Dalvin Cook set to meet with Eagles: Is he a 1st-round option?

Dalvin Cook set to meet with Eagles: Is he a 1st-round option?

INDIANAPOLIS -- We won't know how fast Dalvin Cook will run the 40-yard dash until Friday (Update: He ran a 4.49). But on Thursday afternoon, he certainly didn't waste any time.

The Florida State product is one of the top running backs in a draft class full of good ones.

In fact, he thinks he's the best.

"We got the top guys in this class at running back," Cook said, answering the first question thrown his way at the combine. "It's probably one of the best you've seen yet. I think what separates me, I can do it all. I can stay on the field all three downs. I'm just a do-it-all back. And I just feel like I am the best back in this class."

We won't know for years if Cook is right about being the best running back in this year's class, but we will find out what teams think on April 27 when picks start getting announced in Philly.

The Eagles will have either the 14th or 15th pick in the draft (a coin flip will decide). Depending on how the draft shakes out, Cook, who has been the desired pick for many Eagles fans, could be a real option.  

After stepping down from the podium on Thursday afternoon, Cook said he had a meeting set up with the Eagles on Thursday night. Meanwhile, LSU's Leonard Fournette said he hadn't yet met with the Eagles and Tennessee's Alvin Kamara said he had.

For now, Fournette is forecasted to go earlier in the first round and be the first back taken off the board. If that happens, he won't be available. And Kamara might sneak into the first round but might be a stretch at 14 or 15. Same with Christian McCaffrey.

Cook might go off the board around where the Eagles pick.

But will the Eagles pick him?

It's hard to tell. Last season, while the Eagles still had the eighth pick, de facto general manager Howie Roseman didn't discount the possibility of taking Ezekiel Elliott in that spot. Since then, Roseman has acknowledged that everything he said back then in regard to the draft was nonsense; they were just trying to move up to snag Carson Wentz.

While the Eagles moved up and drafted Wentz, the Cowboys took Elliott off the board at No. 4, put him behind a great offensive line, paired him with another electric rookie and watched him blossom into arguably the league's top back.

Cook thinks he can have similar success.

"It goes to show if a running back gets put in the right system and put in the right place, he can do a good amount of things for a team," Cook said. "I feel like if I get put in the right system, I can do the things Zeke did."

While the Eagles' needs at wide receiver and cornerback have been more publicized -- and probably for good reason -- they need some help at running back, too.

Ryan Mathews is coming off a serious neck injury and will likely not return to Philly. Kenjon Barner is a restricted free agent. Darren Sproles will play his final season in 2017 and Wendell Smallwood showed promise, but not enough to feel confident with him carrying the load.

The good news for the Eagles is that this is a really good draft class for running backs. Maybe better than ever.

"Certainly when you look at the running back position," Roseman said, "we think it's a possible historic class with how many guys and where they would have gone in previous drafts."

Even if the Eagles don't use their first-round pick on a running back and even if they don't take one of the top prospects in the class, it seems rather likely they'll snag one at some point during the seven rounds.

Players like D'Onta Foreman, Kareem Hunt, Jamaal Williams, Corey Clement and plenty of others could be options after the first round.  

And, yes, Cook is still in play in the first. After all, he's pretty fast on the field as well as at the podium.

What will his 40 time look like on Friday?

"I'm gonna run something fast," he said with a smile.

NFL Notes: Patriots reach deal with former Jets LB David Harris

NFL Notes: Patriots reach deal with former Jets LB David Harris

BOSTON -- A person familiar with the situation says the New England Patriots have agreed to terms on a deal with former New York Jets linebacker David Harris.

The new two-year pact could be worth as much as $6.75 million, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the deal has not yet been announced.

Harris, a 2007 second-round pick from Michigan who has spent all 10 of his NFL seasons in New York, was released earlier this month by the Jets in a series of offseason moves to cut high-priced veterans. He was the franchise's second-leading tackler.

He now moves within the division to play for Bill Belichick, who has lauded Harris' play in the past. It also gives the Patriots some veteran depth to pair with Dont'a Hightower.

Jaguars: Rhaney claimed off waivers
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have claimed offensive lineman Demetrius Rhaney off waivers from the Los Angeles Rams.

The Jaguars announced the move Wednesday and said they released rookie offensive lineman Parker Collins to make room on the roster for Rhaney.

The 6-foot-2, 301-pound Rhaney was a seventh-round draft pick out of Tennessee State by the Rams in 2014. He spent his first season on injured reserve but played in every regular-season game the past two seasons, starting once at left guard in 2015.

Packers: Guion arrested on suspicion of DUI
HONOLULU -- Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Letroy Guion has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of an intoxicant in Hawaii.

Honolulu police booking records show Guion was arrested early Wednesday in Waikiki. He was released after posting $500 bail.

Packers spokesman Aaron Popkey says in a statement that the team is aware and will refrain from making further comment because it's a legal matter. He says he doesn't know what Guion was doing in Waikiki.

Guion was suspended without pay by the NFL for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

He started 15 games last season, making 30 tackles. The nine-year veteran agreed to a three-year deal worth $11.25 million in February 2016.

NFL: Former player Ryan Jones shot dead
RENO, Nev. -- Nevada authorities say former NFL linebacker Ryan Jones was shot dead over the weekend in a Reno apartment and two other people suffered non-life threatening gunshot wounds.

Reno Police Department spokesman Officer Tim Broadway declined comment Tuesday on the circumstances that led to Sunday's shooting because detectives were still interviewing people for their investigation.

Jones, 26, signed a free-agent deal with the Baltimore Ravens in 2014 and had a stint with the New York Giants before becoming a mixed martial arts fighter.

He was the first Montana Tech football player in the college's history to sign an NFL contract.

Jones graduated from Hug High School in Nevada before attending Sierra College and then Montana Tech in 2011.

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Eagles LBs coach thinks there's more ceiling for Jordan Hicks

Jordan Hicks is a good middle linebacker. 

After his first two seasons in the NFL, the former third-round pick has piled up some eye-popping numbers. 

In his first 24 games in the league (his rookie season was cut short with a pec injury), he has seven interceptions, 14 passes defensed, four fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and two sacks. 

He's just the fifth player in NFL history — and only linebacker — to have that many INTs, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles in the first two years of his career. 

Hicks, who turns 25 later this month, is already really good. The next step is to become great. 

Is there room for more growth? 

"I would hope so," Eagles linebackers coach Ken Flajole said last week. "We're all emotionally tied in with our guys. I think he's done a great job for us. Is there room for improvement? No question. But he works at it. It's important to him. I know it's important for him that he puts the team success above himself. 

"I would suspect that there's more ceiling for him at linebacker. And I expect him to work at those things." 

Hicks actually had a chance to work on some of those things this offseason. As he exited last year, it was clear Hicks possessed ball-hawk traits, but admittedly needed to get better against the run. 

After his first NFL season, Hicks was stuck recovering from his torn pectoral and subsequent surgery. The rehab didn't allow him to strength train as much as he would have liked. 

This year, it's been a different story. He's hit the weight room hard, put on some extra weight, and hasn't been hamstrung by a tedious rehab process. 

"It's been great, man," Hicks said. "Having a full offseason to get in rhythm, having a full offseason to lift and get stronger and not have to take a step back to rehab and do everything over again, it's huge. Huge. To just build and stack and stack on top of each other."

Flajole agrees with Hicks, that the extra time in the weight room will help him against the run, specifically at the point of attack.  

Flajole isn't the only person in the NovaCare Complex who thinks big things are still ahead for Hicks. After the season finale against the Cowboys last season, Malcolm Jenkins said he thought Hicks is "trending to be one of the better linebackers in this league."

While Hicks wants to improve his run defense, it's undeniable that the strength of his game — to this point — is his knack for being around the ball. He always seems to be making a big play, whether it's an interception or a fumble recovery. 

It might seem like chance, but Flajole doesn't discount it as such. 

"He's a very instinctual guy and I think he understands the game," Flajole said. "The thing that can't be discounted for Jordan is that he works at it. He watches a lot of tape and because of those things, he feeds off of tendencies that the offense would give him, either by down and distance or formation. And he uses those to his advantage." 

For the second straight year, Hicks will be in the same defense under Jim Schwartz and will have the same battery mate in Nigel Bradham, who enters the second year of his two-year deal. 

At some point before the 2017 season starts, Hicks will set some personal goals for himself, like he does every year. While he hasn't set them yet, Hicks said they are normally leadership-based or stat-based. 

"It definitely gives you something to reach for and keep you on track," Hicks said. "Just like you set team goals. If you're not setting goals, you're just working towards nothing, just shooting in the air at nothing." 

One thing the goals won't be is accolade-based. Sure, Hicks would like to be named to his first Pro Bowl, but that won't be on the checklist. 

If he gets better than he's been in Year 1 and 2, it'll only be a matter of time before the recognition catches up with his stats. 

"I'm not really worried about the accolades at this point," he said. "It's not really what I'm focused on. I believe that if you're doing what you need to do, day in and day out, you're giving it everything you got, the rest will come. I'm focused on what I can do for this team, what I can do to make this team the best it can be. And let the rest fall in place."