NFC East: Victor Harris
The numbers have obviously dipped in recent years because of all of the underclassmen coming out, but the Senior Bowl is still an important part of the evaluation process -- especially for the Philadelphia Eagles. Here's the breakdown from 2005-09:
In 2005, the first six players selected by NFC East teams were all on Senior Bowl rosters. In 2009, only three of the first 11 players picked by NFC East teams participated in Senior Bowl week. As we've already stated, this probably has a lot to do with the spike in underclassmen entering the draft. These players are not eligible for the "Senior" Bowl. We're also seeing some of the big-time seniors sit out the Senior Bowl because they feel like there's more to lose than to gain. That's why I admire a player like USC safety Taylor Mays showing up and competing in Mobile, Ala., this week.
For a somewhat unheralded player such as Idaho offensive lineman Mike Iupati, the Senior Bowl can provide a rare opportunity to compete against athletes from larger schools. Iupati has had a breakout week and some draft experts, including our own Todd McShay, think he could go in the first round.
Over the past five seasons, nine of the 17 first-round picks in the NFC East were on the Senior Bowl roster. That list includes DeMarcus Ware, Jason Campbell, Brodrick Bunkley, Mathias Kiwanuka and Anthony Spencer. Over the past few years, the Eagles have been pretty shrewd when it comes to identifying and tracking players who participated in the Senior Bowl:
Here's a great Excel spreadsheet if you're interested in finding out which players from the NFC East have participated in the Senior Bowl over the past five years. In 2009, the Giants selected linebacker Clint Sintim (Virginia) and offensive tackle Will Beatty (Connecticut) in the second round and Ramses Barden (Cal Poly) in the third. All three players participated in the Senior Bowl. And at least two of the players -- Beatty and Sintim -- could be starting in 2010.
I used my weekly ESPNDallas.com column to discuss young Buehler's work. Here's a portion of the column:
"Some of you may have noticed that Buehler began a wild celebration Saturday when reserve wide receiver Kevin Ogletree raced down the field on a kickoff in the first quarter and destroyed Eagles return man Victor "Macho" Harris. The Eagles' starting safety was forced to leave the game. I asked Buehler what led to his wild display that brought back memories of Martin Gramatica, a man who could celebrate the smallest of achievements."
Ogletree's my roommate and he'd been telling me all week that he was going to have a huge hit on special teams," said Buehler. "I didn't expect that at all, because it's not like he's a real physical guy. I just got really excited for him."
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Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
1. Jim Zorn, Redskins head coach: This is such a mess that it's hard to single out any one player. I'll just go with Zorn since he's become the face of the Redskins' struggles. With left tackle Chris Samuels now injured, the Skins don't really have anything up front. Quarterback Jason Campbell can't deliver the ball and the Skins can't get any push in the running game. It's amazing that the Skins could play this poorly -- and be 3-3 at the end of next Sunday. This is a franchise in turmoil right now.
2. Mike Jenkins, CB, Cowboys: I probably should've gone with Wade Phillips, but that seemed too easy. From the folks I've talked to at Valley Ranch, Jenkins wasn't nearly as aggressive as he needed to be Sunday. He had a large hand in allowing Matt Cassel and the Chiefs to come racing back down the field at the end. The Cowboys may still be trying to decide between Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick for the starting spot opposite Terence Newman. On Sunday, Jenkins didn't get the job done.
3. The Eagles' defense: I know that's a strange thing to say when the team wins 33-14, but Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson taught Sean McDermott and his gang some valuable lessons. Johnson found some holes in the secondary -- especially when Kellen Winslow was involved. And there were way too many penalties. The Eagles ended up with 10 penalties Sunday -- and the majority were on the defense. If you're going to make a tackle, you can't grab the facemask. And the personal foul against Victor "Macho" Harris could've really hurt if the Eagles were playing a good team. Lots of good blitzes that put pressure on Johnson, but the Eagles need to finish the job.
1. Miles Austin, WR, Cowboys: The undrafted player out of Monmouth (class of '06) was brilliant against the Chiefs with 10 catches for 250 yards and a pair of long touchdowns. Austin basically saved the season for the Cowboys -- for now. He's shown flashes over the past few years, but Sunday was his first breakout performance. And that's an understatement. The guy ended up breaking the single-game record that Bob Hayes set in 1966. That's pretty amazing. The Jets had to give up a hefty price for Braylon Edwards. There's a chance they could've had Austin, an unrestricted free agent this past offseason, for a second-round pick. It's one game -- but it was a huge game.
2. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: Had 11 carries for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Let's not get crazy and start calling for Bradshaw to start, but it's OK to recognize him for being extremely talented. He's also been pretty elusive, but now he's added some more power to his game. And he can catch the ball out of the backfield and take off -- as he did Sunday on a 55-yard scamper. Yes, it was against the Raiders. But Bradshaw's well on his way to making folks forget Derrick Ward.
3. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles: The Bucs decided to take DeSean Jackson out of the game by rolling coverage in his direction. That left Maclin in one-on-one coverage quite a bit, and he made them pay. I didn't know how long it would take Maclin to adjust to the West Coast offense after playing in the spread at Missouri. Now, it appears he's making a pretty nice adjustment. He had 142 yards receiving and two long touchdowns. And I loved watching him run his routes. He's taller than most people think and he sort of glides around the field before eventually racing away from cornerbacks. Elbert Mack vs. Maclin? That's the best you can do, Raheem Morris?
|AP Photo/Jeff Roberson|
|Bruce Johnson returned his only interception of the season 34 yards for a touchdown.|
But when I arrived in Albany, N.Y., in August, Johnson was constantly making plays in training camp. You could tell right away that he was better than sixth-round draft choice DeAndre Wright -- and Tom Coughlin found a spot on the 53-man roster for him. With Kevin Dockery slowed by a hamstring injury, Johnson became the nickel corner to start the season. He had a forced fumble in his first regular-season game against the Redskins and he followed that up with a pick-six against the Cowboys the following week.
On the interception against the Cowboys, he lured Tony Romo into thinking he was in one-on-one coverage with Roy Williams and then he bailed out at the last second and jumped underneath an out route that Patrick Crayton was running. It was a veteran move by an undrafted rookie -- and he raced to the end zone for a 34-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 10-7 lead in the first quarter.
The Eagles have a fifth-round draft pick named Victor "Macho" Harris who's already cracked the starting lineup at free safety, but I think Johnson had made the bigger impact early in the season. Dockery has returned to the lineup, but I don't think he'll be able to hold off Johnson for long. Johnson's just a very heady player who Coughlin already has a lot of faith in.
The only thing I've seen him do wrong is get confused on a route the Chiefs ran near the Giants' goal line. On that play, Michael Boley raced back and broke up the pass. Johnson already has eight tackles, three pass deflections, a forced fumble and an interception. I don't think this is beginner's luck.
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
I'm spending most of the day at Valley Ranch with the Dallas Cowboys' draft class of '09, but here's something that applies to every team in the league. A Web site called WhatIfSports.com has a complex formula involving algorithms that predicts how each rookie will perform. They hit on a lot of predictions heading into the '08 season, so I thought some of you might be interested in their '09 list. Here's how the Beast is predicted to perform:
No. 9 Hakeem Nicks, New York WR
No. 13 Brian Orakpo, Washington DE (how convenient)
No. 22 LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia RB
No. 24 Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia WR
No. 52 DeAngelo Smith, Dallas S/CB
No. 55 Victor Butler, Dallas LB
No. 61 Robert Henson, Washington LB
No. 69 Clint Sintim, New York LB
No. 74 Mike Mickens, Dallas CB
No. 77 Travis Beckum, New York TE
No. 81 Cornelius Ingram, Philadelphia TE
No. 88 Victor "Macho" Harris, Philadelphia CB
No. 99 Andre Brown, New York, RB
|Getty Images/Getty Images/US PRESSWIRE|
|Brian Orakpo (Washington), Hakeem Nicks (N.Y. Giants) and Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia) drew complimentary marks from our panel.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Something tells me you've just about had it with draft grades, so let's go in a different direction today. I've spent the last 24 hours on the phone with national draft gurus, college scouting directors and two assistant coaches in an effort to determine which draft class in the Beast will make the most immediate impact.
I avoided talking to NFC East scouts, in part, because it's rare to find a scout who says something like, "Well, we pretty much blew it" four days after the draft. The consensus is that the Eagles scored highest in our High-Impact rankings. I granted our experts anonymity in exchange for their honesty -- and job security. They were asked to provide a number between 1-10, with 1 representing an "incredibly low impact" and 10 being a "stunningly high impact."
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