Eagles

NFL mock draft 2019: Eagles-only seven-round version 5.0 

NFL mock draft 2019: Eagles-only seven-round version 5.0 

Since most of the big-name free agents are off the market, let’s turn our attention to the draft. 

We’re a little over a month away from the 2019 draft, so here’s my latest attempt at a full Eagles-only mock draft. 

Round 1 (25): Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame 

I don’t think anything the Eagles have done during this free agency period should really affect what they do in the draft. So, yes, I know the Eagles signed Malik Jackson. But that doesn’t mean they won’t still use their first-round pick on a really good interior pass rusher. Tillery definitely fits that description. 

At 6-6, 295 pounds, he’s not one of the true freak athletes who will go in the first half of the first round, but Tillery is still plenty athletic. He ran a 4.93 time in the 40-yard dash, which is still really good at his size. And more importantly, his 7.45 time in the 3-cone drill was up there among the best at his position in the class. Last season at Notre Dame, he had 10 1/2 TFLs and eight sacks. He improved a lot during his time in college. There are some character questions from his past, but it’s up to the Eagles to figure them out. Take a look: 

The Eagles will start Fletcher Cox and Jackson at their defensive tackle spots in 2019, but they’re not married to Jackson long term and the Eagles rotate a ton on their D-line, so depth is always important. So is interior pass rush in today’s NFL. 

Round 2 (53): Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State

I didn't spend a lot of my fall watching Alabama State, but Howard has quickly become a big-time prospect and the Eagles have shown interest. We all know how much the Eagles respect the opinion of offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland and he seems to have taken to Howard, who is a former tight end just like Jason Peters and a former quarterback just like Lane Johnson. 

https://twitter.com/Ria_Martin/status/1104919353936543744

The Eagles reworked Peters' contract for the 2019 season, so he'll be back. But the Eagles need to plan for life without Peters. Halapoulivaati Vaitai is still under contract, but there are concerns with him. And Jordan Mailata might be the future, but that would be asking a lot right now. 

Round 2 (57): Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State 

The Penn State standout has firmly planted himself among the second-round running backs and the Eagles have shown a ton of interest in him. Sanders has a ceiling as a true three-down back in the NFL and would fit what the Eagles do offensively. He's quick, he's elusive, he's shifty and he can catch the ball out of the backfield. 

The most intriguing thing about Sanders is that there is plenty of tread left. He sat behind Saquon Barkley for two seasons, so he has just 276 college carries. Not a lot of wear and tear. But his tape is good and his performance at the combine backed that up. 

The Eagles didn't get one of the top free-agent running backs on the market, so this is setting up for them to bring back a lower level FA, but to draft a running back higher. They haven't drafted a running back in the top two rounds since Shady McCoy in 2009. I think there's a really good chance that changes this year. 

Round 4 (127): David Sills V, WR, West Virginia

We know the Eagles love players from West Virginia, so here they go in the fourth round. Sills is a former quarterback and was once offered a scholarship to USC at the age of 13. When he got to WVU, he became a WR. In 2017 and 2018, he caught 60 and 65 passes for 980 and 986 yards. He caught 33 touchdowns in those two seasons too. 

At 6-3, 211 pounds, Sills ran a 4.57, but his length and jumping ability make him a big target for 50-50 balls. 

The Eagles have a great trio of starting receivers in Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor, but they still need some depth. Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson are their top backups right now. 

Round 4 (138): Carl Granderson, DE, Wyoming

Granderson has work to do as a run-stopping defensive end, which is an important trait for Eagles defensive ends, but he has impressive pass rush ability. He's 6-5, 254 pounds, so he can fill out his frame a little more. His best season came in 2017, when he had 8 1/2 sacks. 

The Eagles bring back Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett as defensive end starters and they hope Chris Long will be back too. But they need more depth and we don't know what they have in second-year player Josh Sweat. 

Round 5 (163): Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington 

This guy is a new-school linebacker. He's 6-0, 230 pounds, so he sounds a lot more like a safety. But this is exactly what the Eagles have done. They've gotten undersized guys like Nate Gerry and Kamu Grugier-Hill in recent years. 

He can cover but his size means he might give up something in terms of being strictly a linebacker. But he can play (94 tackles as a senior) and if the Eagles are willing to experiment, he could help them. 

Round 6 (197): Sheldrick Redwine, S, Miami 

The signing of Andrew Sendejo should not prevent the Eagles from drafting a safety this year. And Redwine checks the boxes. He has five interceptions for the Hurricanes over the last two years and has a history as a cornerback. He also ran a 4.44 at the combine. 

The Eagles will start Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod in 2019 and will have Sendejo and Tre Sullivan coming off the bench. Redwine would fit into the mix nicely. 

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40-year-old Josh McCown was getting ready to play WR on Monday night

40-year-old Josh McCown was getting ready to play WR on Monday night

The Eagles entered Monday night’s game with just three healthy wide receivers and after Alshon Jeffery and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside got hurt, they were down to just one. 

So who would have been the next guy in? 

Well, 40-year-old quarterback Josh McCown was getting ready. 

“I was ready to go,” McCown told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s John Clark. “We had the helmet ready to go. The equipment guys were all over it. Had the radio-less helmet because you can’t have two green dots on the field at the same time.” 

McCown didn’t end up playing in Monday’s 23-17 overtime win. The Eagles got by with what they had, which meant playing third tight end Josh Perkins in several different spots. 

But the oldest player on the roster was ready. 

“We were ready to roll,” he said. “Shoot, I’d get in there and go. Obviously, as a quarterback, you know the offense. I guess it was like 12 years ago in Foxboro I had to go in and do it.”

That game McCown was talking about was on Dec. 3, 2006. That was the last time he caught a pass in an NFL game. 

In that game, McCown caught two passes for 15 yards from Lions quarterback Jon Kitna in a 28-21 loss to the Patriots. He also caught a 31-yard pass but it was brought back on an offensive pass interference call that he claimed was “a little suspect.” 

“Hopefully, I don’t get retroactively fined,” McCown said late Monday night, 13 years after the call. 

Is there a statute of limitations on that? 

Anyway, the fact that a 40-year-old McCown was even preparing to enter a game as a receiver is telling. First, about the injuries at that position. And, second, about the poor decision to go into a game with just three healthy receivers. 

Doug Pederson said the Eagles were hoping to have Nelson Agholor for the game, but he came in questionable and was inactive. 

At least they had McCown. 

“I’m not quite the option that J.J. (Arcega-Whiteside) is or Greg (Ward), obviously, but again, we were kind of up against it a little bit,” McCown said. “Just being able to have a contingency plan was the main thing. I was ready to roll.”

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Carson Wentz rallies Eagles past Giants throwing to ... who???

Carson Wentz rallies Eagles past Giants throwing to ... who???

It was Carson Wentz’s best stretch of football this year and it occurred under some of the most unusual circumstances you can imagine.

Tight ends playing receiver. Slot receivers playing outside. Practice squad guys in key roles.

A week after the Eagles blew a 14-point second-half lead to one two-win team, they rallied back from a 14-point second-half deficit against another two-win team.

And Wentz, after another slow start, finally looked like his old self.

Wentz not only rallied the Eagles back after they trailed by 14 points with two minutes left in the third quarter, he did it while throwing to Boston Scott, Greg Ward, Josh Perkins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – none of whom were even playing a month ago – as well as Zach Ertz.

It is not easy,” Ertz said. “As a quarterback, chemistry, trust and timing is the No. 1 thing, and he’s putting a lot of trust in guys that he does not have a lot of reps with, and I think that speaks volumes of him. Being able to go out there, and it doesn’t really matter who is out there, NFC East opponent, down 17-3, and play his best football in that second half all year? I am extremely proud of him tonight with the way he led us.

Wentz threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ critical 23-17 overtime win over the Giants at the Linc.

But look at his numbers on the Eagles’ five drives during their late comeback: 21-for-28 for 226 yards with two TD passes to Ertz, including the game-winner in overtime.

You go into the game with three receivers and now you’ve got Greg Ward usually in the slot and he’s out there playing (outside)," Wentz said. "You’ve got guys moving around. For me, I’ve got no choice but to trust these guys. Some of these routes I’ve never even repped before in those situations, but they stepped up and made plays. They did a great job.

This was vintage Wentz. But it couldn’t have happened without guys making plays around him.

And it's been a while since we've seen that.

With Nelson Agholor out, Alshon Jeffery leaving with an early injury and Mack Hollins and Jordan Matthews long gone, Wentz had to rally the Eagles back from 17-3 with guys he’s barely practiced with.

With a shot at the playoffs at stake.

Just keep believing,” Wentz said. “Keep believing and it’s time to make a decision how this is going to define us. Obviously, we knew it was not our first half. That was a rough one and that was an ugly one. We just said, ‘Keep believing and keep staying together.’ Defense was going to take care of their piece, which they did. And we were able to do enough offensively to get this win.

Wentz has had his issues this year, and he had his issues in the first half Monday night.

But it’s amazing how much better he looks when guys are actually catching footballs for him.

This was the first time the Eagles have come back from a 14-point halftime deficit since the 2014 opener, when they beat the Jaguars 34-17 after trailing 17-0.

Before that? Giants in 2010 at the Meadowlands. You might remember a DeSean Jackson punt return as time expired?

In all, the Eagles were 2-45 in their last 47 games when they trailed by at least 14 points at halftime.

Wentz was asked how big it was for him to win his first overtime game and engineer a rally from 14 down at halftime for the first time in his career.

This is huge for this whole team,” he said. “To come in after halftime, to be where we were, and obviously knowing that our backs were against the wall, season on the line-type of thing, for guys to just stay tough and stay together late in the game … and get the win and drive down to score right away? It’s huge for me personally and for this entire team.

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