With the 123rd pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected cornerback Zech McPhearson out of Texas Tech.
The 23-year-old Columbia, Maryland native was a first-team All-Big 12 selection and team captain as a senior after notching 53 tackles and four interceptions. A two-year starter for the Red Raiders, McPhearson finished his college career with 120 tackles, 18 pass deflections, and the four picks. He also scored two touchdowns in his college career (fumble return, blocked field goal return) and blocked two extra points in 2019.
"The type of player I am, I am what you call a versatile player. I'm not constrained to just one position. I'd definitely say I'm a savvy, athletic defensive back who's willing to tackle and make plays on the ball," McPhearson said during a virtual conference call. "I'm just thankful to be here. I'm definitely motivated no matter where I went. I always got a chip on my shoulder. That's just the type of person I am. That motivation, that stuff comes from within. I don't need any type of stimulant. I got it going inside me, so, yeah."
At 5-10, 196 pounds, McPhearson has experience playing both outside and in the slot. He started his college career at Penn State before transferring to Texas Tech in 2019. He earned his undergraduate degree at Penn State and was working toward his master's at Texas Tech.
"Leaving Penn State, it was definitely a tough decision," McPhearson said. "I ended up graduating and just grad transferring out of there. It was nothing with them, but it was just something I knew I could play on a big stage and I needed more film to get to this level that I am now."
McPhearson comes from an incredibly athletic family:
• Mother, Kim, played running back and offensive line in the National Women's Football League.
• Father, Gerrick, played defensive back at Boston College and in the NFL with the Patriots.
• Sister, Kimberly, plays soccer at UW-Green Bay.
• Brother, Gerrick Jr, played safety at Maryland and was drafted by the Giants in 2006.
• Brother, Derrick, played WR at Illinois and spent time in the Milwaukee Brewers' farm system.
• Brother, Emmanuel, played defensive back at New Mexico.
• Brother, Matthew, spent six years in the Yankees' and Diamondbacks' farm systems before switching to football at Texas Tech.
• Brother Jeremiah, played football at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
• Brother, Joshua, was Saquon Barkley's backup at Penn State before a CFL stint in 2018.
"Definitely having a lot of brothers and even my parents who played at the professional level has helped me. Just being the youngest sibling and absorbing all the information they got and being there and learning from them has definitely helped me," Zech said. "I would definitely say leaning on my brothers who played on the big stage, too, they have a lot of information and a lot of tips and keys that have helped me along my journey."
"The board fell – the way that fell to us was outstanding, and exciting how it came to be. We like him, his versatility, ability to play outside, his ability to play inside, his ball skills, football intelligence. He's a team captain. He's a guy we got on (Southwest Area Scout) Shawn Heinlen, does an excellent job mining the information on Zech and really brought him to the surface with us," said Andy Weidl.