Jaylen Samuels

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.

8 NFL draft prospects to watch in bowl games Friday

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8 NFL draft prospects to watch in bowl games Friday

With three days of college football bowl games in the books this week, we turn our attention to Thursday's contests and NFL draft prospects.

The Eagles will have a late first-round pick and no second- or third-rounders. But Howie Roseman isn't one to sit on his hands come draft day.

Here are eight prospects in action today that could help the Eagles next season.

Wake Forest-Texas A&M
Belk Bowl (1 p.m./ESPN)

No. 53 - Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest, senior (6-4/275)
Ejiofor has been one of the most disruptive players in the ACC over the past two seasons. He's put up 17 ½ sacks and 32 tackles for a loss over the last two campaigns combined. He wins with excellent and violent hand usage. He has a lethal swim move on his inside rush and a pretty decent spin move. He's ultra aggressive — perhaps too much at times — so he would fit what the Eagles do defensively.

No. 3 - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M, junior (5-11/200)
Kirk has seen a drop off in receiving yards in each of his three seasons at Texas A&M. But don't be fooled by the numbers. Kirk is one of the most electrifying receivers coming out this season. With his size, he's done most of his damage in the slot but has at times played on the outside. He's also returned six punts and one kickoff for TDs in his career. Nelson Agholor has had an outstanding year in the slot, but will be on the last year of his deal next season. Kirk could be an ideal replacement or perhaps get reps on the outside if Agholor is signed long term.

No 24. NC State-Arizona State
Hyundai Sun Bowl ( 3 p.m./CBS)

No. 1 - Jaylen Samuels, TE/WR/RB, NC State, senior (5-11/223)
You've heard of positionless basketball, but Samuels has introduced the college football world to the concept. Because of his size, Samuels lacked a true position when he got to Louisville. He's lined up as a halfback, H-back, tight end and wide receiver during his four-year career. He's also put his name in the record books, with a chance to pass Jerricho Cotchery's all-time receptions record for the Wolfpack. The Eagles will likely lose Trey Burton. Doug Pederson could probably think of some creative ways to deploy Samuels.

No. 7 - Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State, senior (6-3/230)
Ballage has been in a timeshare for all four of his years at Arizona State with Demario Richard (No. 4). Ballage is the back with more NFL potential. His numbers aren't overly impressive because of the shared backfield and the Sun Devils' struggles as a football team. Ballage does possess incredibly quick feet and good patience and burst in finding holes. For a bigger back, you'd like to see him finish runs and punish tacklers. On a similar note, he doesn't stand his ground in pass protection. He's an intriguing late-round option if running backs coach Duce Staley thinks he can get the most out of him.

Kentucky-No. 21 Northwestern
Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m./ESPN)

No. 7 - Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky, junior (6-0/200)
Edwards might be better served coming back for his senior season, but there's a lot to like about the junior safety. He's recorded 189 tackles and seven interceptions the last two seasons combined. He's versatile with the ability to cover and play up in the box. It's also worth keeping an eye on LB Josh Allen (No. 41). He's an undersized edge rusher at 235 pounds, but he's registered 14 ½ sacks in the last two seasons combined. 

No. 16 - Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern, senior (6-0/212)
Igwebuike is a perfect example of a player increasing his value by staying in school for an extra year. The hard-hitting safety flies around the field like a heat-seeking missile. Off the field, he paints and is the vocalist in a band. He's been very outspoken about his desire to be more than a football player even after he reaches the NFL. That might scare some scouts off, but the Eagles' locker room can certainly handle that personality. As far as on the field, Igwebuike can add physicality to the team's back end and become a special teams maven.

No. 8 USC-No. 5 Ohio State
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (8:30 p.m./ESPN)

No. 25 - Ronald Jones, RB, USC, junior (6-0/200)
In another deep running back class, a guy like Jones could get lost in the shuffle. He shouldn't. He followed up a 1,082-yard, 12 touchdown sophomore campaign with 1,486 yards and 18 TDs in 2017. Jones is shifty and explosive, averaging 6.2 yards per carry for his college career. It's tough to know whether Jones will be an elite back at the next level because of his size. He sort of resembles Jamaal Charles, who's had a spectacular but oft-injured career. If he slips, the Eagles should certainly take a long look.

No. 13 - Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State, junior (6-1/225)
Baker came into this season with a ton of hype, but his stock has seemed to slip. Advantage, Eagles. Baker has the eyes and coverage ability of a safety with the willingness to mix it up in the box. He's racked up 154 tackles (16 for a loss), 6 ½ sacks and two interceptions during his college career. He's a difference-making 'backer that would look excellent playing alongside (a healthy) Jordan Hicks. With Nigel Bradham's status uncertain next season, it's certainly a position of need.