2017 Eagles Blueprint 1.0

Phase 1: Pre-Free Agency

Extend

  1. Bennie Logan

5-year, $25M Contract

Extending Bennie Logan’s contract this offseason must be a priority. The Eagles need to maintain their young talent. With so many holes on the roster, it would be detrimental to create another area of need. Logan’s ability to stop the run meshes well with Fletcher Cox’s ability to rush the passer.

  1. Trey Burton

2-year, $7M Contract

Burton, a new favorite target for Carson Wentz, is also a key special-teams player. Burton is part of the team’s core, even though he doesn’t get a lot of publicity.

Release  

  1. Connor Barwin (Cap Savings – $7.75M) 

Initially, I thought the Eagles might be able to trade Barwin, but it now seems that they will have to release him. Every team in the NFL knows he doesn’t fit in a 4-3 scheme. Releasing Barwin will only cost the Eagles $600,000 in dead money.

  1. Ryan Mathews (Cap Savings – $4M) 

Mathews has a lot of talent, but, unfortunately, he’s unreliable and inconsistent. It’s doubtful the Eagles will bring him back after his latest neck injury. Keeping him on the roster is a $5,000,000 cap hit. Releasing Mathews only costs the Eagles $1,000,000 in dead money.

  1. Leodis McKelvin (Cap Savings – $3.2M) 

McKelvin played hard; however, he was limited all season with a nagging hamstring injury. McKelvin has had injury issues the past few seasons. The Eagles should move on, given the cap savings.

  1. Ron Brooks (Cap Savings – $1.6M)

After sustaining a sad injury this season, Brooks may never play football again. I don’t expect we’ll see him back with the Eagles next season.

  1. Matt Tobin (Cap Savings – $850K)
  2. Taylor Hart (Cap Savings – $690K)
  3. Paul Turner (Cap Savings – $540K)
  4. Bryce Treggs (Cap Savings – $540K)

Trade  

  1. Mychal Kendricks traded for a conditional 2018 4th/5th-round pick (Cap Savings – $6.6M)

Kendricks has been a huge disappointment the past few seasons with the Eagles. For someone with so many athletic gifts, he really isn’t a hard-nosed player. It’s time for a change in attitude with this team, and getting rid of soft players is a good place to start.

  1. Jason Kelce traded for a 5th-round pick (Cap Savings – $6.2M)

Kelce has had an up-and-down season this year; however, with a change in blocking scheme, he doesn’t really fit. The Eagles are running more power- and less zone-blocking than they did under Chip Kelly. Kelce has size limitations, which limits his effectiveness at times. The Eagles would be best served by moving on and taking advantage of a potentially strong market for Kelce.


Phase 2: Free-Agency Period  

  1. Stephon Gilmore | CB | Buffalo | 6’0” | 190

4-year, $38M Contract

Gilmore was with Jim Schwartz in Buffalo and is a premier talent in the NFL. The Eagles can save a significant amount of cap money through roster moves, and Gilmore would be worth spending some of those savings. The Eagles are in desperate need of help in the secondary, and Gilmore had his best season under Schwartz. Gilmore is coming off a down year, but at 26, he isn’t losing any physical ability any time soon. The Eagles can’t miss on every free-agent corner, can they?

  1. Chance Warmack | OG | Tennessee | 6’3″ | 323 

4-year, $20M Contract 

While at Alabama, Warmack played for Jeff Stoutland–now the offensive line coach for the Eagles–and became a top-10 pick in the NFL draft. Warmack has good size and strength, and is a prototypical offensive guard. The Eagles had depth issues along the offensive line this season. Warmack would be an above-average starter at left guard and could build on his Alabama success.

  1. DeSean Jackson | WR | Washington | 5’10” | 175 

2-year, $14M Contract 

It’s been terrible to watch the Eagles receiving corps this year. The receivers can’t get open, and when they do, they don’t catch the ball. DeSean is getting older, but hasn’t lost his big play ability. He would open up the field for other Eagles receivers.


Phase 3: NFL Draft 

Round 1/Pick 14 (MIN) – Dalvin Cook | RB | Florida State | 5’11” | 206

NFL Comp: Edgerrin James

Cook is one of the best running backs in a historically deep running back class. Although running back isn’t the biggest need for the Eagles, if Cook is on the board, it would be crazy not to draft him. Cook is an ultra smooth athlete with excellent vision and balance. Cook has adequate long speed to create big plays. Cook has been the workhorse for the Florida State offense for the last three seasons, with over 200 carries in the last two. Even with that kind of volume, cook was still able to average 6.5 yards per carry for his career.

Round 2 – Jourdan Lewis | CB | Michigan | 5’10” | 175

NFL Comp: Jason Verrett

Lewis is the best pure cover corner in this year’s draft. His size limitations will cause him to fall a bit, but Lewis can shut down half of the field on a regular basis. Lewis’s best trait is his competitiveness; he refuses to let the receiver win the battle for the football. Lewis has fluid hips and is able to turn and run with wide receivers. A favorite of Pro Football Focus, Lewis has posted the highest grade for any corner as a junior at 88.5. Lewis has also showed adequate ball skills with two interceptions each of the last three seasons. Lewis has versatility playing both outside and in the slot for the Wolverines.

Round 3 – Taywan Taylor | WR | Western Kentucky | 6’0″ | 195

NFL Comp: Mike Wallace

Taylor has put up astronomical numbers at Western Kentucky the past two seasons, with over 1,400 yards each year. NFL.com ranked Taylor as one of the 16 most freakish athletes in college football, posting eye-popping athletic measurements. According to NFL.com, Taylor runs a 4.33-second 40-yard dash, has a 39 ½ inch vertical leap, and a 137 inch broad jump; each of which would have made him one of the top performers at this year’s combine. Taylor shows good route-running ability and is a natural hands catcher. His numbers may be inflated a little due to the nature of the WKU offense, but he would be a good addition to a bad receiving corps.

Round 4 (CLE) – Corn Elder | CB | Miami | 5’10” | 175

NFL Comp: Orlando Scandrick

Elder is a quick-twitch, aggressive cornerback for Miami. Elder is versatile playing both in the slot and outside. Elder competes hard and challenges every ball in the air. Elder may have size limitations, but that doesn’t stop him from throwing his weight around. Elder is also an effective special-teams player and could contribute in that role on day one.

Round 4 – James Onwualu | LB | Notre Dame | 6’1” | 232

NFL Comp: Sean Weatherspoon

With the likely departure of Mychal Kendricks, the Eagles will need to find a replacement Will. Onwualu plays Sam for Notre Dame; however, he’s a better fit on the weak side. A converted safety/wide receiver, Onwualu ran a 4.53-second 40-yard dash during the high school recruiting process, making him one of the more athletic linebackers in this draft. Since the Eagles are only in base 4-3 about 25 percent of snaps, Onwualu could come in and start at that position.

Round 5 – Jordan Morgan | OG | Kutztown | 6’3″ | 320 

NFL Comp: Brandon Brooks 

The Eagles once missed on drafting a lineman from Philadelphia out of Bloomsburg, Jahri Evans. When prospects are in your backyard, you should be able to find them. Jordan Morgan is a big prospect with good athleticism; he played basketball through high school. Morgan has only been playing football since his senior year of high school, but he’s an intriguing prospect who could develop into a very good player.

Round 5 (Kelce) – Jon Toth | C | Kentucky | 6’5″ | 310

NFL Comp: Max Unger 

Toth may not be the most athletic center, but he has a good frame and is an extremely hard worker. Toth has started for an impressive four years in the SEC. The Eagles desperately need depth along the offensive line, and Toth would add stability to the center position, especially if Stefen Wisniewski isn’t back next year.

Round 6 – Jahad Thomas | RB | Temple | 5’10” | 188

NFL Comp: Devonta Freeman

Thomas has all the makings of an effective third-down running back in the NFL, but the most impressive part of his game is pass protection. If you’d like an example of how good Thomas is in pass protection, just watch the tape from Temple’s bowl game against Wake Forest. Temple threw the ball on almost every play, and Thomas was a willing blocker for all of them. Thomas is a good receiver out of the backfield and an elusive runner. With Smallwood’s struggles in pass protection this year, Thomas would be a good addition to the running-back group.

Round 7 – Jalen Myrick | CB | Minnesota | 5’10” | 205

NFL Comp: Tramaine Brock 

At this point in the draft, you’re looking for prospects with upside that can play special teams. Myrick was a special teams contributor for Minnesota and was an above-average kick returner. Myrick is a physical corner who’s a little undersized, but makes up for it with grit and determination.

UDFA – Janarion Grant | WR | Rutgers | 5’9″ | 176 

UDFA – Richie Brown | LB | Mississippi State | 6’2” | 245

UDFA – Prescott Line | FB | Michigan State | 5’11” | 253


53-Man Roster

Offense: 26

(2) QB – Carson Wentz, Chase Daniel

(4) RB – Dalvin Cook, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood, Jahad Thomas

(1) FB – Prescott Line

(6) WR – DeSean Jackson, Taywan Taylor, Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Janarion Grant 

(3) TE – Zach Ertz, Trey Burton, Brent Celek

(2) LT – Jason Peters, Dillon Gordon

(2) LG – Chance Warmack, Allen Barbre

(2) C – Isaac Seumalo, Jon Toth

(2) RG – Brandon Brooks, Jordan Morgan

(2) RT – Lane Johnson, Halapoulivaati Vaitai

Defense: 24

(5) DE – Brandon Graham, Vinny Curry, Marcus Smith, Steven Means, Alex McCalister

(4) DT – Fletcher Cox, Bennie Logan, Beau Allen, Destiny Vaeao

(2) SAM – Nigel Bradham, Richie Brown

(2) MIKE – Jordan Hicks, Joe Walker

(2) WILL – James Onwualu, Kamu Grugier-Hill

(5) CB – Stephon Gilmore, Jourdan Lewis, Jalen Mills, Corn Elder, Jalen Myrick 

(4) S – Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Terrence Brooks, Chris Maragos

Specialists: 3

K – Caleb Sturgis

P – Donnie Jones

LS – Jon Dorenbos


Notes

  • I’d bring back Jason Peters for one more year. I’d try to restructure his contract, but I don’t think it would be prudent to move on with the uncertainty surrounding Lane Johnson.
  • I’d restructure Lane Johnson’s contract.
  • Lewis would play on the outside in base 4-3, but when they go nickel, he’d move inside.
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