Eagles

Sherman's 2014 Eagles mock draft 3.0

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Sherman's 2014 Eagles mock draft 3.0

Between now and the draft, our draft pundits Ron Burke, Chris Steuber, Jared Sherman and Geoff Mosher will provide their latest Eagles mock drafts. They will make selections for each of the Eagles' six picks, and when they update their selections, their new mocks will be posted.

Round 1, Pick 22: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State (6-5/240)

At this point in my mock draft, the choice boiled down to Benjamin and Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller. Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer was still there, but I just don't buy the hype he's getting late in the process.

And while I believe the Eagles need to go defense early and often, I had a hard time passing on the sheer size Benjamin possesses, and just how unique he is in this draft. Yes, this draft is fairly deep at WR, but if you pass on a pass catcher at No. 22, I can't see a scenario in which a real difference maker with a defining skill set falls to the Eagles at No. 54.

Benjamin will need to work on his craft, as he's far from a completed project. However, with the structure the Eagles have in place, and guys like Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper working their butts off next to him, I believe he can make an immediate impact in 2014.

Kelvin Benjamin highlights

Mock 2.0: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA 

Round 2, Pick 54: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (6-3/336)

I can already hear people howling at this pick, but with rumblings about Evan Mathis wanting a new contract and Todd Herremans a possible 2015 salary cap casualty, the Eagles need to start looking for their replacements. I have already made it known that I love Jackson, and the more I watch the more I'm convinced he's the best OG in the draft. I passed on Utah CB Keith McGill and Louisville DE/LB Marcus Smith to pick Jackson.

Jackson is a thickly built masher in the running game with the agility to get out to the second level and bury linebackers. As a pass protector Jackson uses his long arms and leverage to control pass rushers.

The 2013 First Team All-SEC selection was a two-time captain for the Bulldogs and is the son of a high school football coach. I believe those are two things Chip Kelly loves to see. I know I do.

Gabe Jackson Highlights

Mock 2.0: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Round 3, Pick 86: Christian Jones, LB, Florida State (6-3/240)

It's no secret DeMeco Ryans struggled in pass coverage last season, and given his age, I don't think it's going to improve going forward. Jones is a versatile player, capable of playing both inside and as a rush linebacker, and excels in covering tight ends and backs.

The Eagles like to send their ILBs on blitzes, and this is another area where Jones could be really good. He has tremendous range, covering ground quickly, and would give the Eagles some size in the middle of the field.

While the Eagles do need help in the secondary and at OLB, at this point in my draft the value at those positions just wasn't there.

Christian Jones Highlights 

Mock 2.0: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

Round 4, Pick 122 : Deandre Coleman, DT, California (6-5/314)

The Eagles are excited about young DT Bennie Logan, but they lack depth on the defensive line, especially in terms of a run-stuffing NT. Coleman is built like a huge square, with long arms and powerful hands. He can really move in small areas, and has shown he can clog running lanes. He is also versatile enough to set the edge as a 5-technique DE in a "30" front.

I took Dri Archer here last time, but I have him off my board at this point, and believe Coleman is a better value than players similar to Archer like Oregon's D'Anthony Thomas and Georgia Southern's Jerick McKinnon.

Deandre Coleman Highlights

Mock 2.0: Dri Archer, RB/KR, Kent State

Round 5, Pick 162: Marqueston Huff, DB, Wyoming (5-11/196)

Huff is a versatile piece to add to the Eagles' secondary. After starting three seasons as a CB, he transitioned to safety for his senior season. Huff is physically gifted but hasn't fully translated the athleticism to football production. He would be an ideal fit if Billy Davis wanted to play three safeties on occasion. He should be an immediate contributor on special teams where his speed and fearlessness would be put to good use.

Marqueston Huff Highlights 

Mock 2.0: Huff

Round 7, Pick 237: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon (6-4/242)

Lyerla left the Oregon Ducks midway through the 2013 season because of personal reasons after getting arrested for cocaine possession and being suspended a game.

If Lyerla had kept his nose clean, chances are he would have been a second- or third-round pick this year. There is no doubt he is a talented player, but his off-field issues have sent his stock plunging.

Maybe I'm naive to think Kelly would take a flyer on his former recruit, but by most accounts Lyerla is a hard worker and wants to make football his priority. If he does, the Eagles are getting a gifted pass catcher who could step in if/when either James Casey or Brent Celek is cut for salary cap reasons.

Colt Lyerla Highlights 

Mock 2.0: Lyerla

Underdog, huh? Eagles headed to Super Bowl

Underdog, huh? Eagles headed to Super Bowl

BOX SCORE

The Eagles have been dead for weeks, right? The only problem is that no one ever told them. 

They're more alive than ever. 

And now, without their franchise quarterback, their Hall of Fame left tackle, their starting middle linebacker, their most dynamic offensive weapon, their special teams captain and their original kicker, the Eagles did it again. 

As improbable as it sounds … the Eagles are going to the Super Bowl. 

The Birds got off to a rough start, but clamped down and absolutely demolished the Vikings, 38-7, at Lincoln Financial Field Sunday in the NFC Championship Game (see Roob's observations). They'll see the Patriots in Minnesota in two weeks for Super Bowl LII (see story).  

The fourth quarter became a party as fans were doing the Skol chant — they changed it to "Foles" — mockingly and the entire Eagles' sideline danced along to a Meek Mill song. 

This is the Eagles' first trip back to the Super Bowl since the 2004 season, when they lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville. 

They'll get another crack at Tom Brady and the Patriots, who beat the Jaguars, 24-20, earlier in the day. The Patriots won the game but didn't look invincible. They needed to stage a late comeback to take down the Jaguars. 

Nick Foles claimed he was calm and confident all week and he certainly looked like it in the NFC Championship Game. Sure, the play-calling helped, but Foles had a simply incredible game. He played loose and demolished the best defense in the NFL. 

Foles turned in an all-time performance. He completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions. He had a passer rating of 141.4. 

With the loss, the Vikings missed a chance to become the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl it's hosting. Oh well. 

The Eagles actually got off to a terrible start Sunday. All three phases chipped in. First, the defense gave up a touchdown drive to start the game. Then the offense missed chances and had to punt. Then, they got a fair catch interference call on special teams. 

Things were going badly until that Patrick Robinson pick-six. Chris Long forced the pressure and during the 50-yard return, the Linc got so loud the press box shook. 

After last week's divisional round win over the Falcons, head coach Doug Pederson called another masterful game. He put on a clinic against the Vikings, pushing all the right buttons as the Eagles began to push around the NFL's best defense. 

Turning point
Long turned that corner and affected Case Keenum's throw enough to allow the ball to hang in the air for Robinson. After Robinson picked off the pass, he took it 50 yards to the house and momentum had officially swung the other way. 

Key stat
The Eagles' 38 points are their second most in playoff history and their margin of victory (31 points) is the biggest in franchise history. 

The 38 points the Eagles scored are the most the Vikings have allowed all season. They had allowed 34 in their last three games combined. 

Offensive stud
For all the questions about Foles over the last few weeks, he answered them Sunday. Foles was incredible. He got into a rhythm early and is now leading the Eagles into the Super Bowl (see report card)

Offensive dud
This was about to go to Torrey Smith for dropping a deep pass early, but he totally redeemed himself when he caught that deep touchdown pass on the flea flicker. 

Defensive stud
Long is 32 years old, but he isn't playing like it. He's rejuvenated and made some huge plays Sunday. None were bigger than the one that led to Robinson's pick-six. 

Defensive dud
Najee Goode gave up that early touchdown to Kyle Rudolph that gave the Vikings an early lead. It looked like he didn't know what was going on. 

Key plays 
• Foles threw his third touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to cap off a 92-yard drive and give the Eagles a 38-7 lead. 

• On 4th-and-goal in the third quarter, it looked like Adam Thielen caught a ball in the end zone, but the replay showed it clearly hit the ground. The Vikings turned the ball over on downs. 

• Pederson dialed up a flea flicker on his first drive of the second half and it worked perfectly. Corey Clement took the handoff, tossed it back to Foles, who hit Smith down the field for a 41-yard touchdown to give the Eagles a 31-7 lead. 

• The Eagles got the ball back with just 29 seconds in the half, but Pederson didn't play it scared. Instead, the Eagles attacked and were able to get down the field and kick a 38-yarder to take a 24-7 lead into the locker room. 

• On 3rd-and-10 from their own 47-yard line with under two minutes left in the first half, Foles avoided pressure and threw a 53-yard bomb for a touchdown to Alshon Jeffery to give the Eagles a 21-7 lead. 

• In the second quarter, the Vikings took the ball from their own 15-yard line and got all the way down to the Eagles' 16 before rookie Derek Barnett came around the left tackle and stripped the ball from Keenum. The Vikings' six-minute drive didn't get them any points. 

• Jim Schwartz dialed up a safety blitz on 3rd-and-2 and Malcolm Jenkins came free to force a quick throw from Keenum, who seemed bothered by the pressure. 

• LeGarrette Blount ran over safety Andrew Sendejo on an 11-yard run to get into the end zone early in the second quarter. That gave the Eagles a 14-7 lead. Just before that, Pederson dialed up a little quick pass to Zach Ertz on 3rd-and-short to convert. The Blount touchdown capped off a 75-yard drive. 

• Long got to Keenum to provide pressure and alter his throw that hung up in the air. Robinson picked it off and had an incredible return of 50 yards for a pick-six to tie the game at 7-7. It was the second-longest pick-six in Eagles postseason history. 

• On the Eagles' first drive, Smith dropped a ball he should have had deep and then Trey Burton couldn't get his feet down on a key third-down pass. For some reason, Burton left his feet and jumped to make the catch. 

• Keenum hit Rudolph for a 25-yard touchdown to cap the opening drive of the game. Goode, starting in place of Dannell Ellerbe (hamstring), looked lost before the play and didn't seem ready. Rudolph blew past him and was wide open for a touchdown.

Injuries
Linebacker Ellerbe (hamstring) was inactive after being listed as questionable coming into the weekend. Ellerbe was questionable last week, too, but was able to play against the Falcons. Goode started in his place Sunday. 

Up next
The Eagles are heading to Minnesota. They'll face the Patriots in Super Bowl LII in two weeks. 

Roob's 10 observations from Eagles-Vikings

Roob's 10 observations from Eagles-Vikings

BOX SCORE

I've said it all year. With Carson Wentz or without Carson Wentz, there is something special about this football team.

Inexperienced head coach? Backup quarterback? A guy named Big V playing left tackle? It doesn't matter. Because this is the ultimate team sport, and the 2017 Eagles are the ultimate team.

Doug Pederson is their coach. Nick Foles is their quarterback. And they're headed to the Super Bowl.

Vegas can say this was an upset, but this wasn't an upset. The Eagles destroyed the Vikings Sunday night at the Linc, spotting them a 7-0 lead and then scoring the game's final 38 points to win the NFC Championship Game, 38-7 (see breakdown).

No contest.

Take that weak Skol crap back to Minnesota. We're taking over your city next week!

Here we go with an NFC Championship Game edition of Roob's 10 observations.

1. Foles is going to quarterback the Eagles in the Super Bowl. Just think about that for a moment or two. What Foles has done since replacing Wentz is nothing short of astonishing. Forget the Dallas game in which the starters played only a quarter. The Eagles haven't lost since the NFL MVP got hurt. Foles was magnificent Sunday night, completing 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. His pocket presence was off the charts, as was his accuracy. Foles has gotten more and more comfortable with each passing game, and this one was a work of art. That guy has been through so much, both this year and over the last few years. For him to play like that on this stage with so much at stake is just mind-blowing. I'm so happy for him.

2. What a masterful play-calling performance by Doug Pederson (see report card). This is a guy who never coached a game above the high school level until 16 months ago. And he just put up 31 points on the best defense in the NFL in an NFC Championship Game with his backup quarterback. Pederson got Foles into a rhythm early, he was creative, he ran the ball enough and he dialed up some plays that were simply unstoppable. Pederson has grown so much in so many ways, but his flair for play-calling is just off the charts right now.

3. Talk about a momentum changer. Patrick Robinson's interception and brilliant 50-yard return was the play of the game. The Eagles trailed 7-0 after the Vikings opened the game with a methodical 75-yard TD drive, and they had the ball again near midfield when P-Rob picked off Case Keenum near the left sideline at midfield, reversed field and ran across the field and into the end zone at the right pylon. It reminded me of Eric Allen's miracle 94-yard pick-six against Boomer Esiason and the Jets back in 1993. Not quite as remarkable but pretty darn impressive. Here's a guy who was on the brink of being released back in training camp, and he's done nothing but give the Eagles smart, heady playmaking in the slot all year. That's five INTs for Robinson, which makes him only the sixth player in franchise history with five INTs in a season after turning 30. The 50-yarder is the longest postseason pick-six by anybody in their 30s since Rodney Harrison's 87-yarder off Ben Roethlisberger in the 2004 AFC Championship Game. Robinson is so typical of this team. A guy nobody wanted. With his fourth team in four years. Making a play to help his team reach the Super Bowl. And let's not forget the pressure by Chris Long and the down-field block by Ronald Darby. That play was huge, and the Vikings never recovered.

4. Let's get one thing straight. This was not an upset. Maybe according to Las Vegas it was, but anybody who has watched the Eagles this year knows that in this building, it's going to take a superhuman effort by a Hall of Fame quarterback to put up enough points to win a football game in this building. Keenum made a few plays, but he was just overmatched. He was forced to throw 48 times, completed 28, got picked off twice and really did nothing after that TD pass five minutes into the game. Tremendous stuff from the Eagles' pass rush to make him uncomfortable and the secondary for blanketing some pretty good receivers.

5. Once again, the Eagles' offensive balance was one of their biggest weapons. Good luck trying to figure out where the ball is going. Alshon Jeffery was 5 for 85. Zach Ertz 8 for 93. Torrey Smith 5 for 69. Nelson Agholor 3 for 59. All four of those guys caught at least one deep ball. When Foles was having his All-Pro season in 2013, he always spread the ball around like this, and, man, this felt just like it. I thought Ertz was a beast, once again proving wrong everybody who says he doesn't get any yards after the catch. Jeffery, you could just see him and Foles developing more and more chemistry over the past few weeks, and he is such a weapon in the end zone. Smith had a bad drop early but made up for it with the TD on the flea flicker. And Agholor continues to just do his job. 

6. And think about this: The Eagles are the first team since the 1996 Packers to win the NFC without a 1,000-yard receiver or rusher. Who was on that 1996 Packers team? Doug Pederson.

7. The Eagles' defense heard the national media blabber all week about how the Vikings' defense was the best in the NFL, and then they went out and showed the world who actually has the best defense in the NFL. This was another monumental performance by the Eagles' defense, holding a decent Vikings offense to just seven points on one early touchdown. This Eagles defense just gives you nothing. They're playing incredibly well as a unit. Tremendous pressure. Consistent coverage. Terrific tackling.  This unit has now allowed six touchdowns and 59 points in its last seven home games, which is absolutely absurd. The challenge will be more difficult on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, but the way this defense is playing, nothing would surprise me.

8. How great was it that after throwing the ball up and down the field all night, the Eagles were able to run the clock in the final minutes running the ball? After Corey Graham's interception with six minutes left, Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement ran six times for 40 yards to run out the clock. The Eagles haven't been super consistent running the football the last few weeks, but even with that big lead and the Vikings crowding the line of scrimmage, they were able to run clock effectively and move the chains. Those three backs combined for 26 carries for 114 yards. That's going to be huge once they build up a big lead over the Patriots in two weeks.

9. Here's a list of quarterbacks in NFL postseason history who've completed 75 percent of their passes in back-to-back games: Joe Montana. And Foles.

10. Eagles-Patriots. Once again everybody is going to pick the Eagles to lose. Once again, I'm going to repeat this over and over and over: Doubt the 2017 Eagles at your own risk.