Eagles

Why trading Nate Sudfeld to Colts after Andrew Luck’s retirement would make sense

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USA Today Images/Bill Streicher

Why trading Nate Sudfeld to Colts after Andrew Luck’s retirement would make sense

We were all enjoying our Saturday evenings when ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bomb on us. The kind that made us furiously check to make sure it wasn’t a fake Twitter account. 

And with that news, the next thought from an Eagles perspective is this: 

Would it make sense to trade Nate Sudfeld to Indy? 

The short answer: Absolutely. 

With Andrew Luck’s retirement, Jacoby Brissett will take over as the Colts’ starting quarterback. Lucky for them, they had the best backup quarterback in the league as their 29-year-old franchise quarterback decided to walk away. In 2017, Brissett started 15 games for the Colts and had a pretty good season. 

But now this means former Broncos’ seventh-round pick Chad Kelly is the Colts’ backup quarterback. If they’re not content with that (and they probably shouldn’t be), Sudfeld would make a ton of sense for both sides. 

There are plenty of reasons: 

• Sure, Sudfeld is injured right now, but he’s been healing from that broken left wrist and is already out of the hard cast. He could return by as early as late September, although October is likely be more realistic. So if the Colts can hang tight until then with Kelly as their backup, Sudfeld could still be the No. 2 in Indy for most of the season. Sudfeld’s injury isn’t the type that will linger. It’s not like this is a soft-tissue injury; once he’s cleared, he’ll be good to go. 

And the Colts have a good enough roster that they should still be in win-now mode even after Luck’s retirement. 

• Sudfeld has plenty of familiarity with Colts head coach Frank Reich, who was previously the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. Sudfeld and Reich were together during the Super Bowl season in 2017, when the Eagles stuck with Sudfeld as their backup into the playoffs after Carson Wentz’s injury despite Sudfeld’s lack of experience. Reich and Sudfeld have a very good relationship. 

• Even before Reich became the head coach in Indy, the Colts were interested in Sudfeld. Remember, they were the team that tried to sign him off the Eagles’ practice squad during the 2017 season. The Eagles reacted and added Sudfeld to their 53-man roster to avoid losing him. 

• After bringing Josh McCown out of retirement, the Eagles are pretty set at their backup quarterback spot. Moving Sudfeld would even eliminate the eventual decision of what to do with that spot when he’s healthy. 

• The Eagles just drafted Clayton Thorson in the fifth round out of Northwestern. Thorson has looked good at times this preseason and could possibly take over for McCown as the Eagles’ backup QB in 2020. 

• Sudfeld is 25 and is getting paid just over $3 million this season after the Eagles used a second-round RFA tender on him this offseason. There’s a good chance Sudfeld gets a contract elsewhere after this season and would be gone anyway. This would give Howie Roseman a chance to recoup something for him before he leaves. 

• This isn’t the best reason to pull off a trade, but Sudfeld probably has plenty of fans in Indiana. He played his college ball for the Hoosiers about an hour drive away from Indianapolis. 

Ever since the Eagles signed Sudfeld to their practice squad in 2017, they’ve really liked him. At every turn, they’ve shown confidence in him. So maybe it would be tough to trade him away. But this type of deal would make sense for both sides if they could agree on the right price. 

Roseman should be on the phone before the shock wears off in Indy. 

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How Combine might have changed Eagles' WR plans

How Combine might have changed Eagles' WR plans

The 2020 wide receiver draft picture got a lot more interesting Thursday night.

Alabama’s Henry Ruggs did his thing and ran 4.28 when the receivers ran their 40's at the Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. He didn't break John Ross's record of 4.22, but he certainly did nothing to hurt his draft status. 

Neither did his college teammate, Jerry Jeudy, or Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb. They remain the consensus top three receivers in the draft, and the Eagles, who have the 21st pick in the first round, would likely have to trade up to draft any of them.

But a few receivers helped themselves with their performances in Indy and a few may have hurt their stock as well, and it all could definitely affect the receiver-starved Eagles’ strategy in April.

HELPED THEMSELVES

JUSTIN JEFFERSON, LSU: Joe Burrow’s favorite target ran much faster than expected with a 4.43. We already know he’s productive - he caught a ridiculous 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns - and he backed that up with a faster 40 time than Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy. How much that helps him remains to be seen, but he definitely helped himself.

CHASE CLAYPOOL, NOTRE DAME: There’s been talk about the 6-4, 240-pound Claypool moving to tight end, but then he went out and ran 4.42, which according to the Next Gen Stats twitter feed makes him the first receiver over 230 pounds to run sub-4.45 since Calvin Johnson in 2007. He also caught the ball well and performed well in the other drills. 

DENZEL MIMS, BAYLOR: Mims opened a lot of eyes with a 4.38 Thursday night to cap an overall excellent performance. Only Ruggs and Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins ran faster. Mims was generally considered a second-round talent before the Combine but running 4.38 at 6-3, 210 pounds could push him into the first round. 

HURT THEMSELVES

JALEN REAGOR, TEXAS CHRISTIAN: Reagor, whose father Montae played for the Eagles in 2007, said he planned to run faster than Ruggs: “That’s my plan. He runs after me. I’m going to set the bar for him.”  He also said he expected to run “high 4.2, low 4.3.”  Then he ran 4.47, a full fifth of a second slower than Ruggs. He followed that with a 4.50. How much that hurts him remains to be seen, but it wasn’t what anybody was expecting. 

TEE HIGGINS, CLEMSON: Higgins told reporters at the Combine that he was planning to prove a lot of people wrong with his 40:  “My goal is to hit a 4.4. A lot of guys think I’m gonna run a 4.5 or 4.6, but I’m excited to change people’s minds.” Then without explanation he didn’t run or participate in any drills Thursday night. Not good. 

LAVISKA SHENAULT JR., COLORADO: After a slower-than-expected 4.58 on his first try, Shenault skipped his second 40 and didn’t participate in the other drills, presumably because of the core muscle injury that cost him a couple games during the season. Shenault was considered a late first-round or early second-rounder. He’ll have a chance to bounce back at his pro day, but he didn’t help himself Thursday.

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Temple LBs and roommates in heated competition for combine supremacy

Temple LBs and roommates in heated competition for combine supremacy

Temple linebackers Shaun Bradley and Chapelle Russell know they will have a ton on the line Saturday when their position group gets on the field for drills at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

Their football careers hang in the balance. 

Not to mention bragging rights. 

Throughout the last few months, the two close friends have been in a heated competition and back-and-forth trash talk battle. Bradley was training with EXOS in Phoenix; Russell was training with EXOS in San Diego. The whole time, they kept texting each other performance numbers and egging each other on. 

That competition reached a new level this week when the two found out they were rooming together in Indianapolis. 

“That’s all we do. We sit in the room and talk about who’s going to win the 40, who’s going to have the fastest (time),” Bradley said. “We do it all day. It’s nonstop. We’ll joke, we’ll talk about it. As soon as one thing hits, he’s like, ‘I’m about to run a faster 40 than you.’ ‘No you’re not.’ Back and forth, back and forth.”

At Temple, the pair of starting linebackers lived together in a house on campus, so it’s a familiar feeling to be together this week at the combine. And in such a high-pressure situation, with so much on the line, it’s comforting for both to go through it all with a close friend. 

Bradley and Russell will be rooting for each other on Saturday but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to outperform each other.  

“It’s been cool,” Russell said. “We always talk trash with each other about who’s faster, who’s going to do this, who’s going to do that. The competition between us two has been intense so I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like when we get out there Saturday.” 

There are plenty of similarities between the two. 

- Russell is listed at 6-foot-2, 236 pounds. Bradley is listed at 6-foot-1, 235 pounds. 

- Both feel like they have gotten bigger, stronger and faster over the last couple of months. 

- Both are from New Jersey (Bradley from Mount Holly, Russell from Lakewood). Both became huge parts of Temple’s defense and were awarded single-digit numbers (Bradley got 5, Russell got 3) — an honor for the nine toughest Owls on the roster — in 2018. 

- Both put up big numbers in 2019. Bradley led the Owls with 86 tackles and Russell was second with 72. Bradley had 8 tackles for loss; Russell had 8 1/2. 

- And both feel like they have plenty to prove this week. 

While there are some big-name linebacker prospects in Indianapolis this week, the two Temple linebackers aren’t considered to be in that class. During their interview sessions on Thursday, while the big-name players spoke at podiums, Russell, Bradley and the less highly regarded prospects were crammed in the corner of the room at little round tables. 

“I think we’re going to open a lot of eyes,” Russell said. “…  I feel like when we go out there Saturday, we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong.”

Bradley and Russell both said the Eagles were one of the first teams to meet with them this week and each would love the opportunity to stay in Philly and continue to play home games at Lincoln Financial Field. It’s something the Eagles brought up to them in their respective interviews. 

Continuing their football careers in Philly would mean a lot to both men. For Bradley, it would allow him to stay close to home, where his family — including his four siblings, all 13 or younger — would be able to watch him play. 

Bradley joked the one problem he might have if he became an Eagle is remembering to go to the Birds’ locker room at the Linc and not to the Owls’ locker room farther down the hallway.  

But each guy basically said the same thing about the Eagles. 

“If Philly wanted to draft me, I’d be all for it,” Russell said. 

In recent months, Bradley and Russell have been in contact with several former Temple players who have already been through this pre-draft process. Since 2016, there have been 11 Owls drafted — 1 in the first, 2 in the second, 1 in the fourth, 3 in the fifth, one in the sixth and three in the 7th. 

A good showing from either Bradley or Russell on Saturday would go a long way in adding one of them to that list. 

Oh yeah, and one of them will earn those bragging rights too. 

“I’m pretty sure it’s going to be me,” Russell said. “But that’s the competition between me and him. He’ll say him, and I’ll say me.”

We’ll find out soon enough. 

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