Category Archives: Sports

Draft Review: Where Eagles Dared

Prince Tega

Prince Tega Wanogho (76) Auburn football vs Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday, November 18, 2017 in Auburn, Ala. Photo by Wade Rackley/Auburn Athletics

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – As the madness ends, let the sadness begin.

The NFL draft, with all its build-up – and enhanced by its opportunity to distract us during these historically tragic times of a pandemic – is now behind us.

The best we can hope for now is a football season – and maybe one that will take place without fans in the stands, as more germs will be passed around there than by superior athletes playing what is arguably the most violent sport on earth.

That’s the bad news.

And there is even more bad news. The Eagles clearly missed my memos and didn’t follow the four Shakespearean scripts – Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello and Romeo and Juliet – I laid out for them here in my four mock drafts (although I did hint at some of the players they took in my broader final preview).

But there is good news.

While they didn’t take who I would have – in most cases, anyway – I wouldn’t say any of the picks were all-out pathetic ones.

I am certainly not burning de facto GM Howie Roseman in effigy – especially since these are group decisions, with head coach Doug Pederson likely speaking for the coaches while Roseman factors in reports from the scouts. If anything is dysfunctional – and only time will tell – it is that the Eagles (unlike, say, Dallas with Jerry Jones) have too many chefs in the kitchen.

With that, let’s take a closer look at a draft that I ended up grading as a B-minus (after being as low as a D-plus at one point):

Round 1 (pick 21): The Eagles reportedly explored trading up for Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, but relished their second round pick (No. 53) too much. They could have traded down and added a second round pick, but stayed put and selected receiver Jalen Reagor of TCU, who was rapidly rising up draft boards into firm Day 1 consideration. Reagor was listed at 5-11, 195 in college, where his stats were not eye-popping in his final year (three different quarterbacks, including a true freshman) but bulked up to 210. It was presumed he would easily run a sub-4.4 40, but his time at the combine was a disappointing 4.47 (still fast, but not as fast as expected – especially for a smaller receiver). He dropped five pounds and ran again – virtually — and interested teams recorded it between 4.2 and 4.3. There is another metric, measuring game speed, which came more into play in the alternate universe of this draft, and his time was off the charts.

Where He Fits: Reagor (pictured below) — the son of a former NFL player, Montae, whose journeys included a stint in Philly — will be handed the punt returner job. The only way he will lose it is if he drops the ball, literally. As for the offense, we are probably looking at a DeSean Jackson understudy for a year. While he may not start, it is likely he will be integrated into the offense with specific plays in mind.

What I Would Have Done: I do agree that this year’s No. 2 pick, given the depth in the draft, was too valuable to package with No. 21 to move up. However, I would have thought long and hard about dangling next year’s No. 2 to move up for Ceedee Lamb. If that didn’t work, I would have taken LSU’s Justin Jefferson at No. 21. I had mocked him to the Eagles from the jump and still think he has the best skill set to impact the league as a rookie. Third option would have been to trade down a few slots and pick up either a late second or multiple picks (third and fourth). In that scenario, later in the round, I would have gone with the consensus in the Zoom room and gladly taken Reagor.

Reagor

Round 2 (pick 53): This one was the head-scratcher of the draft, and it has nothing to do with not liking the actual player, quarterback Jalen Hurts (Alabama/Oklahoma). Like Reagor, his stock was rapidly rising and I regard him as an eventual Russell Wilson-type of quarterback in the NFL. While franchise quarterback Carson Wentz has been a tad bit injury-prone, this still seems like an extreme measure – unless Wentz has some sort of hidden, career-threatening medical issue we don’t know about.

Where He Fits: My first thought was as a gadget guy, like Taysom Hill in New Orleans, but I really don’t see that more than a few times, like a double-pass play (or something else that probably won’t work). And you don’t take gadget guys in Round 2. The reality is that he is here because he was the next best quarterback on the board – the rest of the draft kind of backed this up – and, after Nate Sudfeld puts in one more year of being an indentured servant, Hurts (pictured below) becomes the backup by 2021. When his rookie contract is nearing its end – 3-4 years from now – the quarterback scenario could look totally different. Maybe Wentz will be entrenched as a Top 5 guys and Hurts, with some nice play in relief appearances, will be a hot commodity to flip. However, unless they get back more than a second round pick, all they are doing to giving away a quarterback they spent time on developing for the same price they originally paid.

What I Would Have Done: In one of my mocks, I had the Eagles taking Baylor receiver Denzel Mims at No. 21. He was still there at No. 53, so you do the math. As for No. 2 quarterback, I would have brought in Joe Flacco.

Hurts

Round 3 (pick 103): Yeah, I can see where outside linebacker Davion Taylor (pictured below) fits, both in terms of scheme fit and what the overall theme of their draft – speed with a side dish of smarts – comes into play here. Taylor runs in the 4.5 range, which is pretty impressive for his size (6-1, 225). He is also still developing. When I first heard he didn’t play much, if any, high school football because his religion kept him from it on Friday nights, I got excited. I thought they maybe took a Jewish guy. Then again, there are not too many black Jews from rural Mississippi. Taylor was a Seventh Day Adventist. He played other sports in high school, standing out in track, and didn’t really give football a real go until junior college. From there, it was on to Colorado, where his came into his own.

Where He Fits: Well, it was clear that Jatavis Brown was stop-gap signing for the hybrid-linebacker role Schwartz likes to deploy in his regular sub-packages, so logic would follow that Taylor learns that position while being unleashed on special teams. There is some talk about playing safety, long-term. Anything is possible, but I don’t believe it’s the plan (see fourth-round pick).

What I Would Have Done: I can appreciate the nice little back story, and certainly the fact that the arrow is pointing way up here, but one of my favorite guys in the draft – at the same position – was still on the board: Akeem Davis-Gaither (Appalachian State) and he had a full career of monster production that could have been brought to the field sooner.

Davion Taylor

Round 4 (pick 127): The Eagles had missed out on some safeties at this point, but they could have done a lot worse than – K’von Wallace (Clemson) – who was an anchor, playmaker and leader on one of the premier teams in the country. Aside from his size (5-11, 205), he checks all the boxes.

Where He Fits: This high school wildcat quarterback/receiver with extensive experience at corner in college might be one of their drafts picks best prepared to take on an active role from the jump, and certainly in some of the multi-safety packages that Schwartz likes to deploy.

What I Would Have Done:  OK, from this point on, I am not second guessing. Were there guys I liked better? Yes. However, overall, the Eagles really started hitting their stride on Day 3 (pulling up their grade in the process), so we’ll go with God (or Roseman and Co.). To me, the choice of Wallace (pictured below) is when the draft starting getting onto some solid footing.

K'von

Round 4 (Pick 145): Yeah, I was screaming at the television at this point, wondering why certain players – weren’t drafted yet. The Eagles did take an Auburn offensive lineman (just not the one I wanted) here in Jack Driscoll, who transferred to the big time after starting his career at the University of Massachusetts. At 6-4 and just around 300 pounds, Driscoll played tackle but might project inside at guard in the NFL. With the track record of offensive line coach/running game coordinator Jeff Stoutland, he’s in a good hands. Moreover, Driscoll is a smart guy – earning an undergrad degree at UMass and a MBA at Auburn – so the learning curve should be crisp.

Where He Fits: Right in the mix with the likes of Matt Pryor as swing player who helps you at multiple positons, should there be an injury on game day. While his ceiling might be as an OK starter, his floor is as a quality backup. While you might hope for more in the fourth round, you could do worse than a safe bet. Driscoll (pictured below) could even project as the eventual center.

Jack Driscoll

Round 5 (Pick 168): Roseman was wheeling and dealing so fast that my head was starting to spin, especially at a point in the draft where teams only have five minutes to choose. You think the Eagles are on the clock and then, suddenly, it’s three picks later and they didn’t pick. With my cell phone running low on battery power, it was immediately recharged with the selection of Boise State receiver John Hightower, a human highlight real. He’s 6-1, 190 pounds (soaking wet) and runs the 40 in the 4.4 range. In addition to exciting but raw receiving skills, he will likely be given a long look as the kick returner (the Eagles are likely to keep Reagor just with punts if they can help it).

Where He Fits: Other than an opportunity to be the kick returner, all that may be guaranteed Hightower (pictured below) out of the gate is a roster spot.

John Hightower

Round 6 (Pick 196): It had been since 2011 (no lie) since the Eagles drafted a player from Temple. And it’s not like the Owls haven’t had some good teams in that time, and certainly not like they haven’t seen several solid “Temple Tuff” players into the league that they could have used. The 2011 pick was Jaiquawn Jarrett, who was taken in the second round. He was an in-the-box safety who failed miserably at the wrong position (free safety). After 13 games over two seasons here, he ended up playing 34 games – starting seven – for the Jets. It’s hard to believe the Eagles felt so scarred by the experience that they would not only avoid drafting Temple products, but would avoid bringing them in as undrafted free agents (the last was quarterback Adam DiMchele in 2009). Well, all conspiracy theories about a hidden agenda (tenant-landlord issues at the Linc) can be laid to rest, as the Eagles used this pick – and wisely – on linebacker Shaun Bradley. Temple has now had as many players taken in the last five years as Florida State and more than the likes of Nebraska. It’s ultra-cool, with they are local (Bradley is from South Jersey).

Where He Fits In: Bradley (pictured below), is virtually the same player as the third-round pick, Taylor. While Taylor may be a bit more athletic, Bradley has more game acumen. It’s hard to believe the two would be battling for a roster spot, as no one like to cut draft picks, they could be battling it out for the same game-day niche while the other doesn’t dress.

Shaun Bradley

Round 6 (Pick 200): There were still plenty of players I liked, and mocked, to the Eagles sitting there at this point – including receivers. One I was aware of, but hadn’t mocked, was Quez Watkins (Southern Mississippi). Upon further review, I should have. Like Hightower, he is a raw product, but his highlight reel is loaded with catches that guys on Sundays make.

Where He Fits In: There will be a lot of healthy competition at receiver. Consider it a much-needed good thing. A lot of “Iggles” fans were enamored with Alabama receiver Henry Ruggs III, who ran the fastest time at the combine. Guess who ran the second fastest – at 4.28? Try Watkins (pictured below).

Watkins

Round 6 (Pick 210): This might be my favorite pick of their whole draft. I mocked Auburn left tackle Prince Tega Wanagho (see pic all the way at top) to the Eagles in the second round of one of my mocks, with that the thought that he could be coached up by Stoutland to eventually be Jason Peters 2.0. That would be the ceiling. The floor? A high-level swing tackle, as he has experience on the right side, or maybe even a look at guard. It’s unclear why he went from a Day 2 pick to a late Day 3 pick. The only answer is that water on the knee at the Senior Bowl kept him on the sidelines. He came to this country from Nigeria to play basketball, but instead took to football while waiting for basketball season to start.

Where He Fits In: No need to bring back Peters – again – that’s for sure. There are whispered concerns about last year’s first-rounder, Andre Dillard, as the ultimate answer at left tackle. Tega Wenagho will be a hedge against Dillard, and a nice project for Stoutland.

Round 7 (Pick 233): For the Eagles, the opposite of Temple has been Stanford, with the most prominent being Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz. They fulfilled their Cardinal quota in the final round with Casey Toohill. At his size (6-4, 250), he would appear to a classic outside linebacker/defensive end ‘tweener who might be best suited a 3-4 defense, which the Eagles haven’t played since the Marion Campbell era, to succeed. On the plus side, he does have some athleticism and saved his best season – his first as a full-time starter – for last (8 sacks). He also finished as a finalist (as was Driscoll) for the William V. Campbell Trophy that is known as the Academic Heisman.

Where He Fits In: Since the Eagles curiously did not fill the edge rusher need earlier in the draft, instead doubling and tripling up on other areas of concerns, so Toohill (pictured below) could be positioned to play himself onto the roster as a deep reserve. Being from their favorite school doesn’t hurt, either.

Toohill

Undrafted Free Agents: This one area that has consistently been strong for the Eagles, and a few names jump from this year’s group of post-draft signees:

-Cincinnati Running Back Michael Warren II

-Michigan State Defensive Tackle Raequan Williams

-Baylor cornerback Grayland Arnold

-Montana Inside Linebacker Dante Olson

Where They fit In: Warren (pictured below) was a workhorse in college and has that bowling-ball build (5-9, 225) and running style that earns a lot of guys places in the league’s running back stables. The MVP of the Military Bowl ran for more than 2,500 yards the last years and had 37 touchdowns in 38 career games. Rated as high as a fourth-round pick in some mock drafts, it is hard to say why he slid out of the draft. Sometimes teams are scared off by too much tread on the tires, or by lack of receiving skills. The Eagles only have Miles Sanders and Boston Scott locked into roster spots right now, so he would have a good shot of sticking on the roster – even if a veteran back is brought in.

Williams, like Warren, was often mocked as a solid fourth- or fifth-round pick. He played under 300 pounds but is now at 308 while standing 6-4. While the Eagles seem set at defensive tackle, he could play his way onto the team. It is believed he needs more moves, but has a pro-level bull rush.

Arnold had draft-worthy production, picking off six passes last season (including one on Hurts). However, his size (5-9, 186) and speed (4.6) may relegate him to only the slot in the NFL. However, he does have some chops as a savvy return man.

Olson has good middle linebacker size (6-2, 237) and did all he could do to play as his way onto the map, earning Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year and Buck Buchanan honors with 179 tackles and 3.5 sacks. His 40 time (around 4.9) caused him to fall out of draft consideration.

Michael Warren

Two others of note are Oregon State tight end Noah Togiai, who caught 102 passes for 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career. Even though he is 6-4 and nearly 250, blocking seems to be his weakness. Meanwhile, Elijah Riley, a corner from Army, is the primary person responsible for convincing the current president to overturn the rule preventing active service players from playing in the NFL. If he can follow orders well enough to maybe slide over to safety, he could emerge from a year on the practice squad as a helpful player in 2021.

Summary: In my Mock 1.0, I took four receivers just to prove it could be done. What do they do? Draft three and add a fourth — Marquise Goodwin (pictured below) — via a swap of draft picks with the 49ers. That’s a crowded receivers’ room, but I like that they created competition – not only there, but at several positions (including, theoretically, backup quarterback). The goal was clearly to add speed. As long as toughness and grit are not sacrificed, it is hard to argue with that. I think there is still some roster drama yet to unfold, but this – all told – was not a half-bad opening act. No Draftnik is ever going to be satisfied. Often times, we are proven right, but this isn’t about that. It’s about getting better and building an identity – in lieu of living off the fumes of the recent Super Bowl title.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49ers

 

 

In Lieu of a Final Mock …

Reagor

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Today was supposed to be the day I put the pedal to the medal and came up with Mock Draft 5.0, which was the make the previous four seem like 90-pound weaklings eating sand at the beach.

However, I have become so enthralled by Mock 4.0 – one in which I was just swinging from the hip – that I have decided to let it stand as final stab in the darkness of what will really go down Thursday through Saturday.

No reason to go back and check it. This is one-stop service.

Here’s recap: First round (pick 21), Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor. Second round (pick 53), Prince Tega Wenagho, OT, Auburn. Third Round (pick 103), Nick Harris, C, Washington. Round 4 (pick 127), Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State. Round 4 (pick 145), Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt. Round 4 (pick 146), David Woodward, MLB, Utah State. Round 5 (pick 170), Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii. Round 6 (pick 190), Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota.

I still think believe there is, at best, a 50 percent chance the Eagles pick at No. 21 in the first round. They may trade up for one of the top four receivers, or they made trade back a bit and get more picks (or maybe a disgruntled veteran).

It’s just impossible to predict what moves – up or down – other teams are going to make, and which teams would make ideal dance partners for the Eagles once there is a ripple effect.

We can only guess at scenarios. Truth be told, Howie Roseman can only guess right now. All the phone calls are made, but it’s all contingent on what others do.

How about this for a theory, annexed from my cranium? LSU’s Justin Jefferson (pictured below) probably the last of the elite receivers, somehow lasts until the 21st pick. While the Eagles would likely be elated, what if Cincinnati came in and played Vito Corleone and made an offer Roseman couldn’t refuse?

The Bengals would be aching to reunite Jefferson with likely No. 1 overall pick, LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

Justin Jefferson

The compensation? The best the Bengals could do would be their second- and fourth-round picks, which means the Eagles would be without a first but would be kicking off Day 2 and Day 3. The Bengals could throw in disgruntled back Joe Mixon, giving the Eagles the thunder to pair with Miles Sanders’ lightning, and maybe the Eagles ship Rasul Douglas or Alshon Jeffery to the Bengals. A trade of Jeffery anywhere else would require the Eagles gagging on a chunk of his contract. Out of gratitude, maybe the Bengals are willing to at least split the cost.

There would likely be another a few of the second tier of receivers – including Mims — on the board to kick off Day 2. They could use that first pick of Day 3 to grab another receiver who slipped through the cracks of a loaded draft at the position.

Another move could be for disgruntled Jacksonville defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. There have been some wild deals proposed on the internet – some even want to ship tight end Zach Ertz out of town – but it may be as simple as the Eagles swapping their first for Jacksonville’s second (42nd overall). There would be other pieces and picks, but that would be the main thrust of it. Both teams would be – or should be – ecstatic. And, yes, one of that second group of receivers would still be there at No. 42.

But, until other dominoes fall, this is all speculation.

Instead, let’s get down to brass tacks here, with a position by position look at who the Eagles could theoretically target – along with when and why:

Quarterback: It is not necessarily a necessity to bring in another arm. I have sent a Day 3 quarterback to the Eagles in each mock draft, as they stunk up the joint last year with Clayton Thorson in the fifth round. Right now, the concern is No. 2 behind Carson Wentz. The idea of the team being 10-2 and him going down, meaning Nate Sudfeld becomes the starter, is disconcerting. That said, Sudfeld is better than a No. 3 at this point in his career. My guess is that, after the draft, they bring in a veteran. My money is on Joe Flacco, although I could see Jameis Winston on a one-year deal. Flacco, at this point, might be cool with a long-term role. I’m sure the Eagles did their due diligence on all the incoming quarterbacks and would pounce on one in Day 3, maybe as early as the fourth round, if one – maybe Jordan Love (Utah State), Jake Fromm (Georgia) or Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma, pictured below) — they had a higher grade on. If more Day 3 picks are acquired, then they could burn one on a guy like Hawaii’s flamboyant McDonald (Mock 4.0) or Washington State’s Anthony Gordon (Mock 3.0).

Hurts

Running Back: Well, if they acquired Mixon – or even brought back LeSean McCoy for a final hurrah – the need is less. That aside, the depth behind Sanders and Boston Scott is nill. They are many who fit the bill who could be had on Day 3. I have mocked the likes of UCLA’s Josh Kelley, South Carolina’s Rico Dowdle and Vanderbilt’s Vaughn. Others often linked the Eagles are Florida’s Lamical Perine and Boston College’s A.J. Dillon, a 250-pounder (pictured below) who may not make it to Day 3.

Dillon

Wide Receiver: There will be receivers taken, that much is certain. The questions are who and when? They could go for another position – like linebacker (see below) — in Round 1 and then hit receiver in Round 2 and again another time or two. At Pick 53, though, it’s a bit of a roll of the dice. The top four are – in no particular order – are the Alabama tandem of  Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb and the aforementioned Jefferson of LSU. If the Eagles trade up, the word is that it is most likely to be for Lamb (unless one of the Alabama guys slip). Jefferson was almost universally mocked to the Eagles at No. 21, but his stock has reportedly risen a bit. The second tier of receivers would be a solid first tier most years. In addition to Baylor’s Mims, we are looking at – in no particular order – Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado), Tee Higgins (Clemson), Jalen Reagor (TCU, pictured at top), Brandon Ayiuk (Arizona State) and K.J. Hamler (Penn State). Each brings different body types and skill sets. Shenault (6-2, 225), Higgins (6-4, 215) and Mims (6-3, 215) are bigger receivers who could replace what will be lost, whenever that is, by the departure of Jeffery (6-3, 215). While the Eagles are banking on a healthy DeSean Jackson this year, the others fit the mold of a deep threat. Ayiuk (5-11, 190, 4.4 speed), Reagor (5-11, 195, 4.4) and Hamler (5-9, 176, 4.37) each also add much-needed return skills. They would consider themselves lucky to have a choice between two of these players at No. 53, but the odds are that only Hamler would be left – and that’s not a certainty. That would mean a bad whiff on the elite receivers in this year’s crop, and I would say the draft is a failure without at least one of these nine (the elite four plus that strong second group) eating cheese steaks next year.  Yes, there are others who could make impacts – USC’s Michael Pittman, Ohio State’s K.J. Hill among them – that would be Round 2 reaches but likely not around by late Round 3. In Round 4, receiver’s like Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden, the Texas duo of Devin Duvernay and 6-5 Collin Johnson or Central Florida’s Gabriel Davis could be added. They could also take a Day 3 gamble on small-school stud Antonio Gandy-Golden (pictured below) of Liberty.

Antonio-Gandy-Golden-1-800x445

Tight End: With the combination of Ertz and Dallas Goedert on the field together, defensive coordinators around the league are up at night. If they even want to carry three on the active roster, Josh Perkins (can also play receiver) and Alex Ellis (solid on special teams) are still on the roster.  That said, just like quarterback, the Eagles wouldn’t be above spending a value pick – especially if more are acquired – on a tight end who slides a bit. Fitting that description would be Dayton’s Adam Trautman, Vanderbilt’s Jared Pinkney (pictured below), one from LSU – Thaddeus Moss (son of Randy) or Stephen Sullivan – or Charlie Taumponeau of Portland State.

NCAA Football: Tennessee State at Vanderbilt

Offensive Tackle: Because Jason Peters probably won’t be back — and should do the dignified thing and just retire — the Eagles might just be wise to dip into a talented pool that it is as a deep as that at receiver. I went for Auburn’s Tega Wanagho in Mock 4.0 on raw potential and his ability to play both sides, meaning he could be a third tackle for a while, but burning a second-round pick may not be realistic. They could still look to a player like North Carolina’s Charlie Heck (6-8, 307) or Missouri’s massive Yasir Durant (6-6, 343) later. There will be clamoring for Jon Runyan’s son (and dead ringer), Jon Runyan, Jr. (pictured below) of Michigan, but the 6-4, 313-pounder is more of a guard-tackle tweener without much projected upside.

Runyan

Interior Line: The reality of eventual life without Jason Kelce creates interesting scenarios. The Eagles could look for a pure guard like Kentucky’s Logan Stenberg (6-6, 322, pictured below), and as early as Round 2 (or cross their fingers he lasts to Round 3, which is unlikely) and groom Isaac Seumalo to move from left guard to center (unless they see something in Nate Herbig, who made the team as a USDA out of Stanford last year), or they look at a pure center like Michigan’s Cesar Ruiz, Temple’s Matt Hennessey (the Eagles have not drafted a player from Temple since 2011), Washington’s Harris (Mock 4.0) or Wisconsin’s Rimington Award winner Tyler Biadasz.

Stenberg+for+Website

Defensive Line: While set at tackle, and lieu of a trade with Jacksonville, the Eagles could go draft shopping here. If they traded back in the first round, picking up more draft capitol on Day 2 to address receiver, someone like 6-6, 280-pound A.J. Espenza (pictured below), who somehow still runs in the 4.75 range, comes into play in the latter part of the first round. Ditto for Penn State’s Yetur Gross-Matos. If LSU’s explosive K’Lavon Chaisson falls to 21, it would be tempting. On Day 2, in keeping with their history of Tennessee defensive ends (Reggie White, Derek Barnett),  a player like Darrell Taylor would be a name to watch.

Espensa

Linebacker: It would be a shock if the Eagles didn’t come away with at least one. Like receiver, it’s just another question of who and when. There is serious talk about Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray (pictured below) in the first round. Another player who might be too good to pass up, just on talent, outside linebacker Zach Baun of Wisconsin, although some see him more as a 3-4 outside linebacker, meaning he wouldn’t really be a scheme fit here. Murray or Baun he might be the best player available at No. 21, but it would leave them waiting until No. 53 — or later — on receiver, and pushing back other needs, like interior line and secondary (see below). If they hold off, there are still options — Logan Wilson (Wyoming), Malik Harrison (Ohio State), throwback Shaquille Quarterman (Miami) and Woodward (Mock 4.0) of Utah State. Another guy I mocked earlier, who I love — at least as a situational hybrid/special teamer — is Akeem Davis-Gaither of Appalachian State (6-1, 220). Roseman is often criticized for neglecting linebacker in drafts, but the secret reality is that the Eagles coveted Leighton Vander Esch, who went to Dallas in 2018.

Murray

Secondary: . With the acquisition of Darius Slay as that long-craved lockdown corner, the immediate need there is not pressing but not out of the question. Jaylon Johnson of Utah, Louisiana Tech’s Amik Robertson (pictured below) and Kristian Fulton of LSU would be solid Day 2 picks. Temple’s Harrison Hand would be a potential Day 3 heist, but he has the Temple hex working against him. With Malcolm Jenkins gone, the safety position may need a long-term solution beyond Will Harris and Jalen Mills (Rodney McLeod is locked in for the long haul). If they could pick up another second round pick, Division II standout Kyle Dugger, who can line up almost anywhere (via Jenkins), is a possibility. Jeremy Chinn of Southern Illinois and J.R. Reed of Georgia have also been linked to the Eagles. Another intriguing prospect is Marc-Antoine Dequoy of Montreal, should the Eagles maybe acquire a seventh-rounder.

amik-robertson-ltu

Summary: The national crisis has  cast a cloud over the draft as well. It is more cloaked in mystery in ever. Will teams play it close to the vest and base picks on college potential, in lieu of seeking upside? My guess would be yes, but I also guess life would be back to normal by now. As for the Eagles, as already stated, there are many ways to go. I saw a reputable mock today that had them going with Murray, the linebacker, in the first round and still coming away with Reagor in the second at No. 53. If that happens, without having to give up picks, maybe some of the Howie Haters out there would stand down.

Roseman

 

 

 

Mock Draft 4.0: House Money

dollar-currency-money-us-dollar-47344-1

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — I’m baaaaaack!

Consider yourself lucky that you don’t have to endure me on Zoom while I do twice as many Mock Drafts leading up to Thursday’s first of three days of drafting that we in Eagle Nation can only hope don’t turn into a mockery of a sham.

Before we begin, let’s review the first three:

Mock 1.0) – There was a drill in proving that the Birds could go receiver-heavy, as I took four. I know they won’t take four, but it was fun to speculate.

Mock 2.0) – I was like a Jewish person eating pork on this one, as I did something that is against my Draftnik religion. I factored in some trade scenarios. It’s not like there won’t be trades. I suspect there will be, but it’s so impossible to say with which team and what will be the return. As such, I never bothered. This year, while sheltered in place, I bothered.

Mock 3.0) – Otherwise termed a “joke” by one of the mental midgets on an Eagles Facebook page, the small print clearly stated that it was a new exercise in taking the wind of the sails of we in Eagleville by showing not what I would do or what Joe Blow would do, but would be oh so Eagles to do (i.e. wait until Day 3 to address the receiver need while addressing the trenches).

Since I plan to reveal my serious Mock within 24-36 hours of the actual draft, why not try to sneak in a bonus.

The goal here will be simple. While not going the trade route, I will be staying put and drafting players I have not already tabbed in the three previous Mocks – all while addressing the same obvious needs.

Let’s call this the “Look, Ma, No Hands” Mock.

Ready? Let’s Mock (How did I need think of that before?):

Round 1 (Pick 21): Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor, 6-3, 215

Rationale: I honestly don’t see the Eagles staying at No. 21, especially now that LSU receiver Justin Jefferson is not expected to make it past No. 18. They could move up to get Jefferson or Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb, but it’s more likely they move down to pick up extra picks and still grab a receiver. It could be Miami at No. 26, Green Bay at No. 30, Kansas City at No. 32 or Cincinnati at No. 33 (first pick of Round 2) – or some other team altogether that is desperate to jump in front a division rival. If and when that happens, there will still be plenty of receivers – including the athletic but somewhat unrefined Mims (pictured below) – on the board. They just can’t afford to fixate on any one player. Mims, Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, Arizona State’s Brandon Ayiuk, TCU’s Jalen Reagor and Penn State’s K.J. Hamler all have strengths and weaknesses but something special to offer to a team with a receiving corps that will look vastly different beyond 2020. There has been some talk of going in another direction in Round 1 and then addressing receiver. That could always happen – what the Eagles do is out of our control, and what other teams do is out of their control – but getting one secured early allows for other needs to be addressed.

Denzel-Mims

Round 2 (Pick 53): Prince Tega Wanagho, OT, Auburn, 6-5, 305

Rationale: This seems like a luxury pick, but only on the surface. While a three-year starter at left tackle, this man-child has also played the right side. That makes Tega Wanagho (pictured below) the ideal candidate to be molded into a third tackle by offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland without having to bring back Jason Peters at three times the salary. Ironically, the general consensus is that his pro comparison, if one believes in such things, is the future Hall of Famer, Peters, himself. Why not take a clone? If not for a deep class at tackle, he’d likely be gone early as the late first round in other years.

Prince Tega

Round 3 (Pick 103): Nick Harris, C, Washington, 6-1, 302

Rationale: The fan base will go apoplectic with the choice of yet another lineman, but my projection is that runs at other positions will push this ideal fit to eventual replace Jason Kelce into the Eagles’ laps. Harris (pictured below) is not a power blocker, but the two-time All-Pac 12 selection is known for getting to the second level, much like Kelce. Additionally, he brings some experience at guard, giving him value as a non-starter.

Nick Harris

Round 4 (Pick 127): Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State, 6-3, 260

Rationale: As soon as I saw his last name, I knew he was destined for Philly, as it will be spelled wrong more than it is spelled right. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this overachiever is likely to make enough of an impact, even if it is only a role player making the most of his situational snaps on passing downs. Willekes (pictured below) won the Burlsworth Trophy, which is awarded to the college player who began his career as a walk-on. He finished his career with 51 tackles for a loss and 26 sacks.  As expected from the fact that he was a walk-on, Willekes is technically sound and works hard but will need to add strength and some moves to his arsenal.

Willekes

Round 4 (Pick 145): Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Vanderbilt, 5-10, 215

Rationale: Vaughn (pictured below) is an interesting story. After running for a little over 1,000 yards combined in two years at Illinois, he transferred to Vanderbilt and ran for over 2,000 yards the last two years (although he fell a bit short of a grand last year as a sole running option on a three-win team in a tough conference). He brings to the table some traits that NFL scouts value – compact frame with good vision and burst, natural hands, plus the ability to make tacklers miss in tight spaces. Guys who can do that find places in running back stables around the league, even though his collegiate travels have him entering the circuit at age 23.

Vaughn

Round 4 (Pick 146): David Woodward, MLB, Utah State, 6-0, 235       

Rationale: Another Mock, another inside linebacker. This time, I’m going with the guy who might be so underrated that he may end up being overrated and going higher than this point. Woodward (pictured below) fell off the radar a bit because he missed five games last season due to injury. Coming from the same program that produced Bobby Wagner and others at the position, Woodward is lauded for his natural instincts, which allow him to play the position with the patience needed to not look foolish in the NFL. While he will need to show he is healthy and can play at full speed, expect a rookie to bolster special teams put of the gate.

Woodward

Round 5 (Pick 170): Cole McDonald, QB, Hawaii, 6-3, 190

Rationale: Another Mock, another developmental quarterback. But, wait, hold up a second. I kind of like this one, and might just return to it in the final version. McDonald (pictured below) took advantage of running a passer-friendly attack the last two years, accounting for around 8,000 yards and 69 passing touchdowns. He is also a running threat (11 rushing touchdowns). While it’s easy to put up numbers for the Rainbow Warriors, the tape shows applicable skills for the next level – accuracy on throws outside the numbers, decisiveness, mobility and noble willingness to stand in and take a hit. Why, then, is he projected as a Day 3 pick? At 190 pounds, there is a legitimate fear about his health and well-being. He has also rarely played under center and doesn’t really have a rifle for an arm. Then again, he is favorably compared to Gardner Minshew, the same Gardner Minshew who displaced the beloved Nick Foles as a rookie last year in Jacksonville. Don’t get excited out there. He wouldn’t be supplanting Carson Wentz, but maybe – just maybe – he could be an OK No. 2 after Nate Sudfeld pushes on in 2021.

Cole McDonald

Round 6 (Pick 190): Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota, 6-2, 205

Rationale: This isn’t the sexiest pick, but this highly productive receiver will find a place in the league somewhere. Why not let it be here? Johnson (pictured below) hauled in 199 passes for 3,164 yards and 32 touchdowns in the last three years. What is he still doing here this late in the draft? For one, he is not a sexy pick. It is almost as if he peaked and, with limited tools, reached his ceiling already. Plus, his 40 time is slightly north of 4.5. A little bigger and a little faster, and he’d like go late in Day 2 instead. Just keep in mind that an annual rite of passage are receivers everyone fawns all over who don’t make it while guys like Johnson do. Not saying it will be him who defies the odds this year, but the risk-reward in Round 6 is worth it.

T Johnson

Summary:  I was just having fun here and throwing caution to the wind without overthinking it. You know what? I kind of like what I did here. I would be fine with this haul when the dust settles. Yay, me!

Super Bowl 39

 

 

 

Upon Further Review: Obamacare

Obamacare

The following is how a column I wrote in 2012 about how I felt about Obamacare …

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — Back when hockey was hockey, they had these things called ties.

For we hockey purists, there was nothing inherently wrong with ties.

The key is that there were good ties and bad ties.

If three 20-minute periods – and later a mini-me frame of five minutes that usually saw both teams play it so conservatively that you would have thought Barry Goldwater and Pat Buchanan were coaching – left the score knotted (except in the playoffs), so be it.

It wasn’t until non-hockey people – cut from the same cloth as those who were appalled by outbreaks of fisticuffs – came along and said they couldn’t take the sport seriously because they went to a game once and it ended in a tie.

I presume that left them feeling unfulfilled.

What hockey haters didn’t know was that there were good ties and bad ties. Example: If a team was playing its sixth road game in eight nights and battled back from a 4-1 deficit to earn a 4-4 tie, that was a good tie.

For the other team, well, not so much.

Being a hockey guy (pronounce that ‘gee,’ giving it a French Canadian flare), I don’t always view life’s twists and turns as wins and losses.

Just like arguments are not always being black and white, the outcome was not always a win or a loss.

But we live in a society where the vocal minority gets appeased.

Now, in place of a righteous deadlock, hard-fought games are settled in the most stupid fashion known to professional sports – shootouts (like playing H-O-R-S-E if a basketball game is tied, or having a home run derby – in lieu of extra innings – in baseball).

Sometimes, in the game of life, there are ties.

Upon further review of the Supreme Court’s recent health care ruling, the narrow victory for President Barack Obama is a tie for the American public.

True, a loss would have been devastating for the proletariat, not to mention the death knell for Obama’s re-election bid against Mitt Romney.

In that sense, we the people are looking at a good tie.

But time, more than any Supreme Court justice acting on transparent political motivation, will be the ultimate judge.

The health care system is still in critical condition, and all you have to do to confirm that ongoing status is talk off-the-record with the doctors and nurses on the front lines.

Dreaded Obamacare – a right-wing code word for letting ‘them’ have something for nothing, even though it is a virtual identical twin to Romney’s health care plan when he was governor of Massachusetts – will, among other things, do the following, now that the high court upheld the Affordable Care Act by a 5-4 vote:

•Young adults, you know the ones who are lucky to get part-time jobs in retail after taking out obnoxious amounts of dough from legal lone sharks to catch a whiff of whatever stench the lure of the American dream is giving off these days, are allowed to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26.

•Not denying children – yes, children (not inmates on death row) – insurance via some non-medical person behind a desk who may or may not know what it’s like to have a sick child.

•Not allowing people with pre-existing medical conditions to be denied coverage – if they can avoid the grim reaper until 2014 (nice, huh?).

•Thirty million Americans (excluding illegal immigrants) who don’t have health insurance can get it (the White House estimates only 4 million people will reject that benefit).

Go ahead, read them there bullet points again.

I’ll wait. Now let it sink in.

Making sure children get health care, whether or not their parents knew the rules of the game (and make no mistake, this ain’t nothing but a cruel game)?

Letting young adults, thrust into an economical nightmare not of their making, have a safety net should they get into a car accident or tear a knee playing hoops?

That’s s-s-socialism? That’s giving the country away?

That’s what you think is making the founding fathers spin in their graves?

Sounds more like an attempt – and more like a bunt than a home-run swing – at solving human problems with semi-humane solutions.

The high court equated the mandate to have health insurance to a tax, a hot-button word (tax) which makes many on the right go apoplectic before they even stop tea-partying enough to learn the facts.

Your tax money is going to go somewhere, folks.

That’s a fact. I don’t get how it is better for the money to go toward a nuclear warhead that can help us blow up the world 1,001 times over instead of 1,000, than to heal a sick child who may find the cure to cancer one day.

I don’t get how it’s acceptable to let the health industry and drug companies – the same unholy alliance that would probably conspire to keep that cure to cancer under wraps so they can keep making money – hold us hostage.

I don’t get how you don’t want the government, the one theoretically in place to protect us from such evil pursuits, to serve as negotiator and free us from these chains.

Doesn’t sound very American to me.

Doesn’t sound very Judeo-Christian.

Doesn’t sound like we are taking care of our own.

Doesn’t sound like waving the flag – and chanting ‘U.S.A., U.S.A.’ – is going to make it go away.

I’m as a patriotic as the next guy, but give me a reason to be proud.

We are ranked 37th in the world in health care, while leading the world in health care spending.

If you accept that – and to the illogical point that you don’t want to even try out what eight presidents (including ones with skin as white as Ivory soap) have wanted – the only conclusion to draw is that you are not playing to win.

That’s why we are losing. That’s why ties – like the the Supreme Court gave us – are the best we can hope for right now during these days of being torn in the U.S.A.

Mock Draft 3.0: Reality Check

Pederson Roseman

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – It’s easy to sit here and write all about who I would take in the NFL Draft – which begins next Thursday night (first round), then Friday (second and third rounds) and concludes Saturday (Rounds 4-7).

It’s equally easier to give the people – that’s all of “yews” – what they want as well.

But, if history as taught us anything, it is that de facto GM Howie Roseman and Co. are going to do what they are going to do without our input. It is likely to involve names we didn’t even kick around all this time in quarantine, while not even following the same thought process in terms of addressing needs.

Does that mean the brass is sometimes overthinking? Absolutely. Does it also mean we have no clue what is going on behind closed doors, in terms of which veteran players could be on the move or could be dealing with injury issues not known to the public? Hell, yeah. We also don’t know which players have caught their eye – at the combine and on film.

While my Mock Draft 1.0 featured an unrealistic overflow of receivers, specifically to quiet those of “yews” worried about that need, Mock Draft 2.0 had some trade scenarios that are impossible to predict. Now, for Mock Draft 3.0, it’s going to be a projection of what they very well may do that leaves us scratching our heads – at least until we get the “spin control” afterward.

Here we go:

Round 1 (Pick 21): Cesar Ruiz, C-G, Michigan, 6-3, 315

The Spin: It’s year to year with Jason Kelce, and center has become crucial to the offense because of his play. Ruiz is the best center prospect to come out in years, so they will say, so it’s best to grab him now and let him learn behind the All-Pro. How will Kelce take this? I don’t know. He might be offended, but he could also be relieved, as he has hinted at retirement for a while now. Also, it’s not like Isaac Seumalo is a burgeoning All-Pro at left guard. Ruiz could probably take that job and push Seumalo into the more comfortable role of a versatile sixth lineman. Moreover, the outcry over not taking a receiver – “we looked at it but the asking price was too high,” Roseman will say – will be mitigated by feel-good stories about Ruiz (pictured below) being a Camden native who always dreamed of playing for the Eagles.\

Ruiz3

Round 2 (Pick 53): Curtis Weaver, Edge, Boise State, 6-3, 265

The Spin: Like Kelce, Brandon Graham isn’t getting any younger. Meanwhile, the long-term impact of recent DE picks – Derrick Barnett, Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller — remains uncertain. There will likely still be enticing receivers on the board, but they will say this is the guy they wanted all along and that they even considered him in the first round (eye roll). And, really, drafting an edge player is a springtime rite of passage going back to when Roseman went on coffee runs. May as well get it over with, right? Weaver (pictured below) may never be an every down player, but he has pass rushing specialist written all over him, as he had 13.5 of his 34 career sacks just last season.

Weaver3

Round 3 (Pick 103): Trey Adams, OL, Washington, 6-8, 306

The Spin: Those second-tier receivers that were still there? Guess what? They were all gone, with 10 picks to spare, with pick 103 came around. They stayed true to their board here, saying the game is won upfront and that you can’t have enough offensive linemen. Even though Adams is a solid prospect with upside, this will be the head-scratcher – at least on the surface. The reality, though, is that the tackle position is as rich in talent this year as wide receiver. It’s just not as glamorous. In another year, this starter of 45 straight games at left tackle would be a Top 50-75 pick. Because he has some serious injuries, which stoically battled through, he fell to the Eagles. Adams (pictured below) could be viewed as a hedge against last year’s first-rounder, Andre Dillard, or a top-end third tackle who could use a good 15-20 pounds on his frame and some technical work.

Adams2

Round 4 (Pick 127):  Lynn Bowden, WR, Kentucky, 6-1, 200

The Spin: They are going say they are lucky this under-the-radar guy fell to them, and it won’t be a lie. As is the case with Adams in the third round, depth at the position pushed Bowden into the Eagles’ lap. Bowden (pictured below) was forced to play quarterback for the depleted Wildcats, a selfless move which showed a lot of character. While going 6-2 as a starter under center, it also hurt his draft stock a bit by stunting his growth into being a Day 2 pick as a receiver. Still, Bowden has good speed (4.5ish), reliable hands and some return game skills. For the Eagles, assuming that DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are back health – and that Greg Ward picks up where he left off in the slot (while J.J. Arcega Whiteside theoretically evolves) – they can let a guy like Bowden be a bit of a wildcard.

Better Bowden

Round 4 (Pick 145): Shaquille Quarterman, ILB, Miami (Fla.), 6-0, 240

The Spin: Position of need (although they won’t admit that), and will be portrayed as an excellent value pick – even though this is just about where Quarterman (pictured below) is slotted by most so-called experts. Saved his best for last, earning All-ACC honors with 51 of 107 tackles being of the solo variety. Looks the part of a NFL inside linebacker, but the fear is that he may miss as many plays as he makes, which is a no-no that get you benched fast.

ShaquilleQuarterman_2017_13

Round 4 (Pick 146): Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas, 5-11, 210

The Spin: They still got two receivers who were stellar college players while staying true to their board and addressing needs on Days 1 and 2. Duvernay (pictured below) had almost 1,400 receiving yards last season, and he runs a 4.4 40. Why, then, did he last this long? Although he could take the top of a defense in college, he is projected as just a one-trick pony — a slot receiver — in the big leagues. That doesn’t bode well for Ward’s long-term future, but it bolsters the overall depth in the stable for now. Duvernay, a sprint champion in high school, also has some return game experience.

Duvernay

Round 5 (Pick 170): James Morgan, QB, Florida International, 6-4, 225

The Spin: With the long-term future of backup quarterback uncertain beyond this year (Nate Sudfeld has a one-year deal and there seems to be no real interest on either side to make the relationship last beyond that), the door is open for another to be developed alongside of – or instead of – practice squad holdover Kyle Lauletta. Morgan (pictured below) had some impressive workouts before the lockouts, and he may have put himself into the draft – as opposed to being a priority UDFA – as a result. While the upside is there, as he can make the requisite throws, it is still raw.

James Morgan

Round 6 (Pick 190): Joshua Kelley, RB, UCLA, 5-11, 210

The Spin: Kelley (pictured below) was a productive workhorse in college, not only for the Bruins, but at FBS level at Cal Davis before transferring.  This may have worked against him as a prospect, as NFL teams like running backs with less tread on their tires and a little bit more mystique. His highlight reel won’t wow anyone on YouTube, but Kelley’s style may translate better than scat backs who won’t be able to run away from anyone in the pros much anyway. While not really a dynamic runner, his meat-and-potatoes style – one that produced games like the one he had against rival USC (40 carries, 289 yards) – might make him a nice short-yardage fit with Miles Sanders as the go-to back and Boston Scott and the change-of-pace back. In addition to his production – two 1,000-yard seniors at UCLA – he has some kick return experience.

Kelley

Summary: The first question will be about safety, and Roseman will say there were some they liked, but they stayed true to their board. And, with that, there will be the announcement that Avonte Maddox will get reps at safety. He will also tout the fact that he signed athletic freak Marc Antoine-Dequoy (pictured below) of Montreal (not a misprint), who is sure to become a folk hero (look at his hair) and could actually stick as a special teams guy while learning to play safety. While I fully expect more picks to be found, via trade, maybe by dumping one of the back-to-back picks at the end of the fourth round for two later on, most boxes were checked off. “Yews” will be a bit ticked off that, in a year of stud wideouts, we came away with guys who don’t float many boats. Time will tell on that one, as receiver remains one of the most difficult positions to project in the last decade. It very well could be that a Day 3 receiver, or someone signed after the draft, matches or exceeds the play of a big-name guy from a big-time program anyway. What will be unspoken – and unasked by the press hoard – is that they successfully navigated around taking a Temple player for yet another year.

MAM

 

 

Mock Draft 2.0: The Trade Edition

DP1

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — The last time we met, my Mock Draft 1.0, was an exercise in suicide prevention for all those who thought the Eagles had no hope at receiver. To prove a point, more than anything else, I took four receivers. Although I think it’s likely they take more than one – probably two, if I were laying a bet – we know four was not only a stretch of the imagination but a chance for us to stretch our thinking to what could be possible.

While I generally don’t adhere to mock drafting with trades, this coronavirus thing has allowed me another shot – in Mock Draft 2.0 – before getting down to business with 3.0.

So, for today – as was the case with 1.0 – we are going work outside the margins a but and throw in some trades.

Last time around, I had the Eagles taking LSU receiver Justin Jefferson at No. 21. Today, for this drill, I’m trading down for a later first and a second. Perfect world, we go to, say, Miami at 26 and also get No. 39 in the second round, which would probably be too much for Miami to give up to just to move up five spots. So, I’m looking more at Green Bay at No. 30, which might be looking to get in front of the Saints (No. 24) to snatch Jefferson. Green Bay, in this deal, also sends us its second-round pick, 62nd overall.

Now, I get on the horn with the Jaguars and offer No. 30, as well as our third-rounder and cornerback Rasul Douglas for coveted defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, their second-round pick (42nd overall) and their second of two fourth-round picks (137th overall).

This puts the Eagles out of the first round in what it is an uncertain draft year anyway, but leaves them with three – instead of one – second round picks. There is no longer a third-round pick but four (127, 137, 145 and 146) instead of three, in the fourth – going along with one in the fifth (168) and another in the sixth (190).

My trading will conclude by sending Alshon Jeffery to either the Colts (familiarity with Frank Reich) or Bears (past success with Nick Foles, who will be their quarterback by midseason), but there is no hurry there. The return will future considerations (i.e. a Day Three pick in the year 2525).

So, with the reshuffled deck, here we go:

Round 2 (Pick 42, Acquired – theoretically — from Jackonsville): Laviska Shenault, Jr., WR, Colorado, 6-2 215

Rationale: Without a chance to visit teams in the flesh, there is no way to know where this wunderkind is, physically. On talent alone, he might be right there with the three receivers expected to go in the first half of the first round. Unlike two of them – Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III of Alabama — Shenault was not part of a three-headed monster (Alabama has another receiver likely to go in the first round next year) with a stud quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, throwing them the ball. With Colorado, opponents knew Shenault was the focal point of the offense and he still made plays. He has the size of a running back (see above) and runs in the 4.5 range. Considered still a raw product, Sheanault draws favorable comparisons to J.J. Smith-Schuster.

Plan B: There is a chance, though, Shenault may not be left at No. 42. When you drop down from 21 to 30 to 42, while picking up a stud defensive end, it is the risk you run. The feeling here is that, if he isn’t there, Denzel Mims of Baylor will be. Although also raw, Mims is 6-3 and 215 pounds and runs a sub-4.5 40. Come away with one or the other, and we’re doing fine (as long as J.J. Arcega-Whiteside improves).

DP2

Round 2 (Pick 53, our own): Kyle Dugger, DB, Lenoir-Ryne, 6-0, 210

Rationale: A little bit risky here, as some other receivers could be on the board, but Dugger is a hot commodity right now after proving the pro scouts that his college dominance at a lower level of competition was not a fluke. Dugger is a hitter and runs just over 4.55. A free safety and return man in college, he could eventually play a Malcolm Jenkins role in the Eagles defense, as he has the ability to line up anywhere from outside corner to slot corner to linebacker to safety. It may take a year to learn those nuances, but he would be a maniac on special teams, and maybe even a return-game option, as a rookie. With the moves made in the secondary in the offseason, there is no immediate rush. However, there will likely be new holes and roles to fill in 2021 and, by then, he’ll be shovel-ready.

Plan B: As is the case above, there is no guarantee Dugger lasts this long. If not, and considering that I traded Douglas to Jacksonville, I’m going to stay in the defensive backfield with my backup option and take Noah Igbinoghene, a pure corner from Auburn. The son of two Nigerian Olympians, he checks in a 5-11, 200 pounds. He runs a 4.4 40 that carries over, unlike others, to the playing field. His closing speed is considered to be, perhaps, the best in the draft crop. He probably wouldn’t play much defense as a rookie, but would be a surreal gunner on punt coverage while learning the fine points.

DP3

Round 2 (Pick 62, Acquired – theoretically — from Green Bay): Brandon Ayiuk, WR, Arizona, 5-11, 190

Rationale: This is where I rolled the dice, as this undersized college game-breaker, who would add immediate juice to the return game, could go anywhere from the late first round to middle of the third. Projections are all over the map (one has the Eagles taking him at No. 21, for example), as some scouts see another Tyreek Hill while others just a part-time receiver and return man. Many teams aren’t going to spend first- or second-round draft capital on that. For the Eagles, where DeSean Jackson can hold down the deep threat role for at least a year – while Greg Ward can be more and adequate in the slot, should that be Ayiuk’s eventual place in a NFL offense – he is a long-term good fit (as long as too much isn’t expected too soon).

Plan B/C: There is a 50-50 shot he isn’t there, so I would hope that a similar player, Penn State’s K.J. Hamler is still on the board. If both are gone, I’d be fine with checking off my mandatory two-receiver 2020 “Need” box with someone like TCU speedster Jalen Reagor, whose projections are also all over the map, or Ohio State’s K.J. Hill, who was highly productive in a big-time offense and should definitely be available.

DP4

Round 4 (Pick 127): Logan Wilson, ILB Wyoming, 6-2, 240

Rationale: Word on the street – if anyone were out in the street to hear the word – is that the Eagles are high on the tackling machine with a classic frame. Wilson started four years, an achievement that is tempered a bit by the fact that it was at a lower level of competition. However, like Dugger, our second-round pick, he was a can’t-miss playmaker on the field. What likely has the Eagles enthralled is that, in high school, Wilson was a two-way starter – at wide receiver and defensive back. He hit the weight room in college to become a beast at the next level.

DP5

Round 4 (Pick 137 – Acquired – theoretically – from Jacksonville): Tony Pride, Jr., CB, Notre Dame, 5-11, 193

Rationale: He runs a 4.35 40. Do you need more rationale beyond that? Yes, there are reasons he drifted into the fourth round. He doesn’t always play “up” his athletic gifts and could stand to be a bit more physical. Because he might be relegated to the slot, he may need more aggressiveness to excel. Still, he runs a 4.35 40. We can work with that, as the Eagles talked a lot about improving their team speed after last year.

DP9

Round 4 (Pick 145): Rico Dowdle, RB, South Carolina, 5-11, 214

Rationale: There are a litany of other backs expected to drafted on Day 2 of the draft, and one or two will likely slide into the Eagles’ laps early on Day 3. That aside, they could do worse than Dowdle, whose main knock is the time spent on the trainer’s table throughout his career. However, he fought as hard as could to get on the field, starting 29 of 39 possible games in a productive career (2,167 rushing yards with 16 touchdowns and 483 receiving yards). In terms of skill set – one that includes a 4.50 time in the 40 – he checks off a lot of the requisite boxes for a NFL back: quick first step, ability to make defenders miss in tight spaces, yards after contact and nice hands on screens.

DP6

Round 4 (Pick 146): Akeem Davis-Gaither, OLB, Appalachian State, 6-1, 219

Rationale: The Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Year is one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft, having been insanely productive over the span of his 55-game career (258 tackles, 28 for a loss, 8 sacks, 18 passes defended, two forced fumbles and so on). However, his size – or lack thereof – is hard to ignore. As such, he becomes a classic boom-or-bust prospect. This late in the draft, if he is still on the board, the risk is mitigated. At the least, you are looking at a guy who will bring his fierce compete level to special teams and some sub-packages as a hybrid linebacker/safety.

DP10

Round 5 (Pick 168): Calvin Throckmorton, OL, Oregon, 6-5, 310

Rationale: Versatility. He can play anyway on the line, but the question is if he can play anywhere – full-time – at the next level. The only spot Throckmorton hasn’t started at for the Ducks was at left guard, meaning the Eagles will likely try to force feed him there when they try to convert Isaac Seumalo to center if and when Jason Kelce hangs them up. That, plus his name and the fact that he played at Oregon (though too young to have been a Chip Kelley recruit), make him the classic boom or bust prospect destined for Philly.

DP8

Round 6 (Pick 190): Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State, 6-2, 210

Rationale: Listen up, all ye knuckleheads on social media, the Eagles are not going to somewhow get Nick Foles back (maybe someday, but not this year). Forget Cam Newton or Jameis Winston, and don’t start with the Colin Kaepernick stuff. Nate Sudfeld is your No. 2, with Josh McCown likely on speed dial again. A year from now, though, it will look different. Sudfeld only signed for one more year, and will likely look to move on. McCown will be one year closer to collecting social security. The third quarterback on the roster is Kyle Lauletta, who they liked enough to carry over from last year’s practice squad. Another developmental arm is likely. Gordon fits the bill, as he has the requisite arm strength and gunslinger mentality. Nobody is going to draft him high because, with his height and lack of mobility, he doesn’t look the part of a franchise quarterback. That doesn’t mean he can’t make his way as a quality backup. He will need coaching on what is reportedly horrendous footwork. The staff is in place for that here, so the opportunity exists as well.

Anothy Gordon

Summary: Remember, this is a mock draft with trades. Again, this was a mock draft with trades. It is theoretical – as in theory. I’m trying to type as slowly as some of you dimwits who might be reading this.

I do believe that No. 21 could be a bit of a No Man’s Land for the Eagles. They don’t have the picks to move up, unless they want to dip into next year’s stash.

Instead, in this scenario, we moved back – to No. 30 and then into the second round – but picked up the coveted Ngakoue to make the defensive end rotation – with Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat – as lethal as that of the one inside (Fletcher Cox, Javon Hargrave, Malik Jackson, Hassan Ridgeway).

I guarantee two receivers out of Shenault, Mims, Ayiuk, Hamler, Reagor or Hill and a defensive back – Dugger or Igbinoghene.

Other needs – linebacker, running back, offensive line, secondary depth and developmental quarterback — were met on Day 3, and don’t forget that, while Howie Roseman takes heat for draft misses, his record with UDFAs is pretty strong.

Roseman

 

All-Time Team Mulligan: Special Teams

Picard

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – If you want to win in the National Football League, there are many things you need a lot to go right – a perfect storm.

Mixed in, you need your need your special teams to be special. For our Philadelphia Eagles, we have surely seen our share of ups and downs in this category, but some real standouts over the years.

The 75th Anniversary Team, as voted on by the fans in 2008, was somewhat predictable. The years have passed, a Super Bowl was won and the time has come to set the record straight.

I do this at great personal risk, but let the bullets fly:

Kick Returner

75th Team: Tim Brown

Mulligan Team: Tim Brown

Say What?: Before my time, but I listen to my elders, and they all confirm he was Brian Westbrook before there was Brian Westbrook. They also say his sudden retirement in 1967 (returning briefly to win a second championship with the Baltimore Colts in 1968) to be a B-movie star helped keep the Birds from taking flight. When I started following the team in the early 1970s, he was still talked about lovingly and longingly. I guess when you return two kickoffs for touchdowns in one game, like he did against Dallas in 1966, your place in franchise folklore is cemented. His all-purpose skills sent him to three Pro Bowls. Ironically, Brown began his career out of Ball State with the Green Bay Packers, playing one game in 1959 before helping to beat the Packers in the 1960 championship game.

Timmy Brown

Punt Returner

75th Team: Brian Westbrook

Mulligan Team: Darren Sproles

Say What?: Me? Pick a guy I have complained about, Sproles, over one of my all-time favorite Birds in Westbrook. Yep. Cue the theme from the “Twilight Zone.” My issue with Sproles was that he shouldn’t have been handed a roster spot the last two years, and then force-fed into the offense with what seemed like mandatory touches to push him up the NFL’s all-purpose yardage list. It seemed as if the Eagles were trying to hang on to him long enough that, as a possible Hall of Famer, he would go in as an Eagle. That goal was achieved, even at the expense of the product on the field. Either it was that nefarious of a plot, or they missed the memo that they won the Super Bowl without him – and left tackle Jason Peters, who was seemingly kept around for the same reasons – on the field (Peters missed the second half of the year while Sproles missed almost the whole thing). However, prior to that season the sun, Sproles did something he did not do with his two other employers – the Chargers and the Saints – by being selected to the Pro Bowl three consecutive years – 2014-16 — as the return specialist. He was also a two-time All-Pro (2015-16). Since he had it practically written into his contract that he didn’t want to return kicks, ironically after setting up the game-winning points to beat the Eagles with a kick return in the playoffs the season prior to his arrival here, these accolades were based on what he had done as a punt returner. Before he was a shell of himself the last years, Sproles was a threat on every punt – and smart about when to call for a fair catch and when to let a punt bounce (skills that also eroded). Westbrook was surely the popular choice in 2008, as his punt return late in a game in one of the Miracle of the Meadowlands sequels was fresh in a lot of minds. However, as he became more a part of the offense, the need was less. DeSean Jackson, whose walkoff punt return in the Meadowland remains etched in our souls, went to a Pro Bowl as returner and receiver that same season (2010) At the time, they said he was the first Eagles punt returner to be so honored, which was incorrect. Wally Henry, unfortunately remembered for two bad fumbles in a home playoff game in 1981, was not only a Pro Bowl choice in 1979, but actually took one to the house in Honolulu.

Sproles

Kicker

75th Team: David Akers                                                              

Mulligan Team: David Akers

Say What?: Really hard not to go with Akers, the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, even though he was not as money in the clutch as current kicker Jake Elliott has been – so far. He was selected to six Bowls, five of which were as an Eagle. He was first- or second-team All-Pro six times, five of which were as an Eagle. The Eagles have had some other Pro Bowl kickers – Bobby Walston, Sam Baker and Cody Parkey of double-doink infamy. They have had memorable ones with half a foot, recent coronavirus victim Tom Dempsey, and two that kicked barefoot (Tony Franklin, Paul McFadden). They have also had some so hideous – Happy Feller, Horst Muhlmann, etc. — that having had Akers, and Elliott now, should make us all grateful.

David Akers

Punter

75th Team: Sean Landeta                                                                

Mulligan Team: King Hill

Say What?: I know, I know … Landeta is considered, possibly, the second best punter of all time behind Ray Guy. He is the punter, and rightfully so, on both the 1980s and 1990s All-Decade teams. However, of his 22 seasons in the league, five of them – at the tail end of his career – were spent here. He was good, maybe even the best we had seen here, but his years of greatness were behind him. Once discounted for my Mulligan here, the search for a replacement was on. Donnie Jones, of the Super Bowl team, is in a similar situation. Current punter, Cameron Johnston, has a chance to maybe be the best. Going back into recent history, there were some others – Max Runager, John Teltschick, Tom Hutton — who were OK, but not OK enough to be keep beyond a few years. That put me back in time, and the best I could do to at least hold a place for Johnston was Hill. Much hyped coming out of Rice, Hill never lived up to expectations as a quarterback. He landed here as a backup in 1961 and made himself useful also serving a punter for most of the decade. His average was just under 43 yards per punt, and he never had one blocked. For now, we’ll go with it.

King Hill

Specialist

75th Team: Vince Papale                                                      

Mulligan Team: Bob Picard

Say What?: If I am going to remain unpopular, let me do it in style. I’m accused of heresy for my All-Time Defense, so why not add to the charges. I plead guilty. Unlike above, there is no need to go back in time and look at numbers. A special teamer going to the Pro Bowl, and being named All-Pro, is a 21st century thing. No one kept track of special teams tackles in the bad old days – at least not on the official docket. I have been watching the Eagles since my first game at Franklin Field at 1970. There have been many outstanding special teams players, even on bad teams, and Papale is among them. Others include the likes of Ike Reese, who went to the Pro Bowl as a special teams choice, and three who got Super Bowl rings – Chris Maragos, Bryan Braman and Mack Hollins. However, two stood out to me the most, and neither had a movie made about them. They were Colt Anderson, who was on a Pro Bowl – possibly All-Pro – trajectory when he tore his ACL in the 9th game of the 2011 season (he joined the team in 2010). He never played here again, and was out of the league a few years later. That leaves Picard, who was Papale before there was Papale (ironically wearing No. 82 while Papale wore No. 83). For three seasons here before being selected in the expansion draft by the Seattle Seahawks, who were obviously aware of his special teams acumen (despite zero career catches as a receiver). The opening for someone like Picard set the stage for Papale, but Picard actually set the mold. At Veterans Stadium in the early 1970s, with little else to cheer for, he became a bit of a folk hero with homemade signs hung from the rafters. One some teams not known for hustle, Picard often had mud and blood on his body and uniform. Wrote a scribe at the time: “Of all the Philadelphia Eagles, the easiest one to find in the locker room is Bobby Picard. He’s the one covered with all the blood. Number 82 in your program, but No. 1 in the kamikaze ranks. The guy who looks like a walking transfusion.”

Bob Picard

Long Snapper

75th Team: N/A                                                 

Mulligan Team: Rick Lovato

Say What?: I have been watching the game long enough that it was almost always the backup center serving as the long snapper. For a while, teams would turn to the third tight ends – like Mike Bartrum in the Andy Reid era – but it was become so specialized that guys whose athletic ability wouldn’t even otherwise put them on a roster, are carried for this highly specialized task. You don’t really notice the long snapper until there is a bad one. Never been a real concern here over the years, with the likes of Bartrum and Jon Dorenbos (two Pro Bowls as an Eagle), but it is Lovato who has triggered some of the most important long snaps in team history with aplomb. A pleasant surprise on the coverge units, with some solo tackles, he was also selected to the Pro Bowl this year.

Lovato

Holder

75th Team: N/A                                                              

Mulligan Team: Bill Bradley

Say What?: Am I getting weird here? Yeah, maybe a bit. With as much of a pathway to the all-time defense at safety as Bernie Sanders to the Democratic party’s presidential nomination, I feel like there is a place somewhere for my first favorite Eagle. Bradley, a college quarterback, was a bright spot on some hideous Eagles teams. A free safety in the NFL, he twice led the league in interceptions with 11 in 1971 and nine the following year. He went to three Pro Bowls (1971, 72 and 73) and was an All-Pro in 1971-72. What is also of note is that Bradley was called upon to punt, return punts and hold on placekicks (as he was likely doing here when the Eagles probably didn’t have enough, or too many, men on the field). I wanted to find him a place to honor his overshadowed service, so here he is.

Bill Bradley

 

 

All-Time Team Mulligan: The Offense

Pihos

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — His name was Wade Key.

And don’t be asking me who that is, please.

He played for the Eagles from 1970 to 1978 – with his career taking a uptick after the hiring of Dick Vermeil in 1976, as Key started 39 of 40 games and appeared in a grand total of 121 games as an offensive lineman before being waved before the 1980 season that would culminate with a 27-10 thud against the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XV.

I must have thought enough of No. 72 to seek out his autograph during an annual excursion to training camp to Widener University, as I’m starring at it right now – as it shares a place on the same sheet of paper as Vince Papale’s John Hancock.

When the axe fell, Key was the longest-tenured Bird on the team.

He should have a rightful place in team history, with the fanfare it does – or does not – deserve.

But, through no fault of his own, that is not the case.

After the 2007 season, despite never having appeared in a Pro Bowl, Key was elected as a starting guard on the Eagles’ all-time 75th anniversary team.

Technically, he was the left guard, and maybe that threw off the more than 600,000 voters, but my vote would be for the voters to have taken IQ and sobriety tests first.

Hard to say how that happened, other than that this is what happens when people are allowed to vote before having all the facts and figures laid out before them.

On the surface, given the fact that Philly loves underdogs almost as much as soft pretzels with mustard, the votes for Key make some sense.

But, as one weaned in the Wade Key era (my semi-arthritic fingers froze just typing that), I don’t recall him ever being a beloved figure. Never once saw a No. 72 jersey at Franklin Field or the Vet – let alone The Linc.

Ever.

Drafted in a round in a round (13th) that no longer exists (it went from 17 to 12 to seven) and having played at a college, Southwest Texas State University, that doesn’t even go by the same name (it’s now just Texas State), Key was cut as a rookie in 1969.

He played for the famed Pottstown Firebirds that won the Atlantic Coast Football League title, and came back to the nest to spend time on what was then called the taxi squad (more or less since resurrected as what we now know as the practice squad) before moving into the lineup as the starting left tackle on teams from 1970-72 that won a grand total of 11 games in three seasons before moving inside to guard.

Somewhat undersized – a college tight end, he was listed at 6-5 and 245 pounds – Key played through a plethora of injuries and had a reputation of coming back, whether it helped or hindered the team, sooner than projected.

Wade Key2

Drafted in a round in a round (13th) that no longer exists (it went from 17 to 12 to seven) and having played at a college, Southwest Texas State University, that doesn’t even go by the same name (it’s now just Texas State), Key was cut as a rookie in 1969,

He played for the famed Pottstown Firebirds that won the Atlantic Coast Football League title, and came back to the nest to spend time on what was then called the taxi squad (more or less since resurrected as what we now know as the practice squad) before moving into the lineup as the starting left tackle on teams from 1970-72 that won a grand total of 11 games in three seasons before moving inside to guard.

Somewhat undersized – a college tight end, he was listed at 6-5 and 245 pounds – Key played through a plethora of injuries and had a reputation of coming back, whether it helped or hindered the team, sooner than projected.

Admirable, but … not quite worthy of all-time anything status.

From 1979 to 2007, there had been plenty of guards – including the starters in Super Bowls XV (Woody Peoples and Petey Perot) and XXXIX (Artis Hicks and Jermane Mayberry, who was an All-Pro in 2002 and was, drum roll, the left guard) – more distinguished.

And from the franchise’s inception to Key’s arrival, there had to be one more worthy, right?

The team did win titles in 1948, 1949 and 1960.

From those 1948 and 1949 teams, for example, there was Bucko Kilroy. A three-time Pro Bowler, the Port Richmond native played at since-defunct Northeast Catholic and Temple and was considered the one of the dirtiest players ever to play the game (back when you got penalized for not putting your hands to the face of an opponent).

How “Philly” can you get, right?

Despite coaching with the Eagles after retiring, Kilroy was a scout from 1965-70 for the Cowboys. To 700-level voters, this is a sin that equates to the Comey memo and Access Hollywood taps all wrapped up into one.

Blame it on memories not going back that far?

Choices such as tight end Pete Pihos (1947-55), center/linebacker Alex Wojciehowicz (1946-50), kick returner Timmy Brown (1960-67) – along with legends like linebacker Chuck Bednarik (1949-62), wide receiver Tommy McDonald (1957-63) and running back Steve Van Buren (1944-51) – suggest that homework was done.

This is all not meant to single out and pick on poor Wade Key. We are not going to blame it on voter fraud, collusion with the Russians or the Electoral College.

He is far from the only curious choice on the 75th anniversary team, leaving us with only one choice.

Let’s just take a Mulligan.

With the Eagles having just won their first title in the Super Bowl era, and with 10 additional seasons now under our belt, we can right the wrongs of the past and heading into this new era of being on top of the world with a new view of the all-time All-Eagles team. For this session, my pupils, we’ll start with the offense:

75th Team                                                                            Mulligan Team

QB – Donovan McNabb                                                 QB – Nick Foles

Say What?:  Well, we have only won one Super Bowl, right. Guess which guy literally threw up on the field and which one was cool as a cucumber, winning MVP? And Foles, in his first stint with the Eagles, has the single greatest QB season in team history on his resume. For an encore to the Super Bowl season, he ignited a fire under the team after Carson Wentz went down and led the Birds to road win in the famed “Double Doink” game in Chicago (and nearly pulled a rabbit out of his hat again the following week in New Orleans).  Barring more injuries to Wentz, this place is just temporary, but we’ll let Foles keep the seat war. He can start a big game for me over McNabb anytime. I’d put the other championship quarterbacks – Tommy Thompson (two titles, 48 and 49, with legal vision in one eye) and 1960 quarterback Norm Van Brocklin ahead of McNabb as well. You could make a case for Ron Jaworski, who also got the Birds to a Super Bowl before throwing three perfect strikes to the opposition.  The Ultimate Weapon, Randall Cunningham, would also be in the conversation, as would 1950’s big arms Bobby Thomason (three Pro Bowls) and Adrian Burk (two Pro Bowls). And no, it didn’t help that McNabb was the one visible ex-Bird who seemed more embittered than elated by the recent championship.

Nick-Foles-2

RB – Steve Van Buren                                                                     RB – Steve Van Buren

Say What?: The fans got this right the first time. I grew up with Wilbert Montgomery, an all-time personal favorite whose replica jersey I wore on Super Bowl Sunday and whose number should rightfully be retired, and there are a litany of other standout backs to have played here, but Van Buren was the best. Period.

FB – Keith Byars                                                                                FB – Keith Byars

Say What?: Like Mayberry, who was drafted in the first round as a tackle before finding a home at guard, Byars had to diversify to find his niche. Really more of a Swiss Army knife than a pure fullback, Byars still gets the slight nod over Tom Woodeshick (1963-71), who ran for more than 3,500 yards and went to one Pro Bowl — at — fullback in 1968.

WR – Harold Carmichael, Tommy McDonald      WR – Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick

Say What?: Tough call here, knocking McDonald out. The franchise has been blessed with plenty of standout receivers over the years, although some (Terrell Owens, Irving Fryar, Cris Carter, etc.) spent most of their careers elsewhere. The reality is that McDonald, though well-liked and having had made a terrific touchdown catch in the 1960 title game, was only here for part of his career. Quick was not blessed with having played on too many winning teams, but he was the best Eagles receiver these eyes have seen since 1970. Put him on the 49ers instead of Jerry Rice, and he’s Jerry Rice. Well, at least John Taylor.

TE – Pete Pihos                                                                                 TE – Pete Pihos

Say What?: Hard to knock what Pihos accomplished in his career, but he better not get too comfortable. Zach Ertz was clutch in the Super Bowl, catching the winning touchdown (and dropping no passes all that season). It shouldn’t be about one game, and it’s not. He holds the league record to receptions in a season for a tight end and was a big reason for the success of both Wentz and Foles, and I’m buying some stock in the future by saying he will go down in history as the greatest tight end in a franchise that has had its share – Pete Retzlaff (5 Pro Bowls), Charle Young (3), Chad Lewis (3) and Keith Jackson (3). And then there’s Brent Celek.

T – Tra Thomas, Jon Runyan                                                 T – Jason Peters, Lane Johnson

Say What?: At the time of the voting, it was hard to argue against Thomas (although the starting tackles in Super Bowl XV, Stan Walters and Jerry Sisemore, were top-notch as well). Runyan was a bit dubious, especially considering that his one Pro Bowl appearance was as a fourth alternate. There could have been a legit case for Bob Brown at left tackle (instead of Thomas). The outspoken Brown’s Hall of Fame career began with the Eagles after being drafted second overall in 1964 and winning Rookie of the Year before being name to Pro Bowls in 1965 and 1966. However, voters who remembered him may have also remember that he demanded a trade after five seasons here. Brown played two seasons with the Rams and played three with the Raiders on a famed line with four other Hall of Famers. Peters, though, is Brown is reverse. He came here from the Bills and cemented his Hall of Fame legacy in Eagle green. Johnson, right now, is considered the best right tackle in the game and, in some circles, the best tackle overall.

G – Wade Key, Shawn Andrews                                     G – Bucko Kilroy, Brandon Brooks

Say What?: Well, you know Key was locked out, right? Andrews could have been an all-time great but his career took a dark turn after being named All-Pro in 2006 and to a pair of Pro Bowls leading up to the voting of the 75th anniversary team. The following training camp, he vanished without a trace, only to send text messages to reporters citing personal issues later revealed to be depression. He spent most of that season, and the following season, out of the lineup (with the Eagles suffered with his brother, Stacy, on the roster). He never played here again, and only played briefly for the rival Giants. Brooks is Andrews in reverse, having overcome anxiety issues to play like a man possessed receive the accompanying postseason accolades. He gets the nod here, slightly, over Evan Mathis. As for Kilroy (pictured below), it’s hard to know where he played on those classic teams of the late 1940s. I studied grainy film of those championship games and it appeared his lined up all over the offensive line at every spot but center. Although he mysteriously had not appeared on the Eagles Wall of Fame, he lands on the all-time team here.

Bucko_Kilroy_-_1948_Bowman

C – Chuck Bednarik                                                                         C – Chuck Bendarik

Say What?: Don’t think this was as easy as it sounds, especially with Concrete Charlie already a lock on the defensive side of the ball. There were plenty of All-Pro and Pro Bowl centers before Jason Kelce, with the most notable being Jim Ringo (three Pro Bowls in the mid-1960s), but it is important to note that Bednarik was named to the 1950s NFL All-Decade Team at center and not linebacker. Case closed … for now.

 

 

 

 

Mock Draft 1.0: Love The GM You’re With

Roseman

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Healthier than quitting smoking is quitting Eagles fan pages on Facebook, where vitriol for Howie Roseman for not getting every single superstar on the open market – regardless of who is on the roster and the salary ramifications – runs amok.

While Disneyland is closed due to coronavirus. Dingusland is open for business, as it is clear that as soon as Roseman descended from the podium after the Super Bowl parade in February of 2018 that went right back onto the hot seat in the eyes of too many.

The City of Brotherly Love, at least in some segments of the Eagle Nation, remains the City of Brotherly Howie Hate.

The largest concern among the unwashed masses is at wide receiver, but it is not as if Roseman is wearing blinders.

The situation is this: DeSean Jackson returns as the deep threat with health questions after fans took his jersey out of moth balls only to see him limited to three games (9 catches for a 17.7 average, 2 TDs).

Alshon Jeffery, in addition to not being best buds with franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, finished last season on the shelf with a foot injury after 10 games (43 catches for an underwhelming 11.4 average, 4 TDs) and may not be ready for the start of this season.

If anyone is disliked and mistrusted more than Roseman, it is Jeffery — despite his name being spelled about 22 different ways in Facebook diatribes.

The slot receiver looks to be Greg Ward (28 catches down the stretch), the converted quarterback who broke out of the bondage of the practice squad to be more than productive. For this team, in the short term, he fits. With the double threat of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert at tight end (a combined 146 catches, 11 TDs), Ward can be a more cost-effective option than the dearly departed Nelson Agholor (signed with the Raiders for way too much money). Additionally, Ward provides the peace of mind as an emergency quarterback.

The only other receiver the brass will feel obliged to keep on the payroll is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (10 catches, 16.9 averages, 1 TD, several bad drops at key times), as he cost a second-round pick out of Stanford. The reality is that Arega-Whiteside could surprise as a sophomore. He was not a reach when drafted and had an promising preseason (12 catches, TD) before not being able to adjust to the speed of the game once the regular season began. While he wouldn’t be the first bust at receiver in team history (Kenny Jackson, Mike Bellamy), he wouldn’t be the first to blossom after a tough initial transition to the NFL (Harold Carmichael, Mike Quick).

Nonetheless, I’ve heard the cries of the Iggles Idiots on the Facebook pages. As such, I’ve gone into overkill with the following mock draft. You want receivers? You got them here. There have been no projected trades, although we all know there will be. I also did something you know the Eagles won’t do, and drafted two players out of Temple.

OK, here we go:

Round 1 (pick 21) – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU, 6-3, 192

Rationale: As tempting as it is to think about trading up for one of the top three receivers – Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III, both of Alabama, or Oklahoma’s CeDee Lamb – in a loaded class, the wildly productive Jefferson (111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 TDs just last season) could be the most shovel-ready of the crop. Not a burner, he uses every bit of his 4.53 speed without wasting motion and can line up anywhere — outside, inside and in motion. He is compared by scouts to Michael Thomas of the Saints. We’d take that, right? What’s more, I’ll put forward another theory. Jefferson was productive at LSU before projected No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow “came out of nowhere.” Perhaps, it was a case of the receiver – Jefferson – making the quarterback look better than he was, as opposed to the other way around.

Justin Jefferson

Round 2 (pick 53) – K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State, 5-9, 176

Rationale: The Nittany Lion with 4.37 speed and electrifying athletic ability will immediately add juice to w moribund return game. Talent-wise, he would go in the late first or early second round if not for his stature. Will size matter in the NFL? If used properly, perhaps as a Desean Jackson protégé, it shouldn’t. High end? Think Tyreek Hill of the Chiefs.

Round 3 (pick 103) – Collin Johnson, WR, Texas, 6-6, 220

Rationale: If the draft  were not a virtual event this year, the Eagles would run this card to the podium (and may not have taken Hamler in the second round if they had known he’d be there). Johnson’s family tree is made out of pigskin. His father (Johnnie) and uncle (Ron) played in the NFL, while his brother played college football. His speed (4.55) won’t wow anyone, but he brings precise in his routes and has good hands – especially on contested catches. Johnson doesn’t just have impressive size and an insane wingspan,  as he knows how to use it. Some scouts see, with time, another Kenny Golladay in the making.

Round 4 (pick 127): Matt Hennessey, C, Temple, 6-3, 295

Rationale: While we are not rushing Jason Kelce out the door, he has hinted at retirement the last few years. Eventually, he will say what he said at the Super Bowl parade and retire with his body intact. A replacement needs to be groomed. Hennessey has all the tools as a natural scheme fit, as he has the light feet (4.95 speed) – like Kelce – to get to the second level. Only issue is that the Eagles seem to have a strict policy against drafting Temple players (the last was safety Jaiquawn Jarrett in the second round in 2011). The last undrafted Owl they had in camp was Adam DiMechele, a fourth quarterback, in … 2009. This is of note because ratings on Hennessey, largely because of medical issues, are all over the map. Another team without an allergy to Owls might jump on him as early as the second round.

Round 4 (pick 145): Joe Bachie, Michigan State, MLB, 6-1, 238

Rationale: Eagles fans will love this guy, if only because his last name is pronounced “Bocce,” like the sport. A tackling machine in college, he would likely have been drafted higher if not for a failed PED test, which may give him a chip on his shoulder entering the league. Although a two-down linebacker at the NFL level,  the Birds rotate linebackers, based on situaton, anyway. At the least, he will also add much-needed grit to a special teams unit that hasn’t been special for a while. Pro comparison? How about a guy the Eagles should have drafted in 2016 — Temple’s Tyler Matakevich  (instead of Joe Walker, who is out of football).

Round 4 (Pick 146): Harrison Hand, Temple, 6-0, 192

Rationale: Two Temple guys? The NovaCare Comlex might have to be fumigated. The brass can at least cajole themselves with Hand, since he transferred to Temple for his final year after following Matt Rhule to Baylor (after being recruited to Temple originally). The Cherry Hill West alum is considered by some the best tackling corner in the draft, which may be attributed to him having some safety experience (and he could end up there in the NFL). Hand also has been timed at 4.40. With recent acquisitions on the back end, he can be eased into the secondary while joining Bachie in immediately bolstering the coverage units.

Harrison Hand

Round 5 (pick 168) – Ben Bartch, G, St. John’s, 6-6, 308

Rationale: The Eagles will likely be looking for interior line help – while likely opting for a street veteran that shakes loose from another pro roster to be the third tackle – and this class is seen as slightly above average. With that being the case, why not cast their line in a small pond to pull out a big fish with raw potential. A converted tight end, Bartch lined up in a two-point stance at left tackle in a spread offense at the Division III level. He projects to guard in the big leagues, but that is not assured (he won’t be on the active roster as a rookie anyway, so there would be time to figure it out).

Ben Bartch

Round 6 (pick 190): Kalija Lipscomb, WR, Vanderbilt, 6-1, 201

Rationale: His average size is not helped by average speed, but he was productive – particularly as a junior (87 catches, 9 TDs). As a senior, in a difficult situation with the 3-9 Commodores his production dipped (47 catches, 3 TDs). Why would the Eagles draft a fourth receiver who may slip out of the draft entirely? Because new wide receivers coach Aaron Moorhead coached him at Vanderbilt, and he likely vouched for his ability to pick up the playbook quickly, which is considered his greatest asset.

Summary: This is somewhat fantasy, I admit. While multiple receivers are likely, two may be the actual limit. There would be no way they take four, but this was an exercise to show it could be done and the corps would be well-fortified for the future. There were no trades here. At No. 21, the Eagles are in a bit of a No Man’s Land at receiver. The brass could easily opt to go back, maybe to Miami at 26 or Green By 30, but they would likely lose Jefferson to New Orleans at No. 24. That would still leave tempting options like Denzel Mims (Baylor), Laviska Shenault, Jr. (Colorado) or Jealon Reagor (TCU) and an extra second round pick with which to work. I didn’t take an edge rusher, which is an annual rite of passage – usually with middling results – for the Birds. I also didn’t take a running back, although the third spot behind Miles Sanders and Boston Scott is likely to go to a familiar face (LeSean McCoy or Corey Clement), with an undrafted guy or two – i.e. Antonio Gibson (Memphis), JaMychal Hasty (Baylor), Tony Jones, Jr. (Notre Dame, picture below), Rodney Smith (Minnesota) — brought in to battle it out for the fourth spot. And, of course, there is no way they would draft two Temple guys.

Tony Jones

 

 

 

 

Bad To The Bone

Fatso

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — The official definition of the “witching hour” is when witches — or magicians, ghouls, Republican senators and other demons — are said be at their most powerful.

That’s the myth, the folklore.

The reality is that the witching hour is when we wake up in the middle of the night and our minds are clear enough to be haunted by our own bitter realities.

Unanswerable questions, many about futures we can’t control, ravage the brain.

I was hit with one so immediate this past week that not even my home remedy – sneaking downstairs for some old “Sopranos” episodes – could make it right.

The question was this: Am I a bad person?

Here are three examples, hot off the presses, that had me wondering:

Andy Reid – Much of Eagles Nation has forgiven and forgotten the specifics of the Reid Era here. They instead focus on the general success between 1999 and 2012.

But not me. I remember high hopes repeatedly dashed, and the seasons that ended in despair.

I invested too much – in time, emotion and money (season ticket holder) — to be stranded at the altar again and again and again.

Maybe some forget the feeling of having their hearts eaten out that were then met with the subsequent kick in our collective gut when Reid would act smug and indifferent during postgame press conferences.

Even when mishaps (dropped passes, missed tackles) weren’t directly his fault, Reid’s standard line was “it begins with me.”

Fine, Andy, you wanted the blame, you got it. I would have told you so if they let me to drive you to the airport when you left town.

Why, then, would I – or anyone else who bleeds green – root for Reid to have success elsewhere?

There was no worse scenario than his new team, the Kansas City Chiefs, winning a Super Bowl when he didn’t do it in Philly after all those years of knocking on the door without finding a way to kick it in.

When we finally got it done two years ago, some of the edge was taken off. Still, when the Chiefs reached the big dance this year, I became a temporary fan of the opposing San Francisco 49ers.

Truth be told, I am more than a little bit angry with the end result (particularly the touchdown that wasn’t a touchdown) and irked by all the glad tidings for Reid around the Delaware Valley.

Bad person?

Self-vote: Yeah, sigh, I am. It’s not like he tried to lose big games here (it just seemed like it).

Iowa Caucuses – I have been a detractor of the overall primary system for a long time, and my criticism begins with the disproportionate role little Iowa plays in the process.

I wrote all about it in my Sunday column a month or two ago, but I never could have imagined the Monday meltdown that will leave the final tally with an asterisk.

The root cause of the chaos was the already silly caucus process being further complicated with some second-round scenario that was clearly over the heads of those Iowa straw-chewers to comprehend.

While the good news is that this is probably the last we will see of the Iowa Caucuses, and maybe even Iowa getting to bat leadoff and set the pace – as it has been doing, despite clearly not being a gauge of America’s diversity (it’s well over 90 percent lilywhite, for example) – the embarrassment for the Democratic party could prove to be colossal.

Bad person?

Self-vote: Nope, not at all. A little bit of vindication is good for the soul.

Rush Limbaugh – The right-wing AM Talk Radio host revealed that he is terminally ill.

If you are waiting for tears, keeping waiting.

I understand the man may have had a job to do, sort of in the Howard Stern shock jock sense, and that he may or may not have even meant half the hateful things he was saying.

But listeners – many with pea brains – accepted his postulating as fact.

And he knew it.

And he kept on spewing his garbage — ironically losing his own hearing, so he couldn’t even hear himself anymore.

 

If we are truly mired in a modern day Civil War, one in which lives (i.e. Heather Heyer) have been lost, Limbaugh is a general in the militia that fired the first shots (albeit away from the fray while on his bully pulpit).

It could be said that there would have been no coming of your president (not mine), without Limbaugh – among others – laying the groundwork.

No wonder Limbaugh got the Presidential Medal of Freedom the other night.

Limbaugh

Hard to believe, though, considering this is the same person who called Iraq War veterans subsequently opposed to the war “phony soldiers.”

Then again, this prize was given to him by the phoniest of soldiers, one who got out of Vietnam with phantom bone spurs.

Like your president (not mine), Limbaugh built his empire on lies and half-truths.

Consider that Polifact rated Limbaugh’s on-air statements as either “mostly false” or “pants on fire” at a rapid-fire rate of 84 percent, with only a mere 5 percent registering as “true.”

While a lot of his false statements are about climate change, we are also talking about someone who continually degraded President Barack Obama with racially charged innuendoes – calling him (and Oprah Winfrey) “uppity,” etc. – and who compared NFL games to showdowns between black gangs.

He also said actor Michael J. Fox was exaggerating his Parkinson’s disease in an ad for stem cell research.

I wonder if he’d like some of that stem cell research for himself now? Maybe he is just exaggerating his symptoms.

Take the high road? Not this so-called snowflake. It’s all low road here in Gordonville.

Bad person?

Self-vote: Abstain.

This column first ran in The Times Herald on Feb. 9, 2020.