Eagles

Possible kicker options for Eagles to replace injured Caleb Sturgis

Possible kicker options for Eagles to replace injured Caleb Sturgis

Word broke Monday after Doug Pederson’s press conference that kicker Caleb Sturgis is expected to miss several weeks with a quad strain in his plant leg.

The Eagles signed Sturgis on Sept. 28, 2015 following a season-ending injury to Cody Parkey and he's been a solid addition ever since, eventually beating out Parkey for the job. With the Eagles, Sturgis has converted 56 of 66 field goal attempts — with a long of 55 yards — and 66 of 70 extra points.

There were 14 NFL kickers cut by NFL teams this preseason. Here’s a look at all 14 and who could be available for the Birds:

Mike Meyer — Meyer was waived by the Falcons and has been a member of two practice squads, in 2015 and 2017, but has yet to play in in NFL game.

Roberto Aguayo — A highly-publicized second-round selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2016, Aguayo was waived by both the Bucs and the Bears within a month. The three-time All-American for Florida State has gone 22 for 31 in his NFL career.

Jake Elliott — A fifth-round pick this season by the Cincinnati Bengals out of the University of Memphis, Elliott lost the job to veteran kicker Randy Bullock out of camp. The 2015 All-American connected on 21 of 26 field goals for the Tigers in 2016 and hit a program-record 81 during his career.

Cody Parkey — The former Eagles kicker, who was waived by the Cleveland Browns, has been signed by the Miami Dolphins. He's not available. 

Nick Novak — Novak is the most experienced kicker on the list. Since 2005, Novak has appeared in 111 NFL games with five different teams and has made 82.8 percent of his career attempts. Novak went 35 for 41 with a long of 53 yards for the Houston Texans in 2016 but was waived in favor of Ka'imi Fairbairn.

Sam Ficken — Known for kicking at Penn State, Ficken was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs in early September. He has not appeared in an NFL game.

Josh Lambo — Lambo caught on with the San Diego Chargers for two seasons before losing out to Younghoe Koo during camp. Lambo has connected on 52 of 64 kicks during his two-year career.

Travis Coons — Coons was a member of the Cleveland Browns for two seasons in 2014-15. He has connected on 28 of 32 field goals, with a long of only 47 yards. He tried out for the Los Angeles Rams this season and was waived in early September.

Marshall Koehn — Koehn made 77.8 percent of his kicks in college. He was a member of the Dolphins' practice squad in 2016 and was waived by the Minnesota Vikings in early September.

Mike Nugent — Drafted in the second round after a standout career at Ohio State in 2005, Nugent has played in 153 NFL games for the Bengals, Buccaneers and New York Jets. He has made 80.8 percent of his kicks lifetime, but struggled the past three seasons, finishing below 80 percent in two of them with Cincinnati.

Ross Martin — Martin is Duke's leader in field goals made (78) and highest field goal percentage (89.3 percent). He spent last season on the Jets' practice squad and did not make the team out of camp this season.

Giorgio Tavecchio — Tavecchio was released by the Oakland Raiders out of camp but was added to the 53-man roster when Sebastian Janikowski went down with an injury. In Week 1, he became the first player in league history to hit two 50-plus yard field goals ​in his NFL debut.

Nick Rose — Rose was released by the Falcons in 2016 and again by the San Francisco 49ers in early September. He has not appeared in an NFL game.

Zach Hocker — Drafted in the seventh round in 2014 out of the University of Arkansas, Hocker signed a four-year deal with the Washington Redskins but was released during final roster cuts before the 2014 season. He has since kicked 14 field goals in the NFL, connecting on 10 of them, but hasn’t appeared in a game since 2015. He was waived by the Buccaneers in September.

5 realistic options for Eagles at No. 32

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5 realistic options for Eagles at No. 32

There’s a chance the Eagles don’t even pick tonight. They own No. 32 but could try to move back to gain more draft picks. Very possible. 

But if they don’t, here are five options at 32 from Paul Hudrick and Dave Zangaro: 

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
PH:
Guice is a bell cow back that will make an impact immediately at the NFL level. If there wasn’t an athletic freak like Saquon Barkley at the top of the draft, Guice would be RB1. He’s powerful, explosive and has outstanding vision.

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
PH:
Michel shared the backfield during his time at Georgia, but was productive every time he received an opportunity. The tape that stands out is his game against Alabama. He showed elite quickness and elusiveness against the highest level of competition. Michel is a complete back, but just a notch below Guice.

Eagles RB situation
DZ:
The Eagles bring back Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement this season, but after that? There’s nothing in stone. LeGarrette Blount left in free agency. Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey are on the roster, but aren’t locks. Kenjon Barner is back on the street, along with Darren Sproles, who might be a candidate to bring back in the summer. Even if the Eagles don’t draft a RB in the first, it would be somewhat surprising if they don’t take one at some point.

Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
PH:
Harrison has phenomenal size, length and athletic ability. He’s physical and fluid in his movements. Discipline has to be the biggest concern. At times, he’ll take poor angles or go for the big hit leading to missed tackles. He should excel against tight ends in coverage at the next level.

Eagles S situation
DZ:
Safety is one of the more under-the-radar needs. The Eagles have Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod, but Jenkins is getting older and McLeod’s cap number is rising. With how much the Eagles moved Jenkins around last season, and with Corey Graham gone, the Eagles’ third safety is important. Chris Maragos isn’t the answer; he’s too important on special teams. And despite how much the team has talked up Tre Sullivan, is he really the guy? A safety at 32 makes sense. He wouldn’t start but could play a lot.

D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland
PH:
I have Moore as WR1. He has unbelievably quick feet and reliable hands. He’s tremendous after the catch, always looking to turn up the field. He also shows serious toughness from the wide receiver position. He’ll have to refine his route running, but he could become an elite WR on the outside or in the slot. Moore also has experience returning punts and kicks.

Eagles WR situation
DZ:
Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins. Good start, right? But after that, the Eagles have a bunch of unproven guys, starting with Shelton Gibson. Even Hollins has more to prove. Agholor finally lived up to his draft status last year but it’s time to start thinking about this future. And Wallace is on a one-year deal. The Eagles could use another weapon … especially one who can return.

Connor Williams, OT, Texas
PH:
This pick represents great value. Williams’ 2016 tape had him as the best tackle going into 2017. An injury derailed his season and draftniks began questioning whether he had the length to succeed at OT. The 2016 version of Williams is an elite lineman, whether at tackle or guard – or even center.

Eagles OL situation
DZ: The starters are set, but Jason Peters is aging and Halapoulivaati Vaitai is the only solid depth piece at tackle if you don’t include super-versatile Isaac Seumalo. The interior depth guys are Seumalo and Chance Warmack. The Eagles always emphasize building along the lines, specifically the offensive line.

Eagles taking a RB at No. 32? History suggests it's unlikely

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Eagles taking a RB at No. 32? History suggests it's unlikely

The last running back the Eagles drafted in the first round was Keith Byars. That was 32 years ago.

The last running back they took anywhere in the first three rounds was LeSean McCoy. Believe it not, that was nine years ago.

It’s been true for decades, and it’s still true today. The Eagles simply do not believe in using premium draft picks on running backs.

And it’s hard to blame them.

The Eagles have had 61 picks in the first three rounds over the last 20 years and used just four of them on running backs – McCoy in the second round in 2009 and Brian Westbrook (2002), Ryan Moats (2005) and Tony Hunt (2007) in the third round.

Shady, who is well on his way to a Hall of Fame career, is actually the only running back the Eagles have taken in the first two rounds since Charlie Garner back in 1994.

“I think running backs the last few drafts you’ve been able to see guys contribute from every part of the draft,” vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said. “You think about third-round picks, guys like Dave Johnson, Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara. Those guys weren’t first- or second-round picks.”

A lot of mock drafts and experts had the Eagles taking a running back in the first round of last year’s running back-rich draft.

But they took a lineman, Derek Barnett, for the 19th time in their last 25 first-round picks.

And they managed to cobble together a running back corps that wound up third in the NFL in rushing yards despite not a single back taken in the first four rounds of the draft in a key role.

“Coming out of the draft everyone thought last year we needed to get a [running back] high,” Douglas said.

“And we ended up addressing it acquiring one player in the draft (fourth-rounder Donnel Pumphrey, who didn’t play), another player after the draft (Corey Clement) and then two more veterans after the draft (LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi). So there’s a lot of different ways you can get those guys.”

Blount and Clement came into the NFL as undrafted rookies. Ajayi was a fifth-round pick. Darren Sproles and Wendell Smallwood were both late-round picks.

Add it all up and you have a Super Bowl backfield without a running back taken in the first 148 picks of a draft.

“We thought maybe there would be an opportunity to get one of those running backs [last year], maybe a different guy than Pump,” executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said.

“But we went and as a staff attacked it, getting LeGarrette, who had a great year and was really a huge part of our team, and then making a trade and getting Jay. 

“We’re going to attack it in the draft, we’re going to attack it in June, we’re going to attack it in August, and we’re going to attack it at the trade deadline. … This is not the end of talent-acquisition season. It’s really just starting.”

Teams often will bypass even the most talented running backs in the first round simply because their shelf life is so limited.

For every Adrian Peterson, there are 10 Larry Johnsons, C.J. Spillers or Beanie Wells.

The last running back the Eagles took in the first round to rush for 750 yards in a season was Steve Van Buren.

They’ve drafted 10 since taking him in 1944.

But Douglas said the Eagles aren’t philosophically opposed to taking a running back in the first round, although it’s almost impossible to imagine them actually taking one.

“Great running backs are difference makers,” Douglas said. “We’ve seen that in today’s NFL. Special guys coming out of the backfield and can hurt you in the pass game. If it’s the right player, we’re not opposed to taking him.”