Eagles

2019 NFL draft: Eagles take Penn State RB Miles Sanders at No. 53 overall

2019 NFL draft: Eagles take Penn State RB Miles Sanders at No. 53 overall

The Eagles just drafted their first feature back in a decade. 

They used the 53rd overall pick to draft running back Miles Sanders (5-11, 211) out of Penn State. He’s an intriguing prospect who can become a true three-down back in the NFL. 

For a while now, the Eagles showed a lot of interest in Sanders. They met with him at the combine and then brought him in to the NovaCare Complex for a lengthy visit in March during the pre-draft process as a local visit. They tried to sneak him in without using a top-30 visit on him. Duce Staley really liked Sanders. 

Sanders is the first running back the Eagles have taken in the first two rounds since they drafted LeSean McCoy in the second round out of Pittsburgh in 2009. Shady was also taken with the 53rd pick. The Eagles had taken a few running backs in the last decade, but the highest pick they used on one was a fourth-rounder on Donnel Pumphrey. 

Here are the six running backs taken between Shady and Sanders: 

2017: Donnel Pumphrey, 4th round
2016: Wendell Smallwood, 5th round
2012: Bryce Brown, 7th round
2011: Dion Lewis, 5th round
2011: Stanley Havili, 7th round
2010: Charles Scott, 6th round

The 53rd pick was acquired in last year’s trade out of the first round with the Ravens. The Eagles followed up the pick at 53 by taking Stanford WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside out of Stanford with their own second-round pick, No. 57. 

Because Sanders sat behind Saquon Barkley for the first two years at Penn State, he doesn’t have a ton of mileage on him (see story).

What did Sanders learn from that time? 

“Just being more patient, being more mature on and off the field,” Sanders said at the combine. “Just going through that whole process, not being too frustrated, going through that adversity.”

When Sanders finally got his chance to shine, he made it count. Sanders had 220 carries for 1,649 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also caught 24 passes for 139 yards. 

“I showed my ability to break tackles,” Sanders said in Indy. “That’s what Saquon did really well. I showed I can catch the ball smoothly, blocking, not making mental errors and protecting the quarterback.”

Not only did Sanders have a productive junior season, he also crushed the combine. He ran a 4.49 in the 40-yard dash and his 3-cone drill time of 6.89 was the best among all running backs in Indianapolis. 

Coming to Philadelphia, Sanders will join a running back room that includes Jordan Howard, Corey Clement, Wendell Smallwood and Boston Scott. Howard is a former Pro Bowler, but is under contract for just one more season. It seems like Sanders can grow into a starter and possibly even a feature back role. 

The last Penn State player taken by the Eagles was RB Tony Hunt in the third round back in 2007. Hopefully, Sanders has a much better career here than him. 

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It looks like Eagles’ high-ranking front office member might stay after all

It looks like Eagles’ high-ranking front office member might stay after all

It sounds like Eagles Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry might be staying in Philadelphia after all. 

Berry, 32, interviewed with the Browns for their vacant general manager position last week but it seems like another candidate is going to get the job. 

According to Cleveland.com, Vikings assistant GM George Paton “could be hired as Browns GM early this week” as the top candidate for the gig.

Berry has been a hot name this offseason; he’s been mentioned for two possible promotions outside the Eagles’ facility. The other was with the Panthers but the Eagles reportedly turned down their request to interview him because the Panthers’ job wouldn’t involve final personnel say.

So despite plenty of interest in Berry, it appears there’s a pretty good chance he stays put for at least another season with the Eagles under Howie Roseman. 

Berry joined the Eagles last winter. The Eagles created the position for Berry because they wanted to find a way to get the Harvard-educated fast-riser into their building. Before coming to the Eagles, he was already in Cleveland as the Browns’ vice president of player personnel for three seasons. 

It was in that former role that he formed a relationship with Kevin Stefanski, who interviewed for the head coaching job in Cleveland before but finally got hired this offseason. The problem for Berry is that Paton is even closer to Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. 

With Roseman firmly entrenched as the general manager in Philadelphia, it seems inevitable that the Eagles will eventually lose Berry. But it’s beginning to seem like that won’t happen this offseason. 

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NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 2.0: Some new names linked to Eagles

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 2.0: Some new names linked to Eagles

As the football world takes over Mobile, Alabama, this week for Senior Bowl, we’re now in full mock draft season. 

We still have months before the 2020 draft but that hasn’t stopped the internet from doing what it does best: mock drafts! 

Here’s the latest roundup of possibilities for the Eagles with the 21st pick in April: 

NBC Sports Washington, Tyler Roman

Xavier McKinney, CB, Alabama

What they said: It’s no secret that the Eagles had one of the worst secondaries in the league this year, so it would make sense to rectify it this off-season. McKinney is a versatile chess piece for a team that really needs talent on the backend. McKinney can cover the slot and hold his own against the run, he’s the prototypical safety prospect for today’s NFL.

CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson

Xavier McKinney, CB, Alabama 

What they said: 32-year-old safety Malcolm Jenkins would like a new deal and Rodney McLoud could be headed for free agency. The Eagles would love to upgrade the cornerback position but three of the top CBs are already off the board. McKinney is a top-flight safety, and could possibly emerge as the top safety in the class by draft night.

My take on McKinney: The Eagles definitely need help at the cornerback position. Their two starters from 2019 (Ronald Darby and Jalen Mills) are both set to become free agents in March and it’s not exactly like the Eagles have a bunch of talent waiting in the wings. But they might need safeties too. Malcolm Jenkins said he won’t play on his current contract and Rodney McLeod is going to be a free agent. 

I listed McKinney as a cornerback because both Wilson and Roman did, but he’s really more of a versatile safety who can play everywhere. McKinney is an impressive athlete and the Eagles could plug and play him at a few different spots. In some ways, it’s hard not to see similarities to former Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick because of the versatility. And we’ve seen how Jim Schwartz has been able to use Malcolm Jenkins over the last few years. I think this would be a solid pick. 

San Diego Union-Tribune, Eddie Brown

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

What they said: The Eagles wide receiver corps is in shambles. The inconsistent Nelson Agholor faces free agency while DeSean Jackson isn’t getting any younger (or healthier). Higgins is a big-play machine with elite size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds) and speed. He has an “above the rim” mentality as a former basketball player and would be a steal this low in the first round. 

SB Nation, Dan Kadar

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

What they said: Higgins may have only had three receptions in Monday night’s national title game, but he still profiles as a No. 1 receiver option in the NFL. As the season wore on, it was obvious that the Eagles need weapons on offense. A receiver like Higgins should be the first of a few added in this draft.

My take on Higgins: He’s been the most popular name mocked to the Eagles in the early mock draft season. It’s obvious the Eagles need receiver help and there are plenty in this draft, especially in the first round. We’ll probably see at least a half dozen receivers go in the first round and Higgins is likely going to be one of them. 

Higgins is big and fast. He really does have a good size/speed combo and there’s a lot to like about him. He’s coming off a great junior season when he had 59 catches for 1,167 yards (19.8) and 13 touchdowns. That’s great production, which used to really matter for the Eagles when Joe Douglas was here. But at his year-end press conference, Howie Roseman noted that production doesn’t always translate and there were successful rookie receivers who weren’t as productive in college. That doesn’t mean production at the college level is a bad thing, but it’s maybe not as important for the Eagles this time around. 

USA Today, Luke Easterling

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU 

My take on Fulton: There were no explanations in this mock draft but we don’t need an explanation of why the Eagles need cornerbacks. They desperately need help at that position. And Fulton is a really good one. He has the potential to be a great man corner in the NFL and he’s coming from a school that has produced a ton of great DBs. He had just two interceptions in his time at LSU, which is noteworthy because he doesn’t appear to be a ballhawk. But he can cover. And the Eagles need guys who can cover. 

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