Eagles

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade back, take Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson at No. 167 overall

2019 NFL draft: Eagles trade back, take Northwestern QB Clayton Thorson at No. 167 overall

You can save the QB controversy talk, but the Eagles have found their developmental prospect. 

With pick No. 167 in the fifth round, the Eagles selected quarterback Clayton Thorson from Northwestern. 

Doug Pederson and the rest of the organization have talked about drafting a developmental quarterback to groom in the system. Thorson is now that guy. He’ll be behind Carson Wentz and Nate Sudfeld, but Thorson will join the quarterback room with a chance to grow. And if Wentz’s back isn’t completely healed in OTAs, Thorson (6-4, 222) might get more spring reps than expected.

The Eagles hadn’t drafted a quarterback since Wentz at No. 2 in 2016. The Eagles did bring in Sudfeld and they viewed him as a developmental player, sort of like a draft pick. Pederson has said before that he'd like to draft a quarterback every year.  

The Eagles initially had pick 163, but traded back with the Patriots to pick up 167 and 246 in the seventh round. Wentz’s former teammate at North Dakota State, Easton Stick, went one pick earlier, at 166, to the Chargers. 

In four seasons at Northwestern, Thorson completed 58.4 percent of his passes for over 10,000 yards and 61 touchdowns to just 45 interceptions. 

At the combine, Thorson was asked what made him stand out among the group of quarterbacks: 

I think my experience is one, but we've got a couple guys with some experience. I think some of my strengths are with my offense, we're taught to do from an early age at Northwestern is throw with anticipation in some tight windows. I think that. I think another thing is my ability to escape the pocket and keep plays alive. I think that's been a strength of mine and that's allowed us to win a lot of games with me rushing for 27 touchdowns in my career and throwing for another 61. I think that part of my game is huge. Another thing is just realizing different passes have different ball speeds and different routes, so I think my understanding of the game is at a really high level.

The last time the Eagles took a player from Northwestern, they selected QB Mike Kafka in the fourth round back in 2010. 

Thorson’s father, Chad, was a linebacker out of Wheaton College, who was actually with the Eagles for six weeks in the early 90s, according to the Chicago Tribune

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Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Eagles reportedly have a new secondary coach

Marquand Manuel is the Eagles’ new secondary coach, according to a tweet by Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.

The 40-year-old Manuel replaces Cory Undlin, who had served in that role since 2015, first under Chip Kelly and the last four years under Doug Pederson. Undlin was named Lions defensive coordinator two weeks ago.

Manuel and Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz go back a ways. Manuel played for the Lions in 2009 when Schwartz was their head coach.

Manuel was not in the NFL this past year. He spent the previous four years under Dan Quinn with the Falcons, two years as secondary coach and two years as defensive coordinator before getting fired following the 2018 season.

The Falcons reached the Super Bowl in his second year in Atlanta, losing to the Patriots in Houston.

Before Atlanta, Manuel spent three years working under Quinn with the Seahawks, holding a variety of titles on the defensive staff.

Manuel, who played for Steve Spurrier at Florida, was the Bengals’ 6th-round pick in 2002 and spent eight years as a safety in the NFL with six different teams — the Bengals, Seahawks, Packers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions.

He played in 116 games, starting 58, with two interceptions and a pick-6 while he was with the Packers in 2006 off Jon Kitna of the Lions.

The Eagles also reportedly interviewed Browns defensive backs coach DeWayne Walker for the position.

The Eagles already have a safeties coach on the staff, former Eagle Tim Hauck. He was Pederson's teammate with the Eagles in 1999 and has been on Pederson's staff since 2016.

Quinn had this to say about Manuel on the Falcons’ web site back in 2018:

From the time I've met him from now, one thing that's cool to see that has stayed consistent is the energy and enthusiasm he has for players. He made the transition from player to coach really seamlessly because he knew the boundaries of coach, but he also stepped across to say, I can push you. That's not easy to do. He's always had mental quickness of a quarterback or someone who gets concepts really quickly. That transferred into this coaching fast. He can communicate concepts and ideas quickly to people on the run, in the moment, that's a really valuable asset as a coach.

The Eagles still have openings to replace the three assistant coaches Doug Pederson fired: offensive coordinator Mike Groh, wide receivers coach Carson Walch and defensive line coach Phillip Daniels.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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