Philadelphia Eagles

Burke's 2014 Eagles mock draft 3.0

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Burke's 2014 Eagles mock draft 3.0

Between now and the draft, our draft pundits Ron Burke, Chris Steuber, Jared Sherman and Geoff Mosher will provide their latest Eagles mock drafts. They will make selections for each of the Eagles' six picks, and when they update their selections, their new mocks will be posted. 

Round 1, Pick 22: Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech (6-0/190)
The Eagles make a make a concerted effort to strengthen their secondary for the foreseeable future, and they begin by adding this team captain from Virginia Tech. Fuller may not be ready to step in and start right away, but he possesses the leadership, confidence and toughness to develop into a solid NFL contributor. He is an instinctive player that tries to outthink the receiver, which leads to playmaking opportunities. Does a good job of sticking with receivers while keeping his eyes on the quarterback. He can play zone and man coverage with effectiveness. Fuller does not shy away from contact and he has the size and leaping ability to play bigger receivers.

(Mock 2.0 pick: CB Jason Verrett, TCU)

Round 2, Pick 54: Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt (6-3/212)
Matthews carried a heavy load in the Vanderbilt offense en route to becoming the SEC’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. Because he was used so heavily, being in a pro offense that demands much of him won’t be a shock to his system. Matthews clocked a 4.46 40-yard dash, but his speed does not jump off the screen. His knack for using his size to create space is one of his better attributes. Even with his glowing resume, Matthews appears to be a player on the upswing and would fit in comfortably as a big-bodied option in an offense that spreads around the ball. Matthews is a cousin of Hall of Fame WR Jerry Rice.

(Mock 2.0 pick: Matthews)

Round 3, Pick 86: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois (5-11/193)
If it’s a solid football player you want, then Ward fits that description, albeit in a smaller-than-ideal package for the safety position. He is a safety trapped in a cornerback’s body, yet his aggressive style of play rivals that of any player in this class. Ward does not shy away from contact; in fact he seeks it. He plays the game at full speed and is a determined tackler. He could contribute at both safety spots and would be an intriguing choice as a slot corner in certain packages. Ward had seven interceptions in 2013. He often was used to blitz off the edge. A fracture in his foot kept him for working fully at the combine, but he responded with an impressive pro day before scheduled surgery.

(Mock 2.0 pick: DT Daniel McCullers, Tennessee)

Round 4, Pick 122: Christian Kirksey, LB, Iowa (6-2/233)
This is a case of trying to fit a player that’s better suited in a 4-3 defense into a 3-4 defense. Ideally, Kirksey is a 4-3 OLB, however, I am intrigued by his abilities enough to take a shot at having him add weight to play inside. He still could be used in packages that take advantage of his athleticism by allowing him to rush the quarterback. Overall, Kirksey is a sound football player with the movement skills needed to play forward and drop in coverage. At worst, he should be a capable special teams contributor.

(Mock 2.0 pick: FS Terrence Brooks, Florida State)

Round 5, Pick 162: Andrew Jackson, ILB, Western Kentucky (6-1/254)
Built like a fireplug, Jackson is a thumper that in time could man one of the starting inside linebacker positions in the Eagles' 3-4 defense. He does a pretty good job of locating the football and chasing it. Plays a physical game. He was a three-year starter for the Hilltoppers.

(Mock 2.0 pick: Jackson)

Round 7, Pick 237: Shaq Evans, WR, UCLA (6-1/213)
Transferred to UCLA from Notre Dame. Evans is a smooth runner for a receiving corps that needs an infusion of viable weapons. More of a possession receiver than a home run hitter. Evans can make the tough catch, much like the departed Jason Avant, and he has experience as a punt returner.

(Mock 2.0 pick: Evans)

Eagles-Dolphins joint practice Day 2 observations: Wentz rebounds from rough start

Eagles-Dolphins joint practice Day 2 observations: Wentz rebounds from rough start

The Eagles held their second and final joint practice against the Dolphins on Tuesday morning. 

For the Eagles, it was an extremely hot practice, one of their hottest of the summer. For the Dolphins, it was a breezy morning away from the Southern Florida heat. 

These two teams got a lot of work in over the last two days and somehow avoided scuffles, which normally seem to happen during these joint practices. The closest anyone got was on Monday, when Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Stills jawed a little bit. A lot of Kumbaya over the last couple days. 

Let's hop into observations: 

1. *Clears throat* injuries: Brandon Graham (elbow) and Jordan Hicks (quad) both missed Tuesday's practice after leaving early the day before. Pederson said both players are "day to day." 

Nick Foles (elbow) was held out of practice, but Pederson claimed it was just "precautionary." Foles has been dealing with that elbow injury all training camp and said he isn't going to play Thursday. 

Defensive end Vinny Curry left Tuesday's practice early with cramps. He'll be fine. 

2. The beginning of practice was a little bit of a struggle for Carson Wentz, who overthrew David Watford and Marcus Johnson in 7-on-7s to start his day. Overthrows were a bit of a recurring problem for Wentz on this day. 

But he rebounded nicely. After the Eagles' defense stopped the Dolphins in a situational period, Wentz drove his unit down the field to set up a field goal opportunity. Wentz wasn't as good on Tuesday as he was the day before, but he was OK. 

That one period was fun. The first units went up against each other on one field with everyone watching. The Dolphins' drive sputtered early before the Eagles ended their drive on a field goal. 

3. Jay Cutler looked pretty darn good once the teams went into 11-on-11 drills. He threw a beautiful deep ball to Kenny Stills for a touchdown and then came back to hit Anthony Fasano for another deep ball with Nigel Bradham in coverage. Cutler had a good couple days of practice. 

4. Marcus Johnson had the play of the day. Wentz overthrew him during 7-on-7s, but Johnson somehow tipped the ball up to himself and snagged it just before it hit the ground. He has a great shot of making the roster. 

5. Alshon Jeffery had another active day, especially when the Eagles got into the red zone. Wentz failed to connect with his big target for touchdowns, but it's clear he wants to work on that connection. On the first fade, Jeffery was mugged by Dolphins corner Xavien Howard. For some reason, the ref right on the play didn't throw a flag. Not sure why they were even out there if they missed that one. On the next fade to Jeffery, Wentz simply overthrew him. 

6. Trey Burton made another nice one-handed catch. It wasn't nearly as spectacular as one he made earlier this summer, but this one clearly wasn't luck. For the second time this summer, he used his left hand to snag a ball one-handed. For the record, Burton is right-handed ... at least, that's the hand he throws with. 

7. To start Tuesday's practice, Chris Long filled in at left defensive end for Graham. On Monday, when Graham left early, Derek Barnett was getting those reps. Later on Tuesday, when Curry left, Long stayed on the left side and Barnett filled in at right. 

Without Hicks, Najee Goode took first-team reps at the MIKE. Joe Walker took them on Monday when Hicks and Goode were out of practice. 

8. Matt McGloin has struggled so much over the last few weeks, it has become really tough to evaluate the players who are on the field with him. But on Tuesday, one of his poor passes actually led to Mack Hollins making a great catch during 7-on-7s. Hollins has been quiet recently, but he made a few nice grabs Tuesday. 

9. Wendell Smallwood has looked explosive since coming back from his hamstring injury. Pederson said LeGarrette Blount will have a big role with the team (see story), but don't be surprised to see Smallwood get a lot of carries this season. He's probably the Eagles' best overall running back. 

10. Jaylen Watkins has had a quiet camp and seems to have an uphill battle to make the 53-man roster, but he had a nice day against the Dolphins. He picked off a Matt Moore pass in the corner of the end zone and celebrated by tossing it up 30 feet in the air. The Eagles have played Watkins at safety, cornerback and even in the nickel corner spot this training camp, but they just probably don't have a job for him. 

Stupid Observation of the Day: For the second straight day, former backup linebacker Stephen Tulloch was at practice. Afterward, I needed to do a double-take when I saw him in the locker room with the other linebackers. The Eagles could probably use him this season, but he's still retired. 

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Pederson calls Blount 'a beast of a runner'

Eagles notes, quotes and tidbits: Pederson calls Blount 'a beast of a runner'

There's been plenty of speculation in recent days that LeGarrette Blount's roster spot with the Eagles isn't guaranteed. 

Head coach Doug Pederson did his part on Tuesday to try to end that speculation. 

"The guy's a beast of a runner," Pederson said. "I don't know what else to tell you -- 18 touchdowns, 15 in the red zone last year. That's the production you saw yesterday, the style of running he can do. ... I'm excited he's here and he's going to be a big part of our offense."

During the first two preseason games this summer, Blount simply hasn't looked good. He has nine carries for 17 yards. 

But, as he has in the past, Pederson made it a point to remind everyone that the Eagles haven't been game-planning for these preseason games. That means the team is less concerned about which plays will work against the defense and more concerned about simply executing regardless of matchups; hence the stretch runs with a 250-pound running back. That could be a reason Blount has looked so ineffective thus far. 

"We're trying to execute our plays," Pederson said. "As coaches, we might be doing players injustice by putting them in bad situations; I'm just going to be honest with you."

Third time's a charm
The Eagles will face off against the Dolphins in the third preseason game on Thursday night at the Linc. Historically, the third preseason game is where starters play at least a half of football and it's normally the closest thing to a dress rehearsal for the season. 

Pederson on Tuesday said he didn't have a plan in place for how long the starters will play, but didn't say anything to make it seem like he'll go with an unusual plan. That means plenty of work for Wentz and the first-team offense. 

It's clear that Pederson wants his offense to clean up some issues that plagued them against the Bills, namely penalties, turnovers and execution. 

"I think the first unit overall, just better execution," Pederson said when asked what he wanted to see from Wentz. "We need to start a little bit better, start the game a little bit better. You'd love to see points, obviously, and maybe score a couple of times."

No issues with Smallwood
There has been plenty of speculation about Blount's role with the team, but there's also been plenty about Wendell Smallwood's too. 

Smallwood missed considerable time this training camp with a hamstring injury, while undrafted rookie Corey Clement has performed well. But it still seems very unlikely Clement has a chance to snag Smallwood's roster spot. Smallwood might be the Eagles' best all-around running back. 

Pederson doesn't even think this game is super important for Smallwood after missing time.  

"Not really, not really," Pederson said. "We saw a lot from him last year and what he can do. He did an outstanding job through the spring and now the summer. He bounced back again from injury. He's been good here lately, so I'm comfortable with where he's at. Still want to play him, still want to get him banging around a little bit but happy where he's at."