Draft: Eagles Day 1

Draft: Eagles Day 1

The Eagles held tight at 31 and selected DE Mike Patterson out of USC.  This is ESPN's take:

With franchise player Corey Simon unhappy with his contract situation
and Hollis Thomas and Paul Grasmanis getting older, Philadelphia did
well to select Patterson. He doesn't have great size, and he doesn't
shed blocks all that well, but his ability to anticipate the snap and
his initial quickness make him a great fit for the Eagles' one-gap
scheme. He is also a high-motor player who is relentless in pursuit,
and he always seems to be around the ball at the end of the play.

In Round 2 at 35 the Birds went with WR Reggie Brown out of Georgia.  Not too shabby for A.J. Feeley.  This is ESPN's take:

At some point, Philadelphia had to use one of its five first-day picks
on a receiver in the event the Terrell Owens contract issue continues
to worsen. We feel they picked a good time to fill this need, because
they are getting excellent value for an early second-round pick. Brown
always played second fiddle and received far less recognition while at
Georgia, but he led the Bulldogs in receptions the past two years, when
his production began to reflect his outstanding overall athletic

With their second 2nd rounder at 63 they chose LB Matt McCoy out of San Diego State. 

Outside linebacker isn't a significant need, but Philadelphia wouldn't
mind upgrading either position. Although McCoy is undersized and will
struggle when teams run right at him, he possesses excellent instincts,
doesn't waste any motion and shows good burst to the ball.

With their first 3rd rounder they chose RB Ryan Moats out of Louisiana Tech.  Here are his strengths from ESPN:

Is a tough and shifty back. Shows good instincts, reads blocks fairly
well and has the lateral mobility to cut back when the opportunity
presents itself. Runs bigger than size indicates. Runs with good pad
level, shows good balance and can bounce of arm tackles. Fights to pick
up yards after contact, is built well and plays with good intensity.
Has the burst to turn the corner and is elusive in the open field. Has
very good quickness and above average top-end speed. Shows good focus
when the ball is in the air and rarely drops passes that he should
catch. While lacks the bulk to anchor in pass protection, shows good
awareness, isn't afraid to throw cut blocks and does an adequate job of
picking up the blitz. Has excellent work ethic, is a leader on the
field and should only get better with added experience.

The Eagles traded away their final pick of the third round (94 overall) for the first pick of the 4th round (102 overall) and a 6th rounder (175 overall)  The Eagles all currently on the board because they make the first selection of day 2 now.

Overall I am pretty happy with the picks.  I don't know a ton about all of them, but I found this great video of Ryan Moats which gets you excited about him.  The Eagles have a ton of picks tomorrow and I think they should package some of them to move up and get more quality instead of quantity.  Also, we still have Freddie Mitchell, meh.  Some of the picks I found surprising were Mike Williams going to Detroit.  What a stacked WR core they will have.  Wow.  Matt Jones going at 21 seemed a bit early to me, and Clarret going on Day 1 was a tad surprising.  Also, the Eagles website has some great stuff including a nice piece from Dave Spadaro which includes some Andy Reid quotes and some Travis Henry stuff.

No. 16 Villanova vs. No. 23 Albany: With or without Bednarczyk, can Wildcats rebound?


No. 16 Villanova vs. No. 23 Albany: With or without Bednarczyk, can Wildcats rebound?

No. 16 Villanova (5-2, 3-1) vs. No. 23 Albany (4-2, 1-2)
Villanova Stadium, Villanova, Pa.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Fresh off a rare loss, Villanova looks to get back on track during its homecoming game against another nationally ranked foe. Here’s a look at the matchup:

Scouting Villanova
The Wildcats saw their five-game winning streak snapped in resounding fashion as they were shut out for the first time since 2004 in a 23-0 loss to Richmond. Sophomore quarterback Zach Bednarczyk left the game in the second quarter with an injury, a big reason why the Wildcats finished with just 222 yards of total offense. But despite the final score, Villanova’s defense played well again with Austin Calitro and Rob Rolle each hitting double digits in tackles. The unit is ranked fifth in the FCS in scoring defense (16.3 points per game) and sixth in total defense (237.9 yards per game) and has scored four defensive touchdowns.

Scouting Albany
After winning their first four games, the Great Danes lost their next two, a 36-30 triple-overtime heartbreaker to Richmond followed by a 20-16 setback to Maine. Sophomore quarterback Neven Sussman led Albany with 187 passing yards and 75 rushing yards. But for the season, their offensive strength has been with sophomore running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who’s second in the CAA in rushing, averaging 105 yards per game. Albany’s defense is only behind Villanova in points allowed per game (19.3) in the CAA, but interestingly enough is last in total defense (420.2 yards per game). The Great Danes lead the league in turnover margin (plus-15), led by linebacker Michael Nicastro and safety Mason Gray with three interceptions apiece.

Series history
Villanova has only played Albany twice, beating the Great Danes, 48-31, in 2014 and steamrolling it, 37-0, last season. 

Storyline to watch
The big question going in is whether Bednarczyk will play with Villanova saying it will be a game-time decision after the QB suffered a concussion last week. If he can’t go, Adeyemi DaSilva will get the start in his place after replacing him in the second quarter vs. Richmond. DaSilva is a promising player but Bednarczyk was coming into his own this season and his absence would naturally be a difficult one. Of course, the Wildcats have been through this before with Bednarczyk taking over as the starter last season when star John Robertson went down with an injury of his own.

What’s at stake?
Villanova still has a chance to win the CAA but probably can’t afford a second loss in the league. And of course, there’s nothing better than winning in front of a homecoming crowd.

A lot depends on whether Bednarczyk can play … but even if he doesn’t, the Wildcats’ dominant defense may be enough to get the job done. 

Villanova 20, Albany 17

Anthem singer at Sixers-Heat game kneels during performance

Anthem singer at Sixers-Heat game kneels during performance

MIAMI — A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami on Friday night did so while kneeling at midcourt, and opening her jacket to show a shirt with the phrase "Black Lives Matter."

The singer was identified by the Heat as Denasia Lawrence. It was unclear if she remained in the arena after the performance, and messages left for her were not immediately returned.

Heat players and coaches stood side-by-side for the anthem, all with their arms linked as has been their custom during the preseason. Many had their heads down as Lawrence sang, and the team released a statement saying it had no advance knowledge that she planned to kneel.

"We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue. We've had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action."

The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing. Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports -- and many levels, from youth all the way to professional -- have followed his lead in various ways.

"All I can say is what we've seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in New York earlier Friday, at a news conference following the league's board of governors meetings. "It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do."

The NBA has a rule calling for players and coaches to stand during the anthem.

Heat guard Wayne Ellington often speaks about the need to curb gun violence, after his father was shot and killed two years ago. He had his eyes closed for most of the anthem Friday, as per his own custom, though was aware of Lawrence's actions.

"At the end of the day, to each his own," Ellington said. "If she feels like that's the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her."

Making a statement in the manner that Lawrence did Friday is rare, but not unheard of in recent weeks.

When the Sacramento Kings played their first home preseason game earlier this month, anthem singer Leah Tysse dropped to one knee as she finished singing the song.

Tysse is white. Lawrence is black.

"I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans," Tysse wrote on Facebook. "I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability."