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Tight ends that could fit Eagles in NFL draft

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Tight ends that could fit Eagles in NFL draft

We continue our positional breakdowns leading up to the 2018 NFL draft with a look at tight ends. Instead of a top five, we'll highlight players at these positions who fit the Eagles and have a chance to be available when the team picks.

So far, we've looked at quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

At No. 32
Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State, 6-5, 255 pounds

If the Eagles are planning to take a tight end at 32, Goedert would be the ideal choice. He's drawn comparisons to Zach Ertz with his reliable hands and ability to find soft spots over the middle. He put up consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and 18 TDs in his last two seasons combined. Coming from a small school, it's slightly disappointing he didn't run the 40 at the combine or his pro day. He's not the greatest blocker, but he's not bad and he's willing. Ertz and Goedert would make the Eagles' offense even more lethal.

Mike Gesicki, Penn State, 6-5, 247 pounds
Gesicki is an athletic freak who crushed the combine after a productive career in Happy Valley. His catch radius is ridiculous. His 4.54 40 doesn't always show up on tape, which makes me wonder if there's a little more there. Gesicki's biggest flaw is his blocking. He's just not good at it. Has Ertz improved enough in that regard for the Eagles to feel comfortable taking a poor blocking tight end? The duo would be incredibly dynamic in the passing game.

Hayden Hurst, South Carolina, 6-4, 250 pounds
Hurst is the most complete tight end in this draft and it's really not even close. He was a productive receiver (100 catches the last two seasons combined) and was a willing and capable blocker during his time with the Gamecocks. The issue with Hurst is his age. He's 25 years old after spending time as a baseball prospect in the Pirates' system. Hurst then decided to go to South Carolina and play football. He's a fine prospect, but at 25, probably not worth a first-round pick.

In the middle
Chris Herndon, Miami, 6-4, 245 pounds

Herndon waited his turn behind 2017 first-round pick David Njoku and played well during his senior season for the Hurricanes (40 catches, 447 yards, four TDs). Unfortunately, a knee injury cost him the end of his season and has forced him to rehabilitate instead of train for the NFL draft process. Herndon is a good athlete with pretty reliable hands. He was a decent blocker as well and the 20 reps he put up at the combine shows that he's got decent strength. Herndon would be really intriguing in the middle rounds. 

Late-round sleeper(s)
Will Dissly, Washington, 6-4, 267 pounds

A converted defensive end, Dissly's receiving numbers won't blow you away (21 catches, 289 yards, two TDs), but he brings that defensive player edge to his blocking. The Eagles have an intriguing receiving tight end prospect in Billy Brown. Perhaps it would make some sense to select a player like Dissly late to complement the dynamism of Ertz and Brown. Plus, Dissly didn't look totally unnatural catching the football and was a load to bring down after the catch. There could be potential there.

Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Eagles Mailbag: Trading Nick Foles; will Carson Wentz be ready?

Training camp starts next week!

After a shorter-than-usual offseason, the Eagles will try to become the first team to repeat as Super Bowl champs in over a decade. 

We answered half of your questions yesterday (see story). The rest today: 

To me, this has always been the most likely scenario if Nick Foles were to ever get traded for a few reasons. The first is that by training camp, the Eagles will have a much better idea of whether or not Carson Wentz is ready to play. They can decide to either keep the insurance policy or trade it away. And you’re right, desperation will raise Foles’ price. 

I remember asking Howie Roseman about this exact possibility back in March. 

“I’d say that’s a possibility of anyone on our team,” Roseman said. “We’re going to do what’s in the best interest of the Eagles. I don’t want to make this about just Nick, but anything that can make us better at any time in the year, we have to look at.”

I think it would have to be a first-rounder. The Eagles already didn’t trade Foles for an early second-rounder this year and if Sam Bradford was worth a first-rounder, the Super Bowl MVP damn-well better be. Now, it’s rare to have a Teddy Bridgewater-type situation arise, but if it does, the Eagles will be waiting by their phones.  

(And side note: I don’t think Foles’ restructured contract changes anything.) 

My gut is that he’s ready for Week 1, but I don’t know. On one hand, it’s a really serious injury. On the other, I was incredibly impressed by how much he was able to do in the spring and how well he did it. 

The one thing I know is this: It won’t be a decision. Either Wentz is cleared and he plays or he isn’t cleared and he doesn’t. There can’t be any thought to resting him if he’s cleared to play. These games are too important and they’re going to need him in every one. 

The Rams improved their roster and should be one of the favorites to win the NFC. The Rams already had a quarterback and some key pieces around him and then they won the offseason. 

The brought in Ndamukong Suh, Brandin Cooks, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib. Now, putting a bunch of great players together isn’t enough — remember the Dream Team — but it’s a good start. And the Rams certainly added a lot of talent. 

This is a fair question after Nigel Bradham’s suspension, but the good news for the Eagles is that Bradham’s suspension is just one game. The Eagles should have had more depth but Paul Worrilow went down for the season in the spring on the same day they cut Mychal Kendricks. That leaves the Eagles with a depth problem. 

I think they’ll try to get a better sense of what depth they have during the first week or two of training camp. Let’s see what they have in Kamu Grugier-Hill, Nate Gerry, Corey Nelson, Joe Walker and LaRoy Reynolds. But I’d imagine the Eagles at least have a couple veteran names in mind. Remember, they did add Dannell Ellerbe late last season and I wouldn’t be surprised if they still have a short list of guys who would make sense. 

Hot dogs. Please don’t ask me if they’re a sandwich. 

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Eagles Mailbag: Jay Ajayi's numbers; is Donnel Pumphrey a goner?

Eagles Mailbag: Jay Ajayi's numbers; is Donnel Pumphrey a goner?

It’s hard to believe but we’re less than two weeks away from the start of training camp. Doesn’t it seem like the Eagles won the Super Bowl, like, last week? 

Anyway, the entire team will report to the NovaCare Complex on July 25 and the first practice of the summer is the next day on July 26. The first preseason game is Aug. 9 against the Steelers. 

The season opener is Sept. 6 and it’ll be here before you know it. 

Let’s get to your questions: 

If Ajayi puts up 1,200 and eight touchdowns, the Eagles would be thrilled. The last Eagle to do that was LeSean McCoy in 2013. In fact, there have only been seven seasons in Eagles history where they’ve had a running back put up those numbers. Shady in 2013 and 2011, Ricky Watters in 1996 and 1995 and Wilbert Montgomery in 1981, 1979 and 1978. So it’s hard to do. Think about this … as good as the Eagles’ offense was in 2017, they had just nine rushing touchdowns as a team

So I don’t see Ajayi putting up 1,200 and eight, but I’m down with a 1,000-yard season. I think that’s possible. There’s still going to be a rotation in 2018, but without LeGarrette Blount taking carries, I think Ajayi will have enough opportunity. Remember, Blount led the team with 766 yards last year but lost his chance at a 1,000-yard season when Ajayi was traded to the Birds in the middle of the year.

I think with another year under his belt and without Blount taking carries now that he’s in Detroit, Ajayi will get over 1,000 in 2018. 

I’m not ready to completely write Pumphrey off, but I also haven’t seen anything that lets me know he can play in the NFL. There’s no sugarcoating it … Pumphrey was terrible last summer and if he’s that bad again this year, the Eagles might have to just give up on him. But if he shows some promise, things get trickier. Then they might have to find a roster spot for him. 

Either way, it’s hard for me to envision him really seeing time on the field this season. Is he really going to improve enough to take Ajayi, Darren Sproles or Corey Clement off the field? I just don’t see it. 

No, during a handful of spring practices, Sidney Jones hasn’t done enough to take a starting corner job from Jalen Mills or Ronald Darby. And unless one of those two really struggles, I think the Eagles will stick with them. But I expect Jones to prove himself plenty this season and to play a decent amount. I’m a complete believer in his ability and his recovery from injury. Before that Achilles injury, he could have been the first cornerback taken in the draft; he was that good. And even if he needs to shake off rust, that talent is going to show itself. He might not be a starter this year, but he’s the future of the secondary. 

I don’t remember receivers running free in the NFC Championship Game. The Vikings scored seven points in that one. As for the Super Bowl, yeah, that wasn’t great. The Patriots put up 613 yards and 500 of them came through the air. It was just the 16th game in NFL history where a team has put up 500 passing yards in a regular season or playoff game. So not great. 

But that was against the greatest quarterback in NFL history and the Eagles still won the game. I understand why you might rewatch that game and be concerned (actually it’s impressive you can watch that game and be concerned. They won the freaking Super Bowl), but that was an anomaly. They gave up 195 yards passing to the Falcons and 263 to the Vikings who trailed for most of the game. 

The Eagles bring back Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod and essentially add a first-round pick in Jones. I think they’ll be good. 

See: Snowball + Hell. 

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