NFL draft

Jeff Lurie wants to host draft again, thinks Super Bowl is long shot

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Jeff Lurie wants to host draft again, thinks Super Bowl is long shot

Speaking on Thursday for the first time since March, Jeff Lurie made it pretty clear he'd like for Philadelphia to host the NFL draft again. 

And he'd like to host a Super Bowl too — but he's far less optimistic about those chances. 

The 2017 draft in Philly was a resounding success and the NFL praised the city for the event. 

A record 250,000 fans attended this year's event on the Ben Franklin Parkway and there was an estimated $94.9 million economic impact for the city. 

"The draft was one huge Philly success," Lurie said. "Personally, it meant a lot to me. I loved showcasing Philly across the country. I tell people wherever I go how incredible our fans are. There are fans of other teams, owners I've talked to about it. But they have their teams.

"It's very special here. It's incredibly special to own a team and it’s incredibly special to have this fan base. The draft kind of showed it to the rest of the country, which I loved. I think it was great economically for the city. I hope the city and the NFL can come together and bring another draft to Philly."

It has been reported that the NFL is unlikely to pick Philly to host the 2018 draft. Dallas submitted a formal bid for the event and might be the favorite. 

On Thursday, Lurie was asked specifically if he had given any more thought to bidding for a Super Bowl to be played at Lincoln Financial Field. 

Super Bowl XLVIII was held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., in 2014, showing a cold-weather location could work. But since then, the games have been held in Phoenix, San Francisco and Houston. And the next ones are scheduled for Minneapolis (dome), Atlanta, Miami, Tampa and Los Angeles. 

Lurie said a Super Bowl would be "a lot more difficult" than getting the draft again. 

"If we were able to build a retractable dome stadium, I think we would have had a Super Bowl by now," Lurie said. "It was attempted in New York. It was successful. But it's not something I think the league is plotting to repeat. It may happen, but it's more iffy."

NFL praises Philadelphia for hosting record-setting 2017 NFL draft

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NFL praises Philadelphia for hosting record-setting 2017 NFL draft

The numbers are in and the Philly fans came through in a big way.

The NFL Draft Event Impact Report released the statistics from the 2017 NFL draft in Philadelphia Thursday. By all accounts, it was a record-setting event. A record 250,000 fans attended the three-day event held along the Ben Franklin Parkway, with $56.1 million spent at the event, resulting in an estimated $94.9 million in economic impact for the city. Initial projections and estimations put the impact around $80 million. The event also created 30,000 jobs during and leading up to the event.

“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.”

But enough about the numbers. Let's hear some praise from the league. 

“Philadelphia served as a phenomenal host for the 2017 NFL Draft and created a memorable experience for our fans, incoming players, and teams,” said Peter O’Reilly, NFL Senior Vice President of Events. “We are grateful to Mayor Kenney, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, and all of our partners for helping make the event a resounding success.”

A resounding success.

But will the draft return to Philly next year?

The league hasn't announced the location of the 2018 draft, but it doesn't look like the draft will be coming back for more.

“As great a job as Philly did, my understanding is it’s going to be difficult for Philly to repeat,” ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter told 97.5 The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano in May.

In fact, Jerry Jones and the Cowboys may be next in line. The rivalry continues.

Biggest questions about each of Eagles' 8 draft picks

Biggest questions about each of Eagles' 8 draft picks

The Eagles' three-day minicamp, which kicks off Friday, will offer everyone the first chance at seeing first-round pick Derek Barnett and the rest of the rookie class. 

While there will be dozens of players on the field this weekend, just eight of them were draft picks a couple weeks ago. 

Here is the biggest question about each of those draft picks. 

DE Derek Barnett (1st round): Will his production translate to the NFL? 
Barnett was a great college player. No question about it. This is likely the thousandth time you've heard about it, but his 33 collegiate sacks toppled a long-standing sack record at Tennessee held by Reggie White. And Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas compared Barnett to Terrell Suggs. Reggie White and Terrell Suggs ... not bad company. 

There's no questioning Barnett's production in college, but will that translate into the NFL? The big knock against Barnett is that he's not the most athletic prospect. That's a thought that was challenged by his college position coach (see story). The things Barnett has going for him are his motor, effort and technique. Those qualities make it seem likely he'll be able to transition into the NFL, but only time will tell. 

CB Sidney Jones (2nd round): When will he be healthy? 
Before the Eagles took Jones with the 43rd pick, the young corner declared he'd be back from his Achilles injury this season. 

But when he talked after the Eagles drafted him, his tone had changed considerably. He kept in line with what the Eagles said, that they weren't going to rush to get him back on the field, that they wanted him to fully heal. 

So the big question revolves around when he'll actually be ready to play. It won't be at the start of the season, but will he be able to play at all as a rookie? 

CB Rasul Douglas (3rd round): Is he ready to start this year? 
The Eagles took Douglas, from West Virginia, with the 99th overall pick. And the rookie walks into a secondary room desperately needing cornerbacks. With just Jalen Mills, Ron Brooks and Patrick Robinson really blocking his way, Douglas has a chance to not just play as a rookie but play a major role. 

Is he ready for that? It's a fair question. He had a great 2016, with eight interceptions, but his speed has been questioned. The Eagles say his length helps make up for that lack of speed, but we won't know that until he steps on the field. It's very possible Douglas is the most important draft pick for the 2016 season because the position he plays is one of need for the Birds. 

WR Mack Hollins (4th round): Will he develop into a real receiver? 
At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, Hollins will, at the very least, be a very good special teams player. In fact, at North Carolina, he played on all four teams units. And that's something the Eagles have lacked, a receiver with the ability to play special teams. They haven't had that since Seyi Ajirotutu was on the team. Hopefully, Hollins will become that, plus a weapon as a receiver. 

At UNC, Hollins was known for his ball-tracking and big-play ability. He set the UNC career record for yards per reception (20.6) and led the nation as a junior (24.8). But in college, he never caught more than 35 passes in a season, being used as a specialty player. He has the tools to be more, but it's all just untapped potential now. 

RB Donnel Pumphrey (4th round): What will his role be? 
The long-term question about Pumphrey will probably revolve around his size and whether or not his small body will hold up in the NFL. But for now, it's more intriguing to wonder how the Eagles will use him in their offense. In the college game, Pumphrey would run between the tackles, but it doesn't seem likely that will be his primary role with the Eagles. 

With the Eagles, his big role might actually be as a receiver both out of the backfield and in the slot. The Eagles might even get him out wide on occasion. Having Pumphrey and Darren Sproles on the same team might give us a sense of Doug Pederson's creativity. 

WR Shelton Gibson (5th round): How fast is he? 
At the combine, Gibson ran a 4.50 in the 40-yard dash. That didn't check out with his game tape, which says Gibson is an absolute burner. His pro day 40-time was much better, with him being clocked at a 4.39. That would have been the eighth-fastest time overall at the combine this year. 

It's probably safer to say that Gibson's speed is somewhere between that 4.39 and 4.50. It shouldn't take long to see that speed in person. 

LB Nathan Gerry (5th round): Can he play linebacker? 
This question was a pretty easy one. Gerry is making the switch from safety at Nebraska to linebacker with the Eagles. During his meeting with the Birds, he talked to defensive backs coach Cory Undlin and linebackers coach Ken Flajole. 

Gerry said the biggest part of the transition will be processing information quicker from the linebacker spot, which is obviously closer to the line of scrimmage. He thinks the transition will go smoothly, but there might be some bumps along the way. He'll be a special teams player, but will he also be an adequate backup 'backer? 

DT Elijah Qualls (6th round): Was he a steal? 
The pick of Qualls (out of Washington) was met with a lot of praise and plenty of folks calling him a steal. Qualls (6-2, 293) wasn't known as a pass-rushing interior lineman, but he might have that ability. 

And the Eagles need the depth at DT. After Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan, the Eagles have an injured Beau Allen (pec) and last year's undrafted rookie Destiny Vaeao. Qualls should be able to push for a backup role and maybe even playing time.