Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Eagles notes: Don't expect defense-heavy draft, more draft visits, and a high-character player to consider

For the umpteenth time this offseason, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman reiterated this offseason that the Eagles love the wide receivers in this year's draft. This time it was on 94.1 WIP's morning show, when Roseman said the Eagles would likely draft "at least" one WR.

Eagles notes: Don't expect defense-heavy draft, more draft visits, and a high-character player to consider

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)
Eagles general manager Howie Roseman. (David Maialetti/Staff file photo)

For the umpteenth time this offseason, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman reiterated this offseason that the Eagles love the wide receivers in this year's draft. This time it was on 94.1 WIP's morning show, when Roseman said the Eagles would likely draft "at least" one WR.

This draft is loaded with talent at the WR position, and many feel it is also stacked along the offensive line. If the Eagles stay true to their "best player available" mandate, and from all indications they will, it is looking unlikely that they load up on defense this year, even if the defense needs significantly more help than the offense. 

Eagles met with some more guys

They would be edge rusher Anthony Larry of Eastern Washington, safety Daniel Sorensen of BYU, and TE Rob Blanchflower of UMass.

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Grading the Eagles' draft picks

Tommy Lawlor of IgglesBlitz has more on each guy, but I'll add a few notes of my own on Larry.

• I'd prefer the Eagles don't draft Larry, because I'll have to watch his college tape, and Eastern Washington's red field gives me a headache:

• On the bright side, if the Eagles draft Larry and he turns out to be a good player, the Eagles can play this on the jumbotron when he makes a big play:

'Character guy' to consider

Last year after the Eagles selected QB Matt Barkley with their 4th round pick, Chip Kelly revealed that a big reason they drafted Barkley and DT Bennie Logan was because they killed it in their interviews. The Eagles also clearly targeted high-character players with their other picks in the team's first draft with Kelly as the head coach.

Here's what Kelly said, via the Eagles' website, about Barkley and Logan:

"I'm going to steal a quote from (former Cleveland Browns head coach) Sam Rutigliano and he used to say, ‘With a quarterback, it's like a tea bag. You don't know what you have until you put it in hot water.' The first time I saw Matt Barkley, he was a true freshman and he came into Autzen Stadium which is one of the toughest places to play in the world and it didn't phase him a bit. Matt Barkley was never a freshman, there was just a poise about him, there was a calm about him – those intangible qualities that you really look for. It's tough to quantify. There's not a test for it. Over the course of time, when you watched him play, he's played through all different sorts of scenarios at USC. He's just always stood tall and when you meet him, you interview him at the combine, there were a couple kids at the combine that just were kind of off the charts when we interviewed them. Two of them we had the opportunity to take. Bennie Logan was one of them and Matt Barkley. You came out of there and you were like, ‘Wow. That guy is impressive.' He's a competitor, he's been in big games all through high school and all through college. He's handled everything the right way. I just talked to him on the phone when we drafted him. I think a lot of people, you could say, ‘What's their attitude going to be like?' He was like, ‘It's a dream come true.' I loved competing against him and we're real excited to have him on our team now."

The college player who probably best fits the profile of an outstanding character guy in this year's draft is OG Spencer Long of Nebraska. Long was a walk-on at Nebraska who has a laundry list of academic achievements.

From Nebraska's website:

Honors & Awards

  • National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Award (1 of 16, 2013)
  • Capital One/CoSIDA First-Team Academic All-American (2013)
  • Academic All-District VII (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Academic All-Big Ten (2011, 2012, 2013)
  • Second-Team All-Big Ten (BTN, 2013)
  • Burlsworth Trophy Semifinalist (1 of 10, 2012, 2013)
  • Outland Trophy Watch List (2012, 2013)
  • Lombardi Award Watch List (2012, 2013)
  • Team Captain (2013)
  • Jake Young Memorial Scholarship (2013)
  • Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2013)
  • Second-Team All-American (AP, Walter Camp Foundation, 2012)
  • Third-Team All-American (Phil Steele, 2012)
  • First-Team All-Big Ten (2012, Coaches, Media, BTN, CBS, ESPN, Phil Steele)
  • Second-Team All-Big Ten (2011, Media, Phil Steele)
  • Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (2011, Coaches)
  • Nebraska Walk-on of the Year (2011)
  • Five-Time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll Recipient
  • Four-TIme Big 12 Commissionier’s Academic Honor Roll

Nebraska's website also notes that Long volunteers his time at hospitals and schools, much like Logan.

From a measurables perspective, Long has very good size at 6'5, 320, with enormous 10 3/4" hands. 

NFL.com projects Long as a 3rd-4th round pick:

DRAFT PROJECTION

Rounds 3-4

BOTTOM LINE

 Big, tough, physical, ornery blocker with starter-quality positional traits and intangible qualities. Is best in a phone booth, where he excels as a run and pass blocker, and is smart and savvy enough to contribute outside in emergency situations.

Per ESPN's Adam Caplan, Long visited the NovaCare Complex.

 

 

Long was likely there for a medical evaluation, as he had surgery to repair a knee injury halfway through the 2013 season, although the injury is not thought to be serious. The Eagles have two aging guards in Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis. Just someone to keep an eye out for.

In case you missed it at the Red Zone:

• LeSean McCoy has 25th highest selling jersey, is unimpressed by Giants' offseason moves

• Eagles seven round mock draft, version 3.0

• Replacing DeSean Jackson's explosive plays in 2013 will be nearly impossible for 2014 Eagles

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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