Eagles' Day Two Draft Possibilities Not Named Geno Smith

Eagles' Day Two Draft Possibilities Not Named Geno Smith

There’s a lot of buzz that
Geno Smith is still available, and the Eagles are up third on day two of the
NFL Draft. Will they take their quarterback of the future in round two?

Honestly, I don’t know how in
love with him they are. There’s a reason Smith fell into the second round, and
you have to ask yourself if Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly really want
another project at quarterback, or if they would prefer to address other needs.

Besides, there is a chance
Geno doesn’t even get by the Jaguars who select first, and there is a lot of
noise about the possibility of the Jets trading up for the West Virginia
product as well. The Eagles may not have a decision to make at all.

Feel free to weigh in on
whether you think the Eagles should get their QB here or not, but I think there
is a world of opportunities beyond Geno Smith on day two. Here’s a few of them.

Defensive Line

This remains the most glaring
hole on the roster behind franchise quarterback. The Eagles purged their roster
of Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson in anticipation of utilizing more
three-man fronts, but as of now they appear to be at least one big body short to
successfully run either a true 3-4 or the hybrid 4-3 under scheme.

There is really two ways they
could go from here: large or supersize. For example, 6-4, 276-lbs. Florida St.
defensive end Cornellius Carradine is somebody they visited with, and could be
a force on the edge in any scheme. Or there are players like Jesse Williams
from Alabama, who at a massive 6-3, 323-lbs. could be the nose tackle this
defense desperately needs. There are some other good options available, but
either Carradine or Williams would be a good use of the third pick in the
second round.

Tight End

I would be fairly surprised if
the Eagles came out of Friday without a tight end. There is a lot of talk about
Chip keeping four or even five tight ends on the roster, and out of the guys they have – namely Brent Celek and James Casey – none are especially dynamic receiving threats.

The best tight end on most
board is Stanford’s Zach Ertz, a big (6-5), strong (24 bench press reps)
athlete Chip saw a lot of in the Pac-12. Another logical fit is Cincinnati’s
Travis Kelce, brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce. Or they could go a
different direction – it’s a relatively deep group, and it would seem this has
become an area of need.

Safety

The Eagles made some serious
renovations to their defensive backfield through free agency, but they’re not
done yet. While you might be able to pencil in Cary Williams and Bradley
Fletcher at cornerback for the next year or two at least, the moves at safety look
quite a bit more temporary. Kenny Phillips in particular is only on a one-year
deal worth slightly more than the league minimum, so even if you were to assume
he and Patrick Chung are the starters in 2013 – which even that is not a given –
there is a short shelf life to that arrangement.

The player they are most
commonly being linked to in the second round is Florida International’s John
Cyprien, a hard hitter with decent size (6-0, 217) who could have gone toward
the end of the first. The rest of the class isn’t all that overwhelming, but a
kid like Shawn Williams with size (6-0, 213), athleticism (4.46 40), and
big-school pedigree (Georgia) might be worth a shot a little further down.

Cornerback

Cary Williams would seem to
have one corner on lockdown, but it’s hard to envision the Eagles leaving the
other spot up to Bradley Fletcher and Curtis Marsh and calling it a day. If
nothing else, there needs to be another body for competition, not to mention
depth. Fletcher has had injuries, while Marsh has hardly played in the NFL.

Luckily it’s a fairly deep
draft for corners, so they should be able to find some help. Chip seems to like
bigger, more physical corners, so we can scratch off anybody under six feet
right off the bat. Mississippi St.’s Johnthan Banks is tall (6-2), but thin
(185) so he may not be ideal. Oregon St.’s Jordan Poyer is just tall enough for
this ride at 6-0, and he’s another player Chip will have some insight on from
playing in the Pac-12. It doesn’t matter who it is though, it’s just a position
they should seriously consider addressing.

Keep an eye on…

You get the sense by some of
their offseason moves (Arrelious Benn, Ifeanyi Momah) the Eagles would like to
add some size to their receiving corps as well. While it’s not necessarily an
immediate concern, Tennessee WR Justin Hunter certainly fits the bill. He’s 6-4
and with blazing 4.4 speed, which would be a pleasant surprise coming out of
this draft.

Don’t rule out a linebacker,
either. DeMeco Ryans has a big contract and may not be a three-down player in
the new scheme, while Mychal Kendricks is undersized. It’s worth noting Kansas
St.’s Andre Brown is the brother of running back Bryce Brown, so there may be
an added team chemistry bonus there. Penn State’s Michael Mauti is worth a look
a little later on as well.

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Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

Bovada projects Nets, not Sixers, to finish at bottom of division, conference

The Sixers finished in the basement of the NBA standings last season with a league-low 10 wins. But with the influx of young talent and addition of a couple veterans to the roster, the Las Vegas oddsmakers are betting on the Sixers to make some strides upward in the 2016-17 standings.  

Last week, the WestGate Superbook in Las Vegas set the Sixers' over/under for wins this season at an optimistic 27½, which was the fourth-lowest projection in the league.

Similarly, while Bovada is projecting another season of basketball filled with mostly losses in Philadelphia, the sportsbook doesn't view the Sixers as a shoo-in to finish as the league's worst team for the second consecutive year.

Per Bovada, the Sixers have the fourth-longest odds (125/1) to capture the Atlantic Divison title for the first time since 2001-02, beating out the Nets (250/1) by a considerable margin.

The favorite to win the division is the Celtics at 20/21, trailed closely by the defending division champion Raptors (21/20). The Knicks are between the Raptors and Sixers at 10/1.

The Sixers (150/1) also edged out the Nets (200/1) in odds to win the Eastern Conference championship. The two teams in the conference directly ahead of the Sixers in that futures bet are the Hornets (100/1) and Magic (50/1).

The Cavaliers are the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference at 5/11, followed by the Celtics (5/1) and Raptors (14/1).

Least surprising of all futures odds, Bovada has the Sixers tied with four other teams for the longest odds to win the NBA title. The Nuggets, Kings, Nets and Suns were tied with the Sixers at 500/1 odds to win the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

The early favorites to win it all are the same two teams that met in the 2016 Finals. The Warriors are alone at top with the shortest odds at 4/5 trailed by the Cavaliers at 3/1.

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

Pete Mackanin will push to add hitter in meeting with front-office brass Friday

ATLANTA — The Phillies entered Tuesday night’s game against the Atlanta Braves — No. 157 of 162 — ranked last in the majors in runs scored (591) and were hanging out near the bottom in a slew of other important offensive categories.
 
The stat sheet says the Phillies need more offense.
 
So does the manager.
 
Pete Mackanin plans to make his case for adding a bat this winter — the best fit would be in the outfield — in an end-of-season meeting with the front office Friday at Citizens Bank Park.
 
“Basically, having talked to the rest of the coaching staff, we’re all pretty much in agreement with what our needs are,” Mackanin said Tuesday afternoon. “I’m anxious to hear from (general manager) Matt Klentak and from (president) Andy MacPhail and if there’s an owner there. We’d like to hear what they have to say. We’re pretty much in agreement on a lot of what we need.
 
“I, for one, think we need at least one hitter that gives you quality at-bats.”
 
There could be hurdles in adding a bat. Money is not one of them. All of the team’s big contracts will be gone when Ryan Howard rides off into the sunset on Sunday. The team that spent over a half-billion in salaries from 2012 to 2014 (and missed the playoffs each time) has plenty of money and has vowed to spend it in due time. But that time might not arrive until team leaders believe the club has built a nucleus that would benefit from the signing of a "finishing" talent or two. The team is committed to building that nucleus from within, and there lies the potential hurdle in adding the difference-making bat that Mackanin craves. Building from within requires eventually giving players from the system an opportunity to prove themselves and grow at the major-league level. The front office, still very much committed to a rebuild, will be cognizant of blocking those players (the list includes Roman Quinn, Nick Williams, Dylan Cozens and others) and their opportunities. Klentak has said as much on several occasions this year.
 
Even Mackanin acknowledged that the situation is a Catch-22.
 
“I know I don’t want to block a prospect that has a chance to be a big part of it,” he said.
 
“But at the same time, I think by having one guy in the middle of the lineup or somewhere in the lineup that can take a little pressure off (Maikel) Franco and (Odubel) Herrera and the rest of them could do wonders. You look at when (Matt) Kemp joined the Braves. They all went off. They’re all hitting. They’ve scored more runs than anybody, I think, since the All-Star break. Last year, with (Yoenis) Cespedes, he joined the Mets and all of a sudden they all started hitting.
 
“I will give those examples. I feel that’s important.”
 
A number of outfield bats will be on the free-agent market this winter. Cespedes could be there if he opts out of his contract with the Mets, but he’s not likely to be interested in joining a rebuilding team and the Phillies are unlikely to want the long-term commitment a player like that would require. Dexter Fowler and Matt Holiday could be free agents if their options for 2017 are not exercised. Ian Desmond will be out there, but the Rangers will probably look to retain him. Jose Bautista, Josh Reddick, Brandon Moss and Colby Rasmus will also be out there. Martin Prado is the type of “professional hitter” that would appeal to Mackanin, but he agreed to a three-year contract extension with the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.