Philadelphia Eagles

Could Christian McCaffrey be a real option for Eagles at 14?

Could Christian McCaffrey be a real option for Eagles at 14?

For months, it seems like Dalvin Cook has been many fans' choice for the Eagles in the first round of the draft. 

Once Sidney Jones, considered by many to be the top corner in the draft, blew out his Achilles, it seemed like the love for Cook only grew. 

But what if the Birds take a different running back at 14? 

That's exactly how things shake out in Todd McShay's latest mock draft, released by ESPN on Wednesday. He has the Eagles taking Christian McCaffrey at 14 and Cook going at 17 to Washington.

Here's what McShay wrote: 

"McCaffrey has a ton of versatility: He can handle 10 or so carries per game, catch passes as a slot receiver and contribute in the return game. He had an exceptional week at the combine, showing off his straight-line speed and short-area quickness. McCaffrey's elite character could be the tiebreaker with Florida State RB Dalvin Cook for some teams."

Later on Wednesday morning, McShay held a conference call with reporters from around the country about April's draft. 

He said this running back class could end up being as good as the 2008 class. That season Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall and Chris Johnson all went in the first round. 

Then, Matt Forte and Ray Rice came off in the second round and Jamaal Charles in the third. 

McShay has four running backs going in the first round. While McCaffrey hasn't been mocked high by many yet, McShay expects that to change. 

"Christian McCaffrey will continue to rise as we get closer to the draft just because he put up explosive numbers at the combine that you were hoping to see based off of the tape," he said on the conference call. "And I thought they were even better than what the projections were. And his character is off the charts, his versatility and just his work ethic."

McCaffrey put up really solid stats at Stanford and is a true dual-threat running back, much like Cook. While his numbers at Stanford were good, his numbers at the combine might have been even better. 

In Indy, McCaffrey ran a 4.48 in the 40, had a 37.5 vertical jump, a 6.57 in the 3-cone drill, a 4.22 in the 20-yard shuttle and an 11.03 in the 60-yard shuttle. His performance in those events made up for 10 reps on the bench. 

NFL Notes: Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires after 3 seasons

usa-john-urschel.jpg
USA Today Images

NFL Notes: Ravens OL John Urschel, 26, retires after 3 seasons

OWINGS MILLS, Md.  -- Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel has retired from the NFL after just three seasons.

Urschel, a former fifth round pick from Penn State in 2014, received notoriety for pursuing his doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the offseason. He started 13 games over the past three seasons and was expected to compete for a starting role at center or guard. Instead, he will pursue other interests outside of football.

"This morning, John Urschel informed me of his decision to retire from football," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement Thursday. "We respect John and respect his decision. We appreciate his efforts over the past three years and wish him all the best in his future endeavors."

Broncos: RB Devontae Booker expected to miss 6 weeks with wrist injury
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Broncos coach Vance Joseph's first training camp got off to a rough start with word that Devontae Booker will undergo wrist surgery Friday and is expected to miss six weeks.

Booker was pushing to unseat C.J. Anderson as Denver's starting running back. He suffered a hairline fracture during organized team activities in June, marring a solid spring for the second-year pro as he bounced back from a rough rookie season that followed two knee surgeries.

The Broncos had been planning to split first-team snaps at training camp between Booker and Anderson, who is returning from a torn meniscus that sidelined him over the last half of last season.

If Booker's recovery goes well, he will be back in time for the season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sept. 11 (see full story).

Vinny Curry healthy, feeling like himself at start of training camp

Vinny Curry healthy, feeling like himself at start of training camp

After signing a huge contract extension last February, the 2016 season was a major disappointment for Vinny Curry. 

Curry finished the year with just 2½ sacks and played just 43 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps. That wasn't good enough production for a player who just signed a $46.25 million extension. 

On Wednesday, as Eagles veterans reported for training camp, Curry said he fought through injuries during the entire 2016 season. Curry sprained his MCL in the third preseason game and said the injury lingered, although he wasn't listed on the Eagles' injury report past the first few weeks of the season. Curry also claimed he dealt with a lingering hamstring injury. 

"It was just a snowball effect of different type of things," he said. "I couldn't do what I do at 100 percent. You could see a flash of it, but then I couldn't finish it. There was something just missing there. I fought through it, showed guts. This year, though, I'm feeling good, feeling healthy, feeling relaxed, feeling like myself."

Curry, 29, said he's now 100 percent healthy and expects to be the type of player the Eagles thought they were getting when they gave him a big contract extension last winter. 

After the Eagles handed out a huge contract to Curry, fans expected the type of production that saw him pick up nine sacks in a limited role in 2014. Instead, they got a part-time player who finished with the second-lowest sack total of his career. There was a lot of criticism coming Curry's way in 2016. 

"I was able to block it out," he said. "We've got a great PR team. But at the end of the day, we all know that I wasn't 100 percent, so it wasn't like I was hanging my head low. It is what it is. That's just sports. Everybody has an opinion. Everybody wants to be a GM or a reporter, or everybody wants to get ahead of the next person to report something. I could not play now and just start talking trash about you and it's not going to ruin your day. You're just going to be like 'Oh, what's Vinny's problem?'"

Last season, the Eagles tried to let Curry start at left defensive end, but eventually Brandon Graham beat him out for the job during camp. During this spring, Curry took over Connor Barwin's old spot as the right defensive end. That's the way Graham sees things staying: Graham on the left, Curry on the right. (The Eagles also have Derek Barnett and Chris Long fighting for time.) 

"I think it's set in stone," Graham said. "I like the left side. Vinny playing on the right. I think sometimes you just want to switch, sometimes it's good to give people a different look. But I think it's pretty set."

The sides defensive ends play, especially in the NFC East, is extremely important. The right defensive end will constantly go up against left tackles, normally a spot that has the best player to protect the quarterback's blind side. In the NFC East, that means going against Washington's Trent Williams for two games and Dallas' Tyron Smith for two more. That means a quarter of the schedule is against one of the best left tackles in football. 

Is Curry up for it? 

"I think he'll be fine," Graham said. "It's all about, like anything, when I had to move to the right side, and play the left tackles, you get used to that side as you take reps and then you get that signature move that you like. And then you have to study your guy and know what he's been getting beaten off of and incorporate that for that week. I think with Vinny and the coaching that we have in that room, he should be really good in Year 2 of this system."

Does Curry have something to prove this year? 

"Just have to get back to being me," he said. "That's it."