@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!

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

With Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless hurt, the Sixers are still lacking a distributor, and so it makes sense that they've been in contact with the point guard-rich Timberwolves.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Sixers and New Orleans Pelicans have shown interest in T'wolves backup point guard Tyus Jones. 

With fifth overall pick Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota is set at PG. Jones, 20, is third on the totem pole a year after being drafted 24th overall. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves are more inclined to trade Jones than Rubio. 

Jones has a connection to the Sixers in Jahlil Okafor, a former teammate at Duke. Both were one-and-dones for the 2014-15 National Championship team. Jones averaged 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Blue Devils. 

He played sparingly as a rookie last season with Minnesota (37 games), averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 15.5 minutes, but stood out this summer, winning Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

T.J. McConnell has started the majority of the preseason at point guard for the Sixers. Sergio Rodriguez got the nod in the last game against the Pistons. Brett Brown is also looking at Nik Stauskas to fill the spot in a non-traditional role.

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Elton Brand walked out to the practice court clad in a gray suit and tie. As he approached the media with his family, the Sixers' players and staff gathered to watch and, more importantly, pay their respect to the news he was about to deliver. 

“After 17 years of playing the game that I love, and it’s been great to me, I’m officially retiring,” Brand said standing next to his wife Shahara. “It’s for real this time. It was a wonderful journey.”

Brand, 37, played 17 seasons in the NBA with a career average of 15.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. A two-time All-Star, he recorded four 20-and-10 seasons. 

This summer he signed his final contract, a one-year deal with the Sixers worth $980,431. Brand announced his intention to retire on Thursday and the roster move will be officially completed at the conclusion of training camp. Brand’s retirement clears up a roster space for the Sixers. 

“Me personally, playing, being out there, the mentoring role, it was great. I enjoyed it,” Brand said. “But I really couldn’t be out there giving my all after 17 years, helping the team, being in the right place on defense, and giving the coaching staff the energy they deserve from their players. I thought it was time.”

The Bulls selected Brand with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft out of Duke, a moment he considers a highlight of his career. He played his first two seasons in Chicago, followed by seven with the Clippers. The Sixers signed Brand in July of 2008. He was a member of the team for the next four years, including two playoff runs. Brand played one more season with the Bulls, followed by two with the Hawks. 

His already-lengthy NBA career appeared to be over at the end of the 2014-15 season, but he made a surprise decision to return to the league in January of 2016 with the Sixers. He appeared in 17 games last season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.2 minutes. 

While Brand was needed to log time because of injuries, including 20-plus on back-to-back nights, his biggest contribution came away from the game. The young team signed Brand to serve as a mentor to players such as fellow Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor, who struggled with off-the-court issues as a rookie. Okafor developed a big-brother relationship with Brand, talking often — and rarely about basketball itself. 

Brand shared his messages of discipline and work ethic across the locker room. He stayed late after practices to work on fundamental drills with then-rookie Richaun Holmes. On game days he often could be seen dressed in a suit, a visualization of professionalism for his teammates. At the end of the season, Brand paid for the team to take a trip to Miami. 

“We felt his presence,” Okafor said. “Having another vet in there, knowing who he is, his accolades, it was a respect factor to him. Whatever he said goes. I remember hearing his voice at halftime if we were playing poor, he would let us know about it. It was good to have somebody on your team tell you you’re playing bad rather than hearing your coach’s mouth all the time.”

Brett Brown described his emotions as "sad" when Brand informed him of his decision. In less than a year of working together, Brown has learned from Brand's NBA experiences. 

"He's as elite in class as anybody I have ever coached," Brown said, adding, "He's got the ingredients that make him, I feel, highly attractable down the road. Surely he's got stuff to offer after this is all done. Compassionate, hard-working, educated, real, tough. He was a great example for our locker room."

Brand plans to spend time away from the game and has not made any decisions on his next career move. He will be accessible to the Sixers and plans to spend time around the team but not in an official role. He has had conversations with the team about possible opportunities in the future, just not right now. 

The Sixers broke out in applause at the conclusion of Brand's announcement. He didn't know they were going to be present and joked that as the "OG" of the team, he doesn't like surprises. Brand wanted a simple no-frills gathering of media, a low-key departure from the game. It was fitting for a career based on quietly putting in hard work. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said. “But it’s definitely time now.”