Forget about John DeFilippo returning to the Eagles

Forget about John DeFilippo returning to the Eagles

It would have made a lot of sense for the Eagles to hire John DeFilippo to fill their vacant offensive coordinator position. 

That isn’t happening. 

According to ESPN, the former Eagles’ quarterbacks coach who helped Carson Wentz have a near-MVP season in 2017 is heading to Chicago to work with Mitchell Trubisky. 

Thursday will mark a week since the Eagles fired offensive coordinator Mike Groh and receivers coach Carson Walch. Since then, there has been notable silence from the NovaCare Complex about a possible replacement for Groh. Reuben Frank theorized about that silence earlier today.

A couple days ago, DeFilippo and the Jaguars “mutually agreed to part ways” and it seemed like this was lining up perfectly. Sure, Flip didn’t last long at either of his two offensive coordinator jobs after leaving the Eagles, but this was the guy who had a huge role in Wentz’s career early on. 

The fact that Flip so quickly accepted a position as a quarterbacks coach could perhaps mean that a reunion in Philly was never really on the table. 

During the 2018 season, after DeFilippo was let go by the Vikings, Doug Pederson declined to bring him back. Perhaps that was just because it was the middle of the season or maybe there’s more there. 

But the Eagles once thought a lot of DeFilippo, so much so that they blocked him from interviewing with the Jets for their offensive coordinator position after the 2016 season. That was reportedly a decision made by owner Jeffrey Lurie. 

It is important to note that Pederson said on WIP last week that while ownership and the front office want to be involved in hiring the new offensive coordinator, ultimately, it’s his decision. 

Whoever gets hired by Pederson will be the third offensive coordinator since Pederson took over in 2016. Frank Reich, now the head coach in Indianapolis, had the role for two seasons and then Groh had it for two seasons. 

With a head coach who also calls the offensive plays, the role of offensive coordinator is difficult to define. That OC position becomes a sounding board and a source of ideas for the head coach and also helps implement game plans and coach positions when needed. The lack of play-calling duties in Philly could be a deterrent for top-tier candidates, but the biggest sell for the Eagles is Reich, who parlayed that position into a head coaching gig. 

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NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 4.0: Plenty of Eagles options at WR

NFL mock draft 2020 roundup 4.0: Plenty of Eagles options at WR

I didn’t plan on this but it’s not that surprising either. 

In this latest 2020 mock draft roundup, you’ll notice there’s a common theme for every Eagles’ pick at No. 21. They’re all receivers. All five. 

With the team’s situation at receiver, they clearly need to upgrade and it just so happens that this is a pretty good class for receivers. There are six or seven likely to go in the first round, so there’s a legitimate shot the Eagles will take one of them at No. 21. 

In the modern era, the Eagles have taken a receiver five times in the first round and four of them were taken around where they’ll pick this spring. 

2015: Nelson Agholor (20)
2009: Jeremy Maclin (19)
2001: Freddie Mitchell (25) 
1984: Kenny Jackson (4) 
1982: Mike Quick (20) 

Here are some options for the Eagles in a couple months: 

The Draft Network, Benjamin Solak

Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Colorado 

What they said: It’s no secret that I’m a big Laviska Shenault fan, but the bigger secret in Philadelphia is that it may have exactly zero 2021 starting receivers from its current 2020 roster. With rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside struggling to find the field, Alshon Jeffery looking like an eventual cap casualty once his figure goes down and DeSean Jackson yet to prove he’s back healthy, the receiving corps needs an overhaul something fierce.

Enter Shenault, who can line up anywhere and win with a simple route tree early given his dominant athletic ability and quality hands away from his frame. He makes a lot of sense as well if Jeffery and Jackson are healthy. Shenault can win as an underneath player whose best trait is his yards-after-catch ability. That’s where Shenault is truly dominant.

My take on Shenault: I agree with Ben that Shenault (6-2, 220) would make a ton of sense for the Eagles. His college production wasn’t off the charts but I think that will matter less to the Eagles this time around. And if Shenault goes to the combine and shows off his speed and athleticism, I will have seen enough. He’s a versatile player who could become a dynamic playmaker in the NFL, so he certainly checks off all the boxes. 

Solak has Shenault as the fourth receiver off the board after CeeDee Lamb (13th), Henry Ruggs III (15th), Jerry Jeudy (19th). Tee Higgins is still available here but I kind of agree that Shenault would be a more exciting pick. 

CBS Sports, Chris Trapasso

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Here’s what they said: Higgins is there for Philadelphia. Marvelous situation for Carson Wentz. Higgins has otherworldly ball skills and deceptive long speed.

My take on Higgins: About a month into mock draft season, it seems like Higgins has been the most common pick for the Eagles. At 6-4, 215, Higgins is a different player than Sheanault and is coming off back-to-back 59-catch seasons. Let’s see what Higgins does in the 40 at the combine — I think that number will matter. 

In this mock draft, Higgins is the fifth receiver selected after Lamb (8th), Ruggs III (11th), Jeudy (13th) and Shenault Jr. (18th). TCU’s Jalen Reagor goes at 24. 

CBS Sports, R.J. White

Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama 

Here’s what they said: Ruggs certainly could go much higher than this, but if he's available, he'll bring the dynamic presence the Eagles sorely lacked last year when DeSean Jackson, who is 33, missed most of last season with an injury.

My take on Ruggs: I fully expect Ruggs III (6-0, 190) to be long gone by the time the Eagles pick at 21 but there are surprises every year, so I won’t sit here and say there’s no chance. I do think that with the talent at receiver in this class, there will likely be more than two in the top 20. To put it simply with Ruggs: the Eagles need speed and no one has more speed than him. 

White has just two receivers — Lamb (12th) and Jeudy (13th) — going before Ruggs. 

The San Diego Union-Tribune, Eddie Brown

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma

Here’s 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). Lamb has elite hands and ball skills (he’s special with the ball in the air). He can also contribute as a blocker. 

My take on Lamb: I think this is the first time I have seen Lamb (6-2, 189) mocked to the Eagles and that’s mostly because he’s usually off the board long before this. Same situation with Ruggs — I guess there’s an outside chance Lamb could be available, but I doubt it. 

For reference, the other four mock drafts we’re looking at today had Lamb off the board on average at 11.5. So his falling to 21 seems unlikely … at least for now. 

Yahoo Sports, Eric Edholm

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State 

Here’s what they said: The need for (receiver) speed is real. I thought about a corner here, with the Eagles smelling a possible run at that position. But I believe they could be smitten with the vertical ability of Aiyuk, who also earned the apt nickname of “Ai-YAC.” 

My take on Aiyuk: It’s an interesting name and among the guys mocked to the Eagles, Aiyuk (6-1, 206) is probably the name you’re least familiar with. He has speed and is a big YAC guy, so he would certainly seem to fit a need. He has traits to possibly become a dynamic play-maker but 21 might be too early. 

Opinions are clearly split on him. Trapasso and White had him at 26 and 24, respectively, while Solak and Brown had Aiyuk in the second round at No. 54 and 56. 

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10 unfiltered thoughts on NFL’s impending quarterback carousel

10 unfiltered thoughts on NFL’s impending quarterback carousel

With all the quarterbacks who are free agents or potential cap casualties, the 2020 offseason is setting up to dramatically shift the landscape of the entire NFL. 

Tom Brady to Las Vegas? Philip Rivers to New England? Dak Prescott making $40 million per year in Dallas? Drew Brees to retire? A bidding war for the No. 1 draft pick? Merely a sampling of what could transpire in the months ahead. 

Fortunately, the Eagles are largely spared from it all. Carson Wentz is under contract and back to looking like somebody the franchise can build around for the next decade. And though the team might be in the market for a backup, that's small potatoes compared the game of musical chairs some of the league's biggest names will be playing. 

As has been the case of the last two decades, it all starts with Brady. 

1. Though I doubt the market for Tom Brady is as large as what's being speculated. He'll be 43 and is coming off one of the worst seasons of his 20-year career. You have to wonder how much and for how long the Patriots have been hiding his decline -- I'd venture since 2018 at least -- and to what extent Bill Belichick is responsible for Brady's unprecedented success in the first place.

Brady is still good enough that he wouldn't be an abject failure in a different uniform, but there aren't many places besides New England where he's gonna win a Super Bowl being a game manager, either. Any team willing to roll the dice to squeeze 1-2 more years out of him needs to be a contender — there aren't many lacking a QB — or have an ulterior motive, like the Raiders trying to promote their move to Las Vegas. 

2. Does anybody believe for one second the Cowboys won't work something out with Dak Prescott? Yes, Prescott's reported contract demands are totally unreasonable. Of course, Jerry Jones is probably behind the Brady-to-Dallas rumors. This is the way high-level negotiations work in the NFL. Things may even get worse before they get better, but whether it's on a long-term deal, short-term deal or the franchise tag, Prescott will have a star on his helmet in 2020. Put another way, the Cowboys aren't replacing their 27-year-old franchise QB with a 43-year-old. 

3. Speaking of incredibly transparent negotiating ploys, the Taysom Hill hype machine in New Orleans is out of control. The Saints' coaching staff and front office keep insisting he's a franchise QB, yet are simultaneously hoping Drew Brees doesn't retire. And when the team actually needed a backup last season, Teddy Bridgewater made all five starts. Hill is about to turn 30 and has attempted all of 15 passes in the NFL, including playoffs, so forgive me, I find it hard to read those headlines without interpreting them as "Please don't go, Drew -- but take less money." 

4. I'm much more interested to see where Philip Rivers lands than Brady. While the timing felt right for the Chargers to go in a different direction, that's more so because their team is a mess than the person under center. Yes, Rivers threw 20 interceptions last season. He also completed 66% of his passes for 4,615 yards with a 7.8 average and 23 touchdowns while playing behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. 

Rivers is 38 and admits he only has a year or two left. He also just moved his family across the country to the east coast, the geography of which likely cut his options in half. Put his production on a middle-of-the-pack team like the Colts or Buccaneers though, and poof, they're contenders. Heck, he might even be an option for the Patriots. 

5. As much as I hate to keep bringing up Brady, I'm perplexed as to why anybody thinks the Titans would want to go that route and mess up a good thing with Ryan Tannehill. He just led the league in passer rating and helped guide the team to a conference championship game. Sure, Tannehill's resume warns his breakout could be a fluke, and he is an unrestricted free agent. So franchise tag him then. Don't throw away a potential future for a guy who's best days are definitely behind him. 

6. While we're at it, why would the 49ers dump Jimmy Garoppolo? OK, he didn't have the greatest Super Bowl. Think how ridiculous that sentence is. He went to the Super Bowl! Garoppolo wasn't along for the ride, either, finishing top five in the league with a 69.1 completion percentage (4th), 8.4 yards per attempt (3rd) and 27 touchdown passes (5th). And keep in mind, he's made only 29 starts including playoffs -- less than two season's worth -- so there's room to improve. Pretty sure Belichick regrets giving up Garoppolo for Brady. No way the 49ers are considering the same. 

7. At first I thought the Bengals would be crazy to pass on Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick -- and I still wouldn't take anybody else there. However, I am starting to believe they should warm up to the idea of a trade. If they draft Burrow, he'll have no choice but to play there for 5-7 years, and if Cincinnati starts winning some games, maybe everybody lives happily ever after. As of right now though, there seem to be a lot of subtle hints he doesn't want to go there, setting the franchise up for years of drama and, eventually, a heartbreaking divorce. 

The Dolphins, Chargers and Panthers (pick Nos. 5, 6 and 7) are all in the market for a QB, and each has motivation to make this a transformative offseason. Sure, the Bengals will probably wind up picking Akili Smith 2.0 instead, but maybe with a few extra firsts and seconds, they'll accidentally assemble a competitive team around him. 

8. Cam Newton could be a fascinating follow this offseason. The Panthers seemingly are distancing themselves from the former league MVP, which I don't get. Yeah, he's hurt and there's speculation he may miss the season. When Newton is healthy, there aren't many QBs with his pure physical abilities. He probably needs to tone down the running at 31 with his medical history, but the new regime in Carolina shouldn't be so quick to write him off, especially considering what the team was trotting out. Drop Newton in LA with the Chargers or even Cincinnati, and he could instantly turn those franchises into winners. 

9. The Jaguars have an interesting dilemma, but the smart move might be keeping Nick Foles. The only team I can envision being remotely interested in a trade is the Colts due to his connection to Frank Reich, and that would mean dealing Foles within the division. Plus, while Gardner Minshew had a promising rookie season, was it so good the franchise should pin its future on a sixth-round draft pick? Keep both, that way if the rest of the team is suddenly competitive -- however unlikely that may be -- at least there are options.

And no, the Eagles are not reopening that can of worms. 

10. Rapid-fire thoughts... Not sure what Matt Stafford's angle is in Detroit. With his cap hit, the Lions probably can't trade him even if they wanted... As is the case elsewhere, not sure Brady is really an upgrade over Derek Carr at this stage. On the other hand, it is very on brand of Jon Gruden to create his own roster instability, and the Raiders will sell a lot of jerseys... You can understand why the Bucs will shop around, but even if Jameis Winston cuts his interceptions from 30 to 20, that team might be unstoppable.

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