There might not be another school that offers the Eagles more of a smorgasbord of prospects that could interest them in the 2021 NFL Draft than the University of North Carolina.
The Tar Heels, who held their pro day on Monday, have two very good running backs, two dynamic wide receivers, and a linebacker who arrived in Chapel Hill as a quarterback before transitioning to defense.
“We’ve got 5 really good players that are going to try out,” said NUC coach Mack Brown during Friday afternoon’s pro day availability. “They can leave here with a tremendous amount of pride because they came into a program that had won five games in two years and they’re leaving with a program that, in some areas, will be rated in the top 10 in preseason next year. They did a tremendous job for us.”
Here’s a breakdown of each:
Size: 5-9, 212
40: 4.58, 4.55
Bench press: 22 reps
Williams set the school record for most touchdowns in a season last year with 22 - 19 rushing, three receiving while rushing for 1,140 yards (7.3 yards per rush), and catching 25 passes for 325 yards.
He was the valedictorian of his senior class and got offers from Yale and Harvard and is one of the top three running backs in the draft, along with Alabama's Najee Harris and Clemson's Travis Etienne.
Potential outcome: Eagles probably won’t spend a second-round pick on him and he won’t be there in the third round.
What Brown said: “He’s number one a great person, but he’s big, he’s fast, he’s strong, he runs with low pads. ... The advantage that you would give to a Javonte is his size. He’s so powerful and he just bounced off players week in and week out and that big back, sometimes in the fourth quarter, is a lot better than any back is in the first quarter because they just keep pounding and pounding and that’s who he was. He was a short-yardage and goal-line back when he got here so he was used to doing that, but he has great speed.”
Size: 5-7, 201
40: 4.5, 4.56 (NFL scout)
Bench press: 16 reps
During the 2019 season, Carter rushed for 1,003 yards and three touchdowns, earning third-team All-ACC. He followed up with a senior season that saw him run for 1,245 yards with 11 combined rushing and receiving touchdowns on his way to being voted a Pro Football Focus first-team All American and All-ACC first team.
Potential outcome: He’s very much in play to be taken by the Eagles if he is still around in the third round.
What Brown said: “People worry about his size. Michael is very strong and he’s a lot bigger than his height and he plays bigger than his height, so he can pass protect, he can catch the ball, but what he’s got is the power to run inside and he’s got an amazing ability to be patient and make the cut.
“He can jump sideways on a cut and be full speed coming out of his break, and that’s very, very difficult to do. Michael was one of the best leaders on this team. When we had our social justice issues in the summer, I went to Michael first and he and I talked about some hard things. He helped all of us through this in so many ways and he helped our team and he picked people up. Nobody did a better job helping lead this team than Michael Carter.”
Size: 6-1, 188
40: 4.46, 4.50
Bench press: 18 reps
Brown is an explosive player who averaged 20.0 yards per catch last season and 18.7 during his career. In three seasons, he had 2,306 yards and 21 touchdowns and became the first receiver in school history to have two 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He was first-team All-ACC and a third-team All-American.
Potential outcome: If the Eagles go defense in the first round, a receiver could very much be in play in the second round and if Brown is there, he is someone they need to consider. It's 50-50 he drops to their next pick at No 70 overall.
Size: 5-10, 190
40: 4.49, 4.62
Bench press: 12 reps
Newsome played mostly in the slot, but he can go outside as well. In 44 career games, he had 2,435 yards and 18 touchdowns, with his best year in 2019 when he went for 1,018 yards and 10 TDs, ad averaged 13.0 yards per catch in his career.
Potential outcome: Eagles could make him one of their picks in the third round and be happy they did.
What Brown said about both WRS: “My 32 years in coaching, they’re as good as any two I ever coached. They’re both really, really good. The thing that gave people fits is if they tried to double cover Dazz in the slot, then you got Dyami, one-on-one, and nobody really ever covered him all year one-on-one. If you spread out and try to cover both wideouts, you got Dazz inside on a safety which is just unfair.”
Size: 6-2, 229
40: 4.58, 4.60
Bench press: 25 reps
One of the more interesting draft stories after he played seven games with Miami as a quarterback, transferred to UNC, and asked to play linebacker. He led the team in tackles last year with 91 while also recording six sacks and 7.5 tackles for loss last season.
Potential outcome: Very much in the mix for the Eagles to take him in the third round, though one drawback might be that Philly took Davion Taylor, a developmental LB, last year in the third round.
What Brown said: “He comes to see me and says, ‘Coach, I want to play linebacker.’” I said, ‘Well, we need a quarterback.’ He said, ‘Nope, to me, I want to play in the NFL, that’s my dream and I have a lot better chance to play in the NFL at linebacker than I do quarterback.’
“So, I thought, ‘OK, I don’t know you, we’ll let you try it.’
After some growing pains, Brown added “He’s smart, he’s tough, he’s a workout freak. He’s in great shape. He watches what he eats and how he runs and works out, and he’s gotten a lot bigger and he’s so fast. The things that he learned as a quarterback really helped him when he started trying to figure out the plays on defense.
“He was all over the place. We look up and he’s running down screens and he just had a feel for the game, so I think he’ll be one of the better linebackers out there in the draft, but to me, you have to draft Chazz because his upside is unbelievable, because he hasn’t played but two years. There’s no telling how good he can really be and it’s because he can play all over the field.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.