Eagles

NFL mock draft 2019 roundup 10.0: No consensus pick on draft week

NFL mock draft 2019 roundup 10.0: No consensus pick on draft week

We finally made it! It’s draft week!

By this time in a few days, the internet will be full of completely useless mock drafts. Like, even more useless than they are now. 

But we still have a few days before the draft, so here’s one more look around several mock drafts as we try to figure out which player the Eagles are going to take with their 25th pick on Thursday night. Just a few days before the draft, there’s no consensus yet: 

CBS Sports, Ryan Wilson

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, Florida 

Here’s what they said: After the 2017 season there were questions about Gardner-Johnson's tackling ability, but he proved he's more than capable in '18, and his coverage ability makes him an attractive option for the Eagles.

My take on Gardner-Johnson: The more I have watched of Gardner-Johnson, the more I like him. He’s a fun player and his versatility should make him really attractive to the Eagles. I’m still not completely sold on the idea of taking a safety in the first round because I think there will be better value to take one with one of those second-round picks. But this guy is in the mix to be a late first-rounder and would immediately have a role with the Eagles as a third safety and a starter next season. 

NFL.com, Daniel Jeremiah

Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma 

Here’s what they said: It would make sense for the Eagles to add a receiver because I don't think DeSean Jackson's a long-term solution and they could lose Nelson Agholor next year, as he's due to hit free agency.

My take on Brown: There are few draft guys I respect more than Jeremiah and it is important to note that he once worked for the Eagles. Brown is an exciting player, no doubt. He’s super fast and the DeSean Jackson comparisons aren’t only fair, they’re unavoidable. I’m not sure how perfect of a slot replacement Brown would be for Agholor, but I do think receiver is an underrated need for the Eagles heading into this draft. Nelly is under contract for one more year and their top backup is Mack Hollins. Even if they don’t take a receiver in Round 1, I’d expect one will come to the Eagles not long after. 

NBC Sports Washington, Ben Standig

Chris Lindstrom, OG, Boston College

Here’s what they said: Left tackle Jason Peters turns 37 in January and battled knee injuries in recent seasons. There are also concerns at guard. The Eagles cannot afford to mess up the investment made in quarterback Carson Wentz.

Lindstrom pushed his way into round one consideration during the pre-draft process to the point some teams 10 picks higher are showing interest.

My take on Lindstrom: I think Lindstrom is firmly in play for the Eagles’ pick. It’s not very sexy to take an interior offensive lineman but the Eagles need depth there and Lindstrom is about as solid as they come. He has played some tackle in college, but projects as an interior lineman at the next level. Still, the Eagles won’t ever turn down versatility. 

NFL.com, Chad Reuter

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

Here’s what they said: Yes, the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard, but he has only one year left on his deal and giving up a 2020 sixth-round pick (conditions could allow it to flex to a fifth) is not exactly the price one would pay for a top difference-maker. Jacobs is a beast of a runner and could take pressure off of Carson Wentz.

My take on Jacobs: Remember when it seemed like everyone was picking Jacobs to go to the Eagles? That has died down, but I guess he’s still a possibility. My thought is that there will be a better or similarly-valued player at a more preferred position when the Eagles are on the board at 25, though Jacobs is probably still in play. He’s the only running back that might go in the first round and I’m not convinced he will. 

CBS Sports, Pete Prisco

Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson 

Here’s what they said: He's a power player who would be in the rotation with Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson. Lawrence might end up as a better pro than college player. 

My take on Lawrence: A few months ago, I simply discounted Lawrence as a run-stuffer and not worth a first-round pick. I have softened on that some. I still think his teammate Christian Wilkins or even Notre Dame’s Jerry Tillery would be a better fit in the Eagles’ downhill defensive front, but Lawrence is pretty damn athletic for his size. And for a team that has shown the flexibility to move a defensive end inside for passing downs, Lawrence could be really good on first and second downs. Is it worth taking a two-down lineman in the first round? Maybe not, but Lawrence will probably be a really solid NFL player. 

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NFL trade rumors: Why Stefon Diggs makes sense for the Eagles

NFL trade rumors: Why Stefon Diggs makes sense for the Eagles

On Tuesday night, receiver Stefon Diggs sent the internet into a tizzy when he apparently erased any mention of the Vikings from his Instagram account. 

We’re taking a bit of a leap here (gotta love 2020) but if this is Diggs’ somehow voicing his frustration with the Vikings it wouldn’t be the first time. And it would also basically be a Bat Signal to the other 31 NFL teams: “Come and get me!” 

The Eagles should. 

It’s funny. Before all those rumors began to swirl on Tuesday night, I was on NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Quick Slants and was asked for one potential trade target for the Birds. The name I gave was Diggs. He made sense even before this. While there’s no guarantee the Vikings trade him, it’s worth finding out. 

If you haven’t noticed, the Eagles are in desperate need of help at receiver. It’s why about 85 percent of mock drafts have them taking one in the first round of the draft in a couple months. But any player they pick in the draft is an unknown. Diggs is not. 

There are three big reasons why Diggs should be attractive to the Eagles: 

1. He just turned 26 back in November

The Eagles are committed to getting younger this offseason and getting Diggs now would kind of be like signing a free agent after his rookie deal. The Eagles have been getting older but Diggs would help them get younger. No, he’s not a 21-year-old anymore but he is arguably entering his prime. 

2. Diggs is already one of the best receivers in the NFL

Despite his targets dropping from 149 in 2018 to 94 in 2019 (ostensibly one of the reasons for his displeasure), Diggs still managed to have more receiving yards this past season. Since the 2016 season, Diggs has 313 catches, 3,903 yards and 26 touchdowns. There are just six players in the league with better stats in those four seasons: DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Travis Kelce and Michael Thomas. 

What has been impressive about Diggs is that he’s been successful in different ways. After averaging 10.0 yards per catch in 2018, he averaged 17.9 (a career high) in 2019 and was a tremendous deep threat. Just three players in the NFL had a higher yards-per-catch average in 2019. 

The Eagles certainly saw what he can do. In Week 6 against the Birds, he had his best game of the 2019 season. He caught seven passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. That was the only time this season he was targeted over 10 times in a game. 

3. Diggs is relatively cost-controlled for another four seasons

While trading for Diggs will cost draft equity (we’ll get to that soon), his salary will be cheaper than that of a free agent of the same caliber because he’s already locked up. While multiple teams will out-bid each other for free agents and end up over-paying, Diggs has a contract that runs through the 2023 season and it’s a very reasonable contract. By the end of it, there’s a very good chance he’ll be extremely underpaid. Even though he just signed the five-year extension in the summer of 2018, he’s already just the 13th highest-paid NFL receiver in terms of APY, according to OverTheCap. 

Check out his base salaries for the remainder of the contract: 

2020: $10.9M
2021: $11.4M
2022: $11.4M
2023: $11.4M

No, that’s not exactly cheap like a rookie contract would be but it’s very manageable. And once the new CBA is eventually worked out, those prices will probably look even better. And there are some performance escalators written in, but if Diggs hits them, both sides would be happy. 

So what will it take? 

This is the big question. I think we all agree that Diggs is a good player and the Eagles would love to have him. But what would they have to give up in a trade? 

Well, the Vikings are going to start any negotiation with a first-round pick at minimum. They should. All those reasons I listed above are reasons why they should have teams lining up for Diggs. It’ll be interesting to see just how bad things really are between Diggs and the Vikings, though. There was definitely frustration during the 2019 season but he finished out the year. Is it bad enough that it’s an untenable situation? If so, then the Vikings would lose some leverage. 

If it’s a second-round pick, this is an easier conversation. The real question is whether or not the Eagles would be willing to give up a first-round pick. I kind of doubt they’d be willing to but you can make a real case for it. It’s easy to say the Eagles should just focus on the draft and take one of the many talented options with the 21st pick but there’s no guarantee they’ll hit. In fact, their history picking receivers, especially in the last decade, shouldn’t instill much confidence. They have drafted four Day 1 or Day 2 receivers since 2010: J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff. 

None of them ever became what Diggs is right now. And there’s a good chance any player taken at 21 won’t become what he is either. 

Maybe GM Howie Roseman and the Eagles will be worried about Diggs’ fit in the building; after all, he has created enough drama in Minnesota to bring all of this up in the first place. Would that eventually happen here? Hard to say. This isn’t a no-brainer but it’s worth a call or two. 

Pick up the phone, Howie. 

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Brandon Graham, DeSean Jackson, more Eagles players react to Nigel Bradham move

Brandon Graham, DeSean Jackson, more Eagles players react to Nigel Bradham move

The Eagles decided Tuesday to decline the team option on Nigel Bradham's contract (see story), cutting the 30-year-old linebacker loose after four years in Philly. From the highs of winning a Super Bowl to the lows of his multiple run-ins with law enforcement, Bradham's time with the Eagles was nothing if not entertaining.

Bradham's teammates received the news Tuesday, just like fans did, and a number of his now-former teammates shared their reactions to the team's move on their Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Brandon Graham lamented the end of his time playing alongside Bradham:

DeSean Jackson and Kamu Grugier-Hill wished Bradham luck in his next NFL stop:

Nate Gerry thanked Bradham for teaching him the ins and outs of the linebacker position, and of life as pro football player:

Rodney McLeod and Nelson Agholor, two players who might not return to Philly in 2020, also shouted Bradham out on Instagram:

One particularly interesting reaction, to my eye, was that of cornerback Rasul Douglas, who opted to use the head-slap emoji in a quote tweet of a report about the move:

Whether that signifies surprise or displeasure, it seems like Douglas would've preferred Bradham return to Philly in 2020.

Instead, free agency is off and running, and the Eagles' sleepy offseason is finally about to heat up.

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