Eagles to sign versatile former Broncos LB

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Eagles to sign versatile former Broncos LB

Free agency hasn’t even officially started yet and it’s been a really busy day. 

Now, the Eagles are going to sign former Broncos linebacker Corey Nelson to a one-year deal on Wednesday, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. 

The deal, which was first reported by ESPN, is worth $2.25 million according to NFL Network. 

While Nelson was primarily a special teamer in Denver, the Eagles think he could become a serious contributor on defense. After being selected in the seventh round in 2014, Nelson played in 53 games over the last four seasons with 62 total tackles and one sack. 

His 2017 season was cut short after five games because of a biceps injury. He played just 44 defensive snaps this past season. 

But apparently he was well thought of by coaches. Take this quote from the Denver Post from Broncos head coach Vance Joseph before the injury:

“Corey is on the lines with (CB Bradley) Roby. He’s our third inside linebacker — our starting dime player in sub (packages). In my opinion, Corey is a starter. On most teams, Corey would be a starter. If he had to play for us, I would have no problem with Corey being a starter for us. He has a huge role for us on defense. He’s a full core (special-teams) player. … He’s a valuable part of our team.” 

The Eagles have been preparing for the loss of starter Nigel Bradham in free agency. After playing out his two-year contract with the Birds, Bradham is set to become a free agent on Wednesday. That leaves the Eagles with Mychal Kendricks and Jordan Hicks coming off a Achilles tear without much else behind them. 

If nothing more, Nelson will provide some extra depth. 

Jordan Matthews thought folks should have cut Carson Wentz some slack

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Jordan Matthews thought folks should have cut Carson Wentz some slack

When Jordan Matthews sat down to read the now-infamous PhillyVoice story that characterized one of his best friends as “selfish” and “egotistical,” he couldn’t help but think of one thing. 

Maybe everyone should have cut Carson Wentz some slack. 

Matthews, a pending free agent, was on SiriusXM and gave his take on Wentz and the article. While Matthews thought much of it was a stretch, he seemed bothered by some of the anonymous quotes: 

“I also think that some of the quotes that were, I guess, in the article … I don’t think they were very well-thought-out or measured, only because when you’re playing through injury, when you’re coming back off of a season where you don’t get to play in the playoffs and all this stuff, if there’s any slip in character for somebody of Carson’s caliber, I think there should be some grace applied. I think that should be the type of posture everybody should bring to somebody like that because this dude is the face of a franchise. 

“You think of the pressure that’s on his shoulders every single day and to miss out on being that leader and being in that position and come back and for right back into it and play through pain, I think there should always be some grace applied, especially somebody in that position.”

In his interview back in late January, Wentz didn’t dismiss everything in the report and even admitted he can be selfish (see story). He then admitted the last couple years haven’t been easy on him as he went through the ACL injury and then the back injury this past season. 

Wentz even admitted that he probably “wasn’t the greatest teammate at times because I was emotionally kind of all over the place.” 

Sure, that’s an excuse, but it’s a pretty good one. Wentz does have a ton of pressure on him and it couldn’t have been easy to go through what he went through. Does that excuse him from being a good teammate? No, it doesn’t. 

But Matthews seemed to wish that his fellow teammates would have been more understanding of the situation Wentz was in.  

“Just reading it, obviously, it was a stretch,” Matthews said. “Even when you read the article, it feels like a scary story you’d read to your kid. It seemed like such a stretch. And so, I think the second Carson goes out there, they’ll play the Rocky theme music, he’ll start ballin’ and it’ll all be forgotten.”

Well, Matthews is absolutely right about that. If Wentz turns out to be the franchise quarterback the Eagles think he’ll be, this entire story will be forgotten.

A history lesson of the No. 53 pick in the NFL draft

A history lesson of the No. 53 pick in the NFL draft

During last year’s draft, the Eagles were opportunistic when they were on the clock with the 32nd pick. They knew there was a chance a team that wanted a quarterback would come calling. 

They were right. 

The Ravens wanted to get back in the first round to select their future starting quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Eagles were happy to oblige. The Eagles moved down to 52 and in that deal got back a second-rounder this year. The next day, the Eagles traded up a few spots to 49 to take Dallas Goedert. 

But they still have the second-rounder from the Ravens for this year and it’s actually better than their own second-round pick. It will be the 53rd pick, while the Eagles’ own second-round pick is at 57. 

In all, the Eagles are expected to have nine draft picks this year, including the extra second-rounder from the Ravens as well as a few more compensatory picks in later rounds. 

We already gave a history lesson on the No. 25 pick (see story), but now it’s time to see the history on these second-round picks. We’ll look at 53 today and 57 Thursday. 

The Eagles have had the 53rd pick just twice in the modern era. Both times, they’ve used it on a running back. Perry Harrington in 1980 and LeSean McCoy in 2009. 

Here’s a look at the pick’s history over the last 10 years: 

2018: M.J. Stewart, CB, UNC (Bucs) 
As a rookie last year, Stewart played in 11 games and started three. He had 33 combined tackles and three passes defensed. He took over as a starter when Vernon Hargreaves went down, but then Stewart hurt his foot and missed five games. He ended up playing 28.7 percent of the Bucs’ defensive snaps. It’s unclear what Stewart’s role will be with the Bucs in 2019. 

2017: Teez Tabor, CB, Florida (Lions) 
If Tabor ran faster at the combine, he might have been a first-round pick, but instead he ended up in the second. In two seasons with the Lions, he’s played in 22 games with five starts. He’s largely been a disappointment in Detroit. He hasn’t even been good enough to get on the field, but he still has two years left on his rookie deal. The Lions took Tabor 10 picks after the Eagles took Sidney Jones. 

2016: Su’a Cravens, LB, USC (Redskins) 
This is an interesting one. Cravens was drafted as a linebacker, but played safety and played in 11 games as a rookie. He was expected to be a starter in 2017, but was placed on the reserve/left squad list as he contemplated retirement because of concussion issues. Eventually, Cravens decided to return and was reinstated by the league. He was then traded to Denver, where he played in just five games in 2018 thanks to a knee injury. When he was on the field in 2018, he didn’t play well, but he’s still just 23. 

2015: Jake Fisher, OT, Oregon (Bengals) 
In four years with the Bengals, Fisher played in 48 games with 12 starts. He started just one game in 2018 and ended his season on IR. Fisher has dealt with a few injuries in his career and is set to be a free agent this offseason. 

2014: Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State (Packers) 
In his five-year (and counting) career in Green Bay, Adams has caught 348 passes for over 4,000 yards. He has been named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons. He has 35 receiving touchdowns in the last three seasons; only Antonio Brown (36) has more. Adams signed a $58 million extension in December 2017 and is under contract through 2021. 

2013: Margus Hunt, DE, SMU (Bengals) 
The Estonian-born Hunt put up freakish numbers at the combine to get drafted this high, but didn’t have a great four years in Cincinnati. After his rookie contract ran out, Hunt spent the last two years with the Colts and began to find success. He had five sacks in 2018 and will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. 

2012: Devon Still, DT, Penn State (Bengals) 
Still played three seasons with the Bengals and part of the 2016 season with the Texans, but never really made his mark in the NFL. After spending some of the 2017 summer with the Jets, Still retired from the NFL later that year. His young daughter has had a public battle with cancer; the two won the Jimmy V Award at the 2015 ESPYs. 

2011: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State (Bears) 
The big DT from New Zealand put up an incredible 49 bench press reps at the combine before getting drafted. He played in 55 games with 40 starts over four years with the Bears. He then spent time in Washington, Cleveland and Dallas. He decided to retire in the middle of the 2017 season. 

2010: Jermaine Cunningham, DE, Florida (Patriots) 
In three seasons in New England, Cunningham played in 36 games with 14 starts for the Patriots. He was suspended for a PED offense and in 2015 was placed on probation in a revenge porn incident. He played in just two games after leaving the Patriots. Carlos Dunlap and Sean Lee were taken in the two spots after Cunningham. Oops. 

2009: LeSean McCoy, RB, Pittsburgh (Eagles) 
The last time the Eagles had No. 53, it worked out pretty well. They happened to draft the best running back in franchise history. McCoy went on to rush for 6,792 yards in an Eagles uniform (a record) and was a three-time Pro Bowler with the Eagles before Chip Kelly traded him to Buffalo. 

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