The NFL Draft is just over a month away. The Eagles have nine total picks, with four of those coming in the top 100. A lot of the focus is on what the team will do with its first-round pick, No. 8 overall. That makes sense because the Eagles have a chance to land an impact player, but don't overlook the other picks. Just think back to last April.
The Eagles spent their first-round pick on wide receiver Nelson Agholor. He was an outstanding prospect and the hope was that he would be a solid contributor right away. Injuries hampered his development. Jordan Hicks was picked in the third round. People wondered why the Eagles would take an inside linebacker that high with DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso already on the roster. Hicks picked up the defense very quickly and became an integral player once he got on the field. You never know where you are going to find good players.
Let's talk about some players outside of the first round who could fit the Eagles.
In recent years, there have not been many interesting quarterbacks outside of the first round. This year is different. There are quite a few players who the Eagles could like. Dak Prescott just concluded a great career at Mississippi State. He has excellent mobility and has come a long way as a passer. Prescott would need a couple of years of development before he could play at the NFL level. He would be a good fit for the West Coast offense.
I like Brandon Allen from Arkansas as a mid-round prospect. He isn't physically special, but he's a talented passer who played well as a senior and then had a good showing at the Senior Bowl and Combine. Allen reminds me somewhat of Chase Daniel. Allen is an accurate passer and has played in a pro-style attack. Kevin Hogan is another quarterback I like. He makes up for a lack of ideal arm strength by making excellent decisions and taking advantage of all of his experience. Doug Pederson has talked about wanting to have his quarterbacks make adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Hogan did a good job of that at Stanford and would make sense as a potential target.
As of now, the Eagles could use another running back. I love Kenneth Dixon. The problem is that I have the Louisiana Tech star rated as a second-round prospect. The Eagles don't have a second-round pick right now. It is possible that Dixon could slide to the third round. If so, the Eagles could be very interested. Dixon was incredibly durable and versatile in college. He ran for 72 touchdowns in his career and was a terrific receiver. He would be a great fit in Philadelphia.
One mid-round prospect I like is running back Wendell Smallwood from West Virginia. I'm not sure if he can be a starter in the NFL, but he could be a very good role player. Smallwood was the Big 12's leading rusher in 2015 and caught 68 career passes. He has kickoff return experience as well. Smallwood is 208 pounds and has a good combination of speed and quickness.
This isn't the best receiver class, but there are good mid-round prospects. Leonte Carroo of Rutgers is 211 pounds and the kind of physical receiver that works well in the West Coast offense. He lacks explosive speed, but is good after the catch. Malcolm Mitchell from Georgia isn't quite as big, but he is faster than Carroo. Mitchell is a high-character guy and has a better feel for running routes than players who came from spread offenses.
If the Eagles want speed, TCU's Kolby Listenbee would make sense. He ran 4.39 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, second fastest among receivers. Listenbee only caught 74 passes in his career, but did average more than 19 yards per reception. Defenses have to pay attention to his speed when he's on the field.
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The Eagles added Brandon Brooks in free agency, but still need young talent for the line. Le'Raven Clark played left tackle for Texas Tech for the past three years. Played right guard the season before that. Clark has a good combination of size and athleticism. If he can't play tackle in the NFL, Clark has a chance to start on the inside.
Graham Glasgow played center and guard at Michigan. He could offer some insurance in case anything happens to Jason Kelce, while also adding depth at guard. Glasgow has a big frame at 6-6 and 307 pounds. He isn't special athletically, but moves well enough to play in the Eagles' offense.
The Eagles could use some help on the defensive side of the football as well. You can never have enough defensive linemen in the 4-3. Penn State star Carl Nassib would be an excellent fit in Jim Schwartz's attacking scheme. Nassib is huge at 6-7 and 277 pounds. He led the nation in sacks with 15.5 and is the kind of relentless rusher who Schwartz loves. Nassib reminds me of Kyle Vanden Bosch, who starred for Schwartz.
Matt Judon was a dominant player for Grand Valley State, a Division II school. While he didn't face elite competition, there is no disputing the fact he has NFL ability. He had an excellent showing at the Combine and NFL teams were all over his Pro Day.
The Eagles might prefer to add a defensive tackle. Anthony Zettel played at PSU with Nassib. Zettel can play end or tackle and is the kind of disruptive player who is ideal in the Eagles' one-gap, attacking scheme.
Javon Hargrave is another small-school player. He was dominant for South Carolina State and then stood out at the Shrine Game. He lacks ideal size at 6-1 and 309 pounds, but could be a good fit because he is stout enough to play nose tackle, while also being quick and disruptive. That would allow him to switch to the 3-technique spot if needed. Hargrave finished his career with an amazing 37 sacks. No matter what level of football, you just don't hear about defensive tackles with that kind of production.
If the Eagles want to add some depth at linebacker, Temple star Tyler Matakevich could be interesting as a backup. He lacks ideal speed, especially for the outside, but was incredibly productive and was a big-time leader for the Owls. He could also be very good on special teams.
Nick Kwiatkoski from West Virginia could be an ideal target. He played all over for them and is a versatile player. He can blitz, cover and play the run. Kwiatkoski isn't special athletically and doesn't stand out in any area, but he could be a terrific backup at all three linebacker spots.
If you want a small-school prospect with athleticism and upside, Terrell Williams from Youngstown State (Ron Jaworski's alma mater) is your guy. Williams played end for them, but at 6-2 and 242 pounds he will shift to linebacker in the NFL. He does a good job of shedding blocks and finding the football. Williams posted great numbers at his Pro Day. He is a project, but a talented one.
The Eagles have their best safety duo in a while, but still could look for another one in the draft. Kevin Byard from Middle Tennessee State would make some sense. He is a muscular 216 pounds and can hit/tackle. Byard also is a bit of a ball hawk, finishing his career with 19 interceptions.
K.J. Dillon caught my eye at the Senior Bowl. He was overshadowed by teammate Karl Joseph at West Virginia, but Dillon is a legitimate NFL prospect in his own right. He is 210 pounds and ran 4.53 at the Combine. Dillon can play the slot if needed. He will hit and tackle. He also has some experience as a returner.
The Eagles have a lot of corners, even some young ones. I don't know if they want to add to that position outside first-round targets, but if they do, Sean Davis from Maryland would be of possible interest. He can play corner or safety. He has a good combination of size and athleticism. Davis is an outstanding tackler. You won't see many corners who play like he does. He lacks elite cover skills, but is solid in that area.
Another corner of interest could be Taveze Calhoun from Mississippi State. He isn't an ideal athlete, but started for three years and is ultra-competitive. He is also an outstanding student. Calhoun can make plays in the passing game and will also help out in the run game.
The Eagles have a chance to continue an outstanding offseason when the draft rolls around. They have plenty of picks and lots of options. It will be exciting to see how things play out.