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March 24, 2016

Eagles pre-draft private visit tracker

Eagles NFL
032416HowieRoseman Michael Perez/AP

What names are swirling around in Howie's head?

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. We'll find out soon enough how predictive they are under Doug Pederson.

Here are the players who have either visited, or reportedly will visit the Eagles, most recently reported first:

Steven Daniels, LB, Boston College (5'11, 243)

Source: Jared Tokarz (h/t BGN)

In 2013, Daniels finished third on his team with 88 tackles. In 2014, he was second with 72 tackles. And in 2015, he led the Eagles' defense with 82 tackles.

Daniels will not wow anyone with his measurables, as he is only 5'11, and he ran a 4.86 40 at the NFL Combine. Daniels' spider chart:

Bleh. However, much like some of the defenders the Eagles have brought in to play in Jim Schwartz's defense this offseason, Daniels can thump:

The Eagles desperately need linebacker depth, and Daniels could be a late-round fit to play behind Jordan Hicks at the MIKE spot.

Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia (6'0, 198)

Source: Aaron Wilson, National Football Post

As we've noted, the Eagles appear to specifically be targeting speed receiver in this draft. Throw another one on the pile in Mitchell, who ran the fifth best 40 time at the Combine among a group of 44 receivers.

In his final season at Georgia, Mitchell caught 58 passes for 865 yards and 5 TDs. Mitchell was a player who impressed me at the week of Senior Bowl practices:

One receiver who has looked good early on is Georgia's Malcolm Mitchell. He got open deep a few times, but the quarterback didn't see him, and he made an impressive one-handed sideline grab on a wobbly throw, while keeping his feet in bounds.

Mitchell's health will be evaluated as much as his play on the field, as he tore an ACL in 2013. A highlight reel:

Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State (6'0, 225)

Source: Elliott himself, on NFL Network

We covered Elliott's visit in its own post. You can check that out here.

Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (6'7, 244)

Source: Sal Paolantonio, ESPN (via 97.5 the Fanatic)

Like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff below, we have covered Lynch extensively. To read more about Lynch's fit with the Eagles, check out our Eagles-only mock draft 2.0.

Daryl Worley, CB, West Virginia (6'1, 204)

Source: Greg Madia,

Worley led the Mountaineers with six INTs in 2015, a season after picking off three passes in 2014. He has very good size at 6'1 to go along with 33.5" arms, and good ball skills. However, he ran a terrible 4.64 40 at the NFL Combine.

He also has some character concerns, in that he missed a bowl game for academic reasons, and has an off-the-field incident in which he was accused of assaulting a female. Teams will have to investigate what happened there.

The Eagles have not been shy about considering character concern players, as it was reported previously (see below) that they checked out Florida's Demarcus Robinson and LSU's Rashard Robinson.

Nick Kwiatkowski, LB, West Virginia (6'2, 243)

Source: Tim McManus, Philly Mag

The Eagles gave Kwiatkowski a little extra attention at the Senior Bowl, and then they reportedly met with him at West Virginia's pro day. Now they'll have him in for a visit. Obviously, the Eagles have interest, which makes sense considering their lack of depth at linebacker. Over the last three seasons, Kwiatkowski has racked up 275 tackles, with good pass breakup numbers in 2015 from his linebacker spot:

Nick Kwiatkowski Tackles Sacks FF PBU 
 2014103 0.5 
 TOTAL275 5.5 11 

Kwiatkowski played safety in high school, and then all three linebacker spots as well as special teams for the Mountaineers. That versatility could make him a mid- to late-round target as a versatile reserve linebacker. He is also a physical tackler, which was a common theme from the acquisition the Eagles made in free agency for Jim Schwartz's defense.

Carson Wentz, QB North Dakota State (6'5, 237)

Source: Adam Caplan, ESPN

We've written so much about Carson Wentz by now, that it just feels like overkill here, but clearly the Eagles have heavy interest in taking a quarterback in the 2016 NFL Draft, and may even do so with a top 10 pick.

To read more on Wentz's fit with the Eagles, check out our Eagles only mock draft 3.0, when Carson Wentz was the Eagles' first round pick.

Jared Goff, QB, California (6'4, 215)

Source: Adam Caplan, ESPN

Again, like Wentz above, we've covered Goff at length. To read more on Goff's fit with the Eagles, check out our Eagles only mock draft 5.0, when he was the pick.

Demarcus Robinson, WR, Florida (6'1, 203)

Source: Mike Kaye, First Coast News

Robinson was suspended four times during his career at Florida, which is interesting. One of the previously profiled players below, LSU CB Rashard Robinson, also missed a big chunk of playing time because of off-the-field incidents. Are Doug Pederson's Eagles willing to overlook character flaws in favor of talent? That would be a complete 180 from the Chip Kelly days.

Robinson's career numbers are somewhat unimpressive, partly because he missed time due to his aforementioned suspensions.

 Demarcus RobinsonRec Yards YPC TD 
 201323 4.6 
 201453 810 15.3 
 201548 522 10.9 
 TOTAL106 1355 12.8 

27 receivers had more TD receptions last season than Robinson had in his entire collegiate career.

Still, Robinson does have talent. He is thought of as a speed guy, although he only ran a 4.59 40 at the Combine. You can see his athleticism here:

And then there's also Howie's #GatorBias.

Paul Perkins, RB, UCLA (5'10, 208)

Source: SiriusXM NFL radio (h/t BGN)

Perkins is a player we profiled extensively in our Eagles only mock draft, version 4.0. In the interest of saving you the click, here's what we said:

Perkins carried the load for UCLA over the last two seasons for the Bruins.

Paul Perkins Rush Yards YPC TD 
 2014251 1575 6.3 
 2015237 1343 5.7 14 
 TOTAL488 2918 6.0 23 

However, it is unlikely he'll be used as a workhorse back in the NFL. Perkins has a lot of LeSean McCoy in his game, as he is a very shifty runner who often makes defenders completely whiff on tackle attempts. Here is my personal favorite example, against Stanford:

Juke, hurdle, juke, juke, open space.

Perkins is also effective as a receiver, as he had 80 receptions over his three-year college career, although those mainly came on simple short passes.

Perkins is probably not a three-down back, as he is not a runner who is going to consistently fall forward after contact. That is likely going to force him off the field in short yardage and goal line situations at the pro level. There will also be concerns about his ability to pass protect because of his small size, although he was a willing blocker at UCLA.

Because he is likely to "only" be a back who is part of a committee, that may push him down some draft boards, but he could be very good as a committee back, and would constitute good value in the fourth round.

Yannick Ngakoue, Edge rusher, Maryland (6'2, 252)

Source: Turron Davenport, USA Today

In 2015, Ngakoue had 13 sacks, however, that number is a little misleading. If you watch Ngakoue's highlight reel, you'll see that most of his sacks came on plays in which he was either unblocked, or the quarterback held onto it for an excessive amount of time. Ideally, you'd like to see a pass rush prospect soundly beating their OT opponent, and that's just not very evident in the video below.

Still, the Eagles are likely to load up on "fastballs," and Ngakoue could be a late round target.

Deion Jones, LB, LSU (6'1, 222)

Source: Alex Marvez, FOX Sports (h/t BGN)

As we pointed out in our Eagles depth chart preview, linebacker is a very underrated need heading into the draft. The Eagles desperately need linebacker depth. After the starters, the Birds have Najee Goode and not much else.

 Nigel BradhamJordan Hicks Mychal Kendricks 
 Brandon Hepburn Deontae Skinner Najee Goode

Jones doesn't have good size, but he does have good speed, a little thump in his game, and excellent cover skills. In that sense, he can be a three-down linebacker in the NFL, although you may have to use him creatively. He is also a guy who can contribute on special teams from Day 1.

At the Combine, Jones ran a 4.59 40, which is good, but certainly not eye-popping. At his pro day, he ran a ridiculous 4.38.

There's a big difference in 4.59 and 4.38, obviously. Is LSU's track on a 10 degree decline?

Rashard Robinson, CB, LSU (6'1, 171)

Source: Bo Marchionte, (h/t BGN)

In 20 career games at LSU, Robinson had 33 tackles, 1 INT, and 4 pass breakups. In other words, he didn't exactly rack up numbers like some of the other corners in this draft. That's because Robinson didn't play all that much. He was suspended indefinitely from the team in November of 2014, and was arrested in July of 2015. He missed the entire 2015 season because of off-the-field incidents.

However, he has talent. Here's a scouting report, via

SOURCES TELL US "I'm not sure he's a bad kid, but I know he hates school. He's really tough -- ­typical south Florida kid. You know what you get. The interviews will work themselves out for better or worse, but you keep things simple for him and let him chase one guy around the field all day. He's really good at that." -- Former SEC defensive coach

Robinson is not a player Chip Kelly would have looked at. It's interesting to see the Eagles' new regime digging a little deeper on him.

Mike Thomas, WR, Southern Mississippi (6'1, 197)

Source: Jason Munz, Hattiesburg American

As we noted when we last updated the pre-draft visit tracker with TCU's Kolby Listenbee (below), the Eagles don't currently have a receiver who can take the top off a defense with pure speed. Thomas ran a 4.4 at his pro day, and averaged an extremely impressive 19.6 yards per catch on 71 catches. It's important to note the number of catches here. Oftentimes receivers might have very high yards per catch averages, but it's misleading because they have a low number of catches. Averaging nearly 20 yards per catch on 71 catches shows a higher level of consistency getting down the field and making big plays.

Thomas' 2015 numbers: 71 catches, 1391 yards, 14 TDs. Here's a highlight reel. Watch the quick slant at the 1:28 mark. Thomas makes the catch, splits the defenders, and goodbye.

It would appear speed receivers could be a priority.

Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU (6'1, 183)

Source: Jared Tokarz, Twitter (h/t BGN)

Speeeeeeeed. The Eagles lack a true burner who has shown he can take the top off of a defense. Listenbee is a little bit of a long-shot to be a starter in the NFL, but was a track star at TCU, and averaged 19.9 yards per catch in 2015. In Indy, Listenbee ran a 4.35 40.

The Eagles wanted to find a fast receiver this offseason, which they did in free agent acquisition Chris Givens, formerly of the Rams and Ravens. Listenbee could be another speed guy of interest in the draft as a late-round flier. 

Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama (5'10, 197)

Source: Aaron Wilson, Houston Chronicle

At 5'10, 197, Jones does not have good size, and his athletic measurables do not exactly make up for it:

However, in 2015, Jones had four punt return touchdowns, which was one away from an NCAA single season record. He also has had five interceptions and four forced fumbles over the last two years. He just makes big plays, and often in big spots.

His fit on the Eagles would likely be as a slot corner and return specialist. It's noteworthy that current Eagles punt returner Darren Sproles will turn 33 in June and is in the final year of his contract.

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (6'2, 226)

Source: Chase Goodbread,

Back in November, we took a detailed look at Prescott's game. His numbers in 2015 were tremendous. Equally important, in my opinion, is that he has shown steady improvement as his college career has progressed:

 YearComp-Att Yards TD-INT 
201218-29 194 4-0 
 2013156-267 1940 10-7 
 2014244-396 3449 27-11 
 2015316-477 3793 29-5 

The obvious thing to note above about Prescott's passing numbers is his TD-INT ratio this year. The other obvious thing to note over the course of his career are his rushing numbers:

 YearAtt Yards YPC TD 
 201232 118 3.7 
 2013134 829 6.2 13 
 2014210 986 4.7 14 
 2015160 588 3.710 

Prescott has found the end zone as a runner 41 times in his college career. That is impressive.

However, I watched a couple of Prescott's games (vs LSU and Texas A&M in 2015, both of which were losses), and I don't see a quarterback who is ready to have immediate success at the NFL level. He has a ways to go.

In the games I watched, Prescott was not accurate at all throwing deep and intermediate passes. He's high, he's low, he's left, and he's right, but he's rarely hitting his receivers on the mark. He does, however, do a really nice job in the short passing game. While he has the skills to take off and run, he is a "pass first" quarterback, as he will hang in the pocket until his reads have been exhausted, or until he feels pressure.

At the Senior Bowl in January, he did not look good at all during the week of practices but then was named the MVP of the game itself.

Prescott could make sense for the Eagles as a draft-and-groom project, but he will have more questions to answer after a recent arrest for DUI.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski