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20 draft prospects that would be a good fit for the Eagles

6 April 2018 DRAFT

With the NFL draft rapidly approaching, and Pro Days in full swing, the Eagles are lining up visits with prospects that they’re interested in drafting at the end of April. Beyond just players that are visiting, there are quite a few draft prospects that could fill immediate holes for the Eagles, while also providing strong pieces to build with into the future. Let’s take a look at prospects in each round that the Eagles own a draft pick, and explore why they’re a fit for the World Champion Eagles (can’t say it enough!).

1st Round:

1. Will Hernandez LG UTEP- 6’2 327 lbs

Hernandez is a big guard prospect out of UTEP that’s both physically imposing and technically sound. He’s currently being projected to be picked anywhere from pick #19 to the end of the 1st round. He’s a long-term solution at guard, with pro bowl upside. While he lacks the overall athleticism that Eagles linemen have, he certainly matches their meanness. He will get beat at times by fast twitch interior lineman, and can get grabby as a blocker, which will lead to holding penalties in the NFL. Hernandez would push Stefan Wisniewski for starter reps at LG, and could be a difference maker long-term on the Eagles offensive line.

Pro Comparison- Kelechi Osemele

2. Rashaan Evans LB Alabama- 6’3 232 lbs

Laser quick LB that roves from sideline to sideline, blowing up ball carriers at every level. Evans was a standout on an elite ‘Bama defense, delivering 74 total tackles, 13 TFLs, and 6 sacks in 2017, which is a testament to his overall ability.  He has the speed to run with backs and tight ends, and hits as hard as any prospect in this draft class. Unfortunately, as with all ‘Bama prospects, there are questions around Evans’s injury history, as he struggled with a groin injury, which can be tricky to deal with. Evans would immediately push for starting LB reps for Philly, potentially making Mychal Kendricks expendable once again.

Pro Comparison- More physical Lavonte David

3. D.J. Moore WR Maryland- 6’0 210 lbs

One of the fastest rising prospects in the draft, D.J. Moore is a quick, athletic, tough receiver, that produced 80 receptions for 1,033 receiving yards and 8 TDs in 2017. He was a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses, and even with sub-par QB play, Moore produced at a high level. He also contributed 51 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, and 153 scoreless punt return yards. Moore’s speed and versatility are a plus, and should allow him to contribute early in his NFL career. There are legit questions however around how successful Moore will be as a boundary receiver, and he only really has one year of production in college (2017). Moore would complement the Eagles receiving corps well, getting a chance to learn behind Mike Wallace and Alshon Jeffrey.

Pro Comparison- Zay Jones mixed with Stefon Diggs

4. Carlton Davis CB Auburn- 6’1 206 lbs

Davis is the prototypical size of today’s NFL corner back, and is a press man specialist. While he isn’t a superb athlete, Davis’s length and above average strength (16 reps at 225 lbs) allow him to break up passes regularly (28 career PBUs), and disrupt receivers at the line of scrimmage. Davis does struggle with smaller, quicker receivers, and will need to hone his technique and footwork as a professional to prevent giving up big plays. Davis’s size and body type also project better as a boundary corner, as opposed to a slot CB. Davis would give the Eagles a CB prospect to start opposite Sidney Jones for the future.

Pro Comparison- Quentin Jammer

4th round:

5. Royce Freeman RB Oregon- 5’11 229 lbs

Freeman is a big back with good ankle flex and lateral agility for a prospect his size. He rushed for over 5,600 yards during his 4 years at Oregon, while also collecting a total of 79 receptions for 814 receiving yards and a whopping 64 combined TDs (rushing and receiving). As productive as he was, Freeman seemingly maxed out his his ability as an RB while at Oregon, and lacks a high ceiling as a prospect. With that said, he’s a do it all back with a solid floor as an RB2 that can help an NFL team for years to come. Freeman would provide another big back for the Eagles backfield, with the ability to catch passes and contribute for a few years on an inexpensive rookie deal.

Pro Comparison- DeShaun Foster

6. Duke Ejiofor DE Wake Forest- 6’4 264 lbs

Ejiofor is a high motor try hard prospect that wins with his  engine, IQ, and strong tenacious hands. He’s a darling of the scouting community, and has seen his stock rise despite less than stellar athletic numbers at the combine. Ejiofor adds value to a defense as he’s capable of playing RE, LE, and even played some 3 technique (DT) on 3rd downs. His limited athleticism may hurt him against longer and stronger tackles in the NFL. It’s impossible to ignore Ejiofor’s consistency though, as he recorded 34 TFL’s and 17.5 sacks over the past two seasons. Selecting Ejiofor would be the rich getting richer, as he would be another high motor, versatile defensive lineman for the Eagles to implement in their rotation.

Pro Comparison- Derrick Morgan

7. Fred Warner LB BYU- 6’3 236 lbs

Warner is a slightly undersized athletic linebacker prospect that has the run and hit ability that you look for from a weak side LB. Warner will need to make a name for himself on special teams initially, but has the tools to push for a starting LB role down the road. He will also need to bulk up to be a steady contributor as a starter, but Warner showed his versatility at BYU finishing his career with 32.5 TFLs, 6.5 sacks, 7 INTs, 5 FFs, and 13  PBUs in 4 seasons. Warner would provide more speed for the Eagles LB corp, and can be an insurance policy for Kendricks or Hicks.

Pro Comparison- Kevin Burnett

8. Timon Parris LT Stony Brook- 6’5 320 lbs

Parris is a small school prospect with 4 years of starting experience at Stony Brook. He’s a big prospect that moves well for his size, and shows the ability to get to the second level as a blocker. His footwork is solid, and his hands are strong at the point of attack. His level of competition is obviously a serious concern, and Parris will need to develop his body to become a starting NFL caliber tackle. He lacks the strength necessary to move bigger/stronger defenders, and needs to improve his technique. He’s well worth a flier though with his developmental tools, especially with coach Jeff Stoutland’s ability to coach up offensive line talent. 

Pro Comparison- Raw Jonathan Martin

5th round:

9. Tyler Conklin TE Central Michigan- 6’3 254 lbs

Conklin definitely plays faster than his 4.8 40 suggests, and was deployed all over the field by Central Michigan. Running from outside, and the slot, Conklin is able to use his smooth route running and solid hands to make plays consistently. He will need to improve as an inline blocker, while also focusing on adding more functional strength to his body. There are serious questions about Conklin’s health/durability also as he was limited to only 8 games in 2017 due to a foot injury. In those 8 games though, he posted 35 receptions for 504 receiving yards and 5 TDs (4.4 receptions/63 yards/.6 TDs per game). Conklin would give Carson Wentz another weapon in the passing game, and if completely healthy, could push Richard Rodgers as the TE2.

Pro Comparison- Owen Daniels

10. Jaylen Samuels TE NC State- 5’11 225 lbs

Samuels is a TE by default, but in reality he’s a jack of all trades, taking handoffs, and running routes from the slot and backfield. He will be under-drafted because most teams lack the creativity to use him correctly, but that certainly won’t be an issue for the Eagles. In 4 years at NC State, Samuels racked up 2,958 yards from scrimmage and 47 total TDs. He’s recorded at least 55 receptions, 565 receiving yards, and 4 receiving TDs in 3 straight seasons showing off how consistent he is as a receiver. Undersized and lacking a true position, Samuels will need to gain weight and prove he can block in the NFL, while also flexing his special teams ability in order to stick on an active roster. Samuels would be a great replacement for former Eagle Trey Burton, as Samuels provides similar versatility and play making ability.

Pro Comparison- Smaller more versatile Delanie Walker

11. Jaleel Scott WR New Mexico St- 6’5 218 lbs

Scott is a big bodied hands catcher that projects as a jump ball specialist in the NFL, and came into his own as a senior leading the Sun Belt Conference in receptions (76) and TDs (9). Scott also has some pretty good speed (4.56 40 yard dash) for a player his size, using his long strides to gain YAC. He will need to work at his route tree and master his craft, as he won’t be able to always use his superior size/strength to overmatch NFL CBs. His height and long arms profile him as a red zone mismatch, and he’d make for a heck of a red zone package with Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey.

Pro Comparison- Kenny Golladay/ Hank Baskett

12. Shaquem Griffin LB UCF- 6’1 227 lbs

It’s crazy that because Griffin only has one hand people are willing to overlook his production  (18.5 sacks and 33.5 TFLs as a 2 year starter) and his speed (4.38 40 yard dash), even going as far as suggesting he go undrafted. If Griffin is still on the board in the 5th round, he will undoubtedly entice the Eagles brass. Griffin plays with tremendous intensity, and can rush the QB, and also drop into coverage. He does have issues holding up against the run, and he will need to improve his IQ to become more than just an athlete playing LB. Griffin would provide the Eagles with a do-it-all linebacker that can blitz, play the pass, and stop the run at least an above-average rate.

Pro Comparison- More athletic Kwon Alexander

6th round:

13. Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR South Florida- 6’4 206 lbs

Fast twitch athlete (4.37 40 yard dash) that is a height/speed combo well worth a flier in the later rounds. Valdes-Scantling cashed in his senior year, posting career highs in receptions (53), receiving yards (879), and TDs (6) going over 130 receiving yards three times in 2017. While he can lift the top off the defense, Valdes-Scantling needs to refine his route tree to incorporate more intermediate routes. Also missed a year due to injury, though he’s produced in the 2 seasons since. Marquez Valdes-Scantling would do well to sit a year behind Mike Wallace, absorbing techniques from the veteran wide receiver in order to take his game to the next level.

Pro Comparison- Less explosive Mike Wallace

14. Phillip Lindsay RB Colorado- 5’8 190 lbs

Lindsay projects as a pass catching RB in the NFL, but he also adds some juice as a scat back in the run game. Totaling 4,859 yards from scrimmage over 4 seasons, Lindsay was a do-it-all back for Colorado. Lindsay is a match-up nightmare for LBs and is a QBs best friend out the backfield, with a career 117 receptions and 1,084 career receiving yards. His small-ish body type is his biggest flag, with questions around how much of a workload he can handle in the NFL. Lindsay would be an interesting chess piece for HC Doug Pederson, and would push immediately for the “Darren Sproles” role in the Eagles offense.

Pro Comparison- Danny Woodhead

15. Michael Joseph CB Dubuque- 6’1 187 lbs

Ball hawking D3 prospect that feasted on the competition pulling in 8 INTs and deflecting 16 passes in 2017. Joseph has solid foot speed and is able to shadow receivers on quick hitting and crossing routes. Also has enough speed to run deep with faster players, though he’s at his best keeping everything in front of him. Joseph is still extremely raw, and needs to develop his press man technique to maximize his physical skill set. Joseph would be a long-term project for the Eagles that could pay huge dividends if they can coach him up to maximize his talent.

Pro Comparison- Less polished Josh Norman

16. Dominick Sanders S Georgia- 5’11 193 lbs (Music NSFW)

Safety prospect with 16 total INTs and 23 total PBUs in his 4 years with UGA, displaying his ability to make plays. Experience playing single high, down in the box, and even blitzing off the edge, Sanders offers a little of everything. Isn’t overly physical, not a punishing tackler or tone setter. Sanders can lack discipline at times and gets caught staring in the backfield, while also lacking the recovery speed to make up for critical mistakes. Sanders’s overall versatility is something that the Eagles covet, and he could push for a reserve safety role if he proves to be an NFL level special teamer.

Pro Comparison- Kurt Coleman

7th round:

17. Grant Haley CB Penn St- 5’9 190 lbs

Haley is an undersized slot prospect that’s a PSU alumni who has the fight and aggressiveness that you look for from a starting slot corner. Haley tested well at the combine, running a 4.4 40, and putting up 15 reps of 225 lbs, while also finishing well in the 3-cone drill and 20-yard shuttle. Haley drapes all over opposing receivers, using his speed and strength to physically disrupt plays as often as possible, and in 4 seasons at PSU Haley recorded 5 INTs, 2 sacks, and 22 PBUs. Haley would potentially fit a need for the Eagles, as he projects as a slot-only corner back in the NFL. The Eagles will need someone to step into the slot and compete, and Haley has the physical tools to eventually be that player.

Pro Comparison- Stronger Tavon Young

18. Joel Iyiegbuniwe LB Western Kentucky- 6’1 229 lbs

Undersized LB prospect that’s worth taking a chance on based off of his athletic profile. Iyiegbuniwe is quick to the ball, and uses good technique to bring down ball carriers. He finished 2017 with 117 total tackles, 11.5 TFLs, and 2 sacks, showing his versatility as a LB. Can get pushed around versus bigger blockers, and played versus a limited level of competition at Western Kentucky. Like most late round picks, Iyiegbuniwe will have to earn his spot first through special teams. Iyiegbuniwe is a height/speed prospect that would gain a lot from sitting a year and spending his rookie season as a reserve for the Eagles honing his techniques.

Pro Comparison- Tavares Gooden

19. Natrell Jamerson S Wisconsin- 5’11 201 lbs (Music NSFW)

Jamerson is a really interesting late round prospect, as he’s played WR, CB, and S during his time at Wisconsin. As a Senior, Jamerson showed flashes of an NFL player recording 2 INTs, 1.5 sacks, 3.5 TFLs, and 10 PBUs in 2017. He showed some anticipation as a deep safety, and also has some experience playing slot corner. Jamerson also has 784 career kick return yards and 1 career return TD. His limited reps on defense most likely means he will have to start his career on practice squad, and prove his worth as a special teams player in order to earn a spot on the active roster. His versatility though is again something the Eagles covet, and could be the reason he hears his named called in the 7th round.

Pro Comparison- Glover Quin

20. Martez Carter RB Grambling St- 5’7 193 lbs (Music NSFW)

Carter is doubly cursed because he’s diminutive and also a small school back, so no doubt he’ll be overlooked come draft day. Over his past three seasons at Grambling St, Carter averaged 874 rushing yards, 9.6 rushing TDs, while also averaging 24 receptions for 320 receiving yards, and 3 receiving TDs. Carter is a rock solid return specialist, with 2,066 career kick return yards and 4 return TDs. Carter will have to prove that he can hold up as an NFL running back, but he has the ability to earn a roster spot as a return man in camp. Burning a 7th round pick on Carter isn’t outlandish, as he can certainly provide value at that point in the draft.

Pro Comparison- Bigger and slower Tarik Cohen