We interrupt this Eagles coaching search to bring you some draft news…
The offseason all-star games will begin to ramp up and on Jan. 30 the Senior Bowl will be played in Mobile, Ala.
With a strange college season having just concluded, with some players opting out and some teams playing reduced schedules, talent judgment can be more challenging than ever. Also, there is no definite date set yet for the NFL Scouting Combine, with the possibility of it being held in April rather than the end of February and early March.
That makes these college all-star games perhaps even more important.
The Eagles, though, have been consumed by looking for Doug Pederson’s replacement, but with three picks in the top 70 (No. 6, 37, and 70) whenever the draft is held this spring or summer it is just as important to be consumed by personnel evaluations.
So far, DeVonta Smith is the one player in the Senior Bowl that the Eagles could consider taking with the sixth overall pick. The Heisman Trophy winner from Alabama will be working with the coaching staff of the Miami Dolphins at the game, and Miami holds the third overall pick, so Smith could be off the board by the time the Eagles turn to select arrives.
There are some players who could be Eagles targets as the draft heads into its second and third days.
While it is difficult to tell what sort of players will fit the Eagles until they have a new head coach, and with their request to interview Kansas City’s Eric Bieniemy not allowed to happen until after the Chiefs are done playing, which likely won’t be until after the Super Bowl on Feb. 7, the personnel fits may not be known for some time.
Here is an early stab, though, at some players to watch at the Senior Bowl:
DE Carlos Basham, Wake Forest. The 6-5, 275-pound pass rusher could be gone in the first round, but if he’s still there when the Eagles hit the clock early in the second, he could be a target, even though his sack production slipped from 2019 to 2020 going from 11 to five. He had 20.5 sacks in three seasons.
S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State. The Eagles need safeties, so maybe this 6-4, 212-pounder fits the bill. A knee injury cost him a lot of 2020, but he made 101 tackles in 2019.
CB Rodarius Williams, Oklahoma State. Decent size at 6-0, 195 and got better as his career went along. The Eagles need somebody to start opposite Darius Slay. Avonte Maddox was not the answer.
RB Trey Sermon, Ohio State. Miles Sanders didn’t live up to the production expected from a three-down back. He needs help. Sermon, who is a load at 6-1, 215, was a force late in the season with 331 yards in the Big 10 Championship Game against Northwestern and 193 in the semifinals of the College Football Playoffs against Clemson.
WR Kadarius Toney, Florida. If the Eagles bypass DeVonta Smith or Ja’Marr Chase with the sixth pick and Toney slides out of the late first round, perhaps they look at this explosive athlete who had 70 catches for 980 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2020 while rushing 10 times for 161 yards and another score.
Anybody from Oklahoma. Given the Eagles’ connection with Lincoln Riley, who has still not publicly denied any interest in the Eagles’ job, it may be wise to watch any of the five players from Norman. They are:
- Cornerbacks Tre Brown and Tre Norwood, who projects as a slot CB and led the Sooners in interceptions this season with five.
- Offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Adrian Kelly.
- Running back Rhamonde Stevenson.
Quarterbacks. With the Eagles situation at the position still very much unsettled, it wouldn’t hurt to see what’s out there beyond the obvious big three of Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson, neither of whom are playing in the Senior Bowl.
There are six of them scheduled to play in Mobile, only one considered first-round material and that is Florida’s Kyle Trask. The others range from borderline second-rounders to possibly undrafted territory - at the moment, anyway.
The other five QBs listed on the roster are:
- Kellen Mond, Texas A&M.
- Sam Ehlinger, Texas.
- Feleipe Franks, Arkansas.
- Jamie Newman, Wake Forest, transferred to Georgia but sat out 2020.
- Ian Book, Notre Dame.
Of course, there are plenty of other names that bear watching, but this is designed to think about something else other than who the next head coach will be.
Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out anything you may have missed pertaining to the Eagles by going to www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.