2019 NFL draft: Eagles take Stanford WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside at No. 57 overall

2019 NFL draft: Eagles take Stanford WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside at No. 57 overall

With their second second-round pick, No. 57 overall, the Eagles on Friday evening selected Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

Arcega-Whiteside improved each of his three seasons in Palo Alto, with 24 for 379 and five TDs as a sophomore, 48 for 781 and nine TDs as a junior and 63 for 1,059 and 14 TDs this past season.

Arcega-Whiteside stands 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and joins a wide receiver crew that at the moment also includes Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson.

Arcega-Whiteside isn’t a speed receiver but is considered very physical, has terrific hands and uses his body well to get position on d-backs. That comes from his basketball background — he grew up playing basketball, and both his parents played professionally.

Arcega-Whiteside is known for using his height, leaping ability and basketball instincts to catch jump balls and contested balls over d-backs (see story).

“It takes practice," he said at the combine. "A lot of it comes from playing basketball back in high school, middle school. The coach would literally tell us, go to the DB and post him up. You got to have some experience to do it, too. So at the end of the day, when that ball is in the air, you just got to go up and get it. You can have a great post-up, but at the same time, if you’re not physical at your catch point, you’re not going to come down with it. Same thing with running routes. If the DB is not on your landmark, you have to be physical with him. Step on his toes, put a body on him, push off and get open.”

This is the eighth time since 2000 the Eagles have used a first- or second-round pick on a wide receiver.

They took Todd Pinkston (2000), Reggie Brown (2005), Jackson (2008) and Jordan Matthews (2014) in the second round and Freddie Mitchell (2001), Jeremy Maclin (2009) and Agholor (2015) in the first round.

Six years ago, the Eagles took Zach Ertz in the second round out of Stanford, and Ertz has more catches through six seasons than any other tight end in NFL history.

Arcega-Whiteside is the first Stanford wide receiver drafted by the Eagles since Hall of Famer James Lofton in the sixth round in 1978. Lofton finished his career in 1993 with the Eagles.

“Football is the ultimate team sport," Arcega-Whiteside said. "There’s not a sport like it in the world. Football unifies people. You can’t tell me that you go to a Sunday night to a stadium and it’s full of people in that city and the opposing team’s city. I’d say that that’s the unification of people. That’s what sports brings in general, but in football there’s no better feeling than scoring a touchdown or springing your running back for a touchdown by making a block down the field. There’s nothing like it. It’s hard to describe that feeling because it’s so blissful. It’s amazing. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’d be able to live a normally without playing football every day, just waking up and being excited about playing football.”

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One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

One company offering Super Bowl ticket loans at 30% interest (P.S. -- dont do this)

It’s “easier than ever” to attend the Super Bowl, according to a Stub Hub press release.

It may also be easier than ever to go into debt doing it.

StubHub this week announced a program that allows fans to finance ticket purchases — including Super Bowl tickets — and pay for them over a period of 3, 6 or 12 months.

All at the bargain-basement price of up to 30 percent interest.

Stub Hub, in conjunction with financial firm Affirm, introduced a program this week that allows consumers to use Stub Hub to purchase tickets and during the check-out process elect to finance the purchase through Affirm. 

Although ticket buyers can use Affirm for most Stub Hub purchase, the company is rolling out this program as a way to encourage fans who can’t afford Super Bowl tickets to buy them at potentially exorbitant interest rates.

According to financial web site The Balance, the average credit card interest rate as of December was 21.26 percent.

“Just in time for the Super Bowl, consumers can purchase event tickets now and pay over time,” reads a joint press release from Affirm and Stub Hub. 

The StubHub-Affirm joint press release makes it sound like paying 30 percent interest is a financially sound idea: “With U.S. credit card debt at an all-time high and many consumers looking to kick off the new year with better financial habits, they’re demanding more transparent financial products that align with their interests.”

According to a CBS News story that examined the Stub Hub program, two lower-level end-zone tickets selling on Stub Hub for $15,760 on a 12-month, 30-percent loan would cost the buyer an additional $2,676 in interest.

The story also said that unlike credit cards, there’s no financial benefit for consumers to pay this sort of loan off early. 

Ted Rossman of creditcards.com appeared on CBS MoneyWatch and warned consumers against using this sort of financial plan to pay for tickets makes no financial sense.

"It is a huge risk to make any type of discretionary purchase with something that carries a rate of 10 percent to 30 percent,” Rossman said on the show, according to the CBS News story. "It's risky to buy it now and think you are going to pay it later."

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After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

After egregious All-Pro snub, Brandon Brooks named top OL in NFL

Earlier this month, Jason Kelce called Brandon Brooks “the best offensive lineman in the NFL.” 

Turns out, ProFootballFocus agrees.

On Thursday, PFF named Brooks the winner of its annual Bruce Matthews Award, given to the best offensive lineman in the NFL. The Eagles were also named the best overall offensive line in the league. 

It’s an honor Brooks deserves after he was egregiously snubbed by voters for the Associated Press All-Pro team earlier this month. It was an absolute joke that Brooks wasn’t even named to the second team. No disrespect to Zack Martin or Marshal Yanda but Brooks was better than both of them this year. 

There’s no doubt that Brooks is the best right guard in the NFL. PFF thinks he’s the best overall OL in the league too. 

Here’s what they said about him:

“Brooks has been a perennially underrated player throughout his NFL career, whether it was playing in Houston or Philadelphia. Aside from a rookie season in which he played just 173 snaps, he has earned overall PFF grades of at least 74.0 every season since. Four of those six seasons before this one saw him top 80.0 overall, but this year he took his game to another level, earning an overall grade of 92.9. For years we have been making the case that he deserves Pro Bowl, and then All-Pro, recognition, and now he deserves to be acknowledged as the best offensive linemen in the game.”

While opinions are split on ProFootballFocus, their evaluations for offensive linemen are incredibly valuable. PFF has been able to give stats to a position that was previously stat-less. No, they don’t necessarily know assignments or the exact designs of plays, but they grade each and every play and that detailed analysis can take some of the human element out of giving these awards. 

When the All-Pro voters made their selections, they picked two guys at right guard in Martin and Yanda who have a longer history of playing at an elite level. PFF doesn’t care about that. They did their game-by-game, play-by-play evaluations and came to the conclusion that no other offensive lineman was better than Brooks this season. 

According to PFF, Brooks gave up just one sack and and 19 pressures on 647 pass snaps. That’s pretty impressive. But it’s even more impressive that Brooks was that dominant eight months after suffering a torn Achilles. 

For the start of next season, Brooks will be coming off a shoulder surgery, but there’s no doubt he should be able to return to his dominant form in 2020. 

The Eagles know what they have in Brooks. They signed the three-time Pro Bowler to a four-year extension during the season that made him the highest-paid guard in the NFL and will keep him in Philadelphia through 2024.

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