As Senior Bowl practices grind to a finale in Mobile, Alabama, here's where the Eagles organization under Chip Kelly is still walking a wire: we (and they) still don't know if recruiting a big Nose Tackle is going to be necessary.
Defensive coordinator? Still anyone's guess. 3-4 Defensive front? Don't know yet.
But just in case, Eagles scouts are all over Big John Jenkins this week.
Sheil Kapadia has a nice piece for Philadelphia Magazine out today about Big John, the 6-3, 359-pound defensive tackle from Georgia.
Jenkins, a projected first-round pick, practiced and interviewed well in Mobile, and he is certifiably the biggest defensive tackle prospect on the field at the Senior Bowl.
Sheil Kapadia got some great interviews from Big John, and clearly the social work major is an intelligent young man despite the fact he was ruled academically ineligible for Georgia's Bowl game against Nebraska this year. If the Eagles decide to go 3-4, they clearly will consider Big John as a future anchor at Nose Tackle. Whether they can afford to go as high as Round 1 for Big John is a very tricky question. Star L. or Jesse Williams, maybe you go for those guys high 1st Round…but if those guys were gone, maybe you trade up to get Big John late in the 1st?
Only because, as we all realize, the one glaring hole the Birds would need to address in the draft or free agency would be at Nose Tackle.
There are some concerns about Big John being…well, too big. You know, the weight issues similar to those that plagued Terrence Cody's draft value a few years back… As Kapadia points out in his piece on Big John, it’s a balancing act for guys like Jenkins, who anchor 3-4 defenses. They need to be big enough to eat up space and take on multiple blockers, yet athletic enough to compete against their offensive counterparts. Jenkins said he’s looking to be in the 340s for his next test at the NFL scouting combine next month.
“The biggest question will be… they heard the rumor about me being 370, and I came in at 359,” Big John said. “Now the question is going to be, ‘What are you going to weigh at the combine?’ That’s going to be the biggest question. And then when I bring it down, they’re going to be like ‘Ok, this man is serious.'"
Jenkins began his career at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College before transferring to Georgia where he started 20 games the past two seasons. He was a second-team All-SEC selection.
The Eagles scouts are also measuring Big John's ability to run and move well.
“All these teams have access to my coaches,” Jenkins said. “My coaches are not going to lie for me. They’ve got their reputation on the line. I’m a worker. My conditioning test, I blew it out the frame last year. I did it my first year there. Gulf Coast, I killed it. I mean, I have no problem with running. My coaches will tell you, I can run for days. You may look at me and not believe me, but when I start running, then you go, ‘Ok, he’s telling the truth.’"
Here are some other guys the Eagles scouts are taking a long look at the Senior Bowl practices this week:
They came away impressed with Rice tight end Vance McDonald. With Jason Kelce’s brother, Travis, sidelined with an injury, the 6-4, 260-pound McDonald was arguably the premiere tight end in Mobile.
Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah likes what he sees out of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. Desmond is the younger brother of pro cornerbacks Isaiah and Marcus Trufant. Marcus was spotted on the sidelines down in Mobile watching his little brother practice.
Jeremiah is also high on Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
And finally, many teams' scouts are bullish on Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher. According to many observers, Fisher is the best OL prospect at Mobile this week, and has solidified for himself a Top12 draft slot. He's 6-8 and listed at 305, but would probably fill out to 325 pounds or more at the NFL level. Fisher projects to play at left tackle. He's got a lot to learn technique-wise at the next level, but there's no denying he's been manhandling his competition at Mobile this week.
EAGLES SALARY CAP UPDATE— Here's a link to the cap update on the current Eagles roster:
Interesting to note the high numbers on Demetress Bell, Nnamdi Asomugha, Mike Vick, Jason Peters, DeMeco Ryans, Cullen Jenkins, and Mike Patterson… Only Bell, Peters, Patterson and Ryans have zero-cost exit fees if cut or traded.