Mobile, Alabama was taken over this week by scouts, coaches, agents and, of course, Birds 24/7 writers, all looking to spot the next big thing. There is value to Senior Bowl week, as the NFL decision-makers get to visit with the prospects and watch them compete up close against top-tier collegiate talent. It is also dangerous to put too much stock in what you see.
With that in mind, a look at some players whose arrows appear to be pointing up after a week in the Mobile sun. We’ll focus on potential positions of need for the Eagles.
A tiny nugget to start with: According to a source, the Eagles came away impressed with Rice tight end Vance McDonald. With Jason Kelce’s brother, Travis, sidelined with an injury, the 6-4, 260-pound McDonald was arguably the premiere tight end in Mobile.
NFL Draft Scout had good things to say about McDonald.
With Travis Kelce pulling out of the Senior Bowl due to injury, the distinction of top tight end in Mobile is wide open, but Vance McDonald is making a strong case for the spot. He looks the part with broad shoulders, long arms (34.5 inch) and big hands (10 inch) to extend and pluck the ball out of the air. McDonald also looked aggressive during blocking drills, staying balanced through contact and flashing a finishing attitude. He did have some drops on Tuesday when trying to run before securing the grab, but for the most part, McDonald has been impressive this week and is making a strong case to be a top-100 pick in April.
Former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah likes what he sees out of Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant:
Trufant has been the top cornerback in Mobile. He has shown outstanding foot quickness, agility and ball skills. Most teams that I spoke with prior to the Senior Bowl had Trufant pegged as a middle-of-the-second-round-type player. Following three days of practice, nearly every personnel executive I spoke with considers him a likely first-round pick.
Desmond is the younger brother of pro cornerbacks Isaiah and Marcus Trufant. Marcus was spotted on the sidelines down in Mobile watching his little brother practice.
Jeremiah is also high on Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Williams.
Williams quickly garnered the attention of NFL personnel during the weigh-ins, checking in at a whopping 341 pounds. He hasn’t had any trouble using his size and strength to overpower opposing linemen in one-on-one pass-rush drills. However, his surprisingly nimble footwork is what has been most impressive. He is being talked about as a likely second-round pick.
And finally, CBS Sports is bullish on Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher.
After two days of practice, it’s clear that Eric Fisher has separated himself as the best prospect in Mobile this week. He hasn’t been perfect, but he has won more battles than he’s lost, displaying the coordination and feet to hold up in space. Although he will get too tall at times, Fisher has shown better base strength than expected to absorb contact and hold his ground to control blockers, flashing a nasty demeanor as well. He has cemented himself as a top-12 pick, and it isn’t a stretch to consider him one of this year’s top prospects.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Eagles check out big DT John Jenkins.
Chip Kelly once recruited Denard Robinson. Would he go after him today?
Sheil updates you on Kelly’s coaching staff.
What DeSean Jackson thinks of playing for Kelly.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Mark Sanchez is studying up on his new offensive coordinator, Marty Mornhinweg. From PFT:
Manish Mehta of the New York Daily Newsreports that Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez called retired quarterback Jeff Garcia in an effort to begin learning the offense Marty Mornhinweg will be bringing to the Jets.
Both players confirmed to Mehta that they hope to get together soon for classroom and on-field work.
“It’s great,” Sanchez told Mehta. “Jeff sounds like one of those guys that keeps his old playbook and is still really into it. He really speaks the language of that West Coast offense. It’s nice to hear the schematic side, but also to hear what people think about [Mornhinweg].”
Marc Sessler of NFL.com ponders the Eagles’ quarterback situation.
Landry Jones, in theory, might be a match. He operated out of a spread, no-huddle scheme at Oklahoma, but scouts came to Mobile concerned with Landry’s ability to move around and make plays when the pocket breaks down. Jeremiah said Tuesday that Landry has shown some promise on that front and has “helped his stock a lot” in two practices this week.
We have our milk bought, shovels ready and computers charged in the event of an Eagles emergency.