Roob's 10 pre-OTAs Eagles observations

Roob's 10 pre-OTAs Eagles observations

Ten Random Eagles Points while we’re all wondering what team Nick Foles will be with when Tom Brady finally gets around to shaking his hand!

1. Here’s an intriguing thought: The Eagles have more talent at the skill positions in 2018 than they did in 2017. They’ll have Jay Ajayi for a full season instead of seven games. LeGarrette Blount had a nice start and a huge Super Bowl, but remember, over the last 10 games of the season he averaged only 3.6 yards per carry, 10th-lowest in the NFL. Corey Clement will have an expanded role, and a healthy Darren Sproles will make a difference. Mike Wallace replaces Torrey Smith, and Wallace had more catches and is a dramatic upgrade over Smith. The Eagles lost Brent Celek and Trey Burton, but I’d be surprised if Dallas Goedert doesn’t quickly surpass their combined 36 catches and 378 yards. They’re potentially more explosive at receiver, deeper at running back and better at tight end. Which is scary, considering the Eagles scored the second-most points in franchise history last year!

2. Clement did an extraordinary job delivering Rowan University’s commencement speech on Sunday (see story). That’s not an easy thing to do, especially at 23. When you’ve done what he’s done, you can speak about hard work and overcoming extreme odds and come across as authentic, and he did exactly that. His remarks should resonate with everybody, not just Rowan’s Class of 2018.

3. It’s easy to forget Clement only had 28 touches on offense the first seven games of last season before he began playing a little more regularly. I can’t wait to see what that kid can do with an expanded role.  

4. Since losing five straight games late in the 2016 season, the Eagles are 18-2 in games they were trying to win.

5. Only three players in NFL history have thrown a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl on fourth down. Jim Kelly, Steve Grogan and Trey Burton. Burton is the only one to do it and win the game.

6. And Nick Foles is the only player in history to complete a fourth-down pass in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl victory with his team trailing.

7. Matt Jones. I like it. Like Richard Rodgers or Markus Wheaton, another nothing-to-lose signing (more on how Jones fits). Maybe Jones can regain his form of 2016, when he averaged 4.6 yards per carry. Or maybe he’ll be awful and get cut and the Eagles lose nothing. Where does he fit in? Who cares? It’s May. If he can play, they’ll find a place for him. If he can’t, he’s gone.

8. Remember the Eagles’ crazy 42-37 win over the Redskins at RFK Stadium in 1989? Randall threw for 447 yards and five TDs and rallied the Eagles back from a 27-7 deficit? Interesting that in the last 50 years, the only games the Eagles allowed 7 1/2 yards per play were the Super Bowl and that 1989 game against the Redskins. And they won both.

9. If Carson Wentz throws 30 or more touchdown passes and nine or fewer interceptions next year, he’ll become the third QB in NFL history to do that in back-to-back seasons. The others are Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

10. I’ve heard so many ideas of how the Eagles can use Jordan Mailata, the 6-8 Australian rugby player. Lead blocking at the goal-line, ball carrier in short yardage, edge rusher. OK, one small problem. HE’S NEVER PLAYED FOOTBALL. And it’s going to be almost impossible for him to actually make the team. Mailata is a fun story but he is an extreme longshot. I get that his Youtube video is impressive, but making room for him on the 53-man roster means cutting a legit football player. Maybe Mailata will one day become a player. The odds are not good.

Dan Snyder is reportedly taking over Washington's draft

USA Today Images

Dan Snyder is reportedly taking over Washington's draft

For months, we’ve been so focused on the Eagles’ plan going into the draft without even thinking about another huge factor that should help them: 

The rest of the division might be an inept mess at the front office level.  

Let’s check in on Washington: 

Oh, really?

So the Eagles have a power structure with a supportive owner in Jeffrey Lurie who has delegated power to a front office with Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas. Both seem to get along great with each other and with head coach Doug Pederson, creating a sound and cohesive environment. 

Meanwhile, the Eagles share a division with two overbearing and meddlesome owners in Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones, not to mention a general manager in New York’s Dave Gentleman, who doesn’t seem to know what the hell he’s doing. 

At least you have to give the Cowboys a little credit. Jones is meddlesome, but they’ve had plenty of good draft picks over the last few years. 

But the Giants have picks No. 6 and 17, while the Skins have No. 15 and might move on up into the top five. Neither of those fanbases should have a high level of confidence those front offices will nail those picks. 

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Eagles' Nelson Agholor reportedly viewed as trade option around NFL

Eagles' Nelson Agholor reportedly viewed as trade option around NFL

Nelson Agholor survived speculation he could be released by the Eagles in March, but that doesn’t mean the club won’t part with the wide receiver in a draft-day trade.

At least, that’s what NFL teams believe might happen. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, front offices around the league view Agholor as a player who could be “available” and wind up on the trade block — if the Eagles take a receiver in the draft.

Rapoport cites Agholor’s guaranteed salary of $9.4 million in 2019 as reason why the Eagles would consider a move.

The possibility for a trade makes sense from several vantage points, including money. The Eagles have quite a bit invested in the position already between Alshon Jeffery, with his $14.7 million cap hit for 2019, and DeSean Jackson, due $12 million over the next two seasons. Agholor is also in the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

Acquiring another receiver in the draft, presumably early, creates a logjam for playing time as well, with 2017 draft picks Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson among the prospects still in the mix. Braxton Miller has also earned praise from the organization, while the Eagles recently signed AAF standout Charles Johnson as well.

It’s easy to connect the dots and see how the Eagles could be motivated to deal Agholor, which would create cap space and a roster spot, all while netting an asset before he reaches free agency.

Such a trade would not be without some downside, however.

Agholor only turns 26 in May and is coming off back-to-back 60-reception/700-yard receiving seasons with 12 total touchdowns. He’s a versatile weapon who can work the short and intermediate areas of the field and run with the ball in his hands, but is a threat to take the top off the defense, too.

Perhaps greater than Agholor’s on-field ability — the full potential of which he perhaps hasn’t reached — is his work ethic and presence in the locker room. A former first-round choice himself, this is somebody who has worked to shake the dreaded draft “bust” label, and in the process earned the utmost respect of the Eagles’ coaching staff and front office.

In February, Eagles coach Doug Pederson gushed about Agholor’s attitude while discussing how a mid-season trade for fellow wideout Golden Tate impacted his production.

“Nelson, oh man. Love this guy,” Pederson said. “He’s the first one in and the last one out. He’s a hard worker. Spends time before and after practice. Can’t say enough good things about Nelson Agholor and what he’s brought to the table and what he will continue to bring. I think last year, you look at the amount of guys we had, and then we added Golden (Tate) midseason.

“I’m not going to stand up here and say it didn’t affect Nelson. I think it did. The question was asked earlier about getting everybody the ball. In this league, it’s a challenge … And yet Nelson didn’t complain. He came to work every single day. He put in the time, he put in the work. He was a huge part of what we did … I’m excited, I love working with him.”

If the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Agholor, it doesn’t sound like a decision that will be made lightly.

It’s impossible to say what the Eagles should do without knowing the return or how the draft will unfold. Agholor is even more valuable than his numbers suggest, though, so one would expect he’d fetch a nice price.

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