Sunday, December 21, 2014

Who should Eagles be watching at combine?

Trying to figure out right now what the Eagles will do with their first-round pick (24th overall) in the April draft is next to impossible, since they have no idea right now what they might do. But here are eight players to keep an eye on at this week’s scouting combine who could be on their first-round radar in 2 months: Mike Iupati, G, Idaho 6-5 1/4, 325 The top-rated interior lineman in the draft. Scouts feel he can be a Day 1 starter and an eventual Pro Bowl-calibre player. Eagles have a lot of issues up front with the Andrews brothers and injured center Jamaal Jackson. Earl Thomas, S, Texas 5-11-198 Neither Macho Harris nor Quintin Demps proved he is capable of filling Brian Dawkins’ free safety shoes. The Eagles almost certainly will take a safety early in the draft. The question is how early. Safety is one of this draft’s deeper positions, and they may feel they can wait until the second or third round to take one. Tennessee’s Eric Berry is the best safety in the draft, but won’t make it out of the top 10, maybe even the top 5. Thomas has jumped ahead of Taylor Mays, USC’s looks-like-Tarzan-plays-like-Jane safety on most pre-combine draft boards. He’s undersized, but that’s really his only issue. He’s a terrific playmaker. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida 6-4 3/4, 316 Considered the best center in the draft. He can also play guard. As with Iupati, he would give the Eagles some flexibility inside if Jackson isn’t ready to return next September or the Eagles pull the plug on Stacy Andrews. Nate Allen, S, South Florida 6-foot 5/8, 205 Allen has the size that Thomas lacks. Considered a late-first or early-second-rounder. His workouts in Indy and at his Pro Day will go a long way in determining how high he climbs. C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson 5-10 3/4, 196 This is an intriguing guy. He’s a younger, healthier Brian Westbrook who would be a terrific compliment to LeSean McCoy. Spiller is explosive and can line up anywhere in the formation and make big plays. Had 52 career TDs at Clemson, including a DeSean-like 21 of 50 yards or more. Almost certainly wouldn’t make it down to the Eagles at 24, but might still be there as late as 15. Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise St. 5-10, 190 Eagles gave up a disturbing 27 TD passes last season. You can only blame so many of them on the safety play. Eagles need to find another outside guy who can cover. The draft’s top corner, Florida’s Joe Haden, won’t make it out of the top 10, but Wilson is good and gettable. Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers 5-10 3/4, 186 Another excellent cover guy who has moved into the first-round conversation. He can turn and run with receivers out of press coverage, has above-average ball skills and is a sound tackler. Everson Griffen, DE, USC 6-3, 272 Left end Juqua Parker finished second on the team in sacks (8) and hurries (21), but isn’t an every down player. Victor Abiamiri can’t stay healthy long enough for the Eagles to find out if he is. Griffen is an intriguing first-round option for them.

Who should Eagles be watching at combine?

Trying to figure out right now what the Eagles will do with their first-round pick (24th overall) in the April draft is next to impossible, since they have no idea right now what they might do. But here are eight players to keep an eye on at this week’s scouting combine who could be on their first-round radar in 2 months:

Mike Iupati, G, Idaho
6-5 1/4, 325
The top-rated interior lineman in the draft. Scouts feel he can be a Day 1 starter and an eventual Pro Bowl-calibre player. Eagles have a lot of issues up front with the Andrews brothers and injured center Jamaal Jackson.

Earl Thomas, S, Texas
5-11-198
Neither Macho Harris nor Quintin Demps proved he is capable of filling Brian Dawkins’ free safety shoes. The Eagles almost certainly will take a safety early in the draft. The question is how early. Safety is one of this draft’s deeper positions, and they may feel they can wait until the second or third round to take one. Tennessee’s Eric Berry is the best safety in the draft, but won’t make it out of the top 10, maybe even the top 5. Thomas has jumped ahead of Taylor Mays, USC’s looks-like-Tarzan-plays-like-Jane safety on most pre-combine draft boards. He’s undersized, but that’s really his only issue. He’s a terrific playmaker.

Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida

6-4 3/4, 316
Considered the best center in the draft. He can also play guard. As with Iupati, he would give the Eagles some flexibility inside if Jackson isn’t ready to return next September or the Eagles pull the plug on Stacy Andrews.

Nate Allen, S, South Florida
6-foot 5/8, 205
Allen has the size that Thomas lacks. Considered a late-first or early-second-rounder. His workouts in Indy and at his Pro Day will go a long way in determining how high he climbs.

C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
5-10 3/4, 196
This is an intriguing guy. He’s a younger, healthier Brian Westbrook who would be a terrific compliment to LeSean McCoy. Spiller is explosive and can line up anywhere in the formation and make big plays. Had 52 career TDs at Clemson, including a DeSean-like 21 of 50 yards or more. Almost certainly wouldn’t make it down to the Eagles at 24, but might still be there as late as 15.

Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise St.
5-10, 190
Eagles gave up a disturbing 27 TD passes last season. You can only blame so many of them on the safety play. Eagles need to find another outside guy who can cover. The draft’s top corner, Florida’s Joe Haden, won’t make it out of the top 10, but Wilson is good and gettable.

Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
5-10 3/4, 186
Another excellent cover guy who has moved into the first-round conversation. He can turn and run with receivers out of press coverage, has above-average ball skills and is a sound tackler.

Everson Griffen, DE, USC
6-3, 272
Left end Juqua Parker finished second on the team in sacks (8) and hurries (21), but isn’t an every down player. Victor Abiamiri can’t stay healthy long enough for the Eagles to find out if he is. Griffen is an intriguing first-round option for them.
 

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To read our previous report on Brian Westbrook's radio interview, click here.

Paul Domowitch Daily News NFL Columnist
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