While the NFL's attention is on the Super Bowl showdown between the Patriots and the Rams, the Eagles are focused on doing what it will take to get back to the championship game next season and for years to come.
The college all-star game circuit drew to a close over the weekend with the conclusion of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. The draft prospects are now training for the NFL Scouting Combine which kicks off February 26 in Indianapolis. Here are the players who were honored as the Practice Players of the Week at the Senior Bowl. Keep an eye on these names throughout the remainder of the draft process as cornerstone players like quarterback Carson Wentz and tackle Lane Johnson significantly boosted their draft stock after outstanding performances in Mobile.
Overall Practice Player of the Week: T Chuma Edoga, USC – "This is usually a really good showcase for offensive linemen that can protect the passer and that's exactly what he did this week. ... He had a great week. He's really talented. He played right tackle at USC and came down here and showed he can play left," said Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy. Fran Duffy and I spent the week in Mobile and both loved Edoga's performance, but both gave the overall award to South Carolina wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
Quarterback of the Week: Jarrett Stidham, Auburn – "I thought he would come down here and light it up and really show off his arm talent and he did. He showed accuracy. He showed touch. He showed he could drive the football," Nagy said. Duffy agreed with Nagy. I went with The Stache, Gardner Minshew of Washington State.
Running Back of the Week: Dexter Williams, Notre Dame – "Dexter Williams had a great week. He really showed off his burst," Nagy said. Duffy and I went with Michigan's Karan Higdon. Duffy thought Higdon really stood out in pass protection drills.
Wide Receiver of the Week: Deebo Samuel, South Carolina – "Deebo consistently got open and made plays. At the beginning of the year when we scouted him, you could see he was having some lingering effects from a leg injury last year. But now, really these last couple of months, he looks totally back and he showed it this week," Nagy said. Duffy and I thought Samuel was the best player in Mobile and gave him the overall award. For wide receiver, we were both impressed with Ohio State's Terry McLaurin.
Tight End of the Week: Foster Moreau, LSU – "He's a do-it-all tight end. He can play on the end of the line of scrimmage. He can move people and block people. I think he showed more in the pass game than he was really allowed at LSU," Nagy said. Moreau did show he can be more than a blocker, but Duffy and I went with Washington's Drew Sample.
Offensive Lineman of the Week: Garrett Bradbury, N.C. State – "Garrett Bradbury was a guy who stood out consistently. Really quick off the ball. He looks quick on tape. He looks quicker out here on the practice field," Nagy said. Duffy went with Alabama State's Tytus Howard and I went with Edoga.
Defensive Lineman of the Week: Isaiah Buggs, Alabama – "He was really difficult to block. They did a lot of three-man blocking combos, run game. He really stood out," Nagy said. Another one we were all split. Duffy went with TCU's L.J. Collier, while I chose Arizona State's Renell Wren.
Linebacker of the Week: Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame – "Former safety and you saw that former safety in some of the coverage stuff. He was the one guy who was able to consistently stick with people. He's going to play on third down right away at the next level," Nagy said. Duffy agreed. Tranquill was my favorite interview of the week. I went with Terrill Hanks of New Mexico State.
Defensive Back of the Week: Darnell Savage, Maryland – "He had a great week. Can play slot. Can play free safety. Really got his hands on a bunch of balls. He was fun to watch," Nagy said. I had fun watching Kentucky's Lonnie Johnson battle all week and gave him the nod. Duffy chose Washburn's Corey Ballentine.
From the game itself, Duke quarterback Daniel Jones was the MVP leading the North team to the win. Wide receiver Andy Isabella took home Most Outstanding Player honors for the North squad, while Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson was the South's Most Outstanding Player.
As for the six players who helped their draft stock the most, Duffy and Tony Pauline of DraftAnalyst.com chose the following: T Andre Dillard, Washington State; LB Terrill Hanks, New Mexico State; WR Penny Hart, Georgia State; T Tytus Howard, Alabama State; CB Lonnie Johnson, Kentucky; and DT Renell Wren, Arizona State. You can hear their reasons below.
The Eagles are now preparing for their February draft meetings. The personnel department will review their findings from the all-star game circuit. However, the scouts must work on the record 135 underclassmen who declared and incorporate those reports into the mix.
"Our guys have done a great job of honing in on the guys who could come out from the fall, so they've gotten their eyes on them, got a little bit of a head start there," vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said.
The personnel department met with the coaching staff prior to the Senior Bowl to review each position group's performance in the 2018 season. The coaches are currently evaluating free agent prospects before diving into tape of the draft hopefuls. Douglas offers a window into the collaborative process between the scouts and the coaching staff.
"Our coaches have a lot of passion for evaluating these young college guys," Douglas said. "They play a big role in determining who the best Eagle will be on draft day."
There is no true offseason for the Eagles. After coming up short of reaching their ultimate goal, the work is being done behind the scenes to lay the foundation for the 2019 campaign.