It’s been a blast of a Draft so far in Philly with over 200,000 folks milling around the Museum of Art and the Parkway…the long shots on television look like scenes from Woodstock: The Movie. It’s exciting to witness, and the NFL, the Eagles and the City have done a great job working together on all the production values.
I’m okay now with Derek Barnett as our #1 pick, especially since it has been confirmed that Ozzie and the Ravens did in fact try to trade up with Howie to get Barnett. Apparently Reuben Foster’s medical reports were worse than anyone outside the inner circle was allowed to know—so not only did the Eagles pass on him at #14, but the Ravens also passed on him at #16.
So here we go into the Friday night version of Draftmas:
This should be interesting. There is still a lot of good value talent hanging around in the 2nd and 3rd Rounds. Here are just a few guys still on my radar:
JuJu Smith-Schuster, USC
The productive USC receiver slipped out of the first round over concerns about his speed. But he compares himself to veteran receiver Anquan Boldin, who also fell to the second round because of his speed.
Zay Jones, East Carolina
Jones put up huge numbers in college and caught the attention of NFL teams by shining at the Senior Bowl.
Curtis Samuel, Ohio State
The versatile weapon played all over the field at Ohio State, and he brings big-play potential with fantastic speed and elusiveness.
Cooper Kupp, Eastern Washington
Kupp put up 6,464 receiving yards in college, the most in Football Championship Subdivision history. He’s a big target who could give the Eagles a valuable element to their receiving group.
Cam Robinson, Alabama
Robinson was a popular 1st-Round projection , but now you may have a chance to get one of the draft’s best offensive linemen on the second day.
Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky
Some analysts also had Lamp mocked to the first round. The small-school prospect has the versatility to play all over the offensive line.
Dion Dawkins, Temple
Dawkins was a quality starter at left tackle for Temple, but some analysts believe he projects better as a guard at the NFL level.
Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
Moton was a stellar right guard and right tackle in his college career, and he could fill a spot-duty role for the Birds.
DeMarcus Walker, Florida State
Walker has a knack for getting after quarterbacks, and he put up 28.5 sacks in his college career.
Tim Williams, Alabama
Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta said at the combine that the Ravens would consider Williams with the No. 16 pick. They passed on him in the first round, but may have a chance to nab him Friday. So will the Eagles.
Carl Lawson, Auburn
Lawson struggled to stay on the field his first two college seasons, but he broke out last year by putting up nine sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.
Tyus Bowser, Houston
The former college basketball player is an explosive athlete, and he showed that by collecting 8.5 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in eight games last season.
On with the show!
By the way, I was doing a little eavesdropping on the New York Giants last night. Our old buddy Andy Furman at UltimateNYG gave the Giants’ 1st Round pick (TE Evan Engram) rave reviews:
“Jerry Reese drafted an absolute offensive menace that will create nightmares for Defensive Coordinators around the NFL. Johnny Wonder, the UltimateNYG draft analyst, absolutely loves Engram. He ranked him #10 Overall in this draft with a “2” Pro Bowl projection. Engram is yet another “weapon,” a toy for Eli to play pitch and catch to. Between OBJ, Marshall, Shepard, Perkins and now Engram, the Giants have an offensive arsenal.
“Engram is not a blocking TE. Actually, the best way to understand Engram is that he is more like a slot WR and can even get lined up as a wideout. He is 6’3”, 234 lbs. Long arms. THE BEST WAY TO UNDERSTAND ENGRAM IS THAT HE HAS EXPLOSIVE ACCELERATION. His burst at the line of scrimmage is remarkable and once he catches the ball he can take it to the house. “He reminds me of a tall OBJ, how he explodes out of the break,” says Wonder. “He is elusive for a big WR. Defensive Coordinators will have their hands full. I have to drop 2 Safeties back to make sure OBJ and Engram don’t run through me, and even then I am not sure that is enough. I have all kinds of headaches. Then Marshall can run the quick slant inside.”
SUMMARY: The Giants got a true monster Offensive weapon in Evan Engram. If they can find a way to keep Eli upright it will pay off. If not, Eli may not make it to his 37th Birthday.
P.S. A shout-out to new San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch, who absolutely killed it Thursday night. My goodness, he gets paid a 3, 3, and 4 to move down 1 spot from 2 to 3 overall, takes the same player he would have taken in Solomon Thomas, then he trades up a couple of picks back into the end of Round 1 to grab Reuben Foster. So he gets two of the best defenders in the Draft and he net collects draft picks. Bravo.