Riley Cooper

2010 Draft Grades: Eagles

With so many picks, its hard to earn a bad grade in the draft. The Eagles have so many young players on their roster, its hard to imagine them putting it all together right away. However, a few years down the road this offseason could be looked at as the start of a dynasty.

I love the selection of Brandon Graham in the 1st round. I think he’s better suited as a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme than as a linebacker in the 3-4, so I was glad to see him land in Philly. He isn’t a complete player yet, but he’ll make an immediate impact as a pass rusher. A double-digit sack season as a rookie is well within reason.

Nate Allen was the ideal 2nd-round pick for the Eagles. He’ll compete with Marlin Jackson for the starting job at free safety and I expect him to win that competition. He’s a ball-hawking safety who should make an immediate impact.

They reached for Daniel Te’o-Nesheim in the 3rd round. He’s similar to Brandon Graham but not as explosive. He’s a hard worker and the type of player coaches love, but I don’t see him as a future starter. He’ll be buried on the depth chart early in his career.

The Eagles definitely needed a cornerback, but I don’t like the fact that Trevard Lindley was their only selection at the position. He’s undersized and is coming off a disappointing senior year at Kentucky. He’s probably nothing more than a nickel corner in the NFL.

They also reached for Keenan Clayton, but I can see why they like him. He’s a perfect fit at weak-side linebacker in their system. However, he has very limited upside and will be nothing more than a backup in the NFL. In fact, he may struggle to make their crowded roster out of camp.

I like Mike Kafka but I was surprised the Eagles selected a quarterback so early in the draft. He’ll be their third quarterback this season and eventually take over as the backup once they part ways with Vick, likely next season.

I think Clay Harbor is one of the best small-school sleepers in this year’s draft class, but I’m not sure he’s a great fit in Philly. He’s a prototypical half-back and should be used in a similar way the Redskins use Chris Cooley. His success in the NFL could depend on the Eagles willingness to carve out a niche for him in their offense.

Ricky Sapp is a potential steal in the 5th round, but he didn’t land in a great place in Philadelphia. He’s a defensive end/linebacker ‘tweener and is probably better suited as a linebacker in a 4-3 defense. I like his potential, but I don’t see how he’ll be able to get onto the field early in his career with the Eagles.

I can’t possibly say enough good things about their selection of Riley Cooper. I truly believe Cooper will be one of the gems of his draft class. Playing in Urban Meyer’s offense at Florida he never really had the opportunity to showcase his skills, but he can be a great possession receiver in the NFL. There are concerns about his speed, but he’s a smart player with great hands and I think he’ll emerge as a favorite target of Kevin Kolb early in his career.

Charles Scott can be an effective short-yardage running back and will be given the opportunity to compete with Dwayne Wright for the backup job.

I was shocked that Jamar Chaney fell to the 7th round, and I still don’t know why. He’s a good athlete with decent size and was productive on a bad defense at Mississippi State. The Eagles are stacked at linebacker though, which means he’ll have to fight for a spot on the roster.

Jeff Owens will provide some depth at defensive tackle, competing with Antonio Dixon and Trevor Laws for playing time as a backup.

Kurt Coleman was one of the best 7th-round picks this year. He can play both safety positions and excels on special teams.

Overall, I really can’t complain about anything the Eagles did in this draft. The addressed nearly every position of need and landed a number of players, even in the late rounds, that will compete for playing time early in their careers. Three years from now we could look at the Eagles roster and see three or four starters from their 2010 draft class.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Eagles Comments Off

Senior Bowl Practice Notes: Wednesday

Not surprisingly the third day of practice wasn’t all that eventful. As usual, we’ve got a pretty good idea as to what everyone is capable of at this point in time.

Perhaps the biggest winner of the day, in my mind, was Mike Iupati. Yesterday he split time between tackle and guard and he really disappointed at tackle. Today, playing mostly guard, he was dominant once again. At this point in time I’m willing to give him a solid 1st-round grade as a guard. Its disappointing that it doesn’t look like he can play tackle, but he should be an elite guard at the next level.

Another winner was Oregon State QB Sean Canfield. He’s a tough quarterback to judge, but I came away impressed overall. In drills, he looks very mediocre. His arm strength is average at best and he doesn’t always throw the prettiest ball. Once thrown into game situations, however, he steps it up another level. In 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills he looked very good, consistently hitting receivers in stride. He also looked very god throwing the ball on the run. He ran a number of bootlegs and hit Clemson WR Jacoby Ford a couple times.

Sticking with the quarterbacks, Dan LeFevour has made a strong case to be considered the top quarterback at the Senior Bowl. He’s exceeded my expectations and I’ll be adjusting my quarterback rankings soon as a result. At Central Michigan he rarely threw the ball downfield, which made me skeptical about his ability to play at the next level. You’d never know he played in a gimmick offense based on his performance this week though. He has a strong arm and made a number of great deep passes today including a beautiful pass which he dropped over the shoulder of Jacoby Ford.

Speaking of Ford, he had a terrific day. I really expected him to step up as an elite speed receiver this week but he’s been much more than that. In fact, his lack of speed has been a bit disappointing but he looks like the complete package. He runs great routes and I love the way he adjust to the ball while its in the air. He could end up coming off the board as high as the 2nd round.

Another player I was impressed with today was Pittsburgh TE Dorin Dickerson. I have him listed as a FB right now because I didn’t think he had the size to play tight end, but he’s proved me wrong this week. He is undersized, and it shows in his blocking, but he’s looked very good as a receiver. He even stretched the field a few times, hauling in a deep pass from Tony Pike at one point.

One of the players I was most excited to see this week was Miami TE Jimmy Graham. He went to Miami to play basketball but joined the football team this past season. He has elite size (6’8″) but is very, very raw. He’s looked good at times and definitely deserves a shot at the next level. At one point he tossed Florida State LB Dakota Watson to the ground and later hauled in a deep pass from Tim Tebow that was down near his knees.

A few other quick notes:
- Ohio WR Taylor Price looked shaky today, dropping a very easy pass from LeFevour at one point. I expected him to be one of the lesser-known prospects that stepped up but it hasn’t happened.

- Penn State DT Jared Odrick has been consistently getting into the backfield all week. Today he blew through the line of scrimmage and stuff a draw play in the backfield in 11-on-11 drills. He’s slightly undersized but incredibly athletic for an interior lineman. He would be a great fit for the Colts.

- Oklahoma State QB Zac Robinson has been better than expected. He throws a very nice deep ball.

- South Carolina LB Eric Norwood has excelled as a pass rusher. He used a nice swim move to get into the backfield today.

- Kentucky CB Trevard Lindley had a rough day. Mississippi WR Shay Hodge blew past his press coverage in 1-on-1s and Lindley fell down trying to catch up. He’s got a lot of work to do to recover the rest of the week.

- I’m really starting to like Florida WR Riley Cooper. He never really got a chance to star in Florida’s offense because they value speed over size, but he’s looked great this week. He’s got great hands and he knows how to use his body to his advantage.

- Alabama CB Javier Arenas has been shaky. The worst part of his day came when Riley Cooper easily used his size to brush past Arenas and shield him from making a play on the ball. I really think Arenas’ lack of size will limit his ability to make an impact in the NFL.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off