Mike Gesicki

Tight ends that could fit Eagles in NFL draft

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Tight ends that could fit Eagles in NFL draft

We continue our positional breakdowns leading up to the 2018 NFL draft with a look at tight ends. Instead of a top five, we'll highlight players at these positions who fit the Eagles and have a chance to be available when the team picks.

So far, we've looked at quarterbacks, running backs and receivers.

At No. 32
Dallas Goedert, South Dakota State, 6-5, 255 pounds

If the Eagles are planning to take a tight end at 32, Goedert would be the ideal choice. He's drawn comparisons to Zach Ertz with his reliable hands and ability to find soft spots over the middle. He put up consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and 18 TDs in his last two seasons combined. Coming from a small school, it's slightly disappointing he didn't run the 40 at the combine or his pro day. He's not the greatest blocker, but he's not bad and he's willing. Ertz and Goedert would make the Eagles' offense even more lethal.

Mike Gesicki, Penn State, 6-5, 247 pounds
Gesicki is an athletic freak who crushed the combine after a productive career in Happy Valley. His catch radius is ridiculous. His 4.54 40 doesn't always show up on tape, which makes me wonder if there's a little more there. Gesicki's biggest flaw is his blocking. He's just not good at it. Has Ertz improved enough in that regard for the Eagles to feel comfortable taking a poor blocking tight end? The duo would be incredibly dynamic in the passing game.

Hayden Hurst, South Carolina, 6-4, 250 pounds
Hurst is the most complete tight end in this draft and it's really not even close. He was a productive receiver (100 catches the last two seasons combined) and was a willing and capable blocker during his time with the Gamecocks. The issue with Hurst is his age. He's 25 years old after spending time as a baseball prospect in the Pirates' system. Hurst then decided to go to South Carolina and play football. He's a fine prospect, but at 25, probably not worth a first-round pick.

In the middle
Chris Herndon, Miami, 6-4, 245 pounds

Herndon waited his turn behind 2017 first-round pick David Njoku and played well during his senior season for the Hurricanes (40 catches, 447 yards, four TDs). Unfortunately, a knee injury cost him the end of his season and has forced him to rehabilitate instead of train for the NFL draft process. Herndon is a good athlete with pretty reliable hands. He was a decent blocker as well and the 20 reps he put up at the combine shows that he's got decent strength. Herndon would be really intriguing in the middle rounds. 

Late-round sleeper(s)
Will Dissly, Washington, 6-4, 267 pounds

A converted defensive end, Dissly's receiving numbers won't blow you away (21 catches, 289 yards, two TDs), but he brings that defensive player edge to his blocking. The Eagles have an intriguing receiving tight end prospect in Billy Brown. Perhaps it would make some sense to select a player like Dissly late to complement the dynamism of Ertz and Brown. Plus, Dissly didn't look totally unnatural catching the football and was a load to bring down after the catch. There could be potential there.

6 NFL Combine studs Eagles should keep eye on

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6 NFL Combine studs Eagles should keep eye on

With the combine over, we look at six prospects that impressed and should be on the Eagles’ radar.

Taven Bryan, DT, Florida (6-4/291)
Bryan’s combine matched the tape. He’s an athletic freak, testing in the 97th percentile. That’s part of the reason I projected him to the Eagles in my first-round mock 1.0. He would provide them a strong rotational piece with pass rush ability. Remember, if Beau Allen walks, the Eagles' top backup is Destiny Vaeao. Bryan is raw, but his upside is huge in a one-gap, attacking defense.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State (6-5/247)
Speaking of freaks, Gesicki ran a 4.54 40 and recorded a 41½-inch vertical at 247 pounds. He’s a dynamic receiver and serious red zone threat but his blocking is subpar. Has Zach Ertz’s blocking come far enough to allow for a playmaker like Gesicki to play on the other side? It would make the Eagles scary in 12-personnel and could make up for the likely loss of Trey Burton in free agency.

Leighton Vander Esch, LB Boise State (6-4/256)
While his 40 and bench numbers were just OK, Vander Esch finished in the top-five among 'backers in the vertical, broad jump, three-cone drill, and 20- and 60-yard shuttle. Word is the Eagles are high on him. He’s only a one-year starter but that one year was spectacular. One of the concerns is that he looks to avoid blocks as opposed to shedding them, but he may have tested himself out of pick 32. That would be too bad for the Eagles, who could lose veteran Nigel Bradham.

Nyheim Hines, RB, NC State (5-8/197)
Hines was the fastest back at the combine, running a 4.38 40. He’s undersized but he was as dynamic as anyone in college football. He ran for 1,112 yards, averaging 5.6 yards a carry and scoring 12 TDs. He was also a lethal returner, recording two kick return TDs and a punt return score during his time at NC State. Hines is what the Eagles were looking for in Donnel Pumphrey last season. 

Connor Williams, OT/G, Texas (6-5/320)
The aforementioned players had strong combines and that’s why they've made this list. Williams didn't have a bad combine by any stretch but his measurements may cause him to fall. His arms measured 33 inches. Teams typically want their tackles to have at least 34-inch arms. Silly, I know, but that, plus an injury-riddled junior season could cause Williams to fall. He was considered by many to be the best tackle in the draft before the season. Looking at his 2016 tape, that may be accurate. And now, he might fall into the Eagles' lap at 32.

Justin Reid, S, Stanford (6-1/204)
Reid is a prototypical safety in today's NFL. He has corner speed (4.40 40) and is strong in coverage. Safety isn't a need for the Eagles, but like defensive tackle, it’s a position lacking depth. Plus, with how much time teams spend in nickel and dime, and how Jim Schwartz likes to deploy Malcolm Jenkins — who also can't play forever — all over the field, Reid gives them a ton of options in sub packages. 

6 NFL draft prospects to watch in bowl games Saturday

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6 NFL draft prospects to watch in bowl games Saturday

This week's bowl games wrap up with four games on the docket and plenty of NFL prospects in action.

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 six prospects in action today that could help the Eagles next season.

Louisville-No. 23 Mississippi State
Taxslayer Bowl (12 p.m./ESPN)

No. 55 - Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State, senior (6-5/315)
Rankin will certainly be a possibility for the Eagles late in the first round. His body type might project better as a guard, but he’s excelled as a tackle. The biggest thing to like about Rankin is his improvement from his junior to senior year. At times last season, he looked tentative. This year, he’s been aggressive, getting his hands on defenders early and pushing them off the ball. He’s looked like a solid NFL tackle prospect all year long.

Iowa State-No. 20 Memphis
Autozone Liberty Bowl (12:30 p.m./ABC)

No. 3 - Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis, senior (5-11/190)
Miller is as explosive as they come. His size will obviously be an issue, but he’s been incredibly productive. He’s put up back-to-back 1,400-yard campaigns and has 21 receiving TDs during his three seasons at Memphis. He’s also added three rushing touchdowns. Doug Pederson would certainly like to add an electric player like Miller in his offense.

No. 11 Washington- No. 9 Penn State
Playstation Fiesta Bowl (4 p.m./ESPN)

No. 88 - Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State, senior (6-6/250)
Gesicki’s overall numbers dipped a little bit this season, but he did record nine receiving TDs this season. He’s big and sure-handed. He’s also a pretty solid blocker. The Eagles will likely lose Trey Burton in free agency and Brent Celek isn’t getting any younger. Gesicki could be a solid backup option for Zach Ertz that would add more in the passing game than Celek and more in the blocking department than Burton.

No. 2 – Marcus Allen, S, Penn State, senior (6-2/207)
Allen is a hard-hitting, rangy safety. The biggest question going forward will be Allen’s ball skills. The senior safety snagged just one interception during his time with Penn State. This is a deep safety class so the “lack of ball skills” label will likely push Allen down draft boards. With that said, he’s excellent in run support and solid in coverage. If he slips into the middle rounds, he’s someone worth keeping an eye on. Worst case, he’ll be a special teams ace.

No. 6 Wisconsin-No. 10 Miami
Capital One Orange Bowl (8 p.m./ESPN)

No. 81 - Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin, senior (6-6/248)
Fumagalli is in a similar mold to Gesicki. Again, his numbers won’t blow you away. He’s had back-to-back 500-yard seasons but has just six touchdown catches in that time. The lack of numbers is really in large part because of Wisconsin’s offense. They have a strong offensive line and a star freshman running back. Fumagalli’s ability to block in the run game should appeal to the Eagles.

No. 52 - Kc McDermott, OL, Miami, senior (6-7/300)
McDermott is an extremely versatile lineman, playing all across the offensive line. This season, he’s settled in and excelled as the Hurricanes’ left tackle. He was named to the All-ACC third team. There's nothing flashy to McDermott, but he's long and aggressive and always seem to be under control and in the proper position. He’ll be tested against a strong Badgers’ front.