 6-1/296
It's always tougher to project guys from smaller schools to the NFL, but Smart certainly produced at Tulane. Smart's numbers went up every season. During his senior year, Smart registered 5 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss. His most impressive game was probably against Houston, who was ranked for a good chunk of the season. In the loss, Smart recorded 1 1/2 sacks, 3 1/2 tackles for a loss and seven total tackles. 

Smart is a little smaller and will get pushed around a bit by bigger guards. He's better playing more of an attacking style. He struggles when he's asked to hold blockers up. With Bennie Logan headed to Kansas City, the Eagles seem committed to using the 327-pound Beau Allen on early downs. Smart could provide another option for Schwartz to get an inside push on third down.

Sixth round (194th overall): Jalen Robinette, WR, Air Force, 6-3/220
Coming from an offense that runs a ton of read option, Robinette still managed to post 959 yards on 35 catches. That's an insane 27.4 yards a catch. He also caught six of the Falcons' 14 touchdown receptions. Robinette benefitted greatly from play action, seeing a lot of man coverage and using his size and strong hands to outmuscle defensive backs for the ball.

I'm not sure if Robinette can run good routes. I'm not sure if Air Force even has a route tree. Behind more accomplished receivers, Robinette will have the opportunity to learn the nuances of the position under new receivers coach Mike Groh. His 40 time wasn't impressive (4.62), but his ball skills and size are intriguing.

Seventh round (230th overall): Tedric Thompson, S, Colorado, 6-0/204
Another part of Colorado's underrated secondary, Thompson was tied for third in the country with seven interceptions. He's a ballhawking safety with cover skills and strong instincts. 

He's not physically imposing or a big hitter. Colorado had him sort of interchange between strong and free safety. In the NFL, he'd be much better served to be a centerfielder and showing off his ball skills. Thompson falls here because of his physical profile, but his seven interceptions weren't an accident. The Eagles used a third safety a lot, having Jaylen Watkins come in with Rodney McLeod while Malcolm Jenkins went down to the slot. Having a player like Thompson out there could lead to more turnovers.

NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

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NFL Notes: Raiders' Marshawn Lynch suspended one game for shoving official

NEW YORK — Oakland running back Marshawn Lynch was suspended for one game without pay by the NFL on Friday for shoving a game official during the Raiders' victory over Kansas City on Thursday night.

Lynch was ejected from the game after he shoved line judge Julian Mapp.

The scuffle started when Oakland quarterback Derek Carr was hit late on a run by Kansas City's Marcus Peters midway through the second quarter. Raiders offensive linemen Kelechi Osemele and Donald Penn immediately confronted Peters, and Lynch sprinted onto the field from the bench to join the fray. Mapp tried to break up the fight, but Lynch pushed him and grabbed his jersey. Lynch also got a personal foul.

NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote a letter to Lynch, saying:

"You made deliberate physical contact with one of our game officials as he was diffusing an active confrontation between players. You were disqualified for your inappropriate and unsportsmanlike actions. Your conduct included pushing the game official and grabbing his jersey. ... You were not directly involved in the active confrontation that the game official was attempting to diffuse, nor were you a participant in the play that initiated the confrontation. You were the only player from either team who ran from the sideline to midfield to insert himself into a situation in which he was not directly involved."

Lynch will be eligible to return to Oakland's active roster on Oct. 30, the day after the Raiders' game against the Buffalo Bills (see full story). 

Packers place QB Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve
GREEN BAY, Wis. — The Green Bay Packers placed Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve Friday after the quarterback had surgery on his broken collarbone.

Rodgers would be eligible to return from injured reserve after eight weeks and able to return to practice after six weeks. But coach Mike McCarthy has said that there is no timeline for Rodgers' return, and that the two-time NFL MVP might miss the rest of the season.

"Everything went very well is my understanding talking with (team doctor Pat McKenzie), and he's recovering," McCarthy said Friday morning. The Packers did not practice Friday.

The procedure on Rodgers was done Thursday outside of Green Bay. He was hurt in the first quarter in a 23-10 loss last weekend to the Minnesota Vikings.

Rodgers posted an Instagram message early Friday thanking well-wishers for their "love, support, thoughts and prayers" in a photo of himself in a hospital bed (see full story).

Injured QB Jameis Winston will start against Bills
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston tested his injured throwing shoulder in practice and will start Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills.

Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter made the announcement Friday after the third-year quarterback worked with the first-team offense for the first time since spraining his right shoulder during last week's 38-33 loss at Arizona.

Winston was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday, taking "mental reps" while backup Ryan Fitzpatrick prepared to face the Bills.

"Jameis threw the ball well today," Koetter said following the team's hour-long practice at One Buccaneer Place. "Jameis is our starter. He will be out there."

Winston has made 37 consecutive starts after entering the NFL as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft (see full story). 

Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

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Getting over gut-punch loss of Chris Maragos no easy task for Eagles

It was late last Thursday night in Charlotte, well after the celebrating in the locker room subsided and well after most of his teammates had already gotten on the bus to take them to the airport. 

Eagles special teams captain Chris Maragos, with a heavy brace on his right leg, emerged from the visitors' locker room and limped through the cement bowels of Bank of America Stadium. The pissed off look plastered on his face as he left the field after injuring his right knee in the fourth quarter had given way to a look of resignation. He knew. 

Maragos was officially placed on injured reserve Thursday, which means the Eagles will have to continue what they hope will be a magical season without one of their unquestioned leaders. 

"It was rough, man," said fellow special teamer Najee Goode, who collided with Maragos on the play that injured him. "That's my dawg. Chris is a beast. He brings a lot of energy to special teams. But we're going to replace him. He's still going to be there, making sure we do what we need to do." 

If any team is prepared to get over the loss of a player like Maragos it might be these Eagles. They've already survived — thrived, really — after losing Darren Sproles, Ronald Darby, Rodney McLeod, Fletcher Cox, Jordan Hicks, Lane Johnson and Wendell Smallwood for varying lengths of time. 

But like when they lost Sproles for the season, the Eagles are going to miss more than just Maragos' on-field play. He's also the captain of Dave Fipp's excellent special teams' group. Maragos, one of five captains on the team, said at the time he was voted a captain that it meant more to him than any other accomplishment in his career. 

And that's saying a lot. Maragos' story is pretty amazing. He was originally a wide receiver in college until then-Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema saw Maragos track down a DB after an interception and moved him to defense on the spot. Eventually, Maragos worked his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent and eventually won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks before coming to Philly. 

Early in his time with the Birds, Maragos actually played a significant role on defense. But when the new coaching staff arrived, it was clear his role would be on special teams, so he threw himself back into it. And he's been incredible. 

Last November, Maragos signed a three-year, $6 million extension that goes through the 2019 season and was already off to a good start in 2017. He led the Eagles in special teams snaps with 126 (74 percent) and was tied for the team lead in special teams tackles with six. 

How the heck do you replace that? 

"I don't think you'll ever be able to fill Chris' role," tight end and special teamer Trey Burton said. "He plays such a big role on special teams. He was able to do so much, but we're going to have to do something. Everybody's going to have to step up."

Head coach Doug Pederson said it will be "tough" to replace Maragos, but the team will probably do it with a committee approach at first. That means more Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins. Even recently signed draft pick Nate Gerry will have a role if he's active. 

Perhaps the bigger loss will be Maragos' leadership. He's one of just five players on the team who has won a Super Bowl, and he's always happy to answer any questions his teammates have — about football or life. 

In his absence, Goode said he and Burton will attempt to fulfill that leadership void as much as possible. 

"It's really tough," Burton said. "That's my best friend. Him not being here, being around as much. It's tough for him too because he's out of the loop on things and doesn't really know. He would love to be here and in meetings and stuff but he's not going to be able to."

While Maragos won't be around for a while, Burton expects him to visit more once he's healed more. And he'll certainly be watching. 

"Heart's heavy, but I lift my eyes," Maragos tweeted Thursday. "I'll miss being out there with my brothers but I promise you this, I'll be back stronger!"

That's good news for 2018, but the Eagles will have to go the rest of the season without him. Maragos apparently had a message for his teammates. 

"He knows injuries happen," Goode said. "We play full speed and that's something that comes with the game. His whole thing — Chris is a great team dude — was that we keep propelling and keep getting better for the future."