Eagles Mailbag: Dalvin Cook, draft cornerbacks, backup QBs

Eagles Mailbag: Dalvin Cook, draft cornerbacks, backup QBs

The immediate flurry of free-agent moves has come and gone, but we still have plenty of time before the draft. 

It's clear that now the focus has shifted that way. 

We got plenty of repeat questions, so if your question didn't make the cut, that's probably why. We got enough questions to split these up, so look forward to a couple more in the next few days. 

Let's not waste any time. To your questions: 

I really like Dalvin Cook and I think he can be a good player in the league. But for me, it's still about value, and I think there might be better value on the board at 14. 

With that said, I'm not completely against the idea of Cook. I don't think it would be a bad pick. In fact, I think he would immediately make the Eagles much, much better. He would come in and be that three-down back teams always look for.

But here's the thing, what if DE Derek Barnett or CB Marshon Lattimore are there? What if the Eagles think more of wide receivers Mike Williams or Corey Davis? What if one of the cornerbacks who doesn't get talked about as much -- like Marlon Humphrey or Quincy Wilson or Tre'Davious White -- is sitting there? It's hard for the Eagles to screw this one up. 

I probably wouldn't draft Cook just because I'd prefer to grab an impact player then draft a running back later -- I like Jamaal Williams from BYU -- but drafting Cook wouldn't be terrible. 

I'm still convinced that the Eagles will cut Ryan Mathews at some point. But they can't do it until he is completely healthy, which might not be for a while. 

Eventually, they'll cut him and save $4 million in cap space. The problem is, by the time they get that relief, they won't really need it. 

As far as the others, Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks won't be cut, but I still wouldn't rule out trades. 

Yeah, I don't know. But I'll use this space to talk about Chase Daniel. It was an awful contract, an awful idea. No way around it. 

If the plan was to use him as a Doug Pederson-type quarterback to start until Wentz was ready, that would have made more sense. But the way it ended up working out was the Eagles paid him a ton of money to not play football in 2016. 

Here's the one thing I will say about Daniel: While he was wildly overpaid, it's hard to figure out how valuable he was to Carson Wentz during his rookie year. When Wentz would arrive at the facility at 5:30 a.m., he wasn't watching film with Pederson or John DeFillipo or Frank Reich. He was watching it with Daniel. So maybe he was valuable to Wentz last year. It just seems like in Year 2, that role was much less necessary. 

I think they should be. I know the Eagles are over Band-Aid cornerbacks and they shouldn't pay a ton of money for one. Still, there's some value in bringing it at least one veteran. The only real vet on the roster right now is Ron Brooks. 

Either way, though, I think the Eagles are going to take a couple corners in this draft. It's just too deep not to, especially considering the need at the position. 

Yeah, this is a complete guess. I'll say Stefen Wisniewski and Isaac Seumalo. For a long time, I thought the Eagles were going to hold on to Kelce, but with so much depth, a trade makes sense. It's a weak free-agent class at center, and the draft isn't great. They can get some kind of return for Kelce.

Don't sleep on Chance Warmack, either. He might be able to steal a starting gig (Ray Didinger is a big fan).  

Oreos. Not even close. If you're coming chocolate chip cookies, gotta go homemade. Oreos are the best dunking cookies too. Optimal dunkability.  

Eagles should stay away from running backs in first round

Eagles should stay away from running backs in first round

Ezekiel Elliott was the fourth overall pick by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL draft.

He went on to have a historic rookie season, leading the NFL in rushing behind the best offensive line in football.

But do you know who finished second in the league in rushing? That would be the Bears' Jordan Howard, another rookie, drafted in the fifth round. 

If you keep going down the list of the league's top rushers last season, nine out of the top 10 on the list were drafted after the first round. Only three backs in the top 10 were drafted in the first two rounds (Elliott, LeSean McCoy, Le'Veon Bell). 

Whether it's LSU's Leonard Fournette, Florida State's Dalvin Cook or Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, the Eagles should stay away from running backs in the first round.

We'll start with Fournette, considered by most to be the best running back in the class. He was also mocked to the Eagles in a trade-up scenario by Sports Illustrated's Chris Burke with the No. 5 overall pick. Burke is an excellent evaluator, but in this case, he's off the mark. Fournette's talent is real. His combination of size and speed is unmatched by any running back in the class and perhaps any running back in the NFL. He'll correctly be the first back off the board and go in the top 10. 

But would the Eagles give up a second-round pick to obtain Fournette? It's just hard to see as realistic. This team has too many holes and not enough draft picks to make a move like Burke suggests. Fournette looks like he'll be a special player, just not for the Eagles.

Then there's Cook, who seems to be the belle of the ball with Eagles fans. Watching the tape, it's undeniable: Cook is an extremely talented player. But evaluations aren't black and white. Cook has issues with injuries (multiple shoulder surgeries) and has had a couple issues off the field. 

He also tested poorly at the combine. In the biggest audition of his life, Cook's numbers didn't match what you saw on tape. That has to make you wonder if he was fully prepared for the combine. If the Eagles take Cook, there's no doubt he'll make their offense better. The biggest concern has to be his long-term success and the value you get taking him at 14 over another player at a more valuable position.

Lastly, there's McCaffrey. It's easy to see the fit here. McCaffrey is an explosive back who runs routes and has the ball skills of a receiver. He's also incredibly dangerous in the return game. Unlike Cook, McCaffrey tested off the charts in Indy. His strength (10 reps at 225) is the only real concern.

From a scheme perspective, McCaffrey is perfectly suited for Doug Pederson's offense. Pederson can use McCaffrey much like Andy Reid used Brian Westbrook over a decade ago. McCaffrey's struggles running between the tackles are a little overblown, but it still has to be a concern for a team that doesn't have a proven, primary back. 

This is also a strong running back class. Toledo's Kareem Hunt would fit nicely in this offense and should be available in the third round. Clemson's Wayne Gallman is a tough, versatile back that could be available in the third or fourth. There's also BYU's Jamaal Williams, Pitt's James Conner and Wyoming's Brian Hill, all of whom should be there in the middle rounds.

When you look at who else could be there at 14, it just doesn't make sense to draft a running back. If you're looking to give Carson Wentz more weapons, either Clemson's Mike Williams, Western Michigan's Corey Davis or Washington's John Ross should be there. Any of them could give Wentz a long-term receiving threat. 

If you're looking to improve the defense, there are plenty of options. In case you've been living under a rock this offseason, this cornerback draft class is crazy deep. Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore is the best of the bunch and will likely be gone by 14. His teammate, Gareon Conley, should still be around at 14. So should LSU's TreDavious White, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, Clemson's Cordrea Tankersely and Florida's Quincy Wilson. 

Don't count out Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett as an option if he's on the board. With Vinny Curry's struggles and the Eagles' lack of depth, a pass rusher is a definite need. If Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster slips for a spat he had with a hospital worker during the combine, he's worth a long look. He's a game-changing 'backer.

Elliott was as close to a sure thing as you can get. There's a reason he was taken at No. 4 overall. If Cook and McCaffrey are there at 14, there's a reason for that, too. 

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie rails against political polarization in Washington

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie isn't often very outspoken on football or political matters. 

He has apparently made an exception. 

Just a few days before Lurie is tentatively scheduled to speak to Philadelphia reporters while in Phoenix for the league's annual meetings, the Eagles owner authored a story for Time Magazine railing against political polarization in Washington.

Lurie has not spoken to reporters publicly since last March in Boca Raton, Florida, at the 2016 owners meetings. 

The owner's essay was published just hours after House Republican leaders pulled legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Friday afternoon. Lurie, for the record, donated money to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year.

Lurie, the Eagles' 65-year-old billionaire owner, in the story, uses football as an example for which Washington should strive. 

Here's how Lurie begins the piece:

"What do football, political polarization and autism have in common? They all illuminate aspects of the human condition, explaining who we are, where we are headed and the hurdles along the way. As a sports team owner I rarely publicly discuss politics, but as a member of a family touched by autism, I often think about the unspoken millions of people who live with the daily challenges of this disorder."

Lurie then goes on to explain why football can act as a guide for Washington when it comes to united for the common good:

"What I have learned from football can be applied to society at large. Just as we intensely game-plan against an opponent in sports, we need to game plan for the reality and consequences of polarization. Extreme polarization is the opponent -- not each other. A football team is made up of players from a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and political viewpoints. What unites them is grit, determination, and the desire to win. They join in a common goal and do what is necessary to transcend their differences for the greater good of their team.

"What unites Americans is far more negative. We are now in an age where communicating verifiable information becomes secondary to the goal of creating a common enemy that unifies people in fear, negativity and opposition. This masks our inability to solve serious domestic problems (poverty, violence and institutional racism to name three current examples) and diverts our attention from obvious suffering."

Lurie then writes that we, as Americans, have the "necessary resources" to tackle serious problems, like autism, but lack the leadership to put aside differences. 

The whole piece isn't very long and is worth reading in full to gain a better understanding of its context. 

Next week while in Phoenix, Lurie will surely be asked about what motivated him to write the piece.