March 22, 2018
With NFL free agency (mostly) in the rear-view mirror, now feels like an appropriate time to put out our third Eagles-only mock draft of the offseason.
As a reminder, the Eagles only have six draft picks this year, and none in the second or third rounds.
And as always, we don't repeat players from previous "Eagles-only" mocks:
Reid is a player that has been on my radar for quite some time, as he was among the first group of prospects we profiled in our Grocery Shopping series way back in August of last year. And then I kind of forgot about him, until the Eagles hosted him on a visit to the NovaCare Complex, at which point I remembered how good of a fit he would be in the Eagles' defense.
Reid is the little brother of San Francisco 49ers safety (and former first round pick) Eric Reid. If you read anything about Reid, you'll almost always see people refer to his "football IQ." In addition to his smarts, Reid tested really well at the 2018 NFL Combine:
His strengths, as noted by Lance Zierlein of NFL.com, read a lot like those of Malcolm Jenkins:
Offers excellent versatility. Good football intelligence. Plays with rapid response to motion and formation shifts. Rarely caught out of position. Shows ability to excel up top or near the box. Able to line up over the top of slots and drag tight ends around the field as well. Stays deeper than deepest from single high coverage. Works with NFL-caliber recognition to reaction time. Has speed and anticipation to range over top and challenge the catch. Impressive ball skills. Can sink and scoop low throws or elevate and take away the jump ball. Physical challenges to the catch point. Sprints hard from high to low to handle run support. Eludes blockers in space. Tough enough for box duties. Runs the alley and smothers running backs. Reliable wrap and drag tackler.
Here's a highlight reel:
The Eagles presently have no depth at safety behind the quality starting duo of Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. They could certainly still re-sign Corey Graham, who was a quality addition last offseason, but even if they do, they need a young safety to develop behind Jenkins and McLeod.
Next offseason, the Eagles would save a little over $5 million if they choose to move on from McLeod, so they would be wise to have a player ready to take over for him if they decided to go that route. Having two safeties as versatile as Jenkins and Reid would allow the Eagles to get more creative on defense.
Finding safeties that can do as much as Jenkins is very hard. In addition to serving as a short-term potential replacement for McLeod, Reid could serve as the long-term replacement for Jenkins, whenever his career winds down.
As far as his role in 2018, Reid would give the Eagles more opportunities to use three-safety sets, something they started to do a lot more of in 2017. He would make a lot of sense at pick No. 32.
O'Daniel is an undersized linebacker at just 223 pounds, but he is a playmaker. In 2017, he filled up the stat sheet, making 88 tackles (11.5 for loss), 5 sacks, 5 pass breakups, 2 fumble recoveries, and 2 INTs, both of which he returned for scores.
Here's a highlight reel from 2016. As you can see, O'Daniel does not play like he's undersized:
The Eagles have recently brought in a pair of safeties and converted them to linebacker, in Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry. Jim Schwartz seems to prefer athleticism to size, and O'Daniel has the speed and coverage skills he covets at the linebacker position.
O'Daniel is also thought of as one of the premier special teams standouts in this draft class, just as Mack Hollins was a year ago. He can contribute on special teams from Day 1, with the chance to become a starter at linebacker down the line.
At the running back position, the Eagles have a bigger, bruising back with some explosion in Jay Ajayi, as well as something of a well-rounded back in Corey Clement. What they lack is a home run threat, which is what Nyheim Hines can be in Philly's offense.
A highlight reel:
As you can see in the above video, Hines has great speed. At the Combine, he ran a 4.38 – that's best in the class among running backs. By comparison, Ajayi ran a 4.57, while Clement ran a 4.68. As you can also see in the video, Hines has return ability, which is an underrated need area for the Eagles this offseason.
Hines is a former receiver who transitioned to running back while at North Carolina State. He is a player the Eagles can move around the formation to create mismatches, like they did with Darren Sproles before he was lost for the year with a torn ACL.
Samuels is listed as a tight end, and sometimes he lines up as one, but that's not what I would call him. I also wouldn't necessarily call him a fullback or a running back or a wide receiver, either. He some sort of hybrid of the four, and a very talented, versatile player with good receiving ability.
Since 2015, Samuels had 195 receptions, although many of them come on shovel passes and screens, thus leading to a low yards per catch average:
He also got carries as a runner, and was productive when given opportunities:
Since 2015, Samuels has 27 touchdowns on 167 carries, which is obviously kind of ridiculous.
A highlight reel from Samuels' sophomore year in 2015:
If teams around the league view Samuels as "just" a versatile player who doesn't excel at any one thing, he could fall into the mid-to-late rounds. I think he would be an outstanding fill-in for what the Eagles lost in Trey Burton this offseason, and possibly even better.
Izzo isn't ever going to be thought of as a workout warrior, as he ran a 4.94 at the NFL Combine, in addition to some other ugly numbers:
He's also not exactly the best receiving prospect coming out of this class at the tight end position, as his best season was in 2017, when he had 20 catches for 317 yards and 3 TDs.
BUT, he can block. Here's Izzo's game vs. Mississippi in 2016, in which he had a decent day statistically as a receiver. Ignore that, and watch him as a blocker:
Izzo reminds me a bit of Brent Celek, for his willingness (and ability) to block, as well as the way he looks to dish out punishment when he has the ball in his hands. He would be a nice complementary "Y" tight end to Zach Ertz.
Callaway is a second- or third-round talent who won't even be on a number of draft boards at all, because of his off-field issues.
As a receiver, however, he is a flashy prospect with good athleticism and return ability. A highlight reel from 2015 and 2016:
As noted, Callaway comes with baggage galore. From NFL.com:
He faced a sexual assault trial between his freshman and sophomore year but was cleared of those charges before the 2016 season by admitting during the hearing he was "so stoned" he did not want to have sex with anyone. He was also cited for marijuana possession in May 2017 as a passenger in a car stopped because the driver wasn't wearing his seat belt; he pled no contest to possession of paraphernalia in July 2017. Calloway never played in 2017 because of his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with other teammates.
Yikes. Still, the Eagles have taken chances on players with off-field concerns in the past who have paid off. For example, Jalen Mills was thought of by many as a Day 2 talent, and he has quickly proven to be a legitimate NFL starting corner. The Eagles happily scooped him up in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and could strongly consider doing the same with a player of Callaway's ability if he's still there.
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