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Philadelphia Eagles

Time to shine for Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles announced on Saturday Jalen Mills will be placed on injured reserve, ending his 2018 season.

This is a big blow for a defense that is now missing three of four original starters in the secondary.

Now that Mills and Darby are out, 2nd-year corners Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas are expected to start on the outside for the rest of the season.

A lot rides on their performance down the stretch.

Tough WR match-ups could make or break the Eagles playoff hopes

Jones and Douglas can either be a main reason the Eagles make the postseason, or they could become the reason they don’t.

In the final four games, the fellow 2017 draft picks will go up against Amari Cooper in Dallas, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods next week in LA, and then a match-up with DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas when the Texans come to Philadelphia.

Two of those match-ups feature mobile quarterbacks in Dak Prescott and DeShaun Watson who can buy time for their receivers to get down-field, while Sean McVay and the Rams gameplan is sure to include getting the ball out quickly, going after the two young corners.

 

Both can help clear up a foggy CB future for the Eagles

Not only can Jones and Douglas help get the Eagles into the playoffs, but they can also help reassure Howie Roseman and Joe Douglas that they don’t need to go out and invest serious assets into the CB position.

With Darby becoming a UFA this off-season, it doesn’t seem likely that Howie Roseman will be interested in paying what Darby could make in a free agent market that tends to overpay corners of his speed and age.

Jones can help make the Darby decision even easier with a strong end to the season. The Eagles drafted the former Washington Huskie in the second round with the expectation that when healthy, he could become the CB1 on defense.

Douglas’s situation is a little more interesting. Unlike Jones, Douglas isn’t guaranteed playing time next year.

Jalen Mills is in a contract year and will start in some capacity on defense. Hypothetically, if Darby walks with Jones and Mills taking two CB spots, Douglas would have to convince the Eagles to make some interesting calls.

Rodney McLeod is still under contract next year but if Douglas plays well down the stretch, the Eagles could elect to free up cap space by releasing McLeod, going with either Maddox or Mills at safety, and the other starting in the slot.

If Douglas struggles, it is likely the Eagles go with Jones and Mills on the outside with Maddox in the slot. Not to mention the Eagles would likely strongly consider taking a corner in a deep 2018 draft class.

Splash plays and consistency

For Jones and Douglas to help push the Eagles into the playoffs, and secure future spots in the secondary, they will need to repeat their performances against Washington and avoid the showings they had against the Saints.

While Jones has been consistent, it would go a long way for the Eagles defense if he could come away with some splash plays, preferably turnovers.

Douglas has made the splash plays this year but he needs to find the consistency that Jones has had.

The pressure is on for the CB younglings.

Louie, an Eagles, and NFL enthusiast all his life has finally found his home to share his thousands of takes on the Philadelphia Eagles with Locked on Eagles. Louie also works in Buffalo sports radio as a producer for WGR Sports Radio 550 the official home of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres, in addition to working as the Sports Director for 91.3 FM WBNY Buffalo. He may be far from the nest, but Louie bleeds green just like the rest of Eagles Nation. Fly Eagles Fly.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Who could the Eagles target from 49ers?

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It appears the Eagles could be cooking up another trade. This time with the San Francisco 49ers.

What could Howie Roseman be looking for from San Francisco? The Eagles have already taken care of their DT, WR, and LB needs in free agency by trading for DeSean Jackson, signing Malik Jackson, and L.J. Fort.

They locked up their offensive line core keeping Jason Peters and extending both Jason Kelce and Issac Seumalo.

They even added to the log jam that is the CB position by bringing back Ronald Darby on a one-year deal.

Here are some players the 49ers could be willing to deal to the Eagles that makes sense for Philadelphia.

 

RB Matt Breida

With the signing of RB Tevin Coleman, the 49ers could be looking to shop one of their running backs.

Breida makes the most sense of anyone on the 49ers for the Eagles to have interest in. At just 24, Breida is young, and on an inexpensive contract which are two things Roseman loves to deal for.

After Jerick McKinnon went down last season, Breida carried the 49ers backfield finishing with 814 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns.

He averaged 5.3 YPC and early on in the season, he was averaging over 7.0 YPC.

That fast start included a Week 2 showing against Detroit that resulted in 138 rushing yards on just 12 carries.

Breida is explosive in short areas, and has the receiving skills Doug Pederson’s offense loves to have in the backfield.

The third year running back surpassed 1,000 yards from scrimmage and would be an all-around weapon the Eagles desperately need at RB.

 

RB Jerick McKinnon 

If the 49ers decide to keep Breida as Coleman’s counter-part in the backfield, that could spell the end of Jerick McKinnon in San Francisco before it even got started.

The former Viking signed with the 49ers last offseason and was expected to be Kyle Shanahan’s new version of Coleman but he tore his ACL before the season started.

McKinnon still has three years left on his contract with a $5.7 million cap hit in 2019.

He is only 26 and like Breida, McKinnon can make defenses pay on the ground and through the air.

In 2017 after Dalvin Cook suffered a season-ending injury, McKinnon became an important piece to Minnesota’s offense finishing with 570 rushing yards and 421 receiving yards.

Between 2016 and 2017, McKinnon had 94 receptions. Much like in Shanahan’s offense, Pederson’s offense is better with that kind of RB.

 

DE Solomon Thomas

The former third overall pick in the 2017 draft hasn’t met that potential in his first two years with the 49ers.

Thomas has just four sacks in two seasons but he could be another young (24 years old), buy-low trade target Howie Roseman takes a chance on.

The 49ers would likely be more willing to deal Thomas after trading and extending DE Dee Ford. San Francisco also holds the second overall pick in a draft class that even Roseman labeled “historic” when it comes to pass rushers.

With Chris Long’s future up in the air, Thomas could be someone the Eagles bring in to compete with Josh Sweat and a rookie if Long doesn’t think more playing time is coming his way for the 2019 season.

 

If the Eagles do make a trade with the 49ers, San Francisco’s loaded backfield is likely where Philadelphia would like to grab a play-maker from. Expect a deal to involve a draft pick but don’t be surprised if someone like Jalen Mills is also involved.

The CB group is now six-deep after re-signing Darby. With four other young, promising corners to develop and Mills hitting free agency in 2020, it seems likely Philadelphia could look to get some value for him now.

The 49ers already have Richard Sherman and signed former Chargers CB Jason Verrett this offseason but Mills has the versatility to play outside, in the slot, or even at safety.

Mills or a late pick for McKinnon/Breida could make sense for both sides.

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Philadelphia Eagles

T.J. Yeldon fits in Philadelphia

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

It doesn’t appear the Eagles were in on big names at running back in free agency. Le’Veon Bell signed with the Jets. Tevin Coleman signed with the 49ers. Mark Ingram signed with the Ravens.

Seeing Ingram and Coleman’s deal both in the $5 million a year range has many scratching their heads about why the Eagles potentially didn’t pursue those two on inexpensive contracts.

While Philadelphia could have been in the hunt for both, a lack of interest would certainly concern fans that want to see the organization invest legitimate resources into the position. It is certainly something to keep a closer eye on.

Howie Roseman can be lackadaisical when it comes to RB including last year, failing to replace Jay Ajayi and Corey Clement. However, there is no need to panic just yet. The NFL Draft has talent across all seven rounds.

There are also some intriguing options still out there through trades and free agency that fit what the Eagles want to spend, and how they want to use their backs. Former Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon is perhaps the most interesting option. And he would be a great fit in Doug Pederson’s offense.

An even cheaper option than Coleman and Ingram

It was a bit surprising seeing Coleman and Ingram get less than expected. If the Eagles weren’t players for either, it could be as a result of their serious interest in the draft class, or their plans to spend even less at the position.

Yeldon could be a cheaper option.

If Coleman and Ingram both got $5 million, it seems evident that Yeldon, a less proven player than the other two, would get less.

The Eagles have not spent significant dollars for a running back since Chip Kelly signed DeMarco Murray in 2015. They have targeted younger, cheaper players.

At 25 years old, Yeldon fits that mold.

 

The perfect complementary RB 

If Yeldon and Corey Clement were the compliments to a rookie the front office invests in, it would be hard to do much better.

The former Alabama prospect has the receiving skills this Eagles offense has valued since the days of Brian Westbrook.

Yeldon has 135 catches in the last three seasons, with a career-high 55 receptions for 487 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in 2018.

He can make some impressive plays with his hands.

The production is there but he isn’t built like other receiving-backs. At 6’2 218 pounds, Yeldon is a few inches taller, and only two pounds lighter than Jay Ajayi. The majority would agree that Ajayi’s label is that of a power runner.

That allows him to be an option in goal-line and short-yardage situations.

 

Chunk plays are abundant 

Yeldon has the ability to turn a four-yard hole, or a three-yard check down into a 15-30 yard play. He is extremely explosive for his size and he isn’t easy to bring down when he is caught. At Alabama, Yeldon forced 54 tackles in his final collegiate season.

Having that kind of weapon with the five dangerous pass-catchers the Eagles already have could be deadly. Wendell Smallwood isn’t that weapon.

In 2018, Yeldon finished with eight receptions of 15+ yards. Four of which were above 20 yards. Tevin Coleman only had five receptions of 15+ yards.

Compared to Alvin Kamara, an elite pass-catching running back, Yeldon only had seven fewer receptions that went past 15 yards.

 

Moves the chains on third down

In short and long situations on third down, Yeldon was a focal point for the Jaguars.

Whether it was a passing play or a running play, he was effective in moving the chains.

Being capable of converting through the air and ground with just one running back helps make an offense less predictable.

 

The Eagles still have quality options if they want to add an RB before the draft. The Browns and Bears are actively shopping Duke Johnson and Jordan Howard. If the front office wants to keep their draft capital however, T.J. Yeldon could be their guy.

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Philadelphia Eagles

Fort Philadelphia

Louie DiBiase

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Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

On today’s Locked on Eagles:

Analyzing the Eagles signing LB L.J. Fort

DeSean Jackson’s press conference was encouraging

The Giants continue their blueprint of not having a blueprint signing Golden Tate

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