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Talking Eagles As Combine Nears

Posted Feb 17, 2013

I love the rumors. They are what carries the day at this time of the year, and the hard part is telling fact from fiction. The Rumor Mill is about to shift into high gear ...

The Eagles leave for the NFL Scouting Combine later this week. This is their chance to sit down with some draft prospects and to eyeball the hopefuls in the flesh. The skills the players run through give teams a chance to compare apples to apples in terms of "measurables" -- height, weight, body type, 40-yard dash times, etc.

It does not, of course, provide to teams a full-scale scouting report on the players.

We've got a lot to discuss with the Eagles, who have some cleaning up to do before free agency arrives on March 12. There are a couple of contract issues to make decisions on as the team establishes salary cap space and plans its strategy for free agency and the draft.

In the meantime, we have some rumors to discuss. Let's do it here ...

The Quarterback Picture

Great rumor recently that Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs were interested in acquiring Nick Foles, a story that was bound to publish once the Eagles signed Michael Vick to a new contract and then added Dennis Dixon a few days later. The Eagles moved quickly to debunk the report, and it would seem that unless a team made an offer the Eagles "couldn't refuse," there would be no reason to deal Foles.

The bottom line here is that the Eagles like Foles a lot. The question of whether he fits into Chip Kelly's system is a legitimate one, but Kelly has said all along that the better quarterback wins the job and that the system will be designed and operated to fit that player's skill set. In other words, if Foles wins the starting quarterback job in practice, don't expect to see him operating the read/option scheme that many believe Kelly wants to implement here. There will have to be some flexibility in the X's and O's part of the offense.

I don't know how Kelly has lined up his initial depth chart. Who takes the starting reps when the Eagles take the field for their pre-draft mini-camp (dates to be determined)? I do know that the decision on who actually starts when the regular season begins in September is far from determined.

With The Fourth Pick In the 2013 NFL Draft ...

What do you want wiith the team's first draft choice? The names are floating around out there as the draftniks line up their "big boards" and offer us one mock draft after another. The Eagles are going to have a chance to take a very good football player in the first round, whether they stay at No. 4 or move up or down.

I don't think the Eagles have fallen in love with any single player. They have needs across the board and are best served to keep their options open.

You want a guess here? I don't have any idea. Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel is an ideal fit, but the thing is, he's an ideal fit for every team that wants a premier offensive tackle. I'm not even sure he will get past the Chiefs at No. 1.

Beyond an offensive tackle, which the Eagles surely need to consider, there aren't many positions to overlook with a pick that prime. The defense needs help from front to back and side to side. The offense can always use some talent and firepower.

Everything is in play at No. 4, including quarterback. Just because the Eagles have Vick, Foles, Dixon and Trent Edwards doesn't mean the Eagles will ignore the position via a trade or in the draft.

Veterans In Free Agency: Players to Add?

Teams are trimming their rosters and shedding some big-name -- and big-game -- veterans and already Eagles fans want to know if the team will add a defensive end like Dwight Freeney or a cornerback/safety like Charles Woodson or some of the other high-profile players on or about to hit the market.

The Eagles have the means to do just about anything they want and they will surely investigate all of their options, so anything is possible. The most likely strategy at this point is to exercise patience and see how flooded the market becomes and then delve into free agency with some aggressive restraint, if that makes sense.

How active will the Eagles be once free agency starts? Armed with ample space under the salary cap -- an amount that could grow depending upon some roster decisions that need to be made -- the Eagles could be among a handful of teams setting the market. There is no sense of what Kelly is thinking, however, and the way in which he wants to establish his locker room and roster.

The guess -- and it is purely a guess -- is that the Eagles will be judicious in free agency and perhaps add two or three players to fill roles. But who knows how the market will really look come March 12?

We're in a fluid marketplace right now. Rosters are volatile. The fun is just beginning.

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