On this week's Eagles Live with Dave Spadaro, NFL Network and Eagles preseason analyst Mike Mayock offered his thoughts on the Eagles' offense and the top quarterbacks in the NFL Draft.
"I think the most important and the most complicated piece is the quarterback situation," Mayock said of the Eagles' offense.
We all know that Sam Bradford played his best football at the end of the 2015 season, but he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Mayock said the Eagles have three options:
1. Sign Bradford to a long-term contract.
2. Allow Bradford to leave and draft a quarterback early.
3. Sign Bradford AND draft a quarterback.
"That dictates the direction of your franchise," Mayock said.
Mayock has grouped four quarterbacks into the top tier of this year's draft class as having potential first-round grades. In alphabetical order: Connor Cook, Jared Goff, Paxton Lynch and Carson Wentz.
Six weeks ago, Mayock thought that Wentz could be at No. 13 which is where the Eagles pick in the first round. Now, Mayock thinks "from my perspective, he might be the No. 1 quarterback in the draft." Mayock expects Goff and Wentz to be off the board by No. 13. Lynch, whom Mayock described as more-raw version of Joe Flacco coming out of college, could be there for the Eagles.
If the Eagles pass on a quarterback in the first round, who could be a mid-round option? Mayock said it's a good year as there are as many as 10 players who could be the "next Kirk Cousins."
After the quarterback position, Mayock said that the Eagles need to get younger and more athletic along the offensive line and the wide receiver corps needs to be augmented with a veteran presence.
With all the changes that have occurred already this offseason, many fans have questions about the Eagles moving forward. The people who pack Lincoln Financial Field each season want to know things about the recent contract extensions and head coach Doug Pederson's coaching philosophy.
About 20 minutes into this week's Eagles Insider Podcast, Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy addressed those fans, telling them what they wanted to know during the Mailing It In portion of the episode.
With a confirmed switch to a 4-3 base on defense, one listener wondered about the linebackers. Should the Eagles think about drafting one in the first three rounds of this year's NFL Draft?
"I don't say you have to draft someone in the early rounds," McPherson said. "I think it will be interesting to see what Jim Schwartz wants from the linebacker positions because there are a lot guys there, certainly. It's going to be more of a question of where do the guys fit in."
"You're going to have to add some linebackers," Duffy added. "You look at where the roster is right now. You've got Kiko (Alonso), who obviously didn't have as great a season as he would have hoped coming his first year here in Philadelphia. Connor Barwin was a linebacker last year but looks like he's going to be transitioning to defensive end. Bryan Braman, same thing.
"Najee Goode you have inside and obviously will provide solid depth there. Brandon Graham is going to transition to D-end. (Brandon) Hepburn, is he a strongside linebacker in this scheme or is he more of a D-end? Jordan Hicks, obviously coming off the injury, you're set there. Mychal Kendricks just re-signed over the summer so you know that you have him."
After going through all the player transitions, only a handful remained at linebacker. It's a position that needs to be addressed and both McPherson and Duffy will be watching closely to see what the Eagles decide to do come draft weekend.
Also On The Eagles Insider Podcast:
Three-And-Out at the 1:21 mark
Mailing It In at the 21:02 mark
On this week's episode of the Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast, Fran Duffy spoke with Nick Jacobs, who covers Kansas City for Chiefs Digest. The two discussed at length Doug Pederson and the offense he ran during his time as the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs.
Now head coach of the Eagles, will Pederson implement a similar system here in Philadelphia?
"I think Doug Pederson really wants to be his own man and I could tell from watching the press conference from afar, I think he wants to put his own stamp on everything," Jacobs said. "I think he wants to take what he liked that worked in Green Bay when he was a player, what he saw around the league when he was a quarterback and then I think he'll also take some of what he liked in Philly, some of what he liked in Kansas City and just kind of create his own offense. I think there's going to be a lot of West Coast influence in it, but I don't think it's going to be just specifically what Andy Reid ran is what they're going to do."
In recent weeks, Pederson and members of the Eagles' coaching staff have described the system as a hybrid and they have already begun working toward locking up key pieces who will allow the offense to succeed.
With both Zach Ertz under contract through 2021 and Brent Celek an Eagle through 2018, both Duffy and Jacobs feel it is likely the team will deploy both tight ends more often than not. With the caliber of talent at that position, it may be a very smart move.
"Something that I think Doug is going to use a lot more of is the two tight end sets because like you said, they have Celek up there. They have Zach Ertz," Jacobs said. "Those two guys (who) athletically can pretty much do anything that you want.
"It allows so much in the run game and so much in the pass and I think that's something that Doug is probably going to use more of than in Kansas City based on some of the moves the Eagles have made. I think it will work out really well for them."
Also On The Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast:
Two-technique with Kenjon Barner at the 17:30 mark
Saturday Scouting at the 20:13 mark
The college all-star games are in the rearview mirror and the NFL Scouting Combine is later this month. Who are the players who helped themselves the most at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl? Fran Duffy and Chris McPherson discussed on this week's Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA.
1. QB Carson Wentz - "He showed up big time," McPherson said of his Senior Bowl performance. The big question was how would he handle going from FCS competition to being on the same field as players from the top-notch programs in the country and he more than held his own and proved to be a first-round pick in the draft.
2. WR Braxton Miller - "I think he's got the ability to be a very good route runner, showed some things on tape and at the Senior Bowl this year that he could develop even more because he flashed the ability to be very, very good," Duffy said. Miller started his Ohio State career as a quarterback, but made the transition to wide receiver and was an explosive weapon for the Buckeyes in 2015.
3. OT Le'Raven Clark - "Looks the part. ... The question is going to be will he go to a team that will be patient with him and develop him because he played in the spread-option attack at Texas Tech," McPherson said. Clark is 6-5, 312 pounds and has long 36-inch arms. Beautiful. The technique will need polish in the NFL.
4. DB Jalen Mills - "He has that great positional versatility," Duffy said. Mills played corner, nickel and safety at LSU. He lined up at cornerback during Senior Bowl week. He played behind Tyrann Mathieu early in his career. Duffy noted that Mills helped himself by playing cornerback at a high level in front of NFL scouts in Mobile, Alabama.
5. Edge Rusher Noah Spence - "Coming into the season, I thought Noah Spence was a one-trick pony. ... He showed the ability to counter this season. He showed the ability to win a multitude of ways," Duffy said. The Ohio State transfer had 22.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks for Eastern Kentucky.
6. RB Keenan Reynolds - "Little bit undersized, and that will be an issue. I was worried about whether or not he would be big enough to hold up at the running back position, but after seeing him catch the ball almost effortlessly ... potential slot receiver," Duffy said. The former Navy quarterback was one of the most prolific scorers in the history of college football. He may not be a quarterback at the next level, but his talent and character will get him a chance with a team in Training Camp.
Also On The Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA:
Draft Buzz at 2:45
Mr. Relevant with Jimmy Kempski of Philly Voice at 13:45
Pick 6 at 35:00
Unofficial Vist with Keenan Reynolds at 42:00