Eagles schedule highlighted by West Coast trip, Christmas game

Eagles schedule highlighted by West Coast trip, Christmas game

The Eagles got their wish. Sort of. 

Last month at the NFL owners meetings, head coach Doug Pederson revealed that the team had asked the NFL to put two of their West Coast trips back-to-back. The best-case scenario would have been to have their games against the Rams and Chargers in back-to-back weeks. 

That didn't happen. 

But the Eagles will still have two weeks out west in early December. The NFL schedule, released on Thursday night, has the Eagles playing at Seattle against the Seahawks on Dec. 3 and then facing the Rams in Los Angeles on Dec. 10 (see schedule)

The back-to-back West Coast games will allow the Eagles to spend a week likely in L.A. instead of making an extra couple cross-country trips. The last time the Eagles spent a week away before a game was in 1995. The Eagles will still need to head to L.A. to face the Chargers in Week 2. The Eagles haven't played in the Los Angeles metropolitan area since 1990 against the Rams in Anaheim. 

While the NFL gave the Eagles a little gift, the league is also making them work on Christmas. 

The Eagles will host the Oakland Raiders at the Linc on Christmas night for a Monday Night Football matchup. The Eagles have played on Christmas Day only once before, back in 2006. The Eagles beat the Cowboys in North Texas, 23-7. 

Perhaps the Eagles deserve the Christmas game this year after the 2016 schedule. In 2016, the Eagles had a Thursday night game on Dec. 22 that gave them an extended break through the Christmas weekend, something many players in the locker room really enjoyed. Christmas Day was on a Sunday last year. 

The Christmas game is one of five primetime games for the Eagles in 2017. The others are Oct. 12 at Carolina (Thursday night), Oct. 23 vs. Washington (Monday night), Nov. 19 at Dallas (Sunday night), and Dec. 3 at Seattle (Sunday night). 

This is the third straight year the Eagles will face the Cowboys on the road in a Sunday Night Football contest. It's the fifth time since 2012 that's happened. 

Between Weeks 6 and 7, the Eagles will have an extremely long time to prepare to face Washington on Monday night (Oct. 23) after facing the Panthers on a Thursday night game the previous week (Oct. 12). It's almost like another bye week. 

After a Week 4 bye in 2016, the Eagles' bye in 2017 comes at Week 10. 

The Eagles will kick off their 2017 season on the road to face Washington on Sept. 10. The Eagles lost both games to Washington last season and have lost their last five contests against it. They haven't won at FedExField since the 2013 opener. Coincidentally, that was the last time the Eagles opened their season on the road against an NFC East team. 

Including the opener, the Eagles will be on the road for three of their first four games to start the season (see Roob's full breakdown).

The home opener is in Week 3, when the Eagles welcome the Giants to town. 

For the second straight year, the Eagles will host the Cowboys to finish off the season. 

The NFC East faces the AFC West in 2017, setting up a battle with Andy Reid's Chiefs in Kansas City in Week 2. The Eagles, who lost to Reid's Chiefs, 26-16, in 2013, will face Reid for the second time since his firing in 2012. The Birds went 1-3 vs. the AFC West that year, with their only win in the division coming courtesy of Nick Foles' seven-touchdown game vs. the Raiders. 

Also on the 2017 docket is the NFC West. The Eagles will again travel to Seattle, where they lost, 26-15, in 2016. The 49ers will come to the Linc in 2017. It's just too bad that Chip Kelly won't be with them. 

Six of the Eagles' 13 opponents had losing records in 2016, but five of those 13 opponents were playoff teams in 2016. 

This year, the Eagles face off against the NFC West, the AFC West and the Panthers and Bears, who were both the last place finishers of their respective divisions, thus matching up with the Eagles, who finished last in the NFC East in 2016. 

Here's the full schedule: 

Week 1 -- at WAS on Sept. 10 (1 p.m.)
Week 2 -- at KC on Sept. 17 (1 p.m.) 
Week 3 -- vs. NYG on Sept. 24 (1 p.m.) 
Week 4 -- at LAC on Oct. 1 (4:05 p.m.)
Week 5 -- vs. ARZ on Oct. 8 (1 p.m.) 
Week 6 -- at CAR on Oct. 12 (8:25 p.m.)
Week 7 -- vs. WAS on Oct. 23 (8:30 p.m.)
Week 8 -- vs. SF on Oct. 29 (1 p.m.)
Week 9 -- vs. DEN on Nov. 5 (1 p.m.) 
Week 10 -- BYE
Week 11 -- at DAL on Nov. 19 (8:30 p.m.) 
Week 12 -- vs. CHI on Nov. 26 (1 p.m.)
Week 13 -- at SEA on Dec. 3 (8:30 p.m.)
Week 14 -- at LAR on Dec. 10 (4:25 p.m.)
Week 15 -- at NYG on Dec. 17 (1 p.m.)
Week 16 -- vs. OAK on Dec. 25 (8:30 p.m.)
Week 17 -- vs. DAL on Dec. 31 (1 p.m.)

An NFL prospect, Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon has brawn with brains to match

An NFL prospect, Villanova's Tanoh Kpassagnon has brawn with brains to match

A physical specimen, with the brains to match.

It's hard to understate the impression you get from meeting Tanoh Kpassagnon in person.

I read an article before meeting him that said his "abs had abs" and that he sported a minuscule 4 percent body fat. He laughed when I brought it up to him and said he wasn't so sure about the 4 percent body fat but that he loves to work out and get stronger, and he has been that way since high school.

Besides being a gym rat in the weight room, the 'Nova product was down to earth and easy to talk to. So much so we talked about what food we liked to cook and exchanged some tips on how to keep your mashed potatoes smooth and silky.

Kpassagnon moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Philly in the sixth grade and partly got turned on to football by watching the Donovan McNabb, Brian Dawkins and Brian Westbrook Eagles in the 2000s.

His proud parents don't know much about pigskin but are over the moon about his success and growing notoriety. He said he just wants to join an NFL team and build a bond with a new group of guys.

With his skill set, I imagine it won't be long before his name is called on Day 2 and his impact could go well beyond his draft position.

2017 NFL mock draft roundup: Who's rising and falling?

2017 NFL mock draft roundup: Who's rising and falling?

All the mock drafts and speculation will be over Thursday when the players get announced in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during the 2017 NFL draft.

As we approach the finish line, let's see what some of the experts think about what the Eagles might do at No. 14.

Mel Kiper, ESPN - Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State

Conley has been linked to the Eagles on what seems like a daily basis. Earlier in the process, Conley was overshadowed by teammate Marshon Lattimore, a likely top-10 pick. After impressing at the combine, Conley has put himself in position to be the second cornerback off the board.

Kiper's take: "Conley, another riser after the combine, is the veteran of the three Buckeyes defensive backs I have going in the top 14 picks. Philadelphia let Nolan Carroll II walk in free agency after he started 16 games last season, and the Eagles brought in former first-round pick Patrick Robinson on a one-year deal to compete at corner. Coordinator Jim Schwartz's defense is thin on the boundaries."

Analysis: There is definitely a strong case to be made for Conley as the second-best corner in the draft. He's excellent in coverage and should be an NFL starter from Day 1. With that said, you might be able to get more value with this pick. Kiper has the Eagles passing on Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett (one of my draft crushes), Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, and wideouts Corey Davis (Western Michigan) and Mike Williams (Clemson). With the depth at the corner position, I'd pass on anyone not named Marshon Lattimore at 14.

Todd McShay, ESPN - Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford

There may not be a player whose stock has soared more than McCaffrey's. Once considered a borderline first-round pick, there are analysts who project McCaffrey as high as No. 8 to the Panthers. McCaffrey's versatility is unparalleled to any running back in this draft. 

McShay's take: "I love this fit. Darren Sproles turns 34 in June, and Philly needs a versatile playmaker out of the backfield. McCaffrey has the skill set to be a really good running back and wide receiver in the NFL. He showed tremendous short-area quickness at the combine (6.57-second three cone), which is readily apparent when watching McCaffrey's route running."

Analysis: The fit is obvious. McCaffrey is a running back who runs routes and has the ball skills of a receiver. He's also a bit underrated as a runner between the tackles. With all that said, I don't love the value at 14. But if the Birds pick McCaffrey, it's by no means a disappointment. The more weapons for Carson Wentz, the better.

Josh Norris, Rotoworld - Charles Harris, DE, Missouri

Harris has joined the ranks of McCaffrey as one of the draft's highest risers. He was a productive player at Missouri and impressed at the combine. Most mocks have him going somewhere in the 20s, but there are rumors that more than one team considers Harris a top-10 pick.

Norris' take: "The Eagles could absolutely take a similar approach to the Panthers last season in terms of multiple corners after round one. Harris will be a top 15 selection and greatly improved his athletic testing at the school’s pro day."

Analysis: I like Norris' idea of snagging two corners later, but I don't love the idea of Harris this high. He's not the only one to mock Harris in this range recently. I've mocked Harris in the late 20s and that's still where I feel comfortable projecting him. With that said, Harris would be a safe pick at 14. He has a high motor, a variety of pass rush moves, and NFL size and strength.

Cris Collinsworth, PFF/NBC Sunday Night Football color analyst - Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

White is an interesting prospect because he's projected to go all over the place. He could go here to the Eagles or he could still be available in the second round. He was an impact player for a school that seems like it produces secondary players in a factory.

Collinsworth's take: "I want to give the Eagles a receiver with the speed of John Ross to play alongside Alshon Jeffery, but Philadelphia has to have a cornerback, and White is the next best available. He may drive Jim Schwartz nuts if he refuses to tackle, but Schwartz has no choice -- you can’t compete without corners. I love White’s ability to find the ball in the air. Most young corners are afraid to turn their head and look for deep balls, and they end up getting beat. White is rock-solid there. I also don’t see him as a guy that will get a lot of cheap fouls; he keeps his hands to himself. I thought White would run a sub-4.4-second 40-yard dash, but at 4.47, he was a little slower than his run-and-cover style would suggest. White has legitimate coverage skills, though, and should go in the first half of the draft."

Analysis: The bottom line: White can cover. That is, after all, a corner's primary function. This isn't a sexy pick at all, but like Conley, White should be able to start for an NFL defense from Day 1. Also, like with Conley, there might be better value in this spot.

Lance Zierlein, NFL Network - Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama

Humphrey was considered the best corner in the draft for a big chunk of the college season. He has prototypical size and was a track star in high school. He struggled to track the ball in the College Football Playoff on multiple occasions. Those struggles have put him behind players like Conley and White in the eyes of some analysts.

Zierlein's take: "A height-weight-speed prospect who is the best run defender at the corner spot in the draft. If Humphrey can improve in locating the deep ball, he could be a good one."

Analysis: This is a fair take. Aside from Lattimore, Humphrey might project best to being a No. 1 corner physically. For the 2017 season, Conley and White will likely be better than Humphrey. In the long term, Humphrey might turn out to be the best corner in this draft. With that said, the ball location issues are concerning. Especially considering that's been a problem for Eagles' corners recently.

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network - Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama

Foster has had a rough go of the predraft process. He was kicked out of the combine for a spat with a hospital worker. Recently, questions have come up about his surgically repaired shoulder. And now it's come out that Foster's drug test at the combine came back diluted. Foster insists it was a result of an illness which caused him to drink an excessive amount of fluid.

Jeremiah's take: "Foster is a tone-setter and would excel in the Eagles' defensive scheme."

Analysis: It is important to note that Jeremiah's mock was from earlier this month. I doubt he'd have Foster going this high now. The kid is incredibly talented, though. Jordan Hicks and Foster would wreak havoc on a weekly basis. This is a player who is among the top 10 most talented players in the entire draft. Taking a chance on him at 14 might be worth it. The Eagles would really have to do their homework on this one.