Philadelphia Eagles: Manti Te'o

PHILADELPHIA -- There was a time a rookie offensive tackle would be eased into NFL action. He might even start out at guard and gradually move outside as he became more comfortable.

Of course, there was also a time a quarterback might sit for all or most of a season before becoming a starter.

That time, in the ever faster-moving NFL, is gone.

So it should be no surprise that Lane Johnson, the fourth pick in the 2013 draft, played 1,103 of a possible 1,104 offensive snaps for the Philadelphia Eagles in his first season. Johnson was given one down off to catch his breath in the first game against the Giants in October.

It still takes more than a season to evaluate a draft class, but the process is being sped up all the time. Here’s a look at Johnson and the rest of the Eagles’ rookies -- or as first-year coach Chip Kelly puckishly dubbed them, “My favorite draft class for the Philadelphia Eagles.”

Johnson
First round: Lane Johnson, offensive tackle, Oklahoma. The fourth overall pick, Johnson was one of the three offensive tackles taken at the top of the draft. He arguably had a better overall rookie season than No. 1 pick Eric Fisher (Kansas City) and No. 2 pick Luke Joeckel (Jacksonville).

Perhaps inevitably for a guy who had played quarterback and defensive end before being shifted to the offensive line in college, Johnson had some growing pains. According to Pro Football Focus, he allowed seven sacks in the first eight games of the season but just three the rest of the way. He was solid in run blocking, as well.

It’s worth noting, too, that few rookie tackles (if any) are asked to line up split wide and block on bubble screens. Johnson took everything thrown his way with a smile and a shrug. He’s got a chance to be anchored at tackle for this franchise for a decade.

Also on board: Almost everyone.

Good pick or bad pick? Very good pick.

Ertz
Second round: Zach Ertz, tight end, Stanford. Taking Ertz here, 35th overall, was an expression of GM Howie Roseman’s commitment to taking the top-graded player regardless of need. The Eagles already had signed James Casey in free agency and and had Brent Celek on the roster.

Would they have improved their overall team more by drafting cornerbacks Darius Slay or Johnthan Banks, or linebackers Manti Te’o or Kiko Alonso, or running back Giovani Bernard?

Maybe. But Ertz is going to be making plays in Kelly’s offense for years to come. He’s smart, driven and possesses excellent hands and good size (6-foot-5, 250). Like most young tight ends, he has to improve as a blocker and said he plans to spend time in the weight room in the offseason.

Also on board: Slay, Bernard, Te’o, Geno Smith and Tank Carradine were the next five players drafted. Alonso, who earned defensive rookie of the year consideration, went 11 picks later to Buffalo.

Good pick or bad pick? Good pick.

Logan
Third round: Bennie Logan, defensive tackle, LSU. The 6-foot-2, 309-pound Logan’s development allowed the Eagles to trade veteran Isaac Sopoaga at the deadline. Logan started at nose tackle the last eight games, which corresponded with the overall defense’s improvement.

Oddly, Logan had his only two sacks in the first half of the season, when he was playing limited snaps. It remains to be seen if he’s the true anchor/nose tackle of the future, but he has enough versatility to play in different fronts as needed.

Also on the board: Tyrann Mathieu, Mike Glennon, Terrance Williams, Terron Armstead, Keenan Allen.

Good pick or bad pick? Good. Best possible? A few of the guys taken right after Logan look pretty good, too.

Barkley
Fourth round: Matt Barkley, quarterback, USC. The Eagles traded up to take Barkley at the top of the fourth round. It seemed an odd move at the time -- everyone thought Kelly would prefer more mobile quarterbacks -- and is still easily debatable.

It wouldn’t be fair to read too much into Barkley’s limited playing time. He was pressed into service when Nick Foles and then Michael Vick were injured. Barkley had little practice time to draw upon. He threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns in 49 attempts.

If he’s the No. 2 quarterback here or eventually flipped to another team looking for a potential starter, he was worth the 98th pick in the draft. If he winds up starting here some day, he was a steal.

Also on board: Nico Johnson, Akeem Spence, Ace Sanders, Josh Boyce, Ryan Nassib.

Good pick or bad pick? Curious pick.

Wolff
Fifth round: Earl Wolff, safety, NC State. By this point in the draft, there’s an element of luck involved. The Eagles desperately needed safety help and took a shot on Wolff with the 136th pick. It was a good shot.

Wolff took the starting job from veteran Patrick Chung early in the season. He had his growing pains, but was starting to settle into the job when he hurt his knee Nov. 10 in Green Bay. Wolff made one brief appearance after that, aggravated the knee and didn’t play again.

Also on board: Jesse Williams, Tharold Simon, Montori Hughes, Stepfan Taylor and Oday Aboushi were the next five players taken.

Good pick or bad pick? Good pick.

Seventh round: Joe Kruger, defensive end , Utah. He spent the season on injured reserve. Should be an interesting guy to watch in training camp.

Seventh round: Jordan Poyer, cornerback, Oregon State. Poyer made the team coming out of camp, but was released when the Eagles needed to clear roster space for a running back in October. Cleveland claimed Poyer off waivers and he finished the season with the Browns.

Seventh round: David King, defensive end, Oklahoma. Released in camp.

Also on board: A bunch of guys.

Good picks or bad picks? Oh, come on.
PHILADELPHIA -- Michael Vick talked to reporters Tuesday for the first time since a new Forbes.com poll declared him the “most disliked” active player in the NFL.

Vick
Vick
After talking about practice, potentially starting Sunday against the New York Giants and the progress of his injured hamstring, Vick was asked about the dubious distinction.

“I care nothing about that,” Vick said. “I care nothing about people that dislike me. I care nothing about people who still have ill feelings about me. What matters most to me is the people I do know care about me. That’s something you can never take away from me.”

According to the poll, 53 percent of respondents named Vick as an NFL player they disliked. San Diego linebacker Manti Te’o was second at 48 percent, followed by Detroit Lions defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

It has been four years since Vick was released from federal prison, where he served 18 months for charges resulting from a dogfighting ring. Vick was reinstated by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2009 and signed with the Eagles that August.

He has not been in any kind of trouble since then. He has gotten a few endorsement deals. Still, his image clearly remains tarnished.

“I don’t feed into all that,” Vick said. “People are entitled to their own opinions, and I respect it. Just let me do what I do, let me be me. As long as I have my freedom, my health and my family, nothing else matters.”

The Forbes.com poll that lists Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick as the most disliked NFL player, four years after his release from prison, is both surprising and unsurprising.

It is surprising because Vick’s behavior has been exemplary since he was reinstated in 2009 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. But perceptions linger, and a breakdown of the data by E-Poll Market Research shows Vick was better liked by those who identify themselves as close followers of the NFL. In other words, people who have paid closer attention to Vick have less lingering animosity than those who have not.

It is unsurprising for a few reasons. First, the poll asked only about active players with name recognition of at least 10 percent among those polled. That rules out Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who is facing charges in a murder case. And it rules out lesser-known players who have been suspended or investigated for various offenses.

The polling also says much about the way perceptions linger, whether fair or unfair. San Diego rookie linebacker Manti Te’o was second to Vick on the list, with 48 percent saying they disliked him. Te’o didn’t commit any felonies or serve any prison time. He was merely caught telling an untrue story about a non-existent girlfriend.

Perceptions about Vick, named as disliked by 53 percent of those polled, don’t change easily. Those who see him as the Eagles’ best hope to win now and in the future under Chip Kelly don’t seem to grasp that he is 33, injury prone, and has been the franchise quarterback through 8-8, 4-12 and now 3-4 seasons. The Eagles were 1-3 in the four games Vick started and finished this season. He has not won a playoff game since the 2004 season.

Just as Vick’s fans see him as the dynamic player he was early in his career, and for brief flashes in 2010 and this year’s season opener, his detractors see him as the unsavory character that killed dogs, ran an illegal dogfighting ring and once flipped off Atlanta fans who booed him.

The reality: It is somewhere in the middle. Vick has said many times that he knows some people will never forgive him, and he has publicly been a very humble man. He has diligently paid back the money he owed creditors after being forced into bankruptcy. It has also been said often that Vick could make people forget his past by leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl. He hasn’t exactly been that player, either.

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