ed oliver

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: DT Ed Oliver

Eagles NFL draft options at No. 25: DT Ed Oliver

There’s no question that Ed Oliver has first-round talent, but there is a question about where in the first round he’ll go. 

Let’s be honest, though. If the Eagles want Oliver, it’s going to take a modest to significant trade up. But he might just be worth it. 

At 6-2, 287 pounds, Oliver doesn’t have prototypical size for an NFL defensive tackle, but he can flat out play. The comparisons to Aaron Donald aren’t perfect, but they’re unavoidable. And they make sense. 

Oliver might need to put on some more weight to last in the NFL, but you just can’t overlook his athleticism and ability to get after the passer from an interior defensive line spot. Interior line pressure has become more vital in the NFL in recent years and Oliver projects to be a great pass-rusher. 

There was that silly jacket incident at Houston and teams probably wanted to sit down and talk with Oliver to get to know him as a person. The tape speaks to what kind of player he is. He had good production at Houston and eye-popping ability. 

For a while, it looked like Oliver was set to take a tumble in the first round, but now that’s harder to imagine. If Oliver starts to make it past 10 and into the mid teens, the Eagles need to make a call to see how much it would take. 

Current roster at DT: The Eagles have Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson as starters. Their top backups are Treyvon Hester and Bruce Hector. 

How he would fit: Oliver would come in and play a lot as a rookie as a rotational piece to complement Cox and Jackson, but would become a starter before long with a huge upside and Pro Bowl potential. 

Eagles history at DT in draft: The last time the Eagles used a first-round pick on a defensive tackle was in 2012, when they took Cox at No. 12. That has worked out. The Eagles have drafted six DTs in the first round: Cox, Brodrick Bunkley, Mike Patterson, Corey Simon, Leonard Renfro, Jerome Brown. 

Since the 2012 draft, the Eagles have taken three interior defensive linemen: Bennie Logan in the third round back in 2013, Beau Allen in the seventh round in 2014 and Elijah Qualls in the sixth round in 2017. 

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Other options at 25 

12 players with something to prove at 2019 NFL Scouting Combine

12 players with something to prove at 2019 NFL Scouting Combine

INDIANAPOLIS — A total of 337 prospects were invited to the annual scouting combine in 2019. Really, they all have something to prove as they hope to transition from college football to the NFL. 

There are, however, a few who have a little something extra to prove for various reasons. 

Here are 12 of those players: 

QB Kyler Murray, Oklahoma 
It wasn’t that long ago that we all thought Murray was going to bypass the NFL to pursue a career in baseball, but now he’s fully committed to playing football. First, we’ll need to see what size Murray is officially. Will he reach 5-foot-9? I expect Murray will perform very well in the on-field drills — he’s athletic, fast, explosive. But I also imagine every team that talks to him will want to know about his love for football. Would an NFL team that picks him in the first round always have to worry about the possibility Murray leaves for baseball? What if, in a couple years, Murray isn’t performing well or isn’t playing much at all? Will he stick with it? Murray will know those questions are coming. 

CB Rock Ya-Sin, Temple 
The cornerback from Temple is quickly rising in the minds of folks as they get to know him a little better. At 6-2, 190, he’s got the right physical makeup to be an NFL corner, but has just one year at Temple under his belt. He played in 12 games, but will his physical tools translate? He’s certainly raw. In his latest big board, NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has Ya-Sin as the 28th-best prospect in this draft. A good showing at the combine could really help him become a high pick. 

S Nasir Adderley, Delaware 
He’s considered to be one of the top safeties in this draft class, but he did play at a small school, which is one of the most common reasons players need to prove themselves at the combine. He’s an explosive athlete and should have a good showing at the combine. 

OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State 
Another small school guy, Howard took the first step to proving himself at the Senior Bowl against other top-notch competition. At 6-6, 311 pounds, he has all the physical attributes wanted in a top offensive tackle. If he adds a good combine to his Senior Bowl, Howard could hear his name called in the first few rounds. 

WR Andy Isabella, UMass 
At just 5-foot-9, Isabella doesn’t look like someone who is going to put up a sub-4.3 time in the 40-yard dash, but he very well might. Isabella told reporters at the Senior Bowl that he has run a hand-timed 4.26 before, which would be pretty insane because the fastest time ever at the combine was a 4.22. Don’t expect Isabella to challenge John Ross’ record, but Isabella has a chance to turn some heads. 

WR D.K. Metcalf, Mississippi 
By now you’ve seen that viral photo of Metcalf from a recent workout. He looks like the freaking Hulk. 

But how will a receiver that big be able to move on the field at the combine? And is he completely healed from a neck injury that ended his college career? A good showing in Indy could earn him a Day 1 call. 

EDGE Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion 
Even though he’s from a small school, Ximines is pushing to become a first-round pick. At the very least, he’s a Day 2 guy with potential. He had 12 sacks in 2018, but he did face much lesser competition overall in college. Ximines had a good Senior Bowl, but he needs to put up decent numbers at the combine. 

EDGE Zach Allen, Boston College 
He’s 6-5, 280, so Allen is a big guy, but we’re going to want to see some athleticism out of him. This is a deep and competitive class of defensive linemen, so if Allen has a big performance in Indy, he can take a much higher spot among his competitors. He’s not known for his athleticism, so he just needs to do enough. 

LB Ben Burr-Kirven, Washington 
A 225-pound linebacker? A 225-pound linebacker. Welcome to the NFL in 2019. We’ll see how much Burr-Kirven weighs at the combine, but either way, he’s going to lack prototypical size for an NFL linebacker. He’ll need to test very well to alleviate some of the fears about his size, but some of the field drills will also give NFL coaches a glimpse into how they might use him at the next level. 

LB Chase Hansen, Utah 
Similar to Burr-Kirven, Hansen is another undersized linebacker prospect. He’s a former safety who switched to linebacker in college, so he might even have a jump on a guy like Nate Gerry, who didn’t switch until he was drafted in the NFL. Hansen had to back out of the Senior Bowl with a hip injury, so he missed that chance to stand out. 

DT Ed Oliver, Houston 
You’ll notice a lot of the same themes with these players. Oliver falls into the undersized category. He played around 280 pounds at Houston, which is very small for an interior lineman in the NFL. To put it in perspective, the Eagles’ lightest DT in 2018 was Tim Jernigan at 295 pounds. Hopefully, Oliver’s frame can support some weight. Either way, I expect him to smash the combine with his quick feet and agility. Will that be enough to prevent a draft-day slide? 

WR Hakeem Butler, Iowa State 
He’s a tall, lanky receiver, who has made some ridiculous plays in college. But he’s had issues with drops and at 6-6, his combine times will be important. NFL teams will want to see how he runs. If he turns in a good 40 time, I think it’s possible he ends up being a first-round pick. 

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NFL mock draft 2019: Eagles-only seven-round version 4.0

NFL mock draft 2019: Eagles-only seven-round version 4.0

Draft season is about to kick it into high gear this week at the combine in Indianapolis. I’m flying there later today. 

So this is the first Eagles-only mock draft since the compensatory picks were announced and it’s the last before we see which players tear up the combine drills. 

Let’s go: 

Round 1 (25): Ed Oliver, DT, Houston 

I know, I know. “Oliver is going to be long gone by then.” And, I think you might be right. But in his mock draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein — whom I really trust — had Oliver going at No. 28. It’s possible the NFL is hesitant to make him a top-10 pick. If Oliver is on the board when the Eagles pick, someone in an Eagles shirt should run a 4.4 getting this pick in. Zierlein has Oliver going so late because he “lacks prototype size,” so we’ll start there. Oliver is 6-foot-2, 290 pounds (that 290 might have been a stretch for part of his time at Houston), which is obviously not ideal for a DT in the NFL. It will probably be a big concern for some teams. 

If you can overlook his lack of weight, Oliver has elite athletic ability and I have a feeling he’s about to go to Indianapolis and crush the on-field drills. His speed, burst and footwork are great. 

Even if Oliver isn’t on the board at 25, if he’s there around 17, 18, the Eagles should seriously think about trading up to get him. 

Defensive tackle is an area of need for the Eagles this offseason. Tim Jernigan has a ridiculous $13 million cap hit, which isn’t going to work. And even if Jernigan is back, can the Eagles count on him? They desperately need to get better play out of the DT position next to Fletcher Cox and Oliver would immediately provide that. He also has the quickness to play on the edge. 

Round 2 (53): Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis 

The last time the Eagles had the 53rd pick, they drafted LeSean McCoy, so maybe it’s time to find another feature back. And maybe Henderson is that guy. 

While I admittedly like David Montgomery more, I think Henderson is a really intriguing prospect. He’s definitely more explosive. Sure, the Eagles have been burned by small running backs before and Henderson is 5-9, 200, but he has the chance to become a true three-down back in the NFL. 

In his junior season at Memphis, he gained over 1,900 yards on the ground with 22 touchdowns and showed the ability to be a receiver out of the backfield in college too. That’s an important requirement for the Eagles at running back. 

The Eagles haven’t drafted a running back in the first two rounds since Shady back in 2009, but they definitely need to upgrade that position. They’ve had five different leading rushers in their last five seasons and they just need some stability. Henderson could offer them that. 

Round 2 (57): Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion 

In a different year, a pass rusher like Ximines would definitely get into the first round, but like you’ve heard, this is a really deep class of defensive linemen. At the Senior Bowl, he measured in at 6-3, 241 pounds. That’s obviously a little on the light side for a 4-3 end, so he might be viewed as an outside backer in a 3-4. But if he can put on weight, he has the pass rush repertoire to become a good pro. If he gets drafted by the Eagles, he’ll need to beef up and then show he can stop the run. That’s important too.  

In his time at Old Dominion, he picked up 32 1/2 sacks, including 11 1/2 his senior season in 2018. He also had 18 tackles for loss in 2018. 

The Eagles need to get younger at defensive end. Brandon Graham might be leaving as a free agent, while Michael Bennett and Chris Long are well on the wrong side of 30. The Eagles have Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat, whom they’ve drafted over the last couple of years, but it’s time to do it again. 

Round 4 (127): Chuma Edoga, OT, USC

I’ve had the thought that the Eagles could target a tackle in the first two rounds, but if they don’t, Edoga (6-3, 300) might provide a nice option in the fourth round. 

He went to the Senior Bowl last month and had a really good showing. He was named the overall practice player of the week. The Eagles for many years have shown a strong interest in Senior Bowl week.

At USC, Edoga primarily played right tackle but was moved to left tackle for the Senior Bowl week. That was important, for him to show he can play on that side of the line. If the Eagles were to draft him, he might become a left tackle with Lane Johnson already established as a Pro Bowler at RT. 

The Eagles need to start thinking about replacing Jason Peters, even if it doesn’t happen this year. Drafting an OT in the fourth round might mean one more year of Peters and then letting that draft pick and Jordan Mailata battle it out to be his replacement. 

Round 4 (138): Diontae Johnson, WR, Toledo  

At 5-11, 180, Johnson isn’t a huge receiver but he has plenty of speed and separation ability to become a deep threat in the NFL. He averaged 16.6 yards per catch at Toledo and averaged 17.3 yards per catch in 2017 as a sophomore. That was his best college season. He had 74 catches for over 1,200 yards and 13 touchdowns. His production in 2018 dropped. He had just 49 catches for 761 yards and eight touchdowns. That drop in production could actually help NFL teams find value. 

Aside from his ability as a receiver, he also proved to be a really good kick returner and eventually a good punt returner in college. The Eagles could certainly use help there. 

Check out his six-catch, 119-yard, two-touchdown game against Miami from last season: 

Alshon Jeffery will be back in 2018, but then the Eagles face some questions at the receiver position. What will they do with Nelson Agholor? Will they bring back Golden Tate? Will they sign a different veteran? 

Round 5 (163): Evan Worthington, S, Colorado

The 6-2, 210 pound Worthington was once suspended for a year for violating team rules and actually rejoined the team with a different name when he came back (here’s more of his background)

In two years on the field, Worthington played in 21 games and had 10 passes defensed and four interceptions. He’s a little raw because of his lack of experience but is versatile and the Eagles love versatile defensive backs. 

The Eagles brought back Rodney McLeod at a discount, but they need to bring in another young safety and Worthington would make sense. 

Round 6 (197): Terrill Hanks, LB, New Mexico State 

At 6-2, 230, Hanks is small, but he could fit as a linebacker in today’s NFL. He was a productive player for four seasons, going over 100 total tackles in each of his last three college seasons. He also had eight picks in four years to go along with seven forced fumbles and three recoveries. 

Jordan Hicks is set to be a free agent and it’s unclear if the Eagles will bring him back. That means Nigel Bradham and Kamu Grugier-Hill might be the two starters in 2018 and a younger player — Nate Gerry or a draft pick — could be the third. 

Round 6 (208): Jonathan Ledbetter, DE, Georgia 

At 6-4, 277, he wasn’t a premier pass rusher in the SEC. Heck, he had just 4 1/2 sacks in his college career. But he was good against the run and could at least be a serviceable rotational player in the NFL. He had a couple alcohol-related arrests during his college career, but was named a captain for the 2018 season.

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