@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

@FakeWIPCaller's Essential Eagles Draft Preview

It's NFL Draft Day! Do you have any idea what the Eagles are going to do tonight? Neither do I. And that's the problem, right there.

The entire time Andy Reid was the coach of the Eagles, he stayed tight-lipped about his plans for the draft and free agency. I guess he didn't trust us lowly fans with such important information- once again, it was all about Andy believing he was smarter than all of the rest of us. When Andy was fired and Chip Kelly replaced him, I was hoping we'd at least get some transparency.

No such luck, I'm afraid. Not only has Chip Kelly been just as silent about the Eagles' draft plans as Andy always was, but he hasn't done a single thing yet to show that he knows what he's doing when it comes to drafting. I want Chip to come out, this morning, and tell us exactly who he plans to take with the fourth pick. I think we're owed at least that, especially from an organization that just raised ticket prices after going 4-12.

Leading the Eagles to a record that earned them the fourth pick, in the year of the weakest draft in memory, was clearly an intentional move on Andy Reid's part, and so was taking a job with one of the only teams picking ahead of the Eagles.

The invaluable Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported earlier in the week that the Eagles have four players they're focusing on, unless they trade down. Based on that rock-solid information, what should the Eagles do at #4?

I don't want Geno Smith, I really don't need another scrambling quarterback who's not trustworthy in the clutch. EJ Manuel wore #7 in college, so he's out too. Ryan Nassib? No thank you; who wants another quarterback from Syracuse?

No interest in Dion Jordan; the Phillies tried Ricky and Kevin, the Eagles Akeem, and the Sixers Eddie, but Jordans never seem to work out in Philly. Star Lotulelei is a no-go too; I'm sick of players from Utah. Dee Milliner has a girl's name. And the Eagles better not do any of those arrogant things Andy used to do on draft day, like trade up, trade down, or draft an offensive lineman in the first round.

You know who the Eagles should draft? Luis Suarez. The soccer player for English club team Liverpool last weekend bit an opposing player and then, just a few minutes later, scored a last-second, game-tying goal.

I'm certainly no soccer fan, but the Eagles could really use a guy with that sort of killer instinct and skill in the clutch- imagine what a hero a guy would be in this town if he bit Tony Romo, and then scored a game-winning touchdown. And most importantly, it sounds like B-Dawk agrees!

So get out there and get drafting, Chip Kelly. Because if you don't have a good first draft, you're certainly going to hear it from the crowd at the first home game.

Other Philly sports takes:

- The Eagles schedule came out this week. I'm seeing loss, loss, win, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, loss.

- Bryz falling asleep in a team meeting is an outrage. In this town, we want athletes who eagerly participate in team meetings, and ask lots of questions.

- A Paulie statue in Kensington? Why not? It's important every Rocky supporting character get a statue before Joe Frazier.

- I still can't believe Rutgers fired Mike Rice, just for showing leadership as a coach. I mean, if Andrew Bynum had had to worry about basketballs weezing by his head, I think he'd have found a way to get on the court. Anyway, Rutgers certainly got what they deserved: New coach Eddie Jordan.

- Jonathan Pettibone made a really solid debut for the Phils the other night. He looks like a keeper in this rotation- might it be time to approach him with an extention? Between him and Jesse Biddle, who struck out 16 in Double-A the same night, things are really looking up for the future of the Phils' young pitching.

- On the other hand, the Phils could really use a veteran outfield bat with some pop, so Pettibone could be a useful trade chip.

- Pettibone for Carlos Beltran! Pettibone and Biddle for Josh Hamilton! Pettibone, Biddle and Domonic Brown for Giancarlo Stanton. Come on, Ruben!

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Mackanin benches Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders as Howie Kendrick ramps up rehab

Having seen his team's offense produce just six hits and one run in the previous two games, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin benched Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders on Tuesday night.

The benchings could last more than one game.

"I'm not going to tip my hand because I don't know what my hand is yet," Mackanin said. "I feel like I have to do something to get some offense in the lineup and there comes a point in time where I'm trying different things.

"At this level you've got to produce. You want to play, you've got to hit and they have to understand that. Nobody is here on scholarship."

Franco and Saunders opened the season hitting fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Phillies' batting order.

Entering play Tuesday, Franco was hitting just .221 with a .281 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage.

Saunders was hitting .227 with a .273 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage.

Franco was leading the team with 28 RBIs and tied for second with six homers, but his inconsistency and inability to harness his free-swinging approach was wearing on Mackanin. Franco swung wildly at breaking balls on Monday night and struck out twice. The 24-year-old third baseman has worked hard on developing a more disciplined approach with hitting coach Matt Stairs, but has been unable to consistently incorporate those adjustments into his game.

Mackanin said he was surprised by Franco's consistent struggles. He hoped the benching would take some pressure off the player.

"Befuddled is a good word," Mackanin said. "As much as he works in the cage and on the field in batting practice and does it right, when he gets in the game his head is still flying and his bat is coming out of the zone.

"You've heard me say this many times: Hitting is like riding a bike. I can't teach you to keep your head in there. I can tell you to do it, but you have to do it on your own and he's got to figure it out. Guys have to figure it out. They have to figure out how to get the job done. Whether it's cut down on your swing, choke up, use a different bat, use a different stance, do something different. If you make outs the same way over and over, it's not going to change."

Andres Blanco started at third base in place of Franco and Ty Kelly was in the lineup in left field with Aaron Altherr moving into Saunders' spot in right.

Quite notable was that on the same day that Franco and Saunders went to the bench, Howie Kendrick ramped up his rehab from an abdominal strain. He took batting practice outdoors for the first time since the April 15 injury. He could be ready for a minor-league rehab assignment later this week and be ready to play in the majors next week. Kendrick can play both corner outfield spots and both corner infield spots, so he could push Franco and Saunders for work if he hits and they continue to struggle.

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

Lifeless Phillies should call up red-hot Roman Quinn ... why not?

The Phillies are a lifeless team right now.

For a while the starting pitching was the biggest issue, then it was the bullpen, now it's the offense. The Phils have hit .224 since May 12, which was when their 2-7 road trip began. 

Their .268 on-base percentage over that span is worst in the majors and their .613 OPS is better than only the Mariners.

Players up and down the lineup are slumping. Odubel Herrera has hit .207 with a .246 OBP since the ninth game of the season. Michael Saunders hasn't given them much at any point. Maikel Franco had an eight-game hit streak snapped Monday, but even still is hitting .221 with a .281 on-base percentage. 

At this point, why not bring up Roman Quinn and play him every day? It makes too much sense right now.

Daniel Nava went on the 10-day DL Monday with a hamstring strain suffered Friday in Pittsburgh. It doesn't seem to be a serious injury, but why not use the open space as an excuse to bring Quinn up for at least a few days and see what he's got?

Quinn could infuse some energy and life to the top of a sputtering lineup. Bat him second, play him in the corner outfield and see what happens. At the very least, he'd be a defensive upgrade over Saunders. At the most, Quinn's hunger to stick in the majors could result in a hot streak that sparks the top of the order the way Herrera does when he's hot.

Quinn is hitting lately at Triple A, batting .333 with a .424 OBP over his last 15 games. He showed last September that he can be an offensive catalyst with his ability to beat out infield singles, bunt for hits and spray the ball. Yes, he strikes out too much for a leadoff-type hitter, but it's just hard to see the downside of a call-up right now.

The argument against bringing Quinn up now is that it's too early to sour on Saunders, a player the Phillies signed in hopes of trading at some point. But think about how much Saunders would have to do to have worthwhile trade value. Yeah, you could flip him somewhere for a negligible return or some salary relief, but he'd have to be extremely productive for at least a month to get a team interested in trading a minor-leaguer of any value for him.

Pete Mackanin has tried many things to spark the Phils' lineup, moving Herrera and Franco down, sitting guys, challenging guys. The best solution, perhaps the only solution right now, might be a move made over his head to promote the Phils' speedy, switch-hitting outfielder who has a future with them so long as he stays on the field, which he has this season.

As for Rhys Hoskins and Jorge Alfaro, who have also hit very well at Triple A, they just happen to play the same positions as Tommy Joseph and Cameron Rupp, who have been the Phillies' most reliable bats the last few weeks.