The NFL schedule was released on Thursday and the annual exercise of guessing how many wins each team will get began immediately. The Eagles finished in second place in the NFC East last season with a 7-9 record, but one national analyst thinks that the team could be in position for a bounce-back campaign.
"I think if the Eagles have a good draft and they protect (Sam) Bradford and he is what he was drafted to be, the Eagles could win 12," said Peter King of The MMQB on the Eagles Live podcast with Dave Spadaro. "Of course, if that doesn't happen they could also win seven, so that's what this division is."
On the same day that the schedule was released, the Los Angeles Rams pulled off a stunning trade moving up from No. 15 to No. 1 overall. The Eagles sit at No. 8 for the first round which commences on April 28. King said that the Eagles should take the player who is going to help the most this year.
"If I were to pick a player or pick a position group for the Eagles, I would pick the best offensive lineman available or I would pick a deep threat even though you don't want to take a receiver in the first round a year after you take (Nelson) Agholor in the first round," King said. "I still think there's one thing Howie Roseman didn't do that he wished he would have done in the early days of free agency and that is to get a field-stretcher on offense because that's what Sam Bradford right now still needs."
That being said, King had two prospects whom he would avoid at No. 8 - running back Ezekiel Elliott and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell. King admitted that he's simply not a fan of taking a running back that high considering the success of late-round and undrafted players such as Seattle's Thomas Rawls. With regard to Treadwell, King said that he has his "doubts." Analysts have pointed to Treadwell's speed, he ran a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at his Pro Day, as a potential issue in the NFL.
Also on the Eagles Live podcast with Dave Spadaro:
1:30 - Doug Pederson on the 2016 schedule
3:15 - Greg Lewis scouts Chris Givens and Rueben Randle
5:30 - Jordan Hicks on the new defense
9:15 - Three Questions with Najee Goode
26:24 - Connor Barwin goes biking
NBC Sports and Rotoworld analyst Josh Norris doesn't mind going against consensus thinking when it comes to the NFL Draft.
He has linebacker Myles Jack as the No. 1 overall prospect in this year's draft class. He ranks two defensive linemen - Sheldon Rankins and Andrew Billings - in his top 10. His top receiver? He has Corey Coleman over Laquon Treadwell.
Norris was a guest on this week's Journey to the Draft podcast presented by AAA to discuss the top prospects as well as his choice for the Eagles in his latest mock draft at No. 8 overall - cornerback Vernon Hargreaves.
"He's awesome. He's a really, really good prospect," Norris said. "If they're looking for a 6-foot corner with a certain length of arm, then Hargreaves isn't going to apply. But in terms of an athlete at the position, people only talk about Jalen Ramsey it seems like and maybe have soured a little bit on Hargreaves because he ran a 4.50 (in the 40-yard dash). Guys, he's the second-most athletic corner in this class at the position.
"You add that on to his polished ability already at the cornerback position in terms of press man coverage, matching up man-to-man and showing an aggressiveness and a feistiness moving forward against the run. I completely understand that a handful of plays this year, he allowed some big plays, and that's always a negative and that's always exactly what you don't want your man-to-man corner to give up when you give him a third of the field. But I don't want those to cloud his evaluation either because I don't think the talent he showed in 2014 has disappeared. In fact, I think he was good in 2015, he just gave up those handful of big plays.
"I think he has all the tools you want to work with. Again, I think we're looking at a top 10 prospect here."
Also on the Journey to the Draft podcast presented by AAA:
2:45 - Draft Buzz
26:30 - Pick 6: Positions the Eagles could address in the NFL Draft
36:00 - Unofficial Visit: OL Nick Martin
37:40 - Draft Mailbag
John Bunting knows a thing or two about the linebacker position.
He was a starter at outside linebacker for the Eagles in 1980 when they went to the Super Bowl. After his 11-year NFL career as a player, all with the Eagles, he coached linebackers for the Chiefs, Rams and Saints before taking the head coaching job at North Carolina from 2001-2006. He now works in broadcasting, but also trains linebackers and has previously worked with players like Panthers All-Pro Luke Kuechly.
Bunting, who will be inducted into the Wilmington (North Carolina) Hall of Fame next month, joined Fran Duffy on the Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast to discuss the traits to scout when analyzing the linebacker position.
During the talk, Duffy mentioned how there aren't many linebackers in the mold of Jeremiah Trotter anymore - big, downhill punishers - due to the increased passing elements of today's game. Bunting stopped Duffy to share a story about the 1998 NFL Draft and how badly he wanted the Rams to select the Axeman.
"I remember him very vividly out in Indianapolis at the Combine. We were interviewing him. What a wonderful guy. What a great guy," Bunting recalled. "He got turned down because of an ACL reconstruction that he had. I wanted to take him in the worst way. I knew that he could play a long time. And he was one of those rough-and-tumble, rock-'em-sock-'em robots that would just jack guys up whether it'd be an offensive guard or a lead blocker."
Also on the Eagles Eye in the Sky podcast:
Chalk Talk with John Bunting - 1:45
Saturday Scouting: Duffy's 2012 report on Mychal Kendricks - 29:05