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February 26, 2016

NFL Combine preview: Five players at every position who make sense for the Eagles

Eagles NFL
022616PaxtonLynch David J. Phillip/AP

It feels like a foregone conclusion that the Eagles will take at least one quarterback in this draft. Will it be Memphis' Paxton Lynch?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Today begins the on-field portion of the Combine, or perhaps better stated, the part that's on TV. Over the last two weeks, we've been writing about five players who make sense for the Eagles at each position. You can find them all here in one looooooong, convenient post:

If you're looking for more detail on the current state of the roster at each position, we delved into that previously in more depth. You can find those individual positional previews in the box below:



Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State (6'5, 232)

Wentz is big, he has a good arm, a quick release, he's surprisingly athletic, and he has a good feel for the game. However, Wentz will encounter concerns about the level of competition he faced at North Dakota State. We did a thorough review of Wentz's overall game about a month ago.

Wentz had his season interrupted by a broken bone in his wrist on his throwing arm, but he competed at the Senior Bowl and looked the part of a franchise quarterback. The Eagles have had extreme instability at the quarterback position since they (rightfully) traded Donovan McNabb, and they aren't winning jack until they get it fixed. Wentz could be a guy who may need a year before he's ready to play, but that patience could pay off in the form of long-term quarterback stability.

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

Admittedly, it's been a while since I sat down and watched Goff play. We broke down Goff's game way back in July, which of course wouldn't include his 2015 season.

Goff is really skinny, which is going to turn people off. To look at him, the perception is that he's going to get killed in the NFL. However, in the games I watched, he took some big shots and always seemed to pop right back up. He may have a frail-looking build by NFL standards, but he's tough. To look at Eli Manning, you would never guess he's one of the toughest guys in the NFL, but that's exactly what he is.

From what I saw of Goff in 2014, he has better accuracy than Wentz or Paxton Lynch, but clearly not the same type of arm strength. I'd prefer my rookie prospect to have the latter.

Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (6'7, 245)

Lynch is a physical specimen who checks off all kinds of boxes in terms of what NFL teams are looking for in a quarterback. He has great size, a strong arm, touch, good mobility for his size, and a good feel for the game. The big knock on Lynch is his ability to hang in the pocket and deliver throws to his second or third progressions, or when he faces pressure. We took a thorough look at Lynch's skills back in November. 

Lynch has become the player most commonly linked to the Eagles in mock drafts.

Christian Hackenberg, Penn State (6'4, 228)

Hackenberg has a good arm and pro traits that you want from your quarterback. However, his production and game tape over the last two years has been really ugly. Some blame head coach James Franklin for running an ineffective vanilla offense. Others have put the blame on Penn State's porous offensive line. If the Eagles were to draft Hackenberg, it would be on pure projection.

Connor Cook, Michigan State (6'4, 216)

Cook was one of three players who declined their invites to the Senior Bowl, along with DE DeForest Buckner of Oregon and C Ryan Kelly of Alabama. A guy like Buckner is going to be a top-10 pick. He can really only hurt his value, so it makes sense for him to skip. As for Cook, there is a philosophical debate on missing practices.

By not competing, it can be viewed as a signal that you think you're too good to compete there, or worse, that you're very aware of your flaws and think you could be exposed. In my opinion, Cook made a bad decision by skipping. Most evaluators have him well behind Goff, Lynch, and Wentz. Some even have him slotted behind Hackenberg. And there's a good reason why. Cook has a good enough arm, but he often struggled with accuracy at Michigan State. 

Not competing at the Senior Bowl is going to be a bright red flag for many teams. If he's available in the third round, then sure, go get him. But if I'm the Eagles I wouldn't touch him before that.

Running back

Devontae Booker, Utah (5'11, 212)

Booker tore his meniscus this past season, but not before racking up 1261 rushing yards as Utah's workhorse back. Still, I don't love Booker's numbers over the last two years:

 YearCarries Yards YPC TD 
 2014292 1512 5.2 10 
 2015268 1261 4.7 11 

The concern for me would be his yards per carry. They look good compared to NFL runners, but in college, the top guys are typically hovering around 6.0 yards per carry or better.

Booker does a good job breaking tackles, and he is also a good pass-catcher out of the backfield, as he had 80 receptions the last two seasons at Utah.

One additional negative is that he turns 24 in May, which will turn teams off. If Booker falls to the middle rounds, I could see the Eagles having interest.

Kenneth Dixon, Louisiana Tech (5'10, 215)

Dixon was really impressive during the week of Senior Bowl practices, especially as a receiver out of the backfield. He'll enter the NFL a more polished receiver than most of the running backs already collecting paychecks. Safeties and linebackers couldn't cover Dixon, and often looked silly trying. In some ways, Dixon reminds me a little of Jamaal Charles, who Doug Pederson coached in Kansas City. If Pederson's offense is anything like Andy Reid's, he'll want his running back to be a weapon in the passing game. Dixon can be that for the new regime.

As a runner, Dixon is tough and physical, as evidenced by his nose for the end zone. These TD numbers are ridiculous:

 YearRushes Yards YPC TD 
 2012200 1194 6.0 27 
 2013151 917 6.1 4 
 2014253 1299 5.1 22 
 2015197 1070 5.4 19 
 TOTAL801 4480 5.6 72 

If Dixon somehow lasts until the third round (running backs have become undervalued), the Eagles should be all over him.

Kenyan Drake, Alabama (6'0, 210)

Drake was stuck behind Heisman Trophy winning Derrick Henry in 2015, and had to find other ways to get on the field. Alabama used Drake in a variety of ways, including as a running back, a slot receiver, a kick returner, and on coverage teams. He's probably not an every down back in the NFL, but he has some Brian Westbrook-like qualities to his game, in that he's versatile and tougher than you might expect.

In his three seasons at Bama, Drake averaged 12.4 yards per reception, which is excellent for a running back. If the Eagles were to draft Drake, they'd likely have to add another back to the stable in 2017, but Drake could serve as an added weapon on offense post-Murray/Mathews/Sproles.

Quayvon Hicks (FB), Georgia (6'1, 253)

We'll have to wait and see if Doug Pederson will want to have a fullback on his roster or not. If Pederson prefers an athletic, pass-catching, versatile type, then he already has a guy on his roster in Trey Burton who can fill that role. However, if he's looking for a big boy banger with size and thump, Hicks could be a player of interest in the late rounds.

C.J. Prosise, Notre Dame (6'0, 220)

Prosise was moved to wide receiver from safety early in his career at Notre Dame, before eventually landing at running back. Over the last two seasons, he racked up 55 catches for 824 yards, a 15 yards per catch average. Prosise has receiver skills, but not a lot of experience in the backfield, as he had just 166 career carries in college. However, he made the most of his time at RB, gaining 1158 yards (7.0 yards per carry), and 12 TDs. 

As a player new to the position, the biggest concern teams will have with him will be in pass protection, which is a must have skill in a west coast type of system. Prosise would make a ton of sense as a mid-round guy the Eagles could develop for 2017 and beyond. 

Wide receiver

Corey Coleman, Baylor (5'11, 190)

In 2013, the Eagles racked up 80 pass plays of 20+ yards, which was a new NFL record. DeSean Jackson had 25 of those. 

In 2014, that number fell off some, as they managed 63 pass plays of 20+ yards, which was still very good, but nowhere near the output they had the previous season. Jeremy Maclin had 21 of those. 

In 2015, they had 53, which was right at the league average. Jordan Matthews led the team with 14. Here's a snapshot of the Eagles big plays in the passing game over the last three years.

Year 20+ yard pass plays (Eagles' leader)NFL Rank 
 201380 (DeSean Jackson - 25)
 201463 (Jeremy Maclin - 21)
 201552 (Jordan Matthews - 14)  T-14 

There's little question the Eagles lacked a down-the-field threat in 2015, with Jackson and Maclin having moved on to greener pastures.

Many feel that Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss is the best wide receiver in this class. Personally, I'm not so sure I wouldn't rather have Coleman if I were the Eagles. At Baylor, Coleman was an incredible deep threat. He averaged 18.4 yards per reception, and he had 20 receiving touchdowns.

Coleman would be a reach at 13, but in a scenario in which the Eagles traded down, I could see him as good fit.

Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss (6'2, 210)

Treadwell has been the most heralded of the 2015 receiving class, at least by the fans and media thus far. While I think Coleman would be the better fit for the Eagles, Treadwell would really be a good fit for anyone, despite a lack of high-end speed. He has good size at 6'2, 210, he's physical, he has great RAC skills, and he catches everything.

Charone Peake, Clemson (6'3, 215)

Clemson has churned out some decent receivers the last few years:

 Player YearRound Overall 2015 stats 
 DeAndre Hopkins 201327 111-1521-11 
 Sammy Watkins 201460-1047-9 
 Martavis Bryant 2014118 50-765-6 

Peake, like Martavis Bryant, has an impressive size-speed combination, but put up average numbers at Clemson, due in part to having to sit behind other talented receivers.

Keyarris Garrett, Tulsa (6'3, 212)

In 2013, Garrett had a devastating injury that cut his 2013 season short, and limited him physically in 2014, via Kevin Connelly of the Shreveport Times.

In 2015, Garrett broke out again, catching 96 passes for 1588 yards and 8 TDs. The Eagles were willing to take chances on players with serious injury histories under Chip Kelly. It will be interesting to see if they still have as much faith in their sports science program with Kelly gone. Garrett isn't a run after the catch guy, but he uses his size well on vertical routes and in the red zone, which is something the Eagles lack.

Kolby Listenbee, TCU (6'1, 183)

Speeeeeeeed. Again, 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. Listenbee may be worth a late-round flier. He's highly likely to test well in Indy.

(To note -- We did not cover five tight ends, seeing as the Eagles locked up Zach Ertz and Brent Celek to long-term deals, and have a talented player in Trey Burton developing behind them).

Offensive tackle

Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame (6'5, 304)

Stanley is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. I watched two of his games last year against two completely different types of edge rushers. The first was against Florida State, when he battled Mario Edwards all day. Edwards goes 6'3, 280, and is a powerful defensive end who was selected 35th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. Edwards didn't catch a whiff of Notre Dame's QB, and he was moved off the line of scrimmage all day in the run game. The other game was against LSU's Danielle Hunter, who is an athletic freak. Very different type of player, same result.

Stanley is a slam dunk Day 1 starter in the NFL. He is extremely athletic, with very quick feet. It is unlikely he'll fall to the Eagles at 13, but if Philly somehow decides on a franchise quarterback before the draft, I can see them making a modest move up to secure Stanley. Drafting Stanley might tempt the Eagles to just leave Lane Johnson at RT and let Stanley fill in at LT.

Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State (6'7, 320)

Decker played RT for Ohio State as a sophomore and moved to LT last season. In that sense, he could follow in the footsteps of Johnson, who played both RT and LT at Oklahoma. The difference in importance between LT and RT is wildly overrated, as defenses often put their best pass rusher opposite the RT. For example, Von Miller and JJ Watt primarily line up against the RT.

I've had a few people whose opinions I value wonder if Decker is one of the 13 best players in the draft. I think he's right in that ballpark, and if you have to slightly over-draft an offensive tackle, then so be it. As we've found in recent drafts, if you don't, somebody else will, and then you end up not drafting anybody, which leads to an old, thin offensive line much like what the Eagles have now.

Jack Conklin, Michigan State (6'6, 325)

Like Taylor Decker above, if you're drafting Conklin, you're going to have to get him in the first round. Conklin isn't as good a pass protector as guys like Laremy Tunsil, Stanley, or Decker, and doesn't have their athleticism. However, he is powerful in the run game, and flat-out nasty, Jon Runyan-style. I do think there is value in being somewhat forgiving of physical ability if a player has a certain ill-tempered attitude.

While I don't think Conklin is worthy of the 13th overall pick, in a trade-back scenario he might make some sense.

Le'Raven Clark, Texas Tech

Clark had the longest arms at the Senior Bowl, measuring in at 36 1/4" and a wingspan of 85 7/8". He also flashed impressive athletic ability, but he will be a complete projection to the NFL, as he played in Texas Tech's spread offense. I would not want Clark starting for me in 2016, but if you give him a year or two to learn the game at the NFL level, there are going to be coaches around the league who will think they can make him into a Pro Bowl player. If Clark fell into the third round, he would make a lot of sense for the Eagles.

Jason Spriggs, Indiana

Prediction: Spriggs is going to have an excellent Combine. His athleticism in games is extraordinarily obvious. However, Spriggs had a somewhat disappointing week of Senior Bowl practices, as he was often beaten in pass rush situations by power moves. Like Clark above, Spriggs could use a year with NFL coaches to correct some of his deficiencies before throwing him to the wolves on the edge.

Offensive guard / center

Cody Whitehair, Kansas State (6'4, 309)

At Kansas State, Whitehair played RT, was moved to LG, then back to RT, and finally he found a home at LT. At just 6'4, he'll probably have to move back inside to guard at the pro level. Some believe he's a first-round pick, and that's where the Eagles would have to take him if they had interest.

In a group of offensive linemen that mostly struggled against talented pass rushers all week during Senior Bowl practices, Whitehair was a rare exception and is getting buzz as the likely first guard taken in the 2016 NFL Draft. He could step in from Day 1 and solidify one of the Eagles' two gaping holes at guard, while also having the versatility to kick out to tackle in a pinch. Still, after the Eagles' season a year ago, to come away with a guard in round one would just be so bleh.

Joshua Garnett, Stanford (6'4, 317)

Garnett has over 40 games of experience playing for Stanford at guard. He is not the most athletic guy, but when he gets to the second level he looks to put defenders on the ground. One thing the Eagles lack along their interior offensive line is someone who can move a defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage against their will. That's Garnett. He will not come with a high ceiling, but he should have a high floor. Garnett could be a steady player who may be able to step in and play from Day 1.

Christian Westerman, Arizona State (6'3, 296)

Westerman is a former big-time high school recruit (27th in the country by, who is an athletic freak likely to destroy the Combine. He reminds me in many ways of Evan Mathis, in that he is a ridiculous athlete with good technical skills, but his weight room strength often doesn't translate into the ability to move defenders off the ball. If the Eagles continue to acquire athletic types who can get to the second level or out in front of running backs and receivers in the screen game, Westerman will be an appealing target.

Joe Dahl, Washington State (6'3, 299)

Dahl isn't anywhere near as athletic as Westerman above. He's more of a scrappy, hustling type with average athleticism, but the scouting community seems to love him. Like Whitehair above, Dahl has experience at guard, played LT last season, and is likely to move back to guard in the NFL. Doug Pederson mentioned that he wants his offensive linemen to have positional versatility and a little "piss and vinegar" in them. Dahl has both of those traits and could be of interest in the middle rounds.

Isaac Seumalo, Oregon State (6'5, 298)

Seumalo's primary position is at center, where he has started since he was a freshman. In his sophomore season (2013), he moved to RT for two games after Oregon State suffered injuries along their offensive line. He broke his foot at the end of the 2013 season, which cost him the entire 2014 season.

In 2015, Seumalo played RG and LT. He is a unique player who can play all five spots along the offensive line. Drafting a player to replace Jason Kelce is out of the question, but the Eagles could certainly use a player who can play multiple positions along the offensive line, including center, as they lost David Molk for the season last year with a torn bicep. The Combine medical checks will be of particular importance to Seumalo.

Defensive end

Noah Spence, Eastern Kentucky (6'2, 254)

Spence has first-round talent but comes with baggage. He enrolled at Ohio State but was permanently banned from the Big Ten for repeated failed drug tests. Spence has admitted that he was addicted to the drug Ecstacy.

In the Chip Kelly days, Spence may not have been a consideration. Under Doug Pederson, who knows?

At Eastern Kentucky in 2015, Spence had 11.5 sacks, 22.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries, even with opposing offenses game planning specifically to stop him.

Spence was dominant at the Senior Bowl, displaying a myriad of pass rush moves, and disrupting in the backfield with regularity. To note, some had previously thought Spence to be limited in his pass rush repertoire, but that's not was I saw in Mobile. If teams are comfortable with his character concerns, he'll easily be a first round pick. Spence's talent is worthy of the 13th overall pick, but the Eagles are already stacked with good players at DE. Still, I wouldn't rule it out completely in a trade-down scenario, as a pick of Spence could signal a trade of Barwin.

Carl Nassib, Penn State (6'6, 273)

Despite missing three games, Nassib led the nation with 16 sacks in 2015 and his draft status has skyrocketed as a result. At 6'6, 273, Nassib has excellent size. In the past, Jim Schwartz had good 6'6 pass rushers in Mario Williams and Kevin Carter. Curry (6'3), Graham (6'2), and Barwin (6'4) don't have that kind of height, so it will be interesting to see if Schwartz will prefer varied sizes and shapes along his defensive line.

While Nassib had 16 sacks in 2015, he was a "one-year wonder" who had 1.5 sacks over the rest of his career. His athleticism also does not match his production, so NFL evaluators will have to be careful not to overvalue his impressive 2015 stats. If Nassib were to slip to the third round, I could see the Eagles having interest.

Bronson Kaufusi, BYU (6'6, 281)

Kaufusi, like Nassib, is a big edge rusher at 6'6, 281. Kaufusi played both at OLB in the Cougars' 3-4 defense, as well as along their defensive line. In 2015, he played DL, where he racked up 11 sacks (seventh in the nation), 3 forced fumbles, 16.5 tackles for loss, and 5 blocked kicks/punts.

Dadi Nicolas, Virginia Tech (6'3, 235)

Nicolas often could not hold the point of attack at Virginia Tech in the run game as a 235-pound defensive lineman, and probably shouldn't have been asked to. In the NFL, he'll have no chance as he'll often be battling offensive tackles outweighing him by around 100 pounds. However, he is a very good pass rusher with 35 1/2" arms who gave OTs competing at the Senior Bowl fits all week with his speed off the edge.

In Jim Schwartz's wide nine looks, Nicolas could be very difficult for opposing tackles to deal with when given a lot of space to work. He could be an interesting fit as a situational pass rusher.

Ronald Blair, Appalachian State (6'1, 272)

My friend Tommy Lawlor of is an App State alum and, therefore, biased, but he likes Blair as a fit in Jim Schwartz's defense as the #NextTrentCole. Blair was the Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year in 2015 when he had 7.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. At 6'1, Blair's short stature could turn some teams off, so he could be available in the late rounds as a rotational defensive lineman.

Defensive tackle

Chris Jones, Mississippi State (6'6, 308)

Jones was the 20th ranked high school recruit in the country by when he committed to Mississippi State in 2013. Jones is short on production, as he had 99 career tackles, 8.5 sacks, and 18 tackles for loss. He was not the impact player Mississippi State thought they had when they got him to commit. Watching him, there are times when he looks dominant, and there are other times you'll see some really bad moments when he's not hustling to the football.

However, despite that lack of statistical production, Jones is strong, and a very athletic player for his size, with the versatility to play anywhere along the defensive line. There's a very good chance he'll test well at the Combine, and there's an equally good bet some team will fall in love with his measurables. Depending on what the Eagles value, Jones could intrigue the Birds in the third round if he makes it there.

Adolphus Washington, Ohio State (6’3, 297)

In the Eagles' former 3-4 scheme, Washington would not have been a consideration. However, as a one-gap penetrating DT, he makes sense in an aggressive, attacking 4-3 scheme under Jim Schwartz. Washington's interview process at the Combine will probably be more important than his on-field efforts, as he was arrested for solicitation last December and suspended for the Buckeyes' bowl game. If Washington fell to the fourth round, that would constitute good value.

Hassan Ridgeway, Texas (6'4, 307)

Ridgeway had six sacks from his interior defensive line spot in 2014, and has talent as a pass rusher. However, he had a variety of injuries in 2015, and hadconditioning issues at Texas. If the Eagles think they can motivate Ridgeway and still believe in their sports science program with Chip Kelly gone, Ridgeway could be a steal in the middle rounds if teams pass on him because of those concerns.

Javon Hargrave, South Carolina State (6'1, 309)

Hargrave comes from an FCS school, where he destroyed his smaller school competition this season at his DT spot, racking up 13.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, 59 tackles, and two forced fumbles. That came a season after he had 16 sacks and 24 tackles for loss. It really doesn't matter what level you play at -- If you rack up 30 sacks in two seasons from your DT spot, you can get to the quarterback.

Hargrave stood out during the week of Shrine Game practices, and received a late invite during the week of Senior Bowl practices, where he again played well. He moves extraordinarily well for his size at 309 pounds, and could be a quality penetrating one-gap defender in Jim Schwartz's defense if the Eagles can snatch him up in the middle rounds.

Quinton Jefferson, Maryland (6'4, 289)

It's not often a draft prospect is married with three kids, but that's what Quinton Jefferson's situation is, and he comes with more maturity than most. According to Tony Pauline of, Jefferson interviewed well with teams at the Senior Bowl.

As a player, at 6'4, 289, Jefferson is probably a three-technique in a 4-3, but he could also play some DE. During the week of Senior Bowl practices, Jefferson had his moments in which he was a disruptive and able to make plays in the backfield. Jefferson probably isn't going to be a starter in the NFL, but he could fit in nicely with the Eagles as a versatile rotational defensive lineman in the later rounds.


Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame (6'3, 229)

Smith has it all. Size, speed, toughness, cover skills, you name it. He was a potential top 5 overall pick before tearing both his ACL and MCL in 2015. Smith will not compete on the field at the Combine as he continues to rehab his knee, but will undergo medical checks, as well as team interviews.

If the Eagles felt comfortable enough that Smith will recover fully from his ACL/MCL tears and once again be the athletic phenom he was at Notre Dame, it could be hard to pass on him at 13. That would be one insanely athletic defensive front seven.

Deion Jones, LSU (6'1, 219)

Jones doesn't have the same kind of size and elite athleticism as Smith above, 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. He is also a guy who can contribute on special teams from Day 1.

Joe Schobert, Wisconsin (6'1, 247)

Schobert finished his season with 10 sacks as an edge rusher in Wisconsin's defense, but at 6'1, 247, he's probably going to have to transition to a 4-3 in the NFL, which works for the Eagles.

Schobert isn't thought of as a good athlete by some. Eh, I see athleticism in his game. Athletically gifted or not, he can play. Against Iowa this season, he nearlysingle-handedly wrecked the second half of the game, when he had 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, several additional knockdowns, and he killed the QB while throwing, which led to a pick.

Antonio Morrison, Florida (6'1, 232)

Here's Morrison's overview, via Dane Brugler of CBS:

Arguably the most intense player at the college level, Morrison wasn't supposed to play the first half of the 2015 season due to a serious knee injury in the Gators' bowl game last January. He was expected to miss 10-12 months, but was back on the field in only six months and has played at a very high level as a senior.

Do yourself a favor and just watch Morrison's game against Ole Miss, and you'll see what Brugler is talking about when he says he's an intense player. I mean, watch this crazy bastard throw his body around. He's in on everything.

The Eagles have players with talent on defense, but do they have a psychotic badass like this? A psychotic badass would be nice in the later rounds.

Nick Kwiatkowski, West Virginia (6'1, 232)

The Eagles gave Kwiatkowski a little extra attention at the Senior Bowl. Over the last three seasons, he has racked up 275 tackles, with decent pass breakup numbers in 2015 from his linebacker spot:

Nick Kwiatkowski Tackles Sacks FF PBU 
 2014103 0.5 
 TOTAL275 5.5 11 

Kwiatkowski played all three linebacker spots as well as special teams for the Mountaineers, which could make him a late-round target as a versatile reserve linebacker.


Vernon Hargreaves, Florida (5'11, 192)

Over his three-year career at Florida, Hargreaves had 10 interceptions and 38 pass breakups. After Florida State's Jalen Ramsey, Hargreaves may be the best CB prospect in the country. He is an outstanding cover corner, and very willing in run support.

If there's a knock on him, Hargreaves doesn't have the size that many teams would prefer.

Hargreaves wouldn't be a perfect positional fit for the Eagles at pick No. 13, but if he's still available, there's a chance he could be the highest rated player left on their board.

William Jackson III, CB, Houston (6’1, 185)

Jackson has outstanding ball skills. He had 10 pass breakups in 2014 (a nice total), and 23 in 2015, which led the country. Jackson is a PBU machine, and he also had five interceptions this season, two of which he returned for pick-sixes. At 6'0, he has good size, but there is knock on him for not being very physical in the run game.

Jalen Mills, LSU (6'0, 194)

At LSU, Mills played at safety, on the outside and in the slot. He has the versatility that teams now covet. Early in his career, he'll likely be a slot corner, with the potential to develop into more. If the Eagles' new regime is not as high on JaCorey Shepard as the last one was, a slot corner with upside could be of interest. 

Mills also has a serious incident on his record (via Emily Lane of that the Eagles will have to investigate.

Mills was arrested in June after a woman who claims he punched her outside his Highland Road apartment picked him out of a lineup.  
He pleaded not guilty to the charge October.
The alleged victim, who is 5-foot-3 inches tall and weighed 113 pounds, told police she was briefly knocked unconscious and received four stitches to her lip for her injuries, according to an affidavit of probable cause
Mills' attorney Brent Stockstill, however, had denied the alleged vcitim's account, saying it was actually Mills' girlfriend who threw the punch and that the victim gave multiple conflicting accounts of what happened.

KeiVarae Russell, Notre Dame (6'1, 186)

Russell came in at No. 8 on Bruce Feldman's "Freaks" list this season, with the following explanation:

Russell showed off some of his athleticism this offseason with this incredible vault atop six boxes. The 5-11, 196-pound senior also has proven to be a standout DB for Notre Dame. He should put on quite a show after his college career when he gets to the NFL combine. In South Bend, he’s already broad-jumped 11-2 1/2 to go with his 40-inch vert. He’s also extremely strong for his size, squatting 500 pounds, benching 350 and doing 20 reps of 225 -- only two corners did more at the Combine in the past two years.

Here's that box jump:

Russell does have red flags that will push him down draft boards. He missed the 2014 season because of an academic fraud investigation. After returning for the 2015 season, Russell broke his tibia and was done for the season. If he's ready to compete on the field at the Combine, expect an eye-popping performance.

James Bradberry, CB, Samford (6'1, 209)

The Eagles already spent significant resources on bigger corners, and it appears that they may have a good young player in Rowe. Since Jim Schwartz has already gone out of his way to note that he will scheme to his players' strengths, it would stand to reason that he will try to let his corners often be physical in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. If we're making the leap that Schwartz does indeed build his scheme to fit the big corners the Eagles already have in place, it would then make sense that the Eagles continue to target bigger corners. Is that oversimplified thinking?

At 6'1, 209, Bradberry would be another bigger, physical corner to add to the mix.


Darian Thompson, S, Boise State (6'1, 215)

Thompson is a more traditional safety than Jeremy Cash below (although still versatile) and a ball hawk. Throughout his college career, Thompson had 19 interceptions. He also has great size, at 6'1, 215, and can play in the box. This is one of those players who you'd never take anywhere near pick 13, but he likely won't last until the third round, since the Eagles don't have a second-round pick. Thompson showed well at the Senior Bowl. The only way he'll will become an Eagle is in some sort of trade-way-back scenario, or if he unexpected slips to the third round.

Jeremy Cash, S, Duke (6’0, 212)

Cash doesn't play a ton of deep safety, and is almost more like a linebacker. He has good size for a safety and plays with a physical demeanor.

Cash's numbers the last three seasons are awesome:

 YearTackles TFL Sacks FF INT 
 2013121 9.5 
 2014111 10.5 5.5 
 2015101 18 2.5 
 TOTAL333 38 

38 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles in just 39 games from the safety position is absolutely ridiculous.

If Jim Schwartz wants to pair a mean run-stopping SOB with Jenkins, Cash could be a great fit. If the Eagles are going to continue to look for safeties more geared toward being able to cover slot receivers man to man, Cash will not be their guy.

Karl Joseph, West Virginia (5'11, 197)

While he doesn't have tremendous size at 5'11, 197, Joseph is one of the meanest, nastiest players in college football. I'm just going to let his highlight reels do the talking. Here's Joseph killing people during his freshman (freshman!) year:

And here are his junior year highlights:

Joseph is a guy who looks like he was born to play football. If his medical evaluations from an ACL tear pass the doctors' approvals, he could be a second-round pick. If there are some concerns and he slides a bit, he could be a tempting risk with major upside in the third.

Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (5'11, 205)

Bell has served both as a nickel back and safety for the Buckeyes, so he fits the bill in terms of the Eagles' former preference for safeties who can drop down and play man-to-man in the slot. Bell does not have the physical presence that Cash or Joseph do, so a team will really have to fall in love with his coverage abilities to take him high.

K.J. Dillon, West Virginia (6'0, 209)

Dillon was the lesser-known of WVU's safeties, and frankly, he wasn't on my radar at all heading into the week of Senior Bowl practices. However, in Mobile, he showed impressive cover skills and had a few nice pops on running backs. He could be a late-round developmental player.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski