Marlon Tuipulotu could be a defensive tackle to watch for the Eagles in the 2021 NFL Draft.
The University of Southern California product revealed during his pro day availability on Monday afternoon that he met with the Eagles at the Senior Bowl last month.
“I felt like that went pretty good,” he said when asked by SI.com’s Eagle Maven about the meeting.
Asked what the Eagles, or any team, would be getting, the 6-2, 310-pounder said: “A solid run stuffer with the potential to be a solid pass rusher as well and a great hustler. No matter where the ball is, I feel I can get to it and make plays in that case.
“They’re going to find someone who’s accountable at all times, that other players can rely on and just go out there do the dirty work and try to win, help the team any way they want me to.”
Tuipulotu also threw out a couple of Eagles names.
“I’ve watched Fletcher Cox play; great football player,” he said. “I know Isaac Seumalo. He and my older brother hung out a few times back in Oregon (where Tuipulotu grew up). I know him a little bit, so that’s pretty cool.”
The Eagles once had success with a USC defensive tackle, selecting Mike Patterson in the first round, No. 31 overall, in 2005, the draft after their Super Bowl 39 appearance. Patterson played eight seasons with the Eagles, 10 overall in the NFL.
Pro Football Focus recently ranked Tuipulotu in the top 10 for best interior defensive lineman available in the upcoming NFL Draft and the NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah had him as the No. 45 overall prospect available.
The expectation is that he will be a second-day pick.
CHECK OUT THE VIDEO DISCUSSION ON TUIPULOTU
Tuipulotu’s freshman season was ruined by knee and back injuries, a potential red flag, but he has been solid the last two years and opted to leave school with a year of eligibility remaining.
“I have to credit Marlon for the discipline he’s had of being proactive with his body and really developing his core,” said USC coach Clay Helton. “When he first came to us as a freshman, he had some core strength issues that he focused on, primarily with his back, and does it on a daily basis.
“As his health improved from a freshman to sophomore, we saw him coming on. … He thrived this year and I’m so happy for him, because always had the ability but really got healthy, got strong, was put in the right system … now you look up and not only did he have a great season last year, but really put himself in a great position to be in this NFL market and looked at as a high draft pick.”
After his ruined freshman year, Tuipulotu started 10 of 12 games, making 4.5 sacks, 5.5 for loss. He followed that up by starting 12 games as a redshirt sophomore with six tackles for loss and two sacks.
Last year, in a COVID-19 season shortened to six games, he was named All-Pac-12 with 3.5 tackles for loss with two sacks in a defensive that system that switched from a 4-3 in his first few years at USC to a 3-4 in his final year.
Tuipulotu is spending the offseason training in Arizona with friend and teammate Alijah Vera-Tucker, an offensive lineman projected to go in the first round.
“Marlon’s a great guy off the field,” said Vera-Tucker. “He’s one of those guys who always does things right on and off the field, a very disciplined player as well. He’s a very good technician when it comes to D-line.
“He has so many tools in his arsenal. Going against him every day, spring ball, fall camp, during the season, it was just good on good every play, pass rush, 9-on-7, team, so being able to go up against him every day was really cool and it’s helped both of us throughout this process.”
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.
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