Busy weekend for the Eagles— besides interviewing a bunch of young prospects at the Combine, they managed to get some business done with veteran center Jason Kelce (contract extension through 2021 worth a maximum of $11 million per year) and with DE Brandon Graham (a 3-year contract extension worth up to $40 million, with $27 million due over the first two years). My understanding is both deals are structured with signing-bonus maneuvering so that the team actually gets cap relief in 2019.
Meanwhile in Indianapolis a lot of rookie running backs are getting invited to chat with the Eagles. The list so far:
Josh Jacobs, RB
Damien Harris, RB
Trayveon Williams, RB
Travis Homer, RB
Dexter Williams, RB
Tony Pollard, RB/WR
Ryquell Armstead, RB
Myles Gaskins, RB
Rodney Anderson, RB
Josh Jacobs is the kid from Alabama who was barely recruited, came off the bench and is now projected as a first-round pick. An explosive end to his junior season was the catalyst for leaving Alabama a year early to enter the NFL. A 15-carry, 98-yard Orange Bowl also included four catches for 60 yards and a touchdown.
Jacobs isn’t doing Combine drills due to a strained groin, but he had an injury-free season last year in college. His March 19th Pro Day at Alabama will be his time to shine his draft stock.
It’s unlikely the Eagles would move up to get Jacobs, let alone pick a running back in the 1st round, but it’s encouraging that they are taking the time to talk with him. Jacobs has an inspirational back story, too, which would fit the “Rocky” motif of the city of Philadelphia.
Jacobs’ rise from severe poverty and being ignored by recruiters as a high school senior is now the feel-good story of the Combine. “It’s surreal, honestly,” Jacobs said. “Humbling. I’m just trying to take it all in right now.”
Looking at the Combine workouts over the weekend, here are the prospects Tony Pauline liked best when considering the Eagles’ offensive line shopping list:
C Garrett Bradbury, North Carolina State: “Bradbury’s draft stock has been on a straight shot north since the start of the 2018 season and he inched even higher today. His testing numbers – which included 4.93 seconds in the 40 (1.74-second 10-yard split), 34 reps on the bench, and a 31-inch vertical jump – were impressive. Bradbury then looked terrific in position drills and was very smooth. Exiting the Senior Bowl scouts said there was a 90 percent chance Bradbury ended up in the first round. That number is moving closer to 100 percent.”
T Andre Dillard, Washington State: “Dillard, the top left tackle in the draft, is another prospect who has seen his draft stock soar the past eight months. He displayed the athleticism, footwork, and movement skills scouts expected. Dillard looked great in drills, was one of the few offensive tackles who timed under 1.7 seconds on his 10-yard split and touched 29 inches in the vertical jump after tipping the scales at 315 pounds. Dillard also cemented himself as a first-round pick.”
OL Cody Ford, Oklahoma: “Ford tipped the scales at a stout 329 pounds after measuring just under 6-4. His testing marks, which included a 40 time of 5.25 seconds and only 19 reps on the bench press, were not great, yet Ford looked very athletic in drills. He displayed surprising footwork for a big man and was very smooth moving about the field. Ford was graded as a fringe first-round pick entering the Combine but now leaves Indianapolis with the expectations he will slide into the initial 32 selections.”
G Chris Lindstrom, Boston College: “Lindstrom was a productive three-year starter for Boston College and scouts have no concern about his playing ability. His athleticism is another question, but Lindstrom quelled those perceived issues today. He turned in some swift 40 times which clocked in the low 4.9’s with 10-yard splits timing 1.70 seconds. His vertical jump of 30.5 inches was also impressive.”
Then there were some EYE-openers in the receivers group:
WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi: “Metcalf was as good as advertised, timing 4.33 seconds in the 40-yard dash, touching 40.5 inches in the vertical jump, and completing 27 reps on the bench press. He practiced at that speed and caught the ball relatively well, but make no mistake about it. While Metcalf is a physical specimen, he needs a lot of work on his receiver skills.”
WR Parris Campbell, Ohio State: “Everyone knew Campbell was a great athlete entering the Combine, and he proved as much. The Buckeye timed 4.31 seconds in the 40, touched 40 inches in the vertical jump, and 135 inches in the broad jump. He caught the ball very well and, most importantly, practiced as fast as he ran the 40. Campbell is coming off a breakout season and finally transitioning his athletic skills into football production.”
WR Myles Boykin, Notre Dame: “The NFL Combine is about expectations. Beat them, and your draft stock rises. Fall short of expectations and your stock moves in the other direction. Boykin, who came to Indianapolis branded as a slow possession receiver, exceeded all expectations in testing. Tipping the scale at 220 pounds, Boykin timed 4.42 seconds in the 40 and touched 43.5 inches in the vertical jump then caught the ball very well in position drills. Scouts now know Boykin has the natural footspeed to be a big-play receiver and it’s just a matter of coaching him to play to that speed.”
TE Noah Fant, Iowa: “Fant was expected to blow it up during Combine testing and he did exactly that, timing 4.50 seconds in the 40, touching 39.5 inches in the vertical jump, then reaching 127 inches in the broad jump. Fant was equally impressive during position drills, catching everything thrown in his direction and translating his athleticism onto the field. Fant made the case to be the first tight end selected in April’s draft.”
TE Josh Oliver, San Jose State: Oliver’s pass-catching skills are well-regarded in the scouting community, but his speed was a question mark. Branded as a 4.8-second athlete in the 40, Oliver was clocked at 4.63 seconds, proving he has the speed to beat linebackers and get downfield. He now projects as a top 100 selection.
Finally, Pauline tipped us off to a running back for which the Eagles actually have a realistic draft shot in a reasonable round:
RB Mike Weber, Ohio State: “Weber looked fast, clocking under 4.5 seconds at 212 pounds, and really looked good in drills. His footwork through the cones as well as his hands catching the ball look like the stuff of a next-level starter.”