Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Fun Isn't Over Yet

Rob Jackson would bring OLB experience to a team lacking it.
There are still some holes for the front office to fill. Is Trent Cole an every down OLB in '14? Is there enough competition at safety? Can Kruger, Square and Curry provide a stout reserve defensive line?

Sure, the draft will help answer these concerns. But Howie likes going into the draft with needs addressed, allowing the team to truly draft the best available player.

There are sure to be more additions prior to the NFL Draft. Here are six names I'm keeping an eye on:

OLB Rob Jackson -

Jackson wouldn't answer pass-rush concerns, but he would help. At 6-4 266 lbs, he has solid size. In the past two seasons, Jackson has accumulated 6.5 sacks in a combined 15 starts.

Most importantly, he's an experienced OLB who's comfortable in coverage. At this point, Jackson would very likely be cheap. Worst case-scenario, Jackson provides some kind of insurance and allows Howie the ability to comfortably part from Brandon Graham.

DE Alex Carrington -

Ok, I have a man crush on the guy. It's hard to find guys with Carrington's physical tools, upside, and versatility at such a bargain rate. I'm not an NFL agent, I don't truly know the market for Carrington. But even with three teams interested (Pittsburgh, Cleveland, St. Louis), I don't see the contract at over $3M per year.

At 6-5 301, he has the ideal size to play 3-4 DE. He offers upside as a pass rusher, which is hard to find. Heading into 2013, he was viewed as a rising player, until he suffered a season-ending injury after three games.

Carrington had a visit with the Steelers Thursday night, and if he somehow leaves without a contract, Philadelphia should make a move.

S Chris Clemons -

Clemons is not a great player. Clemons is not a playmaker. Clemons isn't a lot of things. But one thing Chris Clemons is? Solid.

He's started 32 games for Miami over the past two seasons. There aren't any eye-popping stats. Clemons is a guy who plays sound football. He isn't going to blow assignments. At 6-1 214 lbs, he has good size for a safety. Throw him in with Malcolm Jenkins, Earl Wolff and a rookie, you're looking at a solid NFL safety group. Big upgrade.

Clemons provides solid, reliable play at the safety position.
DE/NT BJ Raji -

Raji has the name recognition, but his on-field play has been average as of late. He will look for a one-year "prove it" deal. That makes a lot of financial sense for the Eagles.

Raji has flashed as an elite play-making defensive lineman in the past. Under a one-year deal, Philadelphia would see his best play. Plus, Raji is an extremely versatile defensive lineman in a 3-4, with the ability to play all positions. The Packers offered him 1 year $4 million. Anything around that number seems fair. Definitely worth a look.

S Rafael Bush -

The promising player from New Orleans was tendered the lowest option, meaning the team who signs him will not have to compensate any draft picks to the Saints.

Bush stands 5-11 and weighs in at 200 lbs. A promising young safety is worth a look if the price is low. New Orleans is unlikely to match an offer sheet since Kenny Vaccaro and Jairus Byrd are firmly planted in the secondary.

S Darian Stewart -

Stewart filled in as a starter for six games last season in St. Louis. He is a more physical safety, which would compliment a cover safety like Malcolm Jenkins. He hasn't even turned 26 yet, and should come at a real bargain.

No team has been publicly exposed as having interest in him, although I'm sure his agent's phone has been ringing. Quality competition is something the safety position could use in Philadelphia.

I also have a feeling Nate Allen has a real chance to come back to Philly. Allen really played decent football at the end of 2013, plus he is familiar with the scheme. Even if brought back as a reserve, insurance policies allow fans to sleep better at night.

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