Eagles

Eagles wise to draft Andre Dillard over flashier picks Josh Jacobs, Marquise Brown, Montez Sweat

Eagles wise to draft Andre Dillard over flashier picks Josh Jacobs, Marquise Brown, Montez Sweat

No, Andre Dillard wasn’t a sexy choice for the Eagles. He didn’t possess the name recognition of a Josh Jacobs, Marquise Brown or Montez Sweat, who were taken in the ensuing picks. Ideally, he’ll never even play a down in 2019.

But it’s not every year the best left tackle prospect in the draft, arguably — a potential top-10 talent, certainly — is still on the board at No. 22. There’s no denying it’s a position the Eagles needed to address, either.

Everybody knows Jason Peters is 37, on the final year of his contract and has been injured each of the last two seasons. Sad as the day will be when his time with the Eagles comes to an end, it’s inevitable and approaching fast.

Now the Eagles can pencil Dillard into that spot as soon as 2020. Just like that, they have a succession plan at one of the most important and difficult-to-replace positions on the field.

Jacobs could’ve made an immediate impact in a thin backfield, but great running backs can be found outside the draft’s first round, and often are. Brown would’ve provided another weapon in the passing attack, but the offense is already loaded with playmakers at wide receiver. Like Dillard, Sweat was considered a potential top-10 talent but with health concerns, plus the Eagles are well stocked at defensive tackle, too.

Any of the three had a shot to contribute as rookies, possibly quite a bit.

The needs simply weren’t as dire.

Running backs, receivers and D-lineman are all readily available in the draft and free agency. It’s not nearly as easy to find a franchise left tackle without a top-10 draft pick. Some Eagles fans tend to forget this because Peters and Tra Thomas held down the fort the last 21 years.

Jordan Mailata impressed in preseason action last summer yet remains an unproven commodity — an Australian rugby player who picked up football for the first time 12 months ago. Should he ever become somebody the Eagles would insert in a real game, consider it a good problem to have. And while Halapoulivaati Vaitai has been serviceable as Peters’ backup, he appears best suited for his current role.

The Eagles had a rare opportunity to anchor the offensive line for the next decade with a pick in the back end of Round 1, so they pounced. The tremendous value alone is cause for excitement.

The roster is also constructed in such a way the Eagles could afford to select somebody who might not play. There are starting-caliber players at every position on the depth chart, and in many cases, defined backups.

And who’s to say Dillard won’t see the field? Peters missed 12 games in 2017 and was constantly in and out of the lineup in 2018. Right tackle Lane Johnson failed to suit up for at least one game in four of the last five seasons as well. This wasn’t necessarily the luxury pick it might seem.

Dillard won’t lead your fantasy football team to a championship in 2019, nor ever. Then again, a year or two from now, in a post-Jason Peters era, he may provide the Eagles the stability along the O-line to continue competing for the Super Bowl, when another team might find itself with a hole in a key area.

Further down the line, Dillard could be well on his way to becoming the franchise’s next great left tackle, which — if Peters’ and Thomas’ tenures demonstrated anything — is a formula that’s proven successful for the Eagles across two decades.

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5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

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USA Today Sports Images/@SirRobin83/Twitter

5-year-old Eagles impersonator gets Boston Scott's stamp of approval

With professional sports on pause around the world, fans are looking for anything - video games, simulations, classic games - to satisfy that live sports itch.

We may have found the ultimate placeholder: a five-year-old imitating Boston Scott's infamous spin-o-rama.

On Saturday afternoon, Twitter user Robin Stanley tagged Scott in a quick video of his son, Beckett, pretending to be the Eagles running back:

I mean, c'mon: the likeness to Scott's spin move against the Giants is kind of uncanny.

In case you need to jog your memory, here is Scott's spin:

Scott, of course, made fun of himself for the move at the time, admitting that when he saw the clip after the game, it "looked pretty silly".

I'd say Beckett's spin had a little more swag.

Stanley's dad, a Philly native, told NBC Sports Philadelphia his son was expecting to play his first season of flag football this spring down in Nashville, but the league was postponed because of social distancing mandates, so he's making do.

On Saturday, Scott saw Stanley's video and gave the little man a nod of approval:

That's just good, clean fun. Thank you, Beckett, for the sports-related smile.

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Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Rodney McLeod explains biggest lessons learned from Malcolm Jenkins

Four years ago, when Rodney McLeod became a free agent for the first time in his NFL career, one of the reasons he wanted to join the Eagles was for the chance to play next to Malcolm Jenkins. 

And for the last four years, he did. The two formed a safety tandem that played 49 regular season games and four playoff games, including Super Bowl LII, together. 

But now Jenkins is back in New Orleans with the Saints and the Eagles are preparing to play without him for the first time since 2013. Meanwhile, McLeod signed a two-year deal to return to Philly. 

On a conference call with reporters on Thursday, McLeod said he learned a lot from Jenkins over the past four seasons. 

What were some of those lessons? 

Just as a competitor,” McLeod said. “And then the ability to get the most out of guys, whether it’s on the defensive side or from an entire team standpoint. I think as a leader, that’s your kind of job. How can you get guys to play at the highest level and get the most out of your players. I think he was one of the best at doing that and understanding everyone … I learned a lot from him. 

“Not just on the field but off the field, the way he handled himself and what he did in the community for the city. I’ll always admire him. It’s hard to match. But like I said, his legacy will live on. The Saints are getting a good guy. Now, us as Eagles, playing with a new group of guys and we’re ready to move forward.

There’s no question that the Eagles are going to miss Jenkins’ contributions on the field. They will use some combination of Jalen Mills and Will Parks to replace him at that position and that won’t be easy. 

But the Eagles will also miss the leadership Jenkins brought to the locker room. He wasn’t just the leader of the secondary or even just the defense; Jenkins was oftentimes the key leader for the entire team. That’s hard to replace too. 

It’s not that McLeod, 29, hasn’t been a leader during his first four years in Philly. But now that role might need to expand and will become more important with the absence of Jenkins. 

“I think it’s important for me to be myself and be who I’ve always been,” McLeod said. “And that’s a guy that leads by his actions and leads by example. I think if you ask a lot of guys on the team, that’s what they’ll tell you most. Actions sometimes speak louder than words. I think there will be times for me to speak up when needed. When my teammates need me most, I’ll be ready to do that.”

For the most part, McLeod has been the quieter of the two safeties and Jim Schwartz has previously called him the calming presence in the defensive backfield.

But McLeod can speak up too. 

It’s really just about finding a balance between his two sides and putting the lessons from Jenkins into practice in 2020. 

“Myself, being a leader on this team for some time, will of course be asked to step up as well as other guys from a defensive standpoint and on the team,” McLeod said. “I think we’re prepared for that. And guys will be willing to step up to the plate and accept the challenge. Myself first and foremost.”

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