March 17, 2017
Over the next month or so, we'll be tracking the Eagles' 30 allotted pre-draft private visits to the NovaCare Complex. As information of those visits trickles in, we'll add analysis of each player. Bookmark, please.
These pre-draft visits were outstanding indicators of who the Eagles might draft during the Chip Kelly era. Last year, Carson Wentz visited the NovaCare Complex on a pre-draft visit long before the Eagles traded up to the second overall pick.
Here are the players who have either visited, or reportedly will visit the Eagles, most recently reported first:
According to Albert Breer, the Eagles are bringing in Davis in for a visit today:
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis and LSU RB Leonard Fournette also visiting Eagles today. Skill position day at Novacare. https://t.co/Xw4vL186vf— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 17, 2017
In his career at Western Michigan, Davis put up kinda decent numbers:
A highlight reel:
Davis beat the all-time MAC conference receiving record by more than 1000 yards. Is that good? That seems good. Still, Davis will face many of the same questions that Carson Wentz faced last year, coming from a smaller school.
To note, the MAC has produced receivers such as Antonio Brown (Central Michigan), Julian Edelman (Kent State), Randy Moss (Marshall, then in the MAC), Greg Jennings (Western Michigan), Brandon Marshall (Central Florida, then in the MAC), Andrew Hawkins (Toledo), and Lance Moore (Toledo).
Davis has size, speed, and he runs great routes. If there's one knock, it's that he'll have occasional drops, however, those become forgivable because he makes so many improbable acrobatic catches. Davis also did not work out either at the Combine or his Pro Day, so scouts may not have an opportunity to put a stopwatch on him before the draft.
According to Ian Rapoport, Fournette is visiting the Eagles today.
If you don't know who Fournette is, you're just not that into college football. He may have the best size-speed combo since Adrian Peterson. First, his numbers:
While Fournette doesn't have elite lateral agility and he only has 41 career receptions, just watch the highlight reel below, and tell me you wouldn't be intrigued to watch this guy run over and then away from defenders. No written analysis is going to describe what Fournette can do better than this:
Honestly, it's hard to watch that highlight reel above and not feel bad for some of the poor bastards who got trucked.
To note, in LSU's bowl game against Louisville, Fournette made the decision not to play so that he could begin to prepare (cough, not get injured) for the pros. Personally, I have no problem with that, and I doubt any NFL teams will either.
There will debates as to whether you should take a running back in (or near) the top 10, and there will be concerns that Fournette will injure himself with the reckless way he runs, but good God, when he's good to go he's a scary human being.
According to Ian Rapoport, Clemson WR Mike Williams is visiting the NovaCare Complex today.
Williams' 40 time that Rapoport is alluding to wasn't as impressive as initially reported. Most scouts, it would seem, had him closer to the 4.58 range than the 4.50 range, which is what was first reported.
Still, he'll be a sure-fire first round pick. Williams had a strong sophomore season in 2014, catching 57 passes for 1030 yards (18.1 YPC) and 6 TDs. He was poised for a huge season in 2015 when he broke his neck against Wofford in the season opener after being pushed into the goal post on what was a touchdown reception.
He missed the remainder of the season, and there was a question as to whether he'd ever play again. After healing, Williams was ready for the start of the 2016 season, and he caught 98 passes for 1361 yards and 11 TDs. A highlight reel:
At 6'4, 218 pounds, although he's not a speed demon, Williams has the prototypical size for an NFL receiver, with good hands, body control and the ability to win contested catches.
I do wonder, however, if his skill set is too close to that of Alshon Jeffery's for the Eagles to have as much interest as they would have, pre-Alshon.
According to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com, the Eagles are bringing in Florida State running back Dalvin Cook for a visit:
FSU RB Dalvin Cook is in Philly for a pre-draft visit with the Eagles, source says. Possible addition after WR upgrades in free agency.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 17, 2017
Dalvin Cook is really good. In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Seminoles lost QB Jameis Winston, RB Karlos Williams, C Cameron Erving, OG Tre' Jackson, OT Bobby Hart, WR Rashad Greene, and TE Nick O'Leary. Cook was the focus of opposing defenses, and he still ran for a ridiculous 7.4 yards per carry.
In 2016, Cook continued to pile up big numbers:
He also had 34 catches for 488 yards (a lofty 14.8 YPC for a running back) and 1 TD in 2016.
Cook is a near-complete back, who has speed and some power, as well as the ability to make plays in the passing game out of the backfield. Perhaps his best strength is his combination of vision and lateral quickness to find (and hit) open holes, which is on display in the highlight reel below:
Cook also has some significant red flags, which we expanded on in much greater detail in February:
• Generally speaking, the lifespan of an NFL running back is short.
• People will point to the recent success of Ezekiel Elliott, but running backs drafted highly can be busts (and often are), just like any other position.
• He fumbles a lot. In 2016, Cook had six fumbles. During his college career as a whole, he had 12 fumbles.
• He has had surgery on his right shoulder twice since 2014. He also injured his left shoulder in high school.
• He has negative off-the-field history, which also has to be seriously considered and thoroughly investigated by any team drafting him.
• The 2017 running back class is stacked. There will be good running backs in round three, four, and five in this draft.
• He had a very disappointing Combine performance. His spider chart:
In addition to all of the above, the Eagles haven't drafted a running back in the first round since 1986 (Keith Byars). Furthermore, teams that employed Joe Douglas drafted a running back every year from 2006 to 2016. During that span, one was a second round pick, one was a third, and the rest were all drafted in round four or later. Five made the Pro Bowl. While Douglas may not have been calling the shots in those drafts, he has certainly seen his share of later round running backs have success in the NFL.
I know a lot of Eagles fans love the idea of taking Cook in the first round, but I wouldn't get your hopes up on that one.
According to Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, the Eagles are bringing in Alabama stud LB Reuben Foster for a visit. Alabama has churned out their share of inside linebackers the last seven years:
Foster was the next man up, playing in the middle of Bama's defense. He's likely a WILL at the next level in a 4-3. If the Eagles had interest, they could leave Jordan Hicks right where he is at the MIKE spot, and move Bradham to a diminished role as the SAM, or just release him.
A highlight reel:
Foster is an awesome player, who is likely to be gone by the time the Eagles pick at 14/15. If he's still there when the Eagles are in the clock, there's a decent chance he'll be the "best available player," and too good to pass up. He's an intimidating thumper, but he also has speed, ability in coverage, and was a special teams standout while he waited his turn to be "the guy" in the middle of the Crimson Tide defense. He and Hicks would be an outstanding pair of linebackers.
According to Matt Zenitz of AL.com, Alabama edge rusher visited the NovaCare Complex.
Ryan Anderson was in Philadelphia today for a pre-draft visit with the Eagles, per a source https://t.co/0ouvosCRdA— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) March 14, 2017
It would appear that some project him to play SAM in a 4-3, via Lance Zierlein's scouting reports on NFL.com:
SOURCES TELL US: "Size is more suited for 4-3 SAM but he could play some rush outside backer in a 3-4. He would fit Baltimore and Pittsburgh as a 3-4 SAM, too." -- NFC area scout
I don't see 4-3 SAM as Anderson's best fit with the Eagles. Anderson is a pass rusher, who had 9 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, and 19 tackles for loss a year ago. In 2016, the Eagles blitzed Mychal Kendricks a grand total of 9 times all season, despite that being arguably his best skill. If the Eagles were to have interest in Anderson, it would likely be as a DE, although he certainly doesn't have ideal size for the position.
This is an interesting visit, as Anderson is seemingly a better fit in a 3-4 defense.
According to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, Ross squeezed in a visit to Philly before he was scheduled to have shoulder surgery. Here were two different quotes from the piece.
"I got a chance to talk to the whole (Eagles) offensive staff, pretty much, coach (Frank) Reich, coach (Mike) Groh, coach (Doug) Pederson. It was exciting," Ross said.
"I was a fan of the Eagles because they got DeSean," Ross said.
Ross was our pick in the first round in our "Eagles only mock draft, version 3.0." Go check out the more detailed write-up on him and his fit with the Eagles there.
As always, no matter who you mock to the Eagles, some percentage of the fan base is not going to like it. For those of you who don't like Ross, I hate to break it to you but he is absolutely going to get strong consideration from the Eagles at 14.
According to Chase Goodbread of NFL.com, Humphrey's first visit will be with the Eagles.
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey's first club visit: Philadelphia #Eagles. Arrives 3/14. No private workouts scheduled yet.— Chase Goodbread (@ChaseGoodbread) March 8, 2017
Humphrey was the first round selection in our Eagles only mock draft, version 2.0. He has great athleticism, and at 6'0, 197, he has good size. He's about as physical a corner as you'll find in this draft class, and is only 20 years old. Here's Humphrey's game against USC this season. It's a quick, two-minute video.
I think I can see Jim Schwartz being interested in that guy.
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