Sherman's 2014 Eagles mock draft 3.0

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Sherman's 2014 Eagles mock draft 3.0

Between now and the draft, our draft pundits Ron Burke, Chris Steuber, Jared Sherman and Geoff Mosher will provide their latest Eagles mock drafts. They will make selections for each of the Eagles' six picks, and when they update their selections, their new mocks will be posted.

Round 1, Pick 22: Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State (6-5/240)

At this point in my mock draft, the choice boiled down to Benjamin and Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller. Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer was still there, but I just don't buy the hype he's getting late in the process.

And while I believe the Eagles need to go defense early and often, I had a hard time passing on the sheer size Benjamin possesses, and just how unique he is in this draft. Yes, this draft is fairly deep at WR, but if you pass on a pass catcher at No. 22, I can't see a scenario in which a real difference maker with a defining skill set falls to the Eagles at No. 54.

Benjamin will need to work on his craft, as he's far from a completed project. However, with the structure the Eagles have in place, and guys like Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper working their butts off next to him, I believe he can make an immediate impact in 2014.

Kelvin Benjamin highlights

Mock 2.0: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA 

Round 2, Pick 54: Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (6-3/336)

I can already hear people howling at this pick, but with rumblings about Evan Mathis wanting a new contract and Todd Herremans a possible 2015 salary cap casualty, the Eagles need to start looking for their replacements. I have already made it known that I love Jackson, and the more I watch the more I'm convinced he's the best OG in the draft. I passed on Utah CB Keith McGill and Louisville DE/LB Marcus Smith to pick Jackson.

Jackson is a thickly built masher in the running game with the agility to get out to the second level and bury linebackers. As a pass protector Jackson uses his long arms and leverage to control pass rushers.

The 2013 First Team All-SEC selection was a two-time captain for the Bulldogs and is the son of a high school football coach. I believe those are two things Chip Kelly loves to see. I know I do.

Gabe Jackson Highlights

Mock 2.0: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

Round 3, Pick 86: Christian Jones, LB, Florida State (6-3/240)

It's no secret DeMeco Ryans struggled in pass coverage last season, and given his age, I don't think it's going to improve going forward. Jones is a versatile player, capable of playing both inside and as a rush linebacker, and excels in covering tight ends and backs.

The Eagles like to send their ILBs on blitzes, and this is another area where Jones could be really good. He has tremendous range, covering ground quickly, and would give the Eagles some size in the middle of the field.

While the Eagles do need help in the secondary and at OLB, at this point in my draft the value at those positions just wasn't there.

Christian Jones Highlights 

Mock 2.0: Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood

Round 4, Pick 122 : Deandre Coleman, DT, California (6-5/314)

The Eagles are excited about young DT Bennie Logan, but they lack depth on the defensive line, especially in terms of a run-stuffing NT. Coleman is built like a huge square, with long arms and powerful hands. He can really move in small areas, and has shown he can clog running lanes. He is also versatile enough to set the edge as a 5-technique DE in a "30" front.

I took Dri Archer here last time, but I have him off my board at this point, and believe Coleman is a better value than players similar to Archer like Oregon's D'Anthony Thomas and Georgia Southern's Jerick McKinnon.

Deandre Coleman Highlights

Mock 2.0: Dri Archer, RB/KR, Kent State

Round 5, Pick 162: Marqueston Huff, DB, Wyoming (5-11/196)

Huff is a versatile piece to add to the Eagles' secondary. After starting three seasons as a CB, he transitioned to safety for his senior season. Huff is physically gifted but hasn't fully translated the athleticism to football production. He would be an ideal fit if Billy Davis wanted to play three safeties on occasion. He should be an immediate contributor on special teams where his speed and fearlessness would be put to good use.

Marqueston Huff Highlights 

Mock 2.0: Huff

Round 7, Pick 237: Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon (6-4/242)

Lyerla left the Oregon Ducks midway through the 2013 season because of personal reasons after getting arrested for cocaine possession and being suspended a game.

If Lyerla had kept his nose clean, chances are he would have been a second- or third-round pick this year. There is no doubt he is a talented player, but his off-field issues have sent his stock plunging.

Maybe I'm naive to think Kelly would take a flyer on his former recruit, but by most accounts Lyerla is a hard worker and wants to make football his priority. If he does, the Eagles are getting a gifted pass catcher who could step in if/when either James Casey or Brent Celek is cut for salary cap reasons.

Colt Lyerla Highlights 

Mock 2.0: Lyerla

NFL Notes: Lawyer doubts Johnny Manziel can stay clean

NFL Notes: Lawyer doubts Johnny Manziel can stay clean

DALLAS -- An attorney handling Johnny Manziel's domestic violence case expressed doubts about the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback's ability to stay clean and said he was given a receipt that shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash, according to a lengthy text message accidentally sent to The Associated Press.

Defense attorney Bob Hinton's text indicated Manziel's legal team was seeking a plea deal with prosecutors, but suggested that could be tricky.

"Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle," the attorney wrote.

Hinton also wrote that he had been emailed a "heads up" receipt "which purports to reflect" that Manziel made a purchase of $1,018.77 at a Gas Pipe store at 12:03 p.m. on Tuesday, less than a day after his crash. A manager at a Gas Pipe location not far from where Manziel's crash was reported declined to discuss whether he bought anything there. A sign in the store says ID is required for purchases above $200.

"I don't know if the receipt is legitimate or not," Hinton responded when asked about it by the AP. "I just know that it doesn't say Johnny's name on it anywhere that I can see. It's just that somebody in that store, I guess, circulated that to the other store managers and employees saying, `Guess who was here today and spent this amount of money.' That's all I know" (see full story).

NFL: League to interview players named in PED report
NEW YORK -- Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and James Harrison will be interviewed next month by NFL officials in connection to a media report that linked them to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

A letter from NFL executive Adolpho Birch that was obtained Friday by The Associated Press says Green Bay linebackers Matthews and Peppers and Pittsburgh linebacker Harrison will be interviewed when training camps open. The Packers begin practicing on July 26, the Steelers on July 29.

The letter also mentions defensive lineman Mike Neal, a free agent who will be interviewed. It does not mention the now-retired Peyton Manning, who also was cited in Al-Jazeera's doping report in December.

But USA Today, citing an unnamed source, reported that an investigation into Manning's possible involvement also is progressing.

The NFL first notified Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal about its investigation into the report on Jan. 11. That investigation has proceeded, but Birch wrote that the NFL Players Association hasn't responded to "multiple requests" to schedule the interviews, which would be conducted with a union representative present.

Al-Jazeera America reported allegations by Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic. But Sly later recanted his claims (see full story).

Steelers: Kicker Suisham cut after injury setback
PITTSBURGH -- Shaun Suisham's lengthy run with the Pittsburgh Steelers is over. It appears the longtime kicker's career may be in jeopardy, too.

The team released Suisham on Friday after he failed a physical. The 34-year-old is recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered during the Hall of Fame Game last August.

The team hoped to bring Suisham to training camp, where he would compete with Chris Boswell for the starting job. Suisham, however, recently experienced a setback that general manager Kevin Colbert says pushed back the timeline on his recovery.

Suisham joined the Steelers in 2010 and converted 124-of-141 field goal attempts and each of his 173 extra-point attempts through the 2014 season. In a statement, Suisham described the knee injury as "catastrophic" and "critical" to his career going forward.

Malcolm Jenkins talks to Quick Slants about Eagles' core, Pederson vs. Kelly

Malcolm Jenkins talks to Quick Slants about Eagles' core, Pederson vs. Kelly

Though the Eagles have worked this offseason to undo the damage Chip Kelly's deals inflicted — trading DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell — they've also focused on re-signing their own players, of varying experience. 

That effort was capped last week when the long-awaited deal was finished with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Before that, the Eagles signed Sam Bradford, Malcolm Jenkins, Brent Celek, Lane Johnson, Vinny Curry and Zach Ertz with extensions.

Kelly was all about developing the right culture, and that hasn't changed now that he's been replaced by Doug Pederson. 

"It's important to players. They want to start to establish a culture, start to establish a core group of guys that we'll build around," Jenkins said Tuesday on ComcastSportsNet's Quick Slants. "A lot of successful teams have players that stick around."

Asked to compare Kelly and Pederson, Jenkins was diplomatic. While Jenkins did say that Kelly was a young coach who may have "learned some things," he praised the job Kelly did in Philly but admitted that Pederson has brought in a more traditional approach.

"It's a more traditional schedule, and the way we go about practice is a lot more detailed," Jenkins said. "It's been less miles for the body, but he [Pederson] is all about business."

Roob's 25 random points: Historically bad Phillies, Meatloaf, Carson Wentz and more

Roob's 25 random points: Historically bad Phillies, Meatloaf, Carson Wentz and more

The 1965 Mets, Meatloaf underrated and overrated, the Ticketmaster settlement, LeBron, Dr. J's college campus, the 1996 Olympic Track Trials, Carson Wentz and Car Seat Headrest.

Even for 25 Random Points, we're all over the place today!

Here we go!

1. Even with Tuesday’s offensive explosion, the Phillies will go into Tuesday’s game with a team on-base percentage of .279. This is unthinkable. Let’s put it in perspective. It’s been 51 years since a team had a lower on-base percentage for a full season. The only other teams under .290 since 1970 are the 1972 Padres (.283) and 1981 Blue Jays (.286). The last team with a lower on-base percentage over a full season than the Phillies’ current .279 mark was the 1965 Mets at .277.

2. In fact, the 1965 Mets and the 2016 Phillies are the only teams in the last 100 years (according to baseball-reference) with an on-base percentage below .280.

3. And how about this: During the Phillies’ current 6-25 stretch, they have a team on-base percentage of .216, a .217 batting average and a .630 OPS. These numbers are impossible.

4. And this: The Phillies are hitting .213 at Citizens Bank Park this year, the lowest home batting average by any major-league team in the last 100 years. Over the last month, they’re hitting .196 at home. Other league-worst home stats: .272 on-base percentage, .336 slugging and .608 OPS.

5. And finally this: The Phillies have faced 71 starting pitchers this year. They’ve scored more than four runs off FOUR of them.

6. We’re not quite at the halfway mark of the season, but unless something dramatic changes, this Phillies team will go down in history as one of the worst offensive teams assembled in major-league history. Maybe the worst.

7. When I’m in charge, anybody under 65 who parks directly in front of a take-out restaurant and blocks traffic because they’re too lazy to park in an actual parking spot 20 feet away will lose their license for a year. Do it again and you lose your license for life.

8. I’m concerned about the Eagles’ linebacking situation. Mychal Kendricks has a world of ability, but it’s fair to say he’s underachieved in his career. We all saw what Jordan Hicks can do, but he’s always had trouble staying healthy. And Nigel Bradham has averaged 2.9 tackles per game in four years. And the backups are Najee Goode and Deontae Skinner. I see linebacker as a position of potential strength, but not without some very big question marks as well.

9. And the Eagles are relying very heavily on a lead running back in Ryan Mathews, who averaged 3.3 yards per carry the second half of the season. Mathews ranked 55th out of 63 backs from Week 9 on, worse even than DeMarco Murray (3.6). I know you can’t retool every position every offseason, but the Eagles are really thin at tailback. I do like Kenjon Barner and would like to see what he can do with an increased workload, but between Mathews’ injuries, Darren Sproles’ age and Barner and Wendell Smallwood’s lack of experience, this is a precarious position group.

10. I don’t get Chase Daniel. I don’t get the whole thing. I get that the Eagles didn’t know they were going to be able to move up to No. 2 when they signed Daniel. But they told everybody they were going to draft a quarterback somewhere, and with Bradford and Daniel both in place, whoever they drafted was going to be their No. 3. I know Daniel is Doug Pederson’s security blanket, but I don’t want a security blanket that has two career starts, turns 30 during the bye week, got $12 million guaranteed and $21 million overall and is just going to serve to block Carson Wentz from playing. If Bradford gets hurt or benched, Wentz has to play. Why is Chase Daniel even here?

11. And don’t tell me rookies need time for seasoning. In the NFL’s modern era (since 1960), there have been 38 quarterbacks taken with the first or second pick (not counting Wentz or Jarrod Goff, who haven’t played yet). Only one of those 38 didn’t start a game as a rookie, and that was Pete Beathard, who backed up Len Dawson with the Chiefs in 1964,  Since 1970, 19 of 27 rookie quarterbacks taken No. 1 or 2 started at least 10 games. And over the last 25 years, 19 of 21 have started at least six games – all but Michael Vick and JeMarcus Russell. If Wentz doesn’t play this year, he’ll be one of the very few exceptions in modern NFL history.

12. I am continually amazed how far the Philadelphia independent music scene has come in the last few years, with several new venues opening, an incredible number of terrific local bands forming and a growing group of rabid music fans who are supporting most bands that come through town. It’s crazy to see artists like Fruit Bats, Bob Mould, Radical Face, Mitski, Jason Isbell, Car Seat Headrest and Heron Oblivion selling out venues in Philly with literally zero commercial radio airplay. Heck, Wilco packed the Mann earlier this month and there isn’t a commercial radio station in Philly that plays them. Philly is such a weird city that way. Every radio station is an oldies station, so apparently there are a lot of people out there that want to hear “The Logical Song” every 90 minutes. But whether it’s through music blogs or podcasts, word of mouth, music Magazines like Magnet, XM channels like The Loft or WXPN DJs like Eric Schuman and Mike Vasilikos, people are finding bands making terrific new music and supporting them night after night. Which is awesome.

13. I don’t know what’s a more egregious omission – Eric Allen not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or Yes not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

14. Cole Hamels since being traded to the Rangers: 14-2 with a 3.25 ERA. In his last four starts, he’s 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA.

15. Hey, check your Ticketmaster account. There’s a good chance you’ve got some free stuff in there. As part of a class-action settlement, Ticketmaster must dish out $400 million in ticket credits to anybody who bought tickets through the service from Oct. 21, 1999, through Feb. 27, 2013. The settlement was the result of a lawsuit claiming Ticketmaster’s ticket fees were deceptive. To check out your share of the prize, sign into your account and look for the link to “Active Vouchers.” When you open it up, you’ll see a list of credits and vouchers for free tickets, all with unique codes. Ticketmaster hasn’t yet announced exactly how the vouchers will be redeemable and what shows they’ll be redeemable for, but when they do, there will be a list of events on their website and a place to input your discount or ticket code. And hopefully it’ll result in us going to some shows for free. Chalk up one small win for the little guy.

16.  I feel like I like Jahlil Okafor more than most people. One of only seven players in NBA history to average 17 points and 7 rebounds and shoot over 50 percent before his 21st birthday. The other six: Adrian Dantley, Anthony Davis, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl-Anthony Towns and Chris Webber. If you trade him, you better be sure Joel Embiid is going to be a long-term healthy big man for you.

17. Casinos give me the creeps.

18. Twenty years ago on Sunday I experienced my greatest single moment as a sportswriter. It was the 1996 Olympic Track Trials at the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, and I was there for the Burlington County Times newspaper covering Carl Lewis, Jack Pierce and all the other amazing South Jersey athletes trying to make the U.S. Olympic track team.

One of the South Jersey athletes was Lamont Smith, who I had followed since he was a freshman at Kennedy High School in Willingboro. When Kennedy closed after the 1989 school year, Smith moved to Willingboro High School and, under the guidance of legendary sprint coach Fred Rucker, blossomed into one of the country’s fastest quarter-milers. He won the 1991 New Jersey Meet of Champions in 46.62, edging another future world-class runner named Kevin Lyles, who ran 46.84.

Through sheer hard work and no assistance from banned substances, by 1996 this kid from Willignboro had become one of the fastest 400 runners in the world. And in the Olympic Trials final, Lamont ran 44.30 – still one of the 20-fastest times in world history by a clean athlete – and placed fourth behind Michael Johnson and two runners who later received IAAF doping bans. After the race, I was with Smith when U.S. national team coach Erv Hunt assured him he had earned a spot on the Olympic 1,600-meter relay team, and then Lamont and I went searching the stadium for Lamont’s parents, Junius and Floretta. Lamont had 60 minutes from the end of the race to report to drug testing, and the drug testing guy was counting down the time as we searched the concourse for mom and dad. “Twenty-five minutes … 20 minutes … 15 minutes.”

Finally, Lamont and his dad spotted each other, and without saying a word embraced and wept for at least five minutes. I’ll never forget that moment. To see an athlete work so hard for so long to become an Olympian and then achieve it and then be able to share the moment with his father without a word being spoken was overwhelming. Even the drug testing guy was teary-eyed. I know I was. “Five minutes.” Finally, Lamont and I dashed down a stairway to drug testing so the 44.30 and Olympic spot wouldn’t be jeopardized. Two months later, Smith ran a 44.62 leadoff leg for the U.S. in the finals of the Olympic 4-by-400 relay and got his gold medal. The U.S. ran 2:55.99, finishing about half a second ahead of Great Britain. Twenty years later, the time remains sixth-fastest in world history.

Lamont is now a cop in Houston but remains a huge Eagles fan and returns to the Philly area whenever he can. Sadly, he lost his dad several years ago. But I know neither Lamont or I will ever forget that moment on a crowded concourse at Olympic Stadium where a father and son silently shared the overpowering emotion of an impossible dream that had come true.

19. Was in Amherst, Massachusetts this week and walked around the UMass campus looking for a Dr. J statue. Nothing. What is wrong with these people?

20. I love when LeBron shuts people up.

21. Just think about the numbers LeBron averaged in the finals: 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks. That is pure insanity.

22. My top five all-time shows at the Mann: 1. Tom Petty / Replacements (1989), 2. Dire Straits (1985), 3. Wilco (2016), 4. Yo La Tengo / Belle & Sebastian (2014), 5. Midnight Oil (1993).

23. Best intro ever: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” The Temptations.

24. There are a lot of bodies to sort out at cornerback, but I’m confident – regardless of who was getting OTA reps with the 1s – that by the time the pads go on, training camp comes and goes and the regular season arrives, Eric Rowe will be a starter. I saw enough positives out of him last year to feel that he’s going to be a solid pro in Year 2. Playing cornerback as a true rookie is not easy. His five starts last year were the most by an Eagles rookie since Bobby Taylor in 1995. But you could see Rowe just get more and more comfortable and more and more confident with each passing week. I’m still not sold on this secondary, but if Rowe and Nolan Carroll start at corner, with Leodis McKelvin in the slot, and Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are the safeties, the Eagles just might have their first respectable secondary since 2008.

25. Bat out of Hell > Paradise by the Dashboard Light.