Time for another edition of my weekly mailbag! We are less than a week away from the combine finally starting and draft season heating up.
There aren’t many questions this week, but it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Let’s get down to it!
Who’s the biggest free agent you think the Eagles have a shot at signing and who’s the most realistic?
The biggest? You name it. They have $45 million in cap space and should be in play for every big name available at positions of need. That includes Amari Cooper, Byron Jones, James Bradberry, Robby Anderson, Joe Schobert, and Cory Littleton.
Could they be in play for big names at positions of strength like Chris Jones? Sure. But I think that’s farfetched (although I’d LOVE it).
I think the biggest name that would be signed is Jones. The need for adequate CB play supplants the need for speed at WR in my opinion. We saw what Wentz could do with practice squad receivers and we saw what the defense does with practice squad/back up players in the secondary. Signing Jones addresses the abysmal performance by the secondary. They you can focus on speed in the draft.
The most realistic? If Jones isn’t commanding $16 million a year then I’d say it’s him. If he is, then I don’t think he’s the most realistic.
When was the last huge contract given by Howie? Alshon’s deal was one year for 14 million. Foles was two years for $11 million.
You’d probably have to go back to Byron Maxwell’s six year $63 million deal. That could bring some pause in Howie Roseman’s check signing hand.
I think the most realistic is Robby Anderson. He’ll get a 3-4 year deal worth $32-$44 million and be the eventual DJax replacement.
I’d personally rather spend on defense and grab speed in the draft, but we’ll see.
Who would you take in the first two rounds?
My mocks have been all over the place with this. My dream is a Ruggs/Gladney pairing. But once Gladney tests out at the combine and Ruggs shows off his sub 4.20 40 speed, I think one or the other won’t be there at 21. I don’t think they’ll both be gone, namely Gladney, but if they are able to get Ruggs at 21 I’ll be very happy with that.
If not, my backup is Jalen Reagor. Dude is a stud. He’d be the perfect weapon for Wentz and is very close to being 1B to Ruggs’ 1A for me. The combine can change things.
They could also go LB with Patrick Queen or Kenneth Murray, but that’s option two for me.
In the second round, I’d like to see them grab a safety. Both Queen and Murray should be gone by the time they pick in the second round, so they’ll need to address safety and look for LB later. Grabbing a guy like Ashtyn Davis would be perfect. There’s also Antoine Winfield Jr. Both would make great third safeties, or even starters if McLeod doesn’t come back.
Who would you pick between Patrick Queen and Xavier McKinney?
Two positions of need, but linebacker is more pressing.
Can we have both? No? Ok I guess I have to choose.
The Eagles haven’t chosen a linebacker in the first round since 1979. They haven’t selected a safety since 1980. Will this be the year that drought ends? I doubt it.
But both players are pretty damn good and would upgrade the defense instantly. Here’s The Draft Network’s Jordan Reid on McKinney:
Xavier McKinney, Safety, #Alabama:
• Underneath areas are his domain
• Super smart safety prospect (++)
• Physical and loves to strike (+)
• Active filler in run support
• Effective as a blitzer (+)
• Versatile skill set pic.twitter.com/0Mz2XtlcOX
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) February 17, 2020
McKinney profiles as an in the box safety, a la Malcolm Jenkins. Delpit might be a better fit for the scheme, especially if Jenkins is back. But if Jenkins is not back and either McLeod or another free safety is signed, then McKinney would be the perfect fit.
On Queen, the Eagles haven’t had a tackler like him since DeMeco Ryans.
The Draft Network’s Drea Harris says he plays in the mold of Roquan Smith and Myles Jack. Jack is a stud in the NFL, while Smith is not. But Smith was graded as a future Pro Bowler from NFL.com, so the draft pedigree is there.
There’s an obvious need for linebackers for the Eagles. Queen can step right into the WILL role for the defense and be an early front runner for defensive rookie of the year.
Give me Queen.
That’s it for me and the second edition of my mailbag! Comment below some questions for next week or get at me on Twitter at @Infante54.
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports