Eagles Notes: Chip Kelly impressed with defensive lineman Clifton Geathers

Posted: June 06, 2013

Clifton Geathers stands out for obvious reasons, but he may have a leg up on his competition because of Chip Kelly's professed preference for rangy players.

The 6-foot-8, 340-pound defensive lineman, acquired from the Indianapolis Colts this offseason in exchange for fullback Stanley Havili, has gotten a lot of action with the first-team defense during spring practices.

"Clifton's done some pretty good things since we've had him here," Kelly said Wednesday. "I think he's got extremely long arms. He [has] long levers and can really separate and really uses his hands extremely well.

"So we're excited. You didn't know exactly what you had until you got him here. Big, big body and that's what we want on our defensive front."

Geathers said that he isn't taking anything for granted. He has bounced around some since Cleveland drafted him out of South Carolina in the sixth round of the 2010 draft. After being released by Cleveland, he played very little with Miami and Dallas before landing in Indianapolis last season.

The 25-year old played in eight games for the Colts, at both defensive end and nose tackle, and recorded nine tackles and a sack. But it was on to the next stop with the March trade and perhaps his best chance at playing consistently.

"Every place I've been to I've thought it was an opportunity," Geathers said. "I gave it my best shot, didn't stay there, OK, I'm here with the Eagles and I'm going to give it my best shot here, too."

Aside from Fletcher Cox, no defensive lineman is assured playing time in coordinator Bill Davis' scheme. Isaac Sopoaga will likely be the nose tackle on base downs, but Geathers said he already has played multiple positions up front, which should boost his odds of sticking around.

Reaching the NFL wasn't exactly preordained, but Geathers had it in his blood, so to speak. His father, Robert Sr., was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in 1981 and had a short, injury-marred stint in the NFL. His uncle, James "Jumpy" Geathers played 13 seasons for four teams and won two Super Bowls.

Two of Geathers' brothers are also pros. Older brother Robert has played with the Cincinnati Bengals for the last nine seasons. His younger brother Kwame is with the San Diego Chargers after signing as an undrafted rookie.

Every Geathers has been a defensive lineman.

"We always had football in the family," Geathers said. "My daddy never forced it on us - but after watching my uncle, my brother, my cousins, football exposure was always around."

Scouting moves

The Eagles hired three new scouts and changed the roles of three members of the personnel staff.

Michael Davis (Midwest), Trey Brown (West Coast), and Louis Clark (pro scout) were the new additions.

Davis was the Jets' assistant director of college scouting, scouted the Southeast region, and spent 16 years in the Jets organization. Brown spent the last three seasons scouting the West Coast for the Patriots. Clark was the player personnel director with the Jaguars.

The Eagles also promoted Ed Marynowitz to assistant director of player personnel from assistant director of pro scouting. Alan Wolking went from Midwest-area scout to Southeast area scout. Mike Bradway went from Northeast college scout to Eastern regional scout.

The team did not replace director of pro personnel Lou Riddick, whose contract expired last month.

Thornton rests

Cedric Thornton, who is one of Geathers' chief rivals, has been limited at practice for the last week.

The defensive lineman said that he injured his quadriceps on May 28. Thornton participated in some individual drills but not in team drills the last two days.

"I think they are just being smart with him," Kelly said. "I know he is doing drills and we will see what he can do. He has had a great camp . . . up until now."


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