Eagles Work Out Rice TE, Fresno St. Safety

With the draft less than a month away, prospect workouts are in full swing.

The two latest names to garner interest from the Eagles are Rice tight end Vance McDonald and Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas.

The Birds worked McDonald (6-4, 267) out on Monday, according to Adam Caplan. A projected second-round pick, McDonald caught 36 balls for 458 yards and two touchdowns as a senior. He lined up quite a bit in the slot and was used in a variety of ways. McDonald averaged a healthy 12.7 yards per catch last season.

HogsHaven.com recently posted a good piece showing McDonald’s versatility. You can see that some of what he does is similar to James Casey. Again, it’s clear that Chip Kelly values players who are not one-dimensional and can line up in a variety of places.

The Eagles have Brent Celek and Clay Harbor on the roster, in addition to Casey. Harbor is no lock to make the team, and we really have no clue how many tight ends Kelly would like to keep when all is said and done.

The negatives for McDonald on the scouting report are that he does not have great hands and will need to refine his skills as an in-line blocker.

Below is a cut-up of McDonald from 2011, courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com.

Meanwhile, the Eagles also have a workout set up with Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas, according to Rivals.com.

Thomas (6-0, 208) is part of a deep class of safety prospects. He led the nation with eight interceptions last year and took three back to the house for touchdowns. Thomas also showed he could play up in the box, coming up with 12 tackles for loss, third among all defensive backs.

“I feel like my strength is getting to the ball no matter what, if it’s in the air or on the ground,” Thomas said at the Senior Bowl. “Just getting the ball and creating turnovers. Film study, that’s the biggest thing to me. It helps you play a lot faster.”

Thomas admitted that he needs to improve his open-field tackling. Most draft projections have him going in the third round.

Don’t forget to check out our master list of prospect visits and workouts.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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