Eagles

Saquon Barkley going 1st could be great for Eagles

Saquon Barkley going 1st could be great for Eagles

There is growing buzz that Penn State running back Saquon Barkley could be drafted first overall by the Browns.

That could end up being great news for the Eagles ... because of who picks second.

Save for the short period of time Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw were effective, the Giants have been in need of a running back since Tiki Barber retired after the 2006 season.

With the second overall pick in a draft that includes a potentially generational running back in Barkley, the G-Men are finally in position to fix their broken ground game.

But with the Browns also owning the fourth pick, they could take Barkley at 1 and get their QB at 4.

If the Browns take Barkley, the Giants would obviously be tempted to take the best QB in the draft — whoever they deem that to be — second overall. Eli Manning is 37 years old and hasn't been in the top half among quarterbacks in at least three seasons.

If the Giants do take a QB second, they'd set themselves up better for the future, but in the present, it would be a boost for the Eagles. The Birds would get one more season against a Manning-led Giants team that didn't improve any other position with its high first-round pick. A Giants team that has a weak offensive line, a non-existent running game and a pass rush that had the third-fewest sacks in the NFL last season.

The Eagles would also get to avoid facing Barkley twice a year for potentially a decade. It's true that running backs have been devalued over the last decade, but the last two taken in the top five — Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette — immediately changed the fortunes of their teams. With a more complete offense, the Cowboys went from 4-12 to 13-3 in Zeke's first year. The Jaguars went from 3-13 to 10-6 in Fournette's rookie season.

Doug Pederson would still have a better, deeper roster than both the Cowboys and Giants, but facing Elliott and Barkley a combined four times per season would be tough.

So if Barkley indeed goes first, it would be the second time in three years the Browns helped the Eagles at the top of the draft.

When do players know their football days are over?

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USA Today Images

When do players know their football days are over?

In the latest edition of Eagle Eye, Derrick Gunn and Barrett Brooks discuss Father's Day weekend. What kind of basketball parent is Barrett? The guys give their 53-man roster after spring practices. Tom Brady says he can feel his playing days are getting numbered. When do players first start realizing that the end is near and what makes that reality most difficult? Also, how should the Giants handle Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation?

"I think that Saquon [Barkley] is going to be better than [Ezekiel] Elliott." — Barrett Brooks.

1:00 - What kind of basketball parent is Barrett?
3:00 - Father's Day weekend recap.
5:00 - Eagles' 53-man roster after spring practices.
15:30 - Tom Brady tells Oprah the end is near ... when do players start seeing that reality?
20:00 - The hardest part about having to say goodbye to football.
23:00 - Odell Beckham Jr.'s contract situation.

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

Press Taylor was right choice for Eagles' QBs coach

The Eagles were just a few days away from the Super Bowl and there was a clear indication of just how loose the team really was. 

On Feb. 1, Carson Wentz tweeted out a photo proving it. 

So, what’s the point of this? Why show a photo that Wentz sent out from an escape room well over four months ago?

Well, because it was a little glimpse into the future. Because the five guys in that photo are going to be the five guys in the Eagles’ quarterback room this season. 

Along with Wentz, Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld, the other two are Press Taylor (sitting) and Spencer Phillips. This offseason, after John DeFilippo left Philadelphia to take the offensive coordinator job in Minnesota, the Eagles promoted Taylor to take his position as quarterbacks coach and then promoted Phillips to take Taylor’s spot as the assistant quarterbacks coach. 

It was probably a no-brainer. 

And it’s crazy to think, but just a year after the Eagles blocked DeFilippo from leaving the organization, DeFilippo has left … and the Eagles are going to be just fine. 

At the time, before the 2017 season, it made sense to block DeFilippo. He was seemingly integral to the development of a young Wentz and he certainly deserves plenty of credit for the big jump in Wentz’s play last season. But now, without him, the Eagles are going to keep a finely-tuned machine running. And they’re going to do it with a very young and very promising coach. 

Taylor is just 30 years old, which seems incredibly young for a coach who is supposed to lead the most important position room for the Eagles and possibly the most important position room in the entire league. He’s just one year older than Foles. 

He might be young, but Taylor is uniquely positioned to handle this responsibility. And aside from his football acumen — which has been touted by his superiors — it’s his relationship with the players in the room that made him such a no-brainer replacement for DeFilippo. 

“I feel really close (to Wentz, Foles and Sudfeld),” Taylor said last week. “I know what makes them tick going into it. And then we all had our own relationships. Obviously, I wasn’t their quarterbacks coach at the time, but I was in the room, sat through those conversations, had my own conversations out on the practice field. I feel like I know the things they like, the things they didn’t like. And then was able to learn from the other guys, the other coaches in the room.”

After the Super Bowl, Taylor is probably best known in the city for bringing the Philly Special to the Eagles. In his position last year, it was his job to mine gadget plays from around the league and found that play being used by the Bears the season before (see story). And that’s great. But all the stuff we don’t know about last year is what’s going to make the most difference for the Eagles this season. 

Taylor has been with the Eagles since 2013, when Chip Kelly brought him to town. And then Doug Pederson was smart enough (and without ego) to keep Taylor in 2016. The brother of Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor, Press has quickly worked his way up the ladder. 

Last week, Wentz was asked if the team wanted his opinion before promoting Taylor. 

“I think it was pretty much known how we felt about Press beforehand,” Wentz said. “We’ve seen Press behind the scenes the last couple years and how hard he works. A lot of guys have a ton of respect for him as a person and as a coach. I know that’s where I sit. So far, it’s been great. He understands the game extremely well. We’re very like-minded, both on and off the field. The relationship I have with him personally and the relationship he has with all the quarterbacks has been tremendous so far.”

The relationship between Taylor and the QBs is so important. Relationships for this entire coaching staff are so important. Really, that’s what has made Pederson so special. He has that “emotional intelligence” and understands how to deal with his players. 

Taylor seems to have that too. And really, that’s why the Eagles’ QB room won’t miss a beat. 

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