2 players who belong on Eagles' combine watch list

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2 players who belong on Eagles' combine watch list

With five of the Eagles' six draft picks being in the fourth round or later, Howie Roseman and his scouting team have the task of doing more with less. 

Here are some players to watch out for on Day 1 of the NFL combine.

OL Isaiah Wynn (Georgia)
This year's offensive line group is arguably the deepest position. These O-linemen have versatility, which is important in Doug Pederson's system. 

Wynn could be the most versatile offensive interior player in this year's draft. He started 15 games at tackle in 2017 and has bounced around from tackle to guard and even tight end during college. With his shorter 6-2 frame, a move inside to guard or even center in the NFL would suit him best.  

You draft him and you have an experienced, All-SEC lineman who can learn from experienced starters, fill in when one of those starters gets hurt, or replace a starter like Stefen Wisniewski or even Jason Kelce down the road. 

With 100 selections coming between the Eagles' first- and fourth-round picks, Wynn could give you the best value at pick 32.

What to watch from Wynn at the combine? 
His 40-yard dash. Yes, I'm saying watch the 40-yard dash of a 300-pound lineman. Truth is, the 40-yard dash, when broken up into splits of 10 yards, serves a purpose. The first 10 yards can tell you how much explosiveness you have out of a compact position like a three-point stance. Wynn is great at pulling and blocking in space. Showcasing fast splits could result in a smooth move from tackle techniques to guard or even center. 

• • •

RB/WR/TE/offensive weapon Jaylen Samuels (NC State)
So many question marks. Not based off talent evaluation, but rather what position he will play at the next level. An easy comparison is Trey Burton. 

Samuels (2014-17 at NC State): 202 receptions, 1,855 yards, 19 receiving TDs; 403 rushing yards, 5.2 YPC, 12 rush TDs

Burton (2010-13 at Florida): 107 receptions, 976 yards, four receiving TDs; 720 rushing yards, 4.7 YPC, 16 rush TDs

Yes, Burton carried the ball in college. So did Samuels. Samuels, however, at 5-11 is smaller than Burton (6-3). For that reason, Senior Bowl coaches elected to give him reps at running back. Here is a taste of him at practice.

With moves like that, I can see him as a target for the Eagles. Remember, 34-year-old Darren Sproles, LeGarrette Blount and Kenjon Barner are all able to test the free-agent market and the Birds are a little cap-strapped.

Another thing to account for when watching Samuels this weekend is Pederson. Pederson does a great job of keeping defensive coordinators on their heels by constantly switching looks and personnel. NC State's offense is similar in manufacturing matchups it can exploit and Samuels excelled very much in that role. Being an Eagles weapon in the backfield or out in space could be the most natural fit for him.

What to watch of Samuels at the combine? 
Everything. We already know he will run fast, but his performance in route-running drills will be the determining factor of where a team values him.

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

Eagles agree to deal with WR Mike Wallace

The Eagles have found their replacement for Torrey Smith. 

Heck, they found an upgrade. 

On Thursday, the Birds agreed to terms with veteran speedy receiver Mike Wallace on a one-year deal. The deal is worth $2.5 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. 

This signing makes a ton of sense for the Eagles, especially if they weren’t ready to hand Mack Hollins the starting spot Smith left. Hollins can now split time with Wallace. Even if the Eagles didn’t trade Smith, they weren’t going to keep him at his price tag, so adding Wallace gives the Eagles a veteran with speed at a cheaper cost. 

Wallace, 31, is coming off a season in which he caught 52 passes for 748 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. For comparison, in 2017, Smith caught 36 passes for 430 yards (11.9) and two touchdowns. And Smith dropped seven passes, while Wallace dropped just three, according to ProFootballFocus. In fact, Wallace's numbers weren't far off from Alshon Jeffery's stats last year (57 receptions, 789 yards, 9 touchdowns). 

While Wallace isn’t coming off his best season in 2017, he went over 1,000 yards in 2016 and has averaged 15.0 yards per reception during his nine-year NFL career. The Eagles hope he'll be the deep threat they thought they were getting in Smith. 

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Wallace is second in the league in 40-yard receptions and in 50-yard receptions. He has 43 receptions of 40-plus yards (behind DeSean Jackson's 56) and 26 receptions of 50-plus yards (behind Jackson's 36). 

If that's not recent enough for you, the Eagles had seven pass plays of 50-plus yards in 2017; Wallace had three on his own. He can still stretch the field. 

The Eagles can now start Alshon Jeffery and Wallace on the outside, which will allow them to keep Nelson Agholor in the slot, where he was great last season. Then they’ll still have Hollins and Shelton Gibson (both draft picks from 2017) off the bench. Not bad. 

Wallace will turn 32 before the season starts, so the Eagles have added another veteran player, something they’ve done plenty this season. They already added Michael Bennett and Haloti Ngata. It’s pretty clear the Eagles see the need to maximize their window of opportunity and getting players to join them is probably easier coming off a Super Bowl win. 

Signing veterans on one-year deals certainly worked well for the Eagles last season and if this one works out too, they will have found a good fit for the 2018 season.  

Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

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Eagles' Super Bowl odds changed by free agency

The Eagles pulled off trades and signed a few free agents after the new league year began on March 14 ... and it's shortened their Super Bowl odds. 

The Eagles' odds to win Super Bowl LIII improved from 9/1 to 17/2 between Feb. 5 and March 22, according to Bovada. Despite beating them in Super Bowl LII less than two months ago, the Eagles still trail the Patriots, who stood pat at 5/1. 

Here's the full top 10: 

1. Patriots: 5/1
2. Eagles: 17/2
3. Vikings: 9/1
4. Steelers: 12/1
5. Packers: 14/1
5. Rams: 14/1
7. Saints: 18/1
8. Falcons: 20/1
9. Texans: 22/1
9. Jaguars: 22/1
9. Raiders: 22/1

As for the rest of the teams in the NFC East, the next closest to the Eagles are the Cowboys, but their inactivity this offseason gave them longer odds, going from 18/1 to 28/1. The Giants' odds stayed at 50/1, while the Redskins' odds went from 50/1 to 66/1. 

And here's a fun prop bet: The over/under for Michael Bennett sacks in 2018 is set at 8. Last season, he had 8½ with the Seahawks. Now, he's playing on a dynamic defensive line but also figures to play less because of the Eagles' rotation.