Josh McDaniels Emerges in Eagles Search; Another Draft Pick Leaves

The Eagles, who saw 6th round pick Prince Tega Wanogho bolt for KC, will talk to the Patriots OC on Sunday, and put in a request to interview two others
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While the Eagles focus on finding their next coach, and really one could argue the focus is scattered at best, with Josh McDaniels expected to be the sixth known candidate to interview for the job, they let another young prospect leave the building.

Offensive lineman Prince Tega Wanogho, a sixth-round draft pick out of Auburn last spring, was signed to the practice squad of the Kanas City Chiefs on Saturday night. Just 23, Tega Wanogho has some upside that the Eagles never really tapped into.

He was on the practice squad for most of the year, but active during Week 17, when he played just two special teams snaps. His practice squad contract expired earlier in the week, he visited the Chiefs, and now he belongs to them.

The Eagles drafted 10 players last spring, and now two are gone. In addition to Tega Wanogho, the Eagles also lost defensive end Casey Toohill, a seventh-round pick from Stanford, when they released him during the season in order to activate Vinny Curry.

The hope was to get Toohill to the practice squad, but he never made it. He was claimed by the Washington Football Team and put on their 53-man roster.

For a team trying to retool its roster and expects to be reliant on cheap labor that comes via the draft due to a bloated salary cap, the decisions on Toohill and Tega Wanogho are questionable at best.

As for the Eagles’ search for the successor to Doug Pederson, three more names came to light on Saturday.

The Eagles have requested permission to talk with Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley, whose L.A. defense finished the regular season ranked first in the NFL, and Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, whose passing offense is ranked first in the league.

By requesting an interview with Bieniemy, the Eagles seem to be signaling their desire to wait until possibly after the Super Bowl before naming a new head coach since the expectation is that Kansas City will play in the big game on Feb. 7.

McDaniels, the Patriots’ offensive coordinator, is scheduled to be interviewed on Sunday.

McDaniels has been the Patriots’ offensive coordinator since 2012, his second stint with the team after working for New England from 2001-08. He was 11-17 as the Denver Broncos’ head coach from 2009-10.

Ironically, McDaniels had agreed to become the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts following the 2017 season but backed out of the deal late in the process and the Colts then hired Frank Reich away from the Eagles, just days after helping Philadelphia win a Super Bowl as their OC.

The loss of Reich has been a flashpoint in the Eagles’ sagging offense the past three seasons, with his relationship with Pederson and quarterback Carson Wentz seen as the key ingredient to helping the Eagles win that Super Bowl.

McDaniels will be the sixth known interview for the Eagles, joining Joe Brady, Robert Saleh, Arthur Smith, Jerod Mayo, and Duce Staley.

Saleh was hired by the Jets and Smith was hired by the Falcons.

On the surface, it appears the Eagles are simply doing their due diligence by casting a wide net. Dig deeper, though, and the search seems to be unfocused.

Exactly what are the Eagles looking for?

Here’s what:

Someone who will be happy not having much autonomy over personnel decisions and probably even choosing his own staff of assistants.

More importantly, someone will work with Wentz.

The Eagles don’t appear likely to trade their former franchise quarterback, who was painted in a report by the Philadelphia Inquirer on Saturday as being resistant to coaching and often going rogue by changing the plays called by Pederson.

It’s a lot to ask of a new coach, especially after how he might view what happened with Pederson, who was canned just three years after winning the Super Bowl, and maybe that is why the Eagles continue to line up interviews with no end in sight.

Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out anything you may have missed pertaining to the Eagles by going to www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.