Sunday, December 21, 2014

Eagles draft buzz

Before we update some of the most recent draft visits and workouts, a couple notes on potential first-round options for the Birds.

Eagles draft buzz

Could the Eagles target Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the first round? (AP Photo)
Could the Eagles target Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick in the first round? (AP Photo)

Before we update some of the most recent draft visits and workouts, a couple notes on potential first-round options for the Birds.

I got a chance to take a closer look at Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who many are mocking to the Eagles with the 15th pick. And I really liked what I saw.

In the games I watched, Cox (6-4, 298) consistently made plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. He finished 2011 with 14.5 tackles for loss, third-most among SEC defensive linemen. I'm guessing Jim Washburn is drooling over Cox's athleticism and versatility. He lined up at both tackle and end at Mississippi State. I even saw Cox drop back into coverage once (not that he'd be asked to do that under Washburn, but it still shows his athleticism).

I know the mock drafts generally swing and miss at the Eagles' pick, but if Cox is there at 15, I have to think there's a strong possibility the Eagles snag him.

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Moving the Chains: List of Eagles draft visits

If you're wondering about the other defensive tackles, I'm going to try and take a look at them in the next couple days and will offer up my impressions in future blog posts.

Another guy I watched recently was Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick. Cornerback is an extremely difficult position to evaluate off of TV because camera angles often only show the player when he's thrown at or makes a tackle. But Kirkpatrick (6-2, 186) is definitely a physical player who runs to contact, instead of away from it (which we saw a lot of with the Eagles last season).

But the Birds would likely have to get creative in how they used Kirkpatrick in his rookie season. From the games I watched and the scouting reports I've read, there's no indication that he'd be effective as a slot cornerback. He could probably be used to against tight ends, or at right cornerback if Nnamdi Asomugha covered tight ends. Some project Kirkpatrick as a safety, so he does have versatility.

As I've mentioned multiple times, Asante Samuel will likely be traded, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie enters the final year of his contract. Asomugha will be 31 when next season starts. The Eagles spent a third-round pick on Curtis Marsh last year, but Kirkpatrick could provide depth and versatility, while eventually working himself into a starter's role.

DRAFT VISITS AND WORKOUTS

In my post yesterday, I wrote that it wouldn't surprise me if the Eagles drafted a playmaker on offense in the first two rounds.

One of the top wide receiver prospects on the board, Georgia Tech's Stephen Hill, told Sirius XM NFL Radio that he's visited with the Birds (thanks to BGN for the link).

Hill (6-4, 215) ran a 4.36 40 at the combine, which was tied for the fastest time among wide receivers. Playing in Georgia Tech's run-heavy offense, he had only 28 catches as a senior, but made the most of them, averaging 29.3 yards per reception. Mike Mayock of NFL Network has Hill ranked as his fourth-best wide receiver prospect.

Because of the system he played in, Hill is a difficult player to evaluate. Combine that with the fact that he's coming out as a junior, and it makes sense that the Eagles and other teams would need to do extra homework on him. But if the Birds go wide receiver early, my guess is they'd want someone to complement their current weapons a little better. Based on the scouting report on Hill, it seems like he'd be primarily a vertical threat, like DeSean Jackson, except that he has excellent size. He is expected to be taken in the first two rounds.

Meanwhile, Utah State linebacker Bobby Wagner has visited the Eagles, according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com. The Eagles also sent linebackers coach Mike Caldwell to his Pro Day, per the report.

Wagner (6-0, 241) was named MVP of the North team at the Senior Bowl, but did not participate in the combine because he had pneumonia. He was a four-year starter in college and three-time All-WAC selection. The Eagles added DeMeco Ryans to play the middle, but they've made no upgrades at SAM or WILL. Wagner could be a fit there. He is expected to go in the second or third round.

The Eagles are also scheduled to host Wagner's teammate, running back Robert Turbin, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Turbin (5-10, 222) ran for 1,517 yards and averaged 6.1 yards per carry as a senior. He also caught 17 balls for 171 yards and accounted for 23 total touchdowns. Per the report, he suffered a torn capsule at the bottom of his big toe in 2007 and a torn ACL in 2010. He's expected to be a mid-round pick.

Digging deeper, the Eagles have held a private workout with small-school wide receiver Cody Pearcy, according to The Montgomery Advertiser. Pearcy (5-11, 160) played his college ball at Division III Huntingdon College. At his Pro Day, Pearcy was clocked at a 4.31 40 and had a vertical leap of 44 inches, per the report.  He's looking to catch on somewhere as an undrafted free agent.

The Eagles also held an individual workout with Wisconsin offensive tackle Josh Oglesby, according to the Badgers' Web site. Oglesby (6-7, 338) has battled knee injuries and is expected to be a late-round pick or undrafted free agent.

"A few teams in Indy said it was up to their medical staff on whether or not I'm slotted in the draft,'' he said "Hopefully someone can put aside the knee problems and just grade the player. It all depends on who's willing to take a chance."

Oglesby was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last season.

I will be updating my master list of Eagles draft visits and workouts later today.


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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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