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The Senior Bowl presents a virtual buffet of sources for an NFL reporter. Scouts, coaches and administrators from nearly every team gather in Mobile, Ala. each year to examine some of the best senior prospects for the NFL draft.
More than 800 league personnel scatter around the grandstands of Ladd-Peebles Stadium (and occasionally another field about 10 miles away), giving reporters a chance to pick their brains in a relaxed (and usually warmer) environment.
The following is a compilation of Eagles-related buzz -- based mostly on opinions -- that we gleaned from discussions with several league sources, some with direct connection to the Eagles, some with indirect ties and others with none at all.
This is what we learned:
• The Eagles’ secondary could be completely blown up. One source with direct knowledge of the their personnel said Nnamdi Asomugha can’t run anymore and another said Asomugha is best suited for a Cover 2 defense. Nate Allen is salvageable if he can improve his instincts and regain his confidence. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has obvious talent but needs to be challenged and disciplined when his head isn’t in the game.
• Regarding Asomugha, one former Eagles coach said the corner’s game had declined years ago, which means the three teams that hotly pursued Asomugha after the lockout -- the Eagles, Cowboys and Jets -- were more enticed by the name than they were dedicated to studying the tape.
• One scout who has covered the West Coast for several years said he questioned Asomugha’s passion for the game back in college. Asomugha played at Cal.
• In discussing Eagles safeties, one personnel evaluator said Allen has the most pure talent and poorest instincts; Colt Anderson has the best instincts and least talent; and Kurt Coleman has the instincts and smarts but lacks the pure physical presence.
• Despite what he tweeted weeks ago when Chip Kelly first decided to stay at Oregon, LeSean McCoy isn’t disappointed that Kelly is his new coach. Quite the opposite. McCoy had just felt loyal to Andy Reid.
• By unofficial count, the words “brilliant” and “innovative” came up 539 times in discussions pertaining to Kelly.
• DeMeco Ryans can play in a 3-4 scheme, but his best days are behind him. He played well enough in the Eagles’ 4-3, but his coverage was adequate at best. He’s solid, but not outstanding.
• Plenty believe Kelly’s starting quarterback is not yet on the roster, but one league insider posited this theory: Kelly will keep Mike Vick and Nick Foles and play them both. (Author’s note: If that happens, you’ll have to crowbar my jaw off the ground).
• Todd Herremans is recovering well from the dislocated bone and torn ligaments in his foot, although he underwent a surgical procedure to have an infection removed. He definitely fits into the team’s plan going forward.
• Kelly might need to wait one year before he gets his model quarterback. Next year’s draft could be loaded with guys who more fit his mold than this year’s crop: Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville), Marcus Mariotta (Oregon), Braxton Miller (Ohio State) and Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M).
• Kelly and “offensive coordinator” Pat Shurmur will have a symbiotic coaching relationship. Shurmur, a West Coast offense proponent, will help Kelly develop and enhance the team’s passing game. Kelly, meanwhile, will school Shurmur on the spread offense, an education that could help Shurmur get back to a head coaching job.
• University of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant boosted his draft stock with an impressive week of practices, but he strangely showed more spunk and enthusiasm in between plays than he did in college, where he generally kept to himself.
• Eagles management still wants to the win the Super Bowl as fast as possible but has no illusions about being able to provide Kelly with all the pieces he needs in one offseason. That’s not to suggest Kelly can’t win big in his first year, but he wouldn’t get fired after Year 1 just because the team didn’t make the playoffs.
• Sarcasm is Kelly’s second language. Philly should like that. Or not.