It’s Thanksgiving week — and while this year’s holiday will be a bit different than usual, there will still be turkey and there will still be football. As both NFL and college football seasons roll on towards the postseason, let’s open up the mailbag to address some of your questions on NFL rumors, college football, and NFL Draft news.
This week’s questions cover Florida QB Kyle Trask, a rising draft prospect at the wide receiver position, Tua Tagovailoa’s in-game benching, the Falcons’ offseason plans, and much more. But first, we begin with a question about the Philadephia Eagles and what their offseason plans may or may not consist of.
And be sure to see where I have all of the NFL Draft prospects for 2021 ranked in my updated big board.
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Remember, if you have a question you want to send in for next week’s mailbag, you can e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a tweet to @PFN365 on Twitter using the hashtag #AskTonyPFN, and we’ll try to include it in an upcoming mailbag column.
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I know you said last week that Carson Wentz is unlikely to get benched. But some things have to change in Philadelphia, no? The team feels like a mess. Is Doug Pederson safe? Any rumors around the NFL about the Eagles’ offseason plans?
It’s highly unlikely they fire Doug Pederson, but remember this: at the end of September, during an episode of The Draft Insiders podcast, I made mention that there were a lot of people around the league who said Pederson’s best days were behind him and he had maxed out as a coach. A lot of Eagles fans went ballistic over my report.
You’ll probably see changes to the staff — and while it’s a mess, I don’t expect any wholesale changes at this point.
Why isn’t Florida QB Kyle Trask generating any first-round buzz?
Trask will get first-round consideration, but I don’t expect him to be a first-round pick for two reasons:
2) Trask is a traditional pocket passer with limited mobility, which doesn’t fit the profile that teams want at the quarterback position these days.
How many draftable prospects are on that stingy Northwestern defense, and do any have a chance to be picked in the first two days of the NFL Draft?
The only potential Day 2 pick from Northwestern is junior cornerback Greg Newsome, and as I reported during Saturday’s gameday blog, there’s a real chance he enters the draft.
After that, Paddy Fisher is a Day 3 pick, and Earnest Brown will be too if he stays healthy and there are no medical red flags before the draft.
I like Blake Gallagher, but I don’t think he will be drafted.
Are there any rumors around the NFL that the Falcons could blow up their roster, including trading Matt Ryan or Julio Jones in the offseason?
I’ve heard of no such rumors, and I doubt they would trade Julio Jones. The franchise is in the process of hiring a general manager, followed by a coach and a coaching staff — so at this point, there would be no decision to trade away commodities the way the Dolphins tried to do not long ago.
Where does Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore rank among the top slot wide receivers in the draft?
If you’re looking at it through the lens of a traditional slot receiver, i.e, smaller, speedier guys, only Rondale Moore and Tutu Atwell rank ahead of Elijah Moore on my board. That being said, teams are also lining up larger receivers in the slot.
Do you have news on any underrated receivers moving up NFL Draft boards that people are not talking about?
Timely question. The name that is continually repeated to me is D’Wayne Eskridge of Western Michigan, who made my risers list just a few weeks ago. Eskridge has made a terrific return after being sidelined after just four games last season.
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He entered the year with a street free-agent grade, and there are many who feel he’s a better next-level prospect than Tutu Atwell of Louisville.
Was the Dolphins’ benching of Tua Tagovailoa a short-term move because they thought Ryan Fitzpatrick gave them the best chance against the Broncos at the time? Or are there rumors around the NFL that this an indication Tagovailoa hasn’t impressed Brian Flores and the Dolphins as much as they were hoping? How do you view Tua’s first four starts?
It will be short-term. There’s no harm in benching a first-year quarterback who is struggling, especially if you have a competent backup. In my opinion, it’s not done enough.
Tua’s first four starts have been exactly what I expected — solid with a few bumps in the road. Too often people want instant success, and that can be tough at the quarterback spot.
Have you heard any news or rumors that James Franklin is coaching on borrowed time at Penn State?
From an on-field perspective, no. In many instances, this season will be considered a one-off deal for programs around the country.
Now, if there is any truth to the allegation that James Franklin told a player or multiple players not to speak to police for any reason, I have to believe he’ll be out the door immediately considering the very recent past at PSU.
Cincinnati’s secondary has been a big part of their defensive success this year. What do you think of Cincinnati DBs James Wiggins, Ahmad Gardner, and Coby Bryant?
James Wiggins has rebounded well from the injury that sidelined him last season, and he’s well thought-of in the scouting community. He’s a solid Day 3 pick who can line up as a traditional strong safety or in zone coverage.
Coby Bryant is a good football player with terrific ball skills, but he comes with average size and speed (or at least playing speed), which will depress his NFL Draft stock.
Ahmad Gardner looks like a really good cornerback prospect for the future, but he’s only a true sophomore and is not draft-eligible.
Though he isn’t part of the secondary, Myjai Sanders is someone a lot of people like, as he’s a natural pass rusher with a lot of potential.
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