Why Ryan Kerrigan makes sense in a youth movement, a young position group to get excited about and an undrafted rookie who has a shot.
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Here’s a Holiday Weekend edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Offseason Observations!
1. Since the Eagles signed Ryan Kerrigan, I’ve heard a lot of people ask why a rebuilding team coming off a 4-11-1 season embarking on a youth movement would sign a pass rusher who’ll be 33 when the 2021 season begins. Fair question. The answer is simple. What you want to avoid in a youth movement are aging, overpaid, declining, injury-prone veterans that kill your cap and block young players. Guys like Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Jason Peters and Malik Jackson. But Kerrigan has a budget 2021 base salary of $1.075 million along with a $1.425 million signing bonus and a $1.36 million cap figure, and in a four-man rotation he won’t be blocking anyone. I can’t believe they got him so cheap. Even the youngest teams need solid locker room veterans who can still produce, and if you can get them as risk-free as the Eagles got Kerrigan there’s no reason not to do it.
2. Nelson Agholor is the only player in history with three 1st-down catches in the final five minutes of a Super Bowl win.
3. A lot has been made about the disparity between Jalen Hurts’ performance before halftime last year and after halftime, and the gap is indeed huge. But consider this: In the first half of the three games that Hurts played start to finish — the Saints, Cards and Cowboys — the Eagles had a 58-42 pass-run ratio. Right around the NFL average. And Hurts completed 62 percent of his passes, had 5 TDs and 0 INTs, was sacked three times and recorded a 123.5 passer rating. In the second half of those three games, the Eagles had a pass-run ratio of 82-18. Yep, Doug Pederson called only 18 second-half running plays in those three games with a rookie QB. And Hurts was at 48 percent, 0 TDs and 2 INTs, six sacks with a 53.7 passer rating. Not many QBs could function at a high level under those circumstances, much less a 22-year-old who didn’t have a preseason getting his first significant career playing time behind a rickety offensive line with bad receivers.
4. The last time an Eagles defensive end had more than one sack in a playoff game was the 2004 NFC Championship Game, when Derrick Burgess sacked Michael Vick twice.
5. I’m excited to see this young wide receiving crew this summer and into the season. As of now, the Eagles don’t have a WR over 25, and they only have one WR with 40 career catches, and that’s Greg Ward. But that’s OK. These guys are all fast, hungry and motivated and they’re not going to be held back by veterans playing out the string. They’ll all get a fair chance to show what they can do with a head coach with a WR background and a young quarterback who’s just as fast, hungry and motivated as they are. My gut feeling is that DeVonta Smith is a can’t-miss, Jalen Reagor has a lot of work to do but has a shot, Travis Fulgham has intriguing potential, Quez Watkins is going to surprise some people, Trevon Grimes will make the team and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside will be elsewhere on opening day. Who knows how many of these guys will go on to become big-time contributors here, but it’s going to be fun watching it all play out.
6. Jordan Matthews has the most receptions after three seasons in NFL history by a wide receiver that never made a Pro Bowl. Matthews caught 225 passes in his first three seasons. Only 10 WRs caught more passes in their first three seasons and all 10 have made at least three Pro Bowls (Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvin Landry, A.J. Green, Anquan Boldin, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall and Randy Moss.)
7. How good was Brian Westbrook’s 2007 season? Not only did he lead the NFL with 2,104 scrimmage yards, he became the fourth player in NFL history with 1,300 rushing yards and 90 catches in a season (Saquon Barkley has done it since), he became the sixth player in history with at least five TDs both rushing and receiving (nobody has done it since), he became the ninth player with 750 yards both rushing and receiving (several have done it since) and he became only the second player with 1,300 rushing yards, 90 catches and a 4.8 rushing average. One of the greatest seasons a running back has ever had.
8. Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount combined for three 20-yard runs during the 2017 playoffs. They have also combined for three 20-yard runs since the 2017 playoffs.
9. The last undrafted rookie to start at least 10 games for the Eagles was Brenard Wilson, who started 14 games in 1979 as an undrafted rookie safety out of Vanderbilt. Bre had 15 interceptions in his first three seasons, 3rd-most over the last 40 years by an undrafted player in his first three seasons.
10. Keep an eye on rookie tight end Jack Stoll this preseason. Stoll went undrafted out of Nebraska, but assuming Zach Ertz isn’t here, Dallas Goedert is the only experienced TE on the roster. If the Eagles don’t sign Richard Rodgers or another veteran, Stoll would be competing with guys like Jason Croom, Caleb Wilson and Hakeem Butler for a roster spot. And keep in mind that the Eagles gave $122,500 in guaranteed money, more than they gave any other UDFA. That’s a lot for an undrafted rookie. That means the Eagles really wanted him. Stoll — coached at Nebraska by former Chip Kelly offensive coordinator Scott Frost — only caught nine passes in three games this past season amidst some awful Cornhuskers offense. Stoll did catch 46 passes for 479 yards and four TDs in 2018 and 2019 on bad teams with only slightly better QB play. He’s 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, a willing blocker, soft hands. He’s got a shot.
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