Eagles lose top scout Brett Veach to Chiefs

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Eagles lose top scout Brett Veach to Chiefs

With the start of free agency right around the corner and the NFL draft less than two months away, the Eagles have lost a significant member of their personnel department.

Brett Veach, who was entering his fourth season in the scouting department and third as the team’s Southeast region scout, left the team to reunite with Andy Reid in Kansas City for an undetermined scouting role for the Chiefs.

Veach first broke into the NFL as an intern with the Eagles in 2004 and was later hired as Reid’s assistant in 2007. He ascended quickly in the front office and was considered one of the team’s keenest scouts.

“Basically, an opportunity presented itself in Kansas City to be a part of Coach Reid’s staff again and [general manager] John Dorsey staff, and it was an opportunity I was excited about,” Veach, a native of Mount Carmel, Pa., and former University of Delaware standout, told CSNPhilly.com.

Veach said he left on great terms with the Eagles, calling his time there “six unbelieveable years” of learning under general manager Howie Roseman, former player personnel chief Ryan Grigson (now the Colts’ general manager) and director of college scouting Anthony Patch.

“Those guys taught me everything I know to this point,” Veach said. “You’re talking about three really sharp minds that I learned from every day.”

Veach left the Eagles shortly after the NFL Scouting Combine in late February and said Roseman graciously allowed him to go. The Eagles didn’t respond to comment and it’s unclear if they’ve filled Veach’s spot.

Ed Marynowitz, who joined the Eagles’ staff last May as assistant director of pro scouting, represented the Eagles at Miami’s and Florida International’s Pro Days on Thursday. Marynowitz had been the director of player personnel at the University of Alabama for four years before he joined the Eagles.

But Veach’s departure leaves the Eagles without one of their most prominent field scouts during the most critical time period for general managers and coaches to lean heavily on their personnel staff. Free agency starts 4 p.m. Tuesday and the draft starts April 25.

For the next seven weeks, personnel staffs will be hosting college prospects for interviews along with traveling the countryside to examine more prospects at Pro Days and private workouts. One league source said NFL teams rarely let scouts get away in the heart of the pre-draft process.

Several of the Eagles’ draft picks over the past few years have come from the prospect-rich Southeast region and from the prestigious Southeastern Conference, including last year’s first-round pick, former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. The Eagles traded up to pluck Cox at 12th overall.

The Eagles also picked cornerback Brandon Boykin in the fourth round. Boykin edged incumbent Joselio Hanson for the nickelback job and played the position all year, along with returning kickoffs.

After his internship in 2004, Veach went back to work in Delaware’s athletic department until his second chance to work for Reid came in 2007, when he was named assistant to the head coach. He served that position for three years until his promotion to college and pro scout in 2010.

Veach was assigned to study wide receivers in 2008 leading up to the draft. That year, the Eagles picked DeSean Jackson in the second round. Jackson has made two Pro Bowls.

The Eagles promoted Veach to regional college scout in 2011 and assigned Veach to the country’s most fertile ground for college football standouts.

When the chance came to work again for Reid, who was fired by the Eagles at the end of last season and quickly hired by the Chiefs, Veach embraced the opportunity.

“Now I get a chance to work with John Dorsey,” Veach said. “It was just an exciting opportunity to learn from another great NFL mind.”

Eagles Mailbag: Bennie Logan, top WRs in draft, Jeremy Maclin return?

Eagles Mailbag: Bennie Logan, top WRs in draft, Jeremy Maclin return?

There hasn't been much Eagles talk recently. The last few weeks have been pretty dead. 

That's about to change soon enough. Next week, the football world will take over Indianapolis for the combine and just after that, free agency will begin on March 9. After that, the draft isn't too far away. 

So let's jump into your mailbag questions: 

Yeah, I think there's a real chance Bennie Logan isn't an Eagle next year. Howie Roseman has been pretty consistent in saying he wants Logan to return, but it's fair to wonder about the price. Logan has now proven that he can play in a 4-3 or a 3-4 scheme, so there will be plenty of teams interested. 

If the Eagles lose Logan, their defense will take a big hit. There's not really a way around that. He's a good player and has been an important part of the line. But with a ton of money devoted to the defensive line over the next few years -- even assuming Connor Barwin isn't back -- will the Eagles pay another? I'm not so sure. 

And I agree that Logan was really good against the run last year. But I think his real value is in being great against the run while also being able to generate some pass rush. I think Beau Allen can be a decent run-stuffer, but he's clearly not the same player as Logan. 

I can't give a real answer here. Sorry. While I don't wholeheartedly agree with the best player available notion, the Eagles also can't prioritize one need over the other in this scenario. There will be either 13 or 14 picks before the Eagles are on the board. 

Really, it's going to depend on which players are left. Are Mike Williams and Corey Davis on the board? How about the top corners? There's a lot of them. If the player the Eagles really want at one of those positions is off the board, they could look elsewhere. And it's not automatic they'll take a receiver or a cornerback. What if they opt for an edge rusher? 

But getting back to corner vs. receiver, there are a couple thoughts: 

1. They'll pick a corner because receivers are far from a sure thing. Roseman made it a point to talk about how the 2014 draft changed expectations for rookie receivers. And the Eagles haven't had much luck recently drafting receivers in the first round. And Roseman has also said that while it might make sense to grab a first-round corner in the second round because of depth, there's often a run at positions where a draft is strong. It would be better to just get the best one. 

2. On the flip side of that, maybe they'll pick a receiver with the idea that at least one really good corner will be on the board in the second round. That would maximize value, especially if they get the receiver they want in the first round. 

That's a long way to say: I don't think it'll be about position as much as it will be about the specific player at 14 or 15. 

This is a tough one. I really think the margin separating these two is so close that the combine could flip them for me. But for now, I'm going with Mike Williams. 

Clemson listed him at 6-3, 225 and I think he's going to come close to that at the combine. And he might not have Corey Davis' speed or quick twitch, but he makes up for it. I really want to see how he performs at the combine; I expect it to confirm my belief that he's the top receiver in the draft. Davis will reportedly not run at the combine because of an ankle injury. 

It's possible a team like the Eagles could fall in love with Davis' deep threat ability. That's clearly what they value right now. But ultimately, I think Williams is the top guy. 

I don't think Ryan Mathews will be back next season. He's 29, coming off a serious neck injury and is way too expensive. The Eagles can save $4 million by cutting him. I expect that to happen and for the Eagles to try to find some younger, healthier talent. 

Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy! Let's get the band back together! 

I understand why the Maclin questions are rolling in. An ESPN column recently suggested that the Chiefs could cut the former Eagle. Maclin is familiar with the Eagles' offense and Doug Pederson, which means the move would make some sense. 

But from a football standpoint, Jackson would give the Eagles what they need more than Maclin. Over the last couple years, Maclin has really been utilized in the slot, which happens to be where the Eagles' only decent receiver plays. Sure, Pederson will move around his receivers, but there are probably better fits out there for the Eagles than Maclin. If he does become a free agent, though, it's at least worth inquiring. 

Former Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans joins 49ers coaching staff

Former Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans joins 49ers coaching staff

About a year ago, while in Indianapolis for the combine, the Eagles cut veteran linebacker DeMeco Ryans. 

Ryans has finally found his next job ... as a coach. 

The 32-year-old former linebacker has been named a defensive quality control coach on Kyle Shanahan's staff in San Francisco. Shanahan was on the Texans' staff for the first four years of Ryans' pro career. Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was also on that Houston staff. 

After the Eagles cut him last Feb. 24, Ryans was out of the league in 2016 after 10 NFL seasons. He played the first six years of his career in Houston, where he was a two-time Pro Bowler, before joining the Eagles through a trade in 2012. 

While the Eagles cut Ryans after the 2015 season to save $3.5 million in cap space, they made a point to go out of their way to praise him on his way out. He was very well-thought of in the locker room and throughout the building. 

While Ryans played one season under Andy Reid, he quickly became a favorite of Chip Kelly, who frequently called Ryans the "Mufasa" of the Eagles' defense. 

Kelly didn't forget about Ryans when he went to San Francisco to coach the 49ers for the 2016 season. In fact, in Kelly's questionnaire in the NFL's 2016 information guide, Kelly listed Ryans as a player who'd make a great head coach.