Eagles

Grading Eagles moves: Nickell Robey-Coleman

Grading Eagles moves: Nickell Robey-Coleman

The Eagles need cornerbacks, sure, but did they really need another slot corner? A fair question to ask when assessing the free-agent addition of Nickell Robey-Coleman on Wednesday.

By my count, the Eagles have no fewer than six players who can line up in the slot. It's Cre'Von LeBlanc's natural position. Many project Avonte Maddox there, too. Sidney Jones saw time inside each of the past two seasons, for what it's worth. Though listed as safeties on paper, Jalen Mills and Will Parks will cover slot receivers as well.

Now there's Robey-Coleman. I'll spare you the Nickell/nickel puns (for now at least), but that's pretty much been his role for seven seasons in the NFL.
There's a long line of potential candidates for that role, for sure, though Robey-Coleman might be the best of the bunch. At least, none have the track record, either in terms of performance or availability.

Robey-Coleman has missed just one game in his career, and despite being around for awhile, he's only 28, so there's reason to anticipate his body breaking down anytime soon. It's a one-year deal, so no long-term risk for the Eagles regardless, and reportedly for only $1.3 million at that.

And of the other options, who is proven better than Robey-Coleman, or even particularly good in the slot? LeBlanc had a strong half-season two years ago after bouncing around the league. Maddox has been very inconsistent in his brief career. Jones has been consistently injured or bad. And Mills and Parks are still safeties by trade.

When you look at it like that, you can't blame the Eagles for bringing in a corner who's been productive year in, year out.

Plus, seeing as Robey-Coleman measures in at just 5-foot-8, 180 pounds, Mills and Parks are likely to still get plenty of work against bigger slot receivers.

Robey-Coleman spent a season with Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz when the pair was in Buffalo in 2014, and the last three years with the Los Angeles Rams, serving as the both the No. 1 Nickell AND nickel corner (there it is...) on a conference championship team in '18. He may be unheralded, but you can't argue his resume.

At the very least, he's solid, which is an upgrade over what the Eagles had. The addition of Robey-Coleman also means, along with Slay, presumably only one starting cornerback job is left to fill.

You'd much rather have LeBlanc, Maddox, Jones and a draft pick competing over one spot than trying to figure out the top two.

Grade: A-

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Pa. Gov. Wolf responds to Trump’s hope of normal NFL season

Pa. Gov. Wolf responds to Trump’s hope of normal NFL season

Less than a week after President Donald Trump reportedly said he believed the NFL season would start on time despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf isn’t so sure. 

Wolf, during his press conference on Wednesday afternoon, was asked if Trump’s timeline is realistic. 

“I think it’s too early to call what happens in the fall,” Wolf said, via PennLive.com.

Trump said he believed the NFL would start on time on a conference call Saturday with commissioners of the country’s major sports leagues, according to ESPN. Trump also reportedly said he hoped to have fans back in stadiums by August and September. 

Wolf is just the latest governor to express trepidation about the NFL’s starting on time in September — at least starting normally. 

According to ProFootballTalk, the governors of Ohio, California and Illinois have also expressed some skepticism about a normal start to the NFL season. 

California is home to four NFL teams, the most of any state in the country. And its governor doesn’t expect a “normal” start to the NFL season. 

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.'"

In addition to the question about the NFL, Wolf was also asked about winter and spring high school sports. He said every winter sport — professional and amateur — has shut down and Pennsylvania needs to follow that. 

"We need to stay safe,” Wolf said. “Again, our first priority is to keep people safe.”

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NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3

NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3

The odds of finding a difference maker at wide receiver on Day 3 aren’t great. 

But it can happen.

And this draft is unique because it’s so deep up top. That’ll push guys who would normally be 1st- rounders into the 2nd round, which will push 2nd rounders until the 3rd and so on. 

So there is a chance of finding good value on Day 3, when the fourth through seventh rounds will be held.

The Eagles haven’t found many functional receivers after the third round, but Jason Avant was a fourth-rounder in 2006, Calvin Williams a 5th-rounder in 1990 and of course Harold Carmichael was a 7th-rounder in 1971 and goes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this fall.

Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon and Julian Edelman were all drafted in the fourth round or later.

And several Hall of Famer wideouts – Steve Largent, Charlie Joiner, Don Maynard and Kutztown’s Andre Reed – were taken in the fourth round or later.

So were Harold Jackson, Drew Hill and John Stallworth.

The Eagles currently have three picks in the fourth round – No. 127, 145 and 146 overall – along with one each in the fifth (168) and sixth (190) rounds.

The odds aren’t great. But the Eagles will have some intriguing options at wide receiver prospects when Day 3 of the draft rolls around.

Here are some of them:

Collin Johnson, Texas

Another prospect whose father was in the NFL. His dad, Johnnie, spent 10 years as a cornerback with the Rams and had 22 interceptions. Collin Johnson has crazy size at 6-6, 220, and good hands but has below-average speed. He may be strictly a jump-ball guy or short-yardage zone guy in the NFL.

Devin Duvernay, Texas

After three lackluster seasons, exploded for 106 catches, nearly 1,400 yards and 9 TDs as a senior. Only 5-11, 200 but terrific hands and speed and physical after the catch. Needs work on route running and his breaks and might take some time to develop but has the tools.

Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State

Another son of an NFL player - fullback James Hodgins - the younger Hodgins entered the draft after a breakthrough junior year with 86-for-1,171 and 13 TDs. Has very good size at 6-4, 210 and is a technically sound and polished player, just doesn’t have the speed to match. Only six WRs ran slower than Hodgins’ 4.61 at the Combine.

John Hightower, Boise State

The All-American intermediate hurdler certainly has the wheels. Ran 4.43 at the Combine, so speed isn’t an issue. His size and strength are an issue. Hightower doesn’t project as a starting NFL receiver but could be an interesting guy as a returner, third or fourth receiver and gadget guy.

Bryan Edwards, South Carolina

Four-year starter whose production was unspectacular but steady - between 590 and 846 yards all four years. Looks the part at 6-3, 210 but prone to drops and a below average route runner. 

Antonio Gibson, Memphis

After playing two years of JUCO, had only one season as a full-time player at Memphis and caught just 38 passes, although he did average a legit 19.3 yards per catch and added 369 yards on 33 rushing attempts, highest in college football last year with a minimum of 30 carries. Had 12 TDs on just 71 touches. Intriguing long-range prospect who may have only begun scratching the surface of his ability.

Quartney Davis, Texas A&M

Sure-handed but inexperienced and unpolished prospect who turned pro after his junior year despite never having more than 616 yards in a season. Davis's position coach during his 2017 red-shirt freshman year at A&M was current Eagles receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.

Jauan Jennings, Tennessee

Big, strong slot receiver at 6-3, 215 who's able to use savvy and toughness to make some plays but is also one of the slowest receivers to test at the Combine. His 4.72 was second-slowest of the 45 WR prospects in Indy.

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