In this edition of Mosher’s Mailbag, I answer questions about the Eagles’ draft strategy and update the status of in-house free-agent punter Donnie Jones.
Q. Can we assume that with [Riley Cooper] re-signing and [Jeremy] Maclin, Howie [Roseman] and Chip [Kelly] weren’t impressed with any of the [wide receivers] in the draft?
- Ray Muller (R_Muller91)
A. Absolutely not, Ray. Scouts and personnel executives, Roseman included, are salivating over this year’s draft class of wide receivers. At least a dozen wideouts are considered NFL starters, and several mock drafts have between five and six receivers going in the first round. Clemson’s Sammy Watkins might even be the best overall player in the draft. Mike Evans (Texas A&M), Brandin Cooks (Oregon State), Kelvin Benjamin (Florida State), Marqise Lee (Southern Cal) and Odell Beckham Jr. (LSU) constantly appear in first-round mock drafts.
The big draw for many of these receivers is size. Guys like Watkins, Evans and Benjamin are built like linebackers, which seems to be the NFL’s trend. If you’ve listened to Chip since he became head coach, you know he prefers bigger, stronger athletes. (“Big people beat up little people.”)
Roseman has insisted that he and his staff will take the best player available in each round, and with so many talented receivers out there, I’d actually be surprised if the Eagles didn’t use a high pick on a wide receiver. They just released Jason Avant, so they have only three legit wideouts on the roster in DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin. (Sorry, Damaris Johnson and Jeff Maehl). With Maclin only signed for one year (at the moment), it makes plenty of sense for the Eagles to come away with another receiver in the draft.
Q. What’s up with Donnie Jones?
- Maryan Sassaman (@CurlsnjGm)
A. Good question. Jones is an in-house free agent coming off one of the best seasons ever by an Eagles punter, and the Eagles have said they want him back. So what gives?
Apparently, there’s some quirky language in the collective bargaining agreement that precludes teams from re-signing specific veteran free agents who were originally signed to a one-year deal before the official start of free agency (March 11).
Basically, the Eagles have to negotiate with Jones and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, the same way they have to with any other free agent from another club. Negotiations could have started Saturday and they can sign him Tuesday.
I’m not sure of the origin of this CBA rule, and neither was Roseman when he was asked about it, but that’s the situation. It would be surprising if the Eagles didn’t make Jones a top free-agent priority.