Power restored here after a 2-day blackout—it was a “wind event” of steady 70-mph gusts, which I wonder could also be related to the weird snowstorm that hit England and Western Europe this past week? You should check out the snowscape photos Kent Phil was posting on Facebook!
So I had to play catch-up on the NFL Scouting Combine results and reviews…
Since the Eagles are expected to lose TE/hybrid back/emergency QB Trey Burton to free agency, and since veteran TE Brent Celek‘s future is somewhat dubious due to age and a $5 million cap number, the Tight End position is under hi-res focus in the upcoming Draft.
Fran Duffy of PE.com had his EYE on Mike Gesicki at the Combine this past weekend:
“I think it would be tough to say anyone had a better workout on Saturday than Mike Gesicki, the tight end from Penn State. Checking in at 247 pounds, a below-average weight for the position, the senior Nittany Lion posted gaudy test scores.
“Only 14 tight ends drafted in the last decade have run a faster time in the 40-yard dash time (4.55 seconds). Only two have posted a better 3-cone drill time (6.76), with just three running a better short shuttle (4.10) during that same time frame. Only nine tight ends selected have posted a better broad jump (129 inches), with just three posting a better vertical (41.5 inches). Simply put, it was an outstanding workout. ”
Gesicki could be there at the 32nd overall pick for the Eagles. My only concern about him is his blocking ability. If Celek leaves we could effectively be left with two tight ends on the field on any given play who are suspect in blocking technique—Zach Ertz being the other one.
Duffy also liked what he saw in Tyler Conklin:
“Not to be forgotten, Central Michigan tight end Tyler Conklin also posted a very respectable number in the vertical jump, reaching 38 inches, which reaches the 90th percentile of all tight ends selected in the draft over the last 10 years. Conklin is a former college basketball player who is a bit on the shorter side but projects as a “move” tight end at the next level who can line up in a number of areas as a potential matchup problem for a defense. ”
Again with the blocking question mark regarding Conklin…
Meanwhile Tony Pauline the draft guru says there is a TE prospect for the Eagles who CAN block very well, thank you, and could be the next Brent Celek:
“TE Ian Thomas: Thomas continues to impress NFL scouts and once again showed up for the big event. He ran a solid 40 time of 4.73 seconds after weighing in at 259 pounds. During pass-catching drills, the Hoosier senior looked fluid and very smooth, snatching everything thrown in his direction. What makes this story so unreal is Thomas was completely ignored by scouts entering the season after catching just three passes in 2016. He was productive this past season, had a terrific week of practice at the Senior Bowl, looks the part at the Combine, and is now on the cusp of being selected in the second round of the NFL Draft.”
Also, in other words, Thomas will still be there at #32 overall.
None of this matters unless the Eagles are truly prioritizing the Tight End position in the first two days of the Draft. They have some tight end guys on their developmental squad already—Adam Zaruba, Joshua Perkins, and Billy Brown. But if I’m a betting man, I think they will go for a blocking/pass-catching TE early in the draft as long as the right guy falls into their lap.