Inside The Birds: Draft Complete; Offensive Roster Pre
With the NFL Draft officially ending Saturday evening, it’s time to preview the Eagles’ current roster.
On the latest Inside the Birds Podcast, Geoff Mosher and Adam Caplan discuss the updated offensive depth chart, along with the draft picks that will be plugged in on that side of the ball.
Adam Caplan: “[Running backs from Memphis], whether it’s [Tony] Pollard or [Antonio] Gibson and now Gainwell, these kids are so schooled in every different running back formation and variation and as a slot receiver. By the way, he’s going to play that Hines role – Nyheim Hines – but it probably won’t happen this year because he’s a rookie. But down the line once you think he’s comfortable he’ll have way more touches than Hines, he’s that special. He is way more special than Hines and Hines is a good football player, but this kid is super special. It’s just that he didn’t play last year, and you just don’t know what you’re getting for a guy who didn’t play.”
Geoff Mosher: “Well you like the fact that the head coach and his right hand man, Kevin Patullo, the passing game analyst, both come having that experience of getting the ball in the hands of Hines. [Shane] Steichen comes from the Chargers, where they did a good job of getting the ball in the hands of Austin Ekeler, probably as good of a job as any team of getting the ball in the hand of their running back.”
Mosher: “Let’s be very clear about Devonta Smith. Obviously he has speed – he’s not DeSean Jackson, though. He is not just a deep threat. I was told he is a good route-runner and can run pretty much every branch on the route tree. I told you a [personnel] source told me he reminded him of Marvin Harrison. So, that’s a pretty good comparison right there.”
Caplan: “I love that. I mean, Marvin might be the smoothest route-runner I’ve ever seen. And Marvin doesn’t run as well as Smith but Marvin is in the Hall of Fame, so that’s a pretty good one.”
Mosher: “I just don’t want people to think that it’s just that they drafted a one-trick pony speed guy, you know this is not John Ross. This is a guy who can do everything.”
Mosher: “He’s going to have to have a really good camp and make it as a top-three receiver because he doesn’t play special teams so if you’re going to keep him as a fourth or fifth wideout that doesn’t make sense because you want those guys to be able to impact special teams. So he needs to have a great camp and convince this coaching staff that he can line up at the X at least 30 percent of the plays. He’s on the outside looking in here.”
Caplan: “To me, he’s on the outside looking in here. He has to earn a roster spot, just like they cut Donnel Pumphrey, and I understand he was a fourth-rounder and this kid’s a second. There’s no allegiance to him anymore. I’ve learned a lot about their thinking and how they’re going to handle things. You can’t cut him after one year but he’s now played two and contributed next to nothing. He will have to earn his way on the roster and that’ll come down to, I would hope, late August. I would hope he actually does well enough that it’s actually a decision, where they have to actually think about it, whereas right now, it’s not much of a decision, he has not earned anything.”
Mosher: “As I look at the [wide receiver] list here, I wonder to myself: is Greg Ward fighting for a job? Because they have so much more explosion now from the slot, you can move these guys.”
Caplan: “[Travis] Fulgham played some slot last year. [Jalen] Reagor absolutely could play slot and he will get some slot this year for sure. Smith obviously can. We had said all of last season, Greg Ward’s a great story, a great kid, but he doesn’t run well enough. They need to increase their speed from the inside. Now, the one thing he is, is super dependable, he does get open and that does mean something. So is he fighting for a job? It’s a good question, they may deny it, but I would say if just us talking, I would say yes.”
Caplan: When you look at the situation it was time to trade him and the Eagles tried. There was one team that told me that they just could not make the money work, they were OK with whatever the Eagles were offering. It’s just they couldn’t make the money work. Zach’s making over 8 million bucks and as I said in our last show, that’s what his contract says. He shouldn’t take a pay cut. He’s a veteran, but right now he’s on the roster and we’ll see, as you said, even if he’s on the roster, they need a third guy and if he’s not on the roster they’re really in trouble. Really in trouble.”
Caplan: “By the way, if you think Kelce is a high-character, transform-a-locker room type of guy, this kid is unbelievable. I know why the Eagles drafted him, because he’s incredibly gifted, and he’s a great kid, he’s huge. But his character is just remarkable, and it’s amazing because Kelce is one the best character guys this team’s ever had. This kid is an absolute ass kicker. Look, he’s what you would think from Alabama, he was coached by Nick Saban, but we know about the risks with the knee, we get it.”
– Justin Morganstein (@jmotweets_) is a staff contributor to InsideTheBirds.com
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