Category Archives: Sports

Final Mock: Once More Into The Fray

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – One of my favorite historical sayings: Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.

It may be more of a legendary myth – or a mythical legend – from the American Revolution, with scholars still debating over who commanded it … if it was ever actually commanded at all.

As the story goes, it was meant to save our gunpowder against the better stocked forces of the British Empire during a battle on Bunker Hill.

True or not, it has its place in our common vernacular, in terms of waiting until the last time – even if it seems up against deadline – to pull the trigger.

That’s what we are doing here, with one more into the breach with a Mock Draft.

Round 1 (Pick 12): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Explanation: An alpha receiver, like LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase, would have been ideal at pick No. 6. After GM Howie Roseman traded out of the spot for additional draft capital (a first next year). It was clear the focus had shifted to the dire need at cornerback. There are some good ones this year, and the opinion here is that Surtain is the complete, and polished, package. He has size (6-2, 200ish) and runs well enough (4.5 range) and has poise. He is also an excellent tackler for a corner (leading to some thought that, at some point in his career, he could wind up at safety). There is some talk, maybe too much talk, that the Eagles will have to trade up to get Surtain. In this computerized simulation, which only stopped for me to choose for the Eagles, Dallas traded back from 10 to 20 (and Chicago spent the No. 10 pick on Justin Fields) and Surtain was sitting there.

Round 2 (Pick 37): Zaven Collins, LB, Tulsa

Explanation: It could be argued the Eagles didn’t need a linebacker this high, or at all, but Collins brings the size (6-4, 250-260) and athleticism that could relate to Leighton Vander Esch-type impact. When the history of this draft is written, Collins could easily be seen as the crop’s best linebacker.

Round 3 (Pick 70): Payton Turner, DE, Houston

Explanation: A late riser on draft boards, his size (6-6, 270) and athleticism could put him into an immediate Vinny Curry role as a defensive end who can line up inside. This pick will cause “Iggles” fans to breathe fire, but they will say they loved the pick 2-3 years from now.

Round 3 (Pick 84): Tyson Campbell, CB, Georgia

Explanation: The only debate with this long (6-2) and lean (185 pounds) defender is where he will play – corner or safety. A good problem. There is no debate that he will play, and play well, at the next level.

Round 4 (Pick 123): Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Explanation: A big (6-1, 210) and physical safety who looks for the big hit. He has 28 consecutive starts under his belt. It’s a streak that is likely to end in the NFL, as he will ride the learning curve while hunting heads as a rookie on special teams. Down the road, though, you could expect this head-seeking missile to be a starter.

Round 5 (Pick 150): Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State

Explanation: This long for a receiver? Yeah, this long. Johnson could be worth the wait, however, as he showed well at the Senior Bowl, where he put himself on most draft boards. He brings strong hands and skills as a return man.

Round 6 (Pick 189): Trey Hill, C, Georgia

Explanation: You could say that the Eagles could get by without drafting Jason Kelce’s possible heir apparent, especially since he could already be in the building (Luke Juriga, Ross Pierschbacher) or in the person of veteran Isaac Seumalo with Jack Driscoll or Matt Pryor sliding in at guard. Still, at this point of the draft, a mauler like Hill (6-3, 330) presents too much value to pass up. I was surprised to see him still here in this simulation, so I pounced. NOTE: There is some speculation is pick could be dealt to Chicago for slot receiver Anthony Miller. Even though I have no issues with Greg Ward, and even though Miller would be a one-year rental, I’d do it.

Round 6 (Pick 224): Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford

Explanation: A Stanford receiver who doesn’t get great separation but wins jump balls? Where have we heard that before? Relax. In the sixth round, the risk of another J.J. Arecega-Whiteside (second round in 2019, with D.K. Metcalf on the board) diminishes. Plus, Fehoko plays with much more grit and could be a Mack Hollins-type on special teams. Also, he has the size (6-3, close to 230) to warrant consideration as a hybrid tight end/receiver.

Round 6 (Pick 225): Avery Williams, CB. Boise State

Explanation: Not only do I like this guy as a NFL role player, I love him for the Eagles. He may not be anything more than backup slot corner at a shade under 5-9 and maybe 180 pounds soaking wet, but he might be the best two-way return man (punts and kicks) – outside of Jaylon Waddle – in the draft class. He has also excelled in kick and punt coverage.

Round 7 (Pick 234): Briley Moore, TE, Kansas State

Explanation: Assuming that Zach Ertz is traded away, a tight end will be needed. Like at center, there are some in-house projects, but Moore offers another option. While he lacks ideal size (6-3, maybe 250), he is a reliable receiver. For those old enough to remember, think former Eagle tight end Keith Krepfle, who came from the Midwest (Iowa) and measured in at 6-3, 227.

Round 7 (Pick 240): Mustafa Johnson, DT, Colorado

Explanation: The only thing stopping Johnson from being drafted higher, which he would be in lighter drafts, is his perceived lack of girth for the position. Not only is Johnson 6-0, he is 290 pounds. However, players with a knack of making plays – 12 ½ sacks the last two years — find a way to adjust and remain productive.

Summary: If you notice a theme, it’s heavy on defense. There were points last season where, while calling for defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s head, I told anyone who would listen that I would mind a defense-only draft this year. That was a bit extreme, but only a bit.

Also, unlike my other mocks, there were no trades. There will be trades. Roseman will break out in a rash if he doesn’t maneuver around the board even a little. Also, while Ertz will likely be moved, it’s impossible to project to where for what. The hunch here is that it won’t be for much more than a Day 3 pick – something like Ertz and a sixth for a fourth – but we will just see how that plays out. We can always hold out hope he stays, has a productive year, becomes the franchise’s all-time leading receiver and then leaves in free agency (bringing compensation next year than might be better than what they get in a trade).

Because this was a defense-heavy draft, I was unable to tab a developmental quarterback or another running back. The Eagles just have to roll with Khalil Tate and/or an undrafted guy (i.e. Zac Thomas of Appalachian State) as the third QB and let Elijah Holyfield, the son of Evander Holyfield, fight it out with Jason Huntley and the infamous Adrian Killins – and maybe an undrafted entity (i.e. Caleb Huntley of Ball State; Otis Anderson of Central Florida) for the fourth running back job.

If Ertz is moved for a pick, perhaps it will be used for a quarterback like Kellen Mond (Texas A&M ) or Davis Mills (Stanford) or a running back such as Rhamondre Stevenson (Oklahoma) or Chris Evans (Michigan).

G2 Mock Draft 2.0: Cornering The Market

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Crank up the Aerosmith.

Not talking about that newer crapola.

Not into dudes who look like ladies.

Talkin’ old School …

I’m back in the saddle.

Again.

Time for my Eagles-only 2021 NFL Mock Draft 2.0 Edition

This time around, I accepted more trade offers. The only ones I rejected were those where the Birds, with so many holes to fill, were asked to give up more picks than received. For some teams, that makes sense. For our Eagles, at this place in time and place, it did not.

You will also not that I did not take a tight end, as I’m now trying to cling to the hope that Zach Ertz mends fences with the front office and returns. It would be mutually beneficial for both sides. In a year where there might not be a lot of positives, there is the PR plus of him becoming the franchise leader in receptions. Also, with a solid season (doesn’t need to be spectacular), he can then sign elsewhere (and bring a decent compensatory pick, which would about the same value that the Eagles would get in a trade now anyway).

Also, with the signings of stopgap linebacker Eric Wilson and big back Jordan Howard, I reassessed those positions as well.

OK, ready to rock?

Let’s dream on …

Round 1 (Pick 19): Greg Newsome II, CB, Northwestern

Explanation: In a lot of the mocks I have been doing, Kyle Pitts is there at 12. We know that is not going happen. He may not get out of the Top 5, and definitely not the Top 10 (in this one, he goes to Dallas at 10). The top three receivers – LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and both Alabama receivers, DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle – were also gone. There were a few offers to move down, but the one that made the most sense was from NFC East rival Washington. In exchange for the 12th pick, used for Mac Jones, the Eagles get the 19th pick and a first in 2022 (meaning at least three, if not four). The choice came down to Newsome, who has nice size (6-1, 190) and rising up the draft boards from initially being viewed as a solid Day 2 pick, or Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman. Tough call, but I went with Newsome, who has the type of maturity to not be as flustered as a rookie put out on an island and has sound ball skills.

Round 2 (Pick 37): Trevon Moehrig, S, TCU

Explanation: Not much to say here. The best at his position in a strong draft has to be the choice. When I saw his name sitting there, I honestly did not even look at who else was available. The Eagles may have done some temporary patchwork at the position for now, but you don’t want to look back 3-5 years from now and get sick to your stomach over passing on a perennial Pro Bowler.

Round 3 (Pick 88): Tommy Togiai, DT, Ohio State

Explanation: If you are wondering how we got to Pick 88, put down the aspirin. A lot wheeling and dealing, from Pick 70 to 74 and then 74 to 84 and 84 to 88. You will also see a plethora of picks in the fourth and fifth rounds as a result of these deals. There are just too many holes to plug and too many quality players to not go and pick up more picks in the guts of the draft. GM Howie Roseman may do some of this, but not to this extent. I did a lot of it and, as it turned out, I’m glad. There is a glaring need at defensive tackle. Fletcher Cox is still very good, but not as a consistently dominant, and the persistence of “stinger” injuries is worrisome. Javon Hargrave is OK, at least for now, but a third player is needed to rotate in while being groomed for a larger role. Togiai (6-1, 300) is stout at the point of attack and, while he may still have some rough edges, is clearly a future starter. He’ll never be a premier pass rusher from the inside, but he will be consistently solid against the run.

Round 3 (Pick 103): Kenneth Gainwell, RB, Memphis

Explanation: While this is a deep running back class, it was not as deep in power backs. Bringing back Howard, who was inexplicably underused by Doug Pederson last year after being plucked off waivers, alleviates that need and opens up the field – literally and figuratively – to someone with a more unique skill set. Gainwell (5-11, 195) is more of an offensive weapon – a chess piece – than a traditional running back. After opting out last season, he was able to nudge his speed under 4.4 and he consistently outruns the angles to the outside. In addition to running for 1,469 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2019, he often lined up in the slot and had 610 receiving yards and three scores on 51 grabs.

NOTE TO NAYSAYERS: You will see picks coming up on Day 3 that were not originally the property of the Eagles. They are result of trading back from the third round, and a little bit more in the fourth round. In a few packages, all of which were offered to me, I had to include the two seventh-round picks.

Round 4 (Pick 118): Tutu Atwell, WR, Louisville

Explanation: Like Gainwell, Atwell may never be an every-down player, but he will still create ulcers for opposing defenses. He is 5-9 (maybe) and 170 (maybe) but legitimately runs a notch under 4.4 and can take the top of the defense. He has added value for gadget plays, as he was a heavily recruited dual-threat quarterback out of high school.

Round 4 (Pick 127): Ambry Thomas, CB, Michigan

Explanation: This is a result of minor swap of Day 3 picks offered by the Colts, but he would have been the choice at No. 123 anyway. The only real knock on this corner with requisite size (6-0, 185) is that he is too aggressive and needs to be refined a bit. Because we have Newsome to play more right away, we can live with the learning curve. You can’t teach size or speed (4.35), and Thomas has both.

Round 4 (Pick 136): D.J. Daniel, CB, Georgia

Explanation: Sense a pattern here? Another corner who may not be shovel-ready on Day 1 but who also has the requisite size (6-1, 185) and speed (4.4) to play on Sundays. The only question is game experience, as he was a junior college transfer who answered the call in 2019 as junior before injuries set him back last season. It might take a year of playing special teams, or not even being active on game day, but this could end up as an absolute steal.

Round 5 (Pick 147): Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State

Explanation: A four-year starter who took a licking in pass-happy conference and kept on ticking, eventually emerging as one of the best defensive backs in the Big 12. He is not quite as long (5-11) as our other CB picks — and he runs in the 4.5 range — but he is an excellent tackler who will help on special teams and could get a look at safety if corner doesn’t work out.

Round 5 (Pick 150): Cade Johnson, WR, South Dakota State

Explanation: I don’t really see the dire need at receiver as other do. Back in the fold are Greg Ward (led the team in receptions) and Travis Fulgham (led the team in yardage) and all three of last year’s draft choices. However, Johnson is similar to Atwell in that he can bring some part-time juice to the picnic. In addition to some ability as a return man, he is solidly built (just under 5-11, 185 pounds) with some short-range burst on reverses. After a solid career at a lower level, Johnson put himself on the radar with a nice showing at the Senior Bowl. His best trait is that he is has sure hands. Johnson primarily projects a slot receiver, which is good news for all you Ward haters out there.

Round 5 (Pick 158): Jamie Newman, QB, Georgia

Explanation: After the news that the Eagles are moving street free agent Kahlil Tate away from receiver and back to quarterback, where he excelled at Arizona before a forgettable senior season, you could make a case that another undrafted QB to compete with him is all that is needed for now. However, Joe Flacco is only here for a year. Someone like Newman could end up as the eventual No. 2 behind Jalen Hurts and he plays the same style, meaning the whole offense would not have to be reworked if and when there is a quarterback change in 2022 and beyond. Newman has requisite size (6-3, 230) and excellent running ability for a bigger guy. While not possessing a cannon for an arm, some work on mechanics can help him get the best out of what he has in his arsenal. Even if Tate shows some potential, it will be raw and he would be an easy practice squad stash.

Round 5 (Pick 163): Trey Hill, C, Georgia

Explanation: Hello, Newman (see above)! You will have your college snapper to work with while he is potentially groomed to replace Jason Kelce. Unlike some other centers in this class, Hill possesses excellent size (6-3, 330) and plays a pure power game. He also has some experience at guard, which is another plus (bye Sua Opeta). There are some medical questions, as he put off knee surgery to play in pain last season, but Hill can always be redshirted for a year. Kelce coming back allows for that luxury.

Round 5 (Pick 165): Charles Snowden, LB, Virginia

Explanation: I know I said I was going to lay off of linebacker, at least in the early rounds, but this is a true value pick. Considering some are mocking him as high as the third round, it seemed like the value was too good to pass up on here. Snowden stands at an imposing 6-6, meaning there is some room to grow into his 240-pound frame. He shows some NFL-level explosion as a pass rusher, assuming the new Eagles’ strength staff won’t follow the pattern of the previous one and leave players with season-ending and career-altering torn triceps and biceps muscles.

Round 5 (Pick 175) Camryn Bynum, CB, California

Explanation: Yes, another corner. And he won’t be the last. The reality is that most safeties around the league were college corners anyway (just like second basemen in the majors were shortstops at the lower levels). Bynum is a high-character player who was a two-time team captain and started 48 straight games (with 28 passes defended and 6 interceptions). He also has good corner size (6-0, 200) but his timed speed (4.55) may see him end up at safety. Think Jalen Mills — without the green hair.

Round 6 (Pick 189) Thomas Graham, CB, Oregon

Explanation: Graham is another excellent value pick, as this productive four-year starter is often mocked as high as the late third or early fourth round. What makes him different from the plethora of other corners selected here? At 5-10 (195 pounds) with 4.5 speed, he is likely to be relegated to the slot at the next level, even though he played outside for the Ducks. If not, he would require safety help over the top (unless he also gets a look at safety).

Round 6 (Pick 203) Avery Williams, CB, Boise State

Explanation: Another corner? Really? Well, not exactly. Williams need not take a snap in the secondary, at least for now. At 5-9 and in the range of 190 pounds, he has the build of running back and those skills show up in the return game, where he is one of the best – if not the best – in the whole draft class. And, Williams brings back both kicks and punts with equal acumen (some do one but not the other). While I may have overdone it here in this mock at corner out of disgust with the current depth chart and a dire need to create real competition (not just for starting jobs, but for roster spots), this pick is primarily to bolster what has been a DOA return game for far too long.

Round 6 (Pick 224) Chris Rumph II, Edge/OLB, Duke

Explanation: In about 90 percent of the mocks I do, this guy follows me home like a lost puppy. He had a sound college career (17.5 sacks, including 8 in 11 games last season) for the Blue Devils. Rumph doesn’t seem to have a set position, though. With his size (6-3, 235), Rumph is not hefty enough for defensive end and his speed (4.75), while quite good for a defensive end, is marginal for an outside linebacker. The guess here is that he is bulked a bit and turned into a pass-rushing specialist, which may take some time and patience. That would have to be case here in Philly, where a 4-3 defense is deployed.

Summary: Again, if you read this far, I picked up yet another first-round pick in 2022 and then traded back for extra picks (mostly on Day 3) and loaded up on the secondary after getting more immediate help there in the first two rounds. We also got some Swiss Army knife types for the offense (Gainwell, Atwell, Johnson), a center of the future (Hill), project QB (Newman), an interior defensive lineman who can help now and start later (Togiai) and a linebacker with upside (Snowden). My only regret is not adding an edge rusher sooner than the last pick (Rumph). Like my first mock, it’s not the sexiest haul (unless you get one of the top receivers, or Pitts, it won’t be), but having the discipline to trade back plugged more hole. Having 11 picks should do it, but the sad truth is that more were needed.

G2 Mock Draft 1.0

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Opening Day, my eyeball.

This is the greatest time of the year in sports because the NFL Draft looms on the horizon.

Not a day passes that I don’t immerse my Draft Geek self in an online draft simulation, and I find myself emerging with different results each time.

While there are multiple simulators out there, the one I prefer is from Pro Football Network. Its ratings seem to be in lockstep from what is out there in real world and also my print draft guides (yeah, I’m that pathetic.). It also proposes trades along the way. Sometimes, for the heck of it, I accept almost all the offers and load up on talent in what is a draft made deeper in talent by high-end prospects opting out last season due to COVID. That gave others a chance to shine, creating almost a double draft this year.

It would be easy to just look at each round and follow a wish list and go from there, but experiencing it in real time, with targeted players going off the board a pick or two before you have the chance, is the ultimate challenge.

I am sharing today’s draft because it looked like a snapshot of how it really may go down. There were some disappointments, as you’ll see, but some needs may have to just wait for the second wave of free agency (or veterans getting cut loose after the draft) or for next year’s meat market for college prospects.

So, for now, let’s look at G2’s 2021 Mock Draft 2001 (with some tongue-twisting last names:

Round 1 (Pick 17, via trade from Las Vegas): Jeremiah Owsu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Explanation: I was hoping to be offered New England’s pick at 15, if only because of swap there is the hot rumor, but the simulator offered three others. Two were ridiculous — offering a bunch of later picks and 2022 picks — so I dismissed them offhand. This one, from the Raiders (still weird not saying Oakland Raiders) made sense. For them to move up to the 12 spot the Eagles held after moving back from 6, the offer was the 17th pick along with a second next year. Truth be told, if offered New England’s choice at 15 (even with Micah Parsons on the board), this Swiss Army Knife of an athlete from Notre Dame would have been the pick anyway. If people can buy hybrid vehicles, why not a hybrid defender? He is the classic “player without a position” that is all the rage, and he is the best one in the draft. While a pick was spent on a similar player, Davion Taylor, in the third round last year, Owsu-Koramoah is as shovel-ready as a three-down player as Taylor wasn’t (and still may not be this year). He can cover backs, tight ends and even big slot receivers. He can blitz, and he hits like a truck against the run. The knock is his size (6-1 and in the 215-220 range) but his athleticism and ability to line up anywhere against any formation makes him the ultimate decade-long chess piece for a defensive coordinator.

Round 2 (Pick 37) Levi Onwuzurike, DT, Washington

Explanation: There were sexier picks, like the craved receivers and corners, on the board. Others that I was hoping would fall (TCU’s Trevon Moehrig, the best safety in the draft by far, didn’t last this time around) didn’t. So, instead, I went non-sexy. Onwuzurike, a 2019 beast in the Pac-12 who opted out in 2020, fills what I see as a more desperate need than others do. Pro Bowler Fletcher Cox, who seems to be plagued by “stinger” injuries, isn’t getting any younger. While Javon Hargrave was one of the few players who actually got better as last year’s nightmare season refused to end, there is almost nothing reliable behind he and Cox on the depth chart. At 6-2 and pushing 300, this Huskie will likely carve out an immediate niche as an inside pass rusher while learning to gain more leverage at the point of attack in the run game.

Round 3 (Pick 70): Josh Myers, C, Ohio State

Explanation: The Eagles will hopefully be looking for Jason Kelce’s heir apparent, and give up on the fantasy of mixing up the whole line and sliding Isaac Seumalo over to center from left guard. Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey went first in the second round, and Alabama’s Landon Dickerson was gone, too. Myers (6-4, 315) is considered as plug-and-play as either of those guys and I had no choice but to bypass some talented skill position offensive players and cornerbacks and grab up a guy who combines technique with power and athleticism. The only real knock on Myers is that he may lack the versatility to play anywhere else along the line in the NFL, but that’s what I’m bringing him here for anyway, right?

Round 3 (Pick 78): Patrick Jones II, Edge, Pitt

Explanation: Still not overly sexy, and I apologize, but I’m not a sexy kind of a guy. Since the Eagles are in rebuild/retool mode, they need to plan ahead all over the field. They seem semi-set at defensive end this year with Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and the emerging Josh Sweat. However, a snapshot of 2022 and beyond shows a dire need. Jones (6-5, 265) is part of a solid DE class that starts falling off a bit on Day 3 (Rounds 4-7). He is a four-year starter and a second-team All-American who can be accused of being a squatter in opposing backgrounds. He could join Onwuzurike on obvious passing downs and make an immediate impact while being taught on how not to overplay the run.

Round 4 (Pick 188, from Los Angeles Chargers, for TE Zach Ertz and a conditional 2022 pick): Tommy Tremble, TE, Notre Dame

Explanation: Hard to know how Ertz-gate will be resolved. Me? Since the Kyle Pitts possibility is all but gone, I sweet talk him into staying another year – and becoming the franchise’s all-time leading receiver as aPR stunt – but I think the SS Antipathy has ventured out to sea. I’m hoping instead that it isn’t one of those situations where he is cut loose for nothing. A team that is restocking its shelves can’t afford that type of move, even for salary cap relief. So, I cooked up this trade with a likely suitor. He won’t garner a fourth, or maybe not even a fifth, straight up. A spiced up the pot with a conditional 2022 Day 3 pick (fifth or sixth round) based on his performance and health. As for Tremble, I hate to put pressure on the kid by taking a tight end in exchange for the best at the position in the franchise’s rich history at the position, but the need is there and Tremble is good value as a 6-4, 250-pound two-way tight end with untapped upside and athleticism.

Round 4 (Pick 123): Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Explanation: A 28-game starter for the Longhorns, he is the quintessential two-way safety. Sterns has good size (6-0, 207) and athletic ability and he thrives on the big hit while being sound in coverage with nice ball skills. He may take some time to learn the pro game, like last year’s fourth-rounder K’Von Wallace, but will be a willing combatant on special teams in the meantime.

Round 5 (Pick 150): Shi Smith, WR, South Carolina

Explanation: I’m sure there is a school of thought that the Eagles should go receiver early, and Ja’Marr Chase as the Alpha Dog for their WR Room at 6 was what I would have done, even with Pitts on the board. However, beyond getting an obvious No. 1 to build around, I don’t really see the logic in stockpiling receivers after drafting three who showed glimpses of promises last year (same reason why I didn’t take multiple offensive linemen with the line hopefully healthy and the younger guys who played last year more experienced). They also return Travis Fulgham (led the team in receiving yards) and Greg Ward (led the team in receptions), and both are young as well. There is also a lingering hope that the new coaching staff can press reset on J.J. Arecega-Whiteside, a foolish second-round pick ahead of D.K. Metcalf two drafts back, and get some production, even if it’s as a red zone specialist. That is six receivers there, and it would not surprise me if a veteran with some mileage on the odometer — but some street savvy — was also added. However, the back end of the draft is loaded with receivers. It would make no sense not to grab a lottery ticket. Every year, a late-round receiver – or even an undrafted one – emerges (while a higher pick, like Arcega-Whiteside, flops). That brings us to a human highlight reel in the 5-10, 185 pound Smith. He has sub-4.5 speed and a productive career (174 catches, 2,204 yards) on his resume.

Round 6 (Pick 189): Tre Brown. CB, Oklahoma

Explanation: I know I didn’t take a corner earlier, and I was hoping to get one at the right value. Again, though, this was a real fire drill in real time. Also, I have a theory on corners. I have seen too many drafted high and, because of that, their team will throw them into the toaster and turn them into burnt toast. It gets to a point that psyches get so damaged from pro receivers making them look bad that they never fully recover. Sometimes, and history backs this up, it is wise to take a corner later on and nurse them along. Brown would provide an instant boost to the Eagles’ moribund return game while project as slot corner. Although he has 4.4 speed and doesn’t not back away from a challenge, his size (5-9, 190) would almost lock him into that role, where he could excel with what are considered pro-level ball skills.

Round 6 (Pick 224): Israel Mukuamu, CB/S, South Carolina

Explanation: This is my “steal” pick. Maybe I’m missing something, as the game film screams a much earlier selection to me. He has experience at a corner and safety. He deploys every bit of his 6-3, 205 frame to play physical with receivers and also hit hard in the running game. While it’s unclear where he will play – my educated guess is safety – the guy will find his way onto the field. Mark it down.

Round 6 (Pick 225): Trey Ragas, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette

Explanation: And now my “sleeper.” There are some intriguing backs all through the draft, but there are also too many other glaring needs. Ragas (5-11, 230) is the type of back the Eagles need to mix in with Miles Sanders and Boston Scott. While this “mean runner” barely cracks 4.6 in the 40, Ragas has a knack for consistently slamming it between the tackles for daylight. For his career, he gained 3,574 yards and ran for 38 touchdowns. Oh, and that was while operating out of a committee approach. He won’t break many long runs, but he could make a career out of runs of 5-10 yards on a consistent basis.

Round 7 (Pick 234): Shane Buechele, QB, SMU

Explanation: A quarterback might actually not be happy getting drafted this late because he would rather just choose his own best destination as an undrafted entity. However, the Eagles offer the perfect opportunity to draw a NFL paycheck as a developmental No. 3 behind Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco. While Hurts is being given the chance to prove himself this year, there is no knowing right now if it will pan out. Flacco, meanwhile, is here one-year hitch. Buechele doesn’t have a whole lot of visible upside, as his arm and athleticism are not eye-popping. But he has a bit of former Eagle Jim McMahon in him. He is tough, accurate, intelligent and competitive. When the smoke clears, he could at least be a solid No. 2 down the road that you don’t fear putting into a game.

Round 7 (Pick 240): Ben Mason, FB, Michigan

Explanation: The odds are probably stronger that the Eagles even take a kicker or a punter here than a fullback, but I am now making an editorial comment. There is a fallacy that fullback is a dying breed. In reality, it is coming back. You are seeing it used more in college, and 21 of the 32 teams in the NFL – including a lot of playoff teams – had a fullback on their depth chart last season. Some only play 5-10 snaps a game on offense but are still core guys on special teams while others are more integral to their schemes. Like long snappers, most fullbacks who make it are undrafted, but Mason has the chops to be a late-round pick. Why not here? The new coach, Nick Sirianni did not have a fullback last year with Indianapolis, where he was the offensive coordinator, although he did use former Eagle – and thrower of the famed “Philly Special” – Trey Burton there from time to time. New offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen, had a fullback (Gabe Nabers) with the LA Chargers. Mason (6-2, 255) is a fierce lead blocker who always has soft hands out of the backfield. It’s also interesting to note that he played several positions in Ann Arbor, before landing at fullback, and mostly on the defensive side of the ball. That would make him an asset on special teams.

Summary: Again, not a sexy draft. I would have hoped to get a corner earlier, but it’s not the way the cookie crumbled this time around (we’ll try again after Easter). I had to go with the flow and what was a real-time draft and plug as many of the obvious holes as I could. The hated one, GM Howie Roseman, has already had prime draft picks for next year (at least two firsts a third) and I got another second here for moving from 12 to 17 and getting a three-down linebacker who can start Day 1.

Factoring In The ‘Clint’ Factor

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE — In the movie “Dazed And Confused,” there was a character named Clint who pronounced, at a party in the woods, that he was only there to drink some beer and kick some ass.

“And I’m almost out of beer,” he added.

The screen version of Clint kind of reminded me of some people who bring that persona to life in the real world.

I’ve seen them chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville and fomenting more tension in some cities on the edge by countering Black Lives Matter protests.

And I’ve seen them at rallies for your president (not mine).

But that’s not all. It has long since hit closer to home for me.

It includes, as the years have gone by, the average Eagles’ fan at Lincoln Financial Field.

A brief history: The Glantz Family season tickets in my name predate my 1965 birth and date back to Franklin Field. That’s when my father split an account with a group of dentists.

I went to my first game in 1970, and I was in love at the first sight of whatever of the field I was able to see.

We then enjoyed some good, bad and ugly at Veterans Stadium. Those were the Glory Years for us.

There was talk of the antics of those in the 700 level (we were in the 300 level), but I generally recollect a cerebral fan base who understood the games that maybe they enjoyed with one beer (OK, maybe two).

Next came Lincoln Financial Field. Nicer stadium, but not nicer fans.

There were a lot more “Clints.”

As time passed, an increasingly high “Clint” quotient followed.

They were there to drink a lot of beer, and then when they were almost out of beer – especially when a policy was put in place to cut them off after the third quarter – it was time to either kick some ass or watch ass be kicked elsewhere in the stands or on the field.

I wasn’t there to get drunk, and my days of kicking ass – or getting it kicked – were long behind me.

The way the stadium was constructed, the rows of seats squeezed those of us not in luxury suites in like sardines. It became especially uncomfortable in the colder weather when wearing more layers.

And, adding insult to the injury of it all, I spent half the time at the games passing beer down and the money back to the beer guy from my aisle seat. For my toil, I often got treated to a view of the crack of the beer guy’s instead of the action on the field.

My father stopped going well before his 2008 passing. At first, I had a long waiting list of friends wanting to go with me to the new stadium. As guys got older, the novelty of a new stadium wore off for them.

And me.

A year ago, the 2019-20 season, I went to a grand total of zero Eagles’ home games.

I sold some, gave away some others to good causes, and I couldn’t have been happier.

There are a lot of reasons for this, including the time commitment. It’s like a full 10-6 work day to battle traffic and go to and from the stadium on a Sunday.

As the years passed – and for many of the reasons mentioned — it became increasingly more comfortable to sit on my butt in my recliner, going to and from the bathroom at will and not having to take out a second mortgage to wait in long lines for subpar snacks.

But the largest reason was to be away from the “Clints” – the guys who give the rest of us a bad name as “the worst fans in the league” from national pundits.

This year, one small plus of COVID-19, was the option to opt out and either get a full refund or roll it over to next year.

I took the refund. I didn’t even have to think twice about it.

The thing about the Clint character on screen and the real one is that hick/hillbilly/motorhead persona that supersedes actually being a hick or a hillbilly or motorhead from “real America.”

It’s a safe bet that the guys who are at the Eagles games to get drunk, act tough and then puke in the bathroom and miss the end are also among the same misguided “patriots” who are now saying they are going to boycott the NFL season – beginning now – this year.

The “thought” process is that the players are not allowed to peacefully and respectfully protest what they see as injustices in this country – maybe by kneeling during the national anthem and/or raising a black power fist – because they “make a lot of money to play.”

Even though most of these players come from abject poverty and have dared not to forget their roots, the fact that some are making six- or seven-figure salaries for what will be careers of 3-5 years on average – only to be often left with brain damage from concussions and bum hips, knees, shoulders, etc. – is not factored into the equation that is too complex for the Clint Patrol.

The “thinking,” if you can try to follow it is: They can protest the protest, because they believe freedom of speech only belongs to them.

They get mad at the term white privilege, all because they have to work for a living like everyone else, and don’t see the irony that only they have the privilege to protest the protest that they don’t think the “spoiled brats” should have.

It gets pretty convoluted, I know, but you have to spend time among these people to understand.

I have.

Trust me, they won’t be missed. At all.

My IQ has dropped – albeit temporarily – a good 10-20 points just being in their presence at games where they act like football experts (while unable to name more than a few key players on the field and understand some simple basics).

They’d rather see an opposing player catch a touchdown pass, and then be decapitated by a late hit, than maybe have him drop the ball instead.

A Clint, by any other name, would not want it any other way.

In Search Of … The Truth

Ancient Israel

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – I’ve been thinking a lot about that old documentary-style television show, hosted by Leonard “Mr. Spock” Nimoy, called “In Search Of.”

Even at a young age, I was generally intrigued enough to watch most of these syndicated episodes on UHF channels from start to finish.

For those who don’t recall – and it’s OK if you don’t – the episodes would be on topics on if Bigfoot, ghosts, Jack the Ripper or if UFO’s were real, etc.

I have been trying lately, as the world literally crumbles around us, to go on my own “In Search Of” journey.

What am I seeking? Oh, not much. Just the truth.

In Search of One

I don’t know much, but I know enough to know that the truth is generally nothing more than one’s own perceptions formed by their own realities shaped by life experience.

While that works with a lot of interpersonal situations – you know women saying “all men are this” or men saying “all women are that” – we really need to start airing out our other dirty laundry and meeting in the town square to peaceably parse out proven fact from fiction.

We are seeing this in the way a pandemic is being politicized by a so-called president who chides doctors and scoffs at science.

We are seeing it in the way the right’s only argument that they are not inherently racist is that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican (the parties switched places, in terms of being progressive, a long time ago).

But I’m going to look hard to my left, something I’m not always accustomed to doing, and to do some critical thinking and uncomfortable housekeeping about a troubling trend: A new gash in Black-Jewish relations, with – news flash — Louis Farrakhan playing puppeteer.

Farrakan

Let’s take the the DeSean Jackson situation. As both an Eagles’ fan and a cultural Jew (I consider myself a secular humanist, but my DNA makes me a purebred), I was deeply hurt than a player I cheered for all these years would open his quotations book to “Hitler” and “Farrakhan.” It was especially troubling after Jackson was brought back to Philadelphia by a Jewish general manager (Howie Roseman) and drawing a paycheck signed by a Jewish owner (Jeffrey Lurie), even after Jackson likely put himself on the shelf by doing needless backflips after a touchdown early last season.

Jackson apologized for misquoting Hitler, via Farrakhan, about Jews running the world. He basically gave a convoluted explanation that equates to him not knowing any better. He says he was just trying to “uplift his own people,” I guess by saying that, “If Jews can control everything, why can’t we?”

There was also a lot of mumbo jumbo about blacks being the real Hebrews, which is a theory put forth on street corners in places like Newark and Harlem and is gaining traction with those in the black community that have say and sway.

Just like with white disaffected youth and Neo-Nazism, the same is true with this nonsense that belies all archeological digs done in the Middle East in favor of something concocted from a “vision” in the 19th century.

One of the founders of this belief system — Frank Cherry — also thought the earth was square and that Jesus would return in the year 2000,  but Cherry died in 1963 and was not a product of a formal education.

What’s the excuse today for extremists on all sides falling under the spell of beliefs that make wearing tin foil hats as popular as Kangol hats?

If anything, it is an indictment of a public education system that sends people into the world who are open to all kinds of theories – including white and black supremacy – and continue our downward spiral into fantasy-fueled suspicion and hate.

The irony is that, when it comes to quoting Hitler, the more accurate quote – outlined in Mein Kampf and put into action with dire results – was that of the “Big Lie.” It is, to paraphrase, that if you tell a lie – not matter how ridiculous – for a long enough period of time, people will start to believe it.

And people, particularly young black adults spurred to action after the horrific murder of George Floyd under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer who maintained a trance-like stare while Floyd repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe, seem to be taking their eye off the ball of seeking justice and blaming it on Jews who can’t handle the “truth” about who are the real Jews.

Jackson, who matriculated at one of the best schools in the country – Cal-Berkeley (below) – should not fall into the category of the easily duped. This is a harsh indictment of that whole system of big-time college sports, which is way more of a swamp loaded with snakes than pro sports can ever dream to be, as this is not the first time Jackson’s off-field choices has made us scratch our heads and it won’t be the last.

Berk

After the Jackson controversy, I did what I like to do, and took it to my version of the town square – Facebook.

There was feverish debate over the First Amendment, where the “truth” won the day; free speech protects citizens from the government but not an employer, which the Eagles are to Jackson.

There was also a lot of compare and contrast about Riley Cooper, the former Eagles’ receiver who was caught on tape saying the “N” word seven years ago. I tried to point out the subtle differences between the two situations – namely that Cooper was on the team for three seasons without incident prior to that regrettable moment and was there for three more after – but I couldn’t shake the general vibe that he was a “scrub” who got the benefit of the doubt because he was white.

There was a narrative that made it sound like her was handed a contract extension immediately after the transgression, like they waited for him outside a Klan rally without a contract in hand, when the reality – the truth — was that it was two uncontroversial seasons later.

Again, the “truth,” is that he was an OK player, as “scrubs” don’t last five minutes – let alone five seasons – in the league. And they don’t get five-year extensions for $25M. Cooper had a career year right after making the remarks while drunk at a concert he attended with several black teammates, and was a core special teams player and one of the best blocking receivers in the league.

Back when journalism was journalism, a Philadelphia reporter went back into Cooper’s past, all the way to childhood, and basically found a typical jock (he was also a baseball star in high school and college) who hung out with other jocks of all races (and probably lorded over non-jocks of all races).

As a skill position player at the University of Florida and with the Eagles, he was closest with the other skill position players, meaning he had plenty of black friends. I can tell you, from my experiences in locker rooms, the “N” word flies around like spitballs when there is a substitute teacher in middle school. Just a guess, but maybe he – in a lathered-up state – felt it OK to do the same.

It wasn’t OK, but it wouldn’t have been OK to cut him from the team when he had a part to play as a role player and when he took all the right steps to apologize.

The forgotten reality is that his black teammates, led by Michael Vick (below, with Cooper), accepted the apology — saying that doing so was one of the proudest moments of his career — and moved on.

vick-cooper-eagles-jets

To me, as a cultural Jew, it is not the same as thinking you are quoting Hitler – via Farrakhan – using Jewish tropes and stereotypes. Even with that, Jackson should not have been cut, either.

They agreed to make it a teachable moment and move on, just Cooper’s black teammates did in real time.

I was OK with the Jackson resolution, and so were many other Jewish Eagles fans.

In the town square, though, it was not so simple.

As such, as I battled with mostly black Eagles fans, my consternation worsened.

I encountered – repeatedly – a mindset even more troubling than what Jackson posted and then retracted.

If I didn’t see it once, I saw it 1,000 times: “What does he have to apologize for? He was speaking the truth!”

The truth?

Here we go again.

In search of … the truth.

Making it worse, there were open debates about whether the Holocaust was any more tragic than slavery or what happen to Native Americans.

Some, right of cue, questioned if the Holocaust even happened.

And they were backed by others saying it was the truth that it never happened.

The “truth” can easily become a hand grenade — even on what it is supposed to be page for Eagles’ fans to talk football, which is what most of the white non-Jewish fans were imploring us to do.

Amid a deafening silence, athletes were coming to Jackson’s defense, and none – until 73-year-old Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and now Charles Barkley — were admonishing him. It’s a sign of the times.

Some alleged C-list celebrity, Nick Cannon (below), added to the chorus of twisted history that blacks are the true Hebrews, etc.

_113397485_nick_cannon_getty

It’s out there, spreading through the black community like the way an unattended campfire becomes a forest fire.

Slowly, the righteousness of the Black Lives Matter movement is in danger being perverted and subverted into something else, setting it up to fizzle and fade into something that was “so 2020.”

At its core, “Black Live Matter,” means black lives matter the same, or also. If we get into an environment where it morphs into “Black Lives Matter More,” the ongoing cold Civil War will rage on.

Meanwhile, one of the black community’s most ardent historical supporters – the Jewish community (helped found the NAACP and fought and died in the South during the Civil Rights era) – is taking the hits.

And what I don’t get is why the truth as I know it is so frightening to confront. Black history is one of perseverance and overcoming adversity. It is one of redemption. There is no reason to make up anything when the real story – the true story – is 10,000 times more compelling.

5768f4a95f386.image_

 

 

The Eternal Home Run

Schmidt

By GORDON GLANTZ

GORDONVILLE – Home … run!

Michael … Jack … Schmidt!

From the voice of Harry Kalas, the late great Phillies announcer, that was the ultimate sound of summer for me.

More specifically, when it was from grandfather’s transistor radio while sitting on a windswept porch in the Chelsea section of Atlantic City.

My grandfather would watch any sporting even on television – he was able to get Mets and Yankees games on channels 9 and 11 down the shore – but the world revolved around the Phillies.

And when the Phillies were playing at home, at Veterans Stadium, the games were not on TV.

That sent us to the front porch, with bowls of ice cream, and the transistor radio that I can still close my eyes and see now.

Looking back now, it was better that way.

My grandfather was a bit hard of hearing — a trait I inherited (I’m hoping for the internal genes, too, as he made it to nearly 95) — and generally preferred an ear plug (I can still see that, too).

But that would have made it impossible for me to listen as well, so he gladly made that concession to have me at his side.

To this day, I still believe baseball is better followed on the radio. It comes across too slow on television, and has too many staged distractions in person.

True confession: The Phillies are a distant fourth on my priority list now, but that’s not the way it started out.

At least until the Broad Street Bullies made us feel like winners in the middle of the 1970s, the Phillies were No. 1 back when Gordonville was mostly farm land to be tilled.

The thing is, though, they pretty much sucked.

My form of a pennant race was checking the standings each day to make sure we at least had a lead on the last place team in the NL West, which I remember as being the San Diego Padres.

As a matter of fact, I asked my father to get tickets when the Padres came to town, and I was devastated when utility infielder Terry Harmon grounded out with runners on base in a 2-1 loss.

Yeah, sigh, it was that bad.

But it slowly got better, culminating with the 1980 World Series title that remains my baseball pinnacle. No other postseason push, or even the 2008 World Series win, could recapture that magic.

I was grateful to Pete Rose for helping us get over the top, but I was happiest for the players that had been here during the slow and steady ride to the top.

And none more than Mike Schmidt, who is generally regarded as the best third baseman of all time.

However, before 1980, he was pretty much regarded as a great player who chocked in the clutch and who did match his numbers when it mattered.

Even though he led the league in home runs several times in the 1970s, there was a running joke that they all came as solo shots in the the eighth inning when they were either winning or losing 9-1.

After that season, one in which he won both MVP for the season and the World Series, those labels were put to rest.

I had a lot of favorite Phillies growing up.

They tell me it started with Cookie Rojas when I was still in diapers, but I have no real recollection of that alleged fixation that probably had more to do with his first name anyway.

I do recollect a steady roll call of Tony Taylor, Joe Lis, Tim McCarver, Willie Montanez, Larry Bowa and Greg Luzinski.

There was a deep connection with Richie Hebner, who batted fifth and played first base, just like I did in Little League, but he was gone – to make room for Rose – by the time it all fell together in 1980.

When I put in the tape and hit rewind now, it is easy to pick out not only my favorite Phillie of all time, but also one of my all-time favorite athletes, period.

It’s Mike Schmidt.

He puts me back on that porch, with my beloved grandfather and his transistor radio – eating ice cream (before I was lactose intolerant) – and waiting in anticipation for those words from Harry Kalas that would follow the crack of a bat coming through loud and clear amid any static.

Home run!

Michael … Jack … Schmidt!

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.