The Eagles turned their attention to the secondary in the fifth round, drafting N.C. State safety Earl Wolff with the 136th overall pick.
“Very explosive. Can run, can jump. Tough, hard-nosed, physical player,” said Chip Kelly. “When you can add some depth to your secondary it’s always a positive. We held our breath. He was a guy we had targeted higher — a lot higher.”
Wolff himself believed he would be drafted somewhere between rounds 2-4. The 5-11, 209 pounder was a three-year starter and All-ACC selection as a senior. He ran a 4.44 at the Combine. The former high school running back ranks fifth in school history with 400 tackles — 145 of them coming during his senior season.
“I first saw him at the East-West game. He had a solid week of practice there,” said Mike Mayock, via the Daily News. ”Guys were talking about him in the fifth or sixth round at the East-West game. Then, at the combine, he ran a 4.4 and jumped 39 inches and really looked athletic and caught the football well.
“If you go back and watch the tape, this kid is a good football player. To most of America, he’s a sleeper. To NFL teams, he’s not.”
The Raeford, North Carolina native actually has some pretty strong local ties. His mom, a member of the Army National Guard, was born and raised in Philly. About 20 family members from North Philly were by his side when he got the call from the Eagles, and bum-rushed him when they heard the news.
“My uncle had on an Eagles hat and my other uncle had on an Eagles shirt [while we were watching the draft],” said Wolff. “I actually have that on right now.”
Wolff had six interceptions over his four years at N.C. State. He was described by his college coaches as physical and explosive. Kelly believes that he can be both an asset in pass coverage and against the run.
“I would say I’m pretty versatile,” said Wolff. “I can play deep middle, I can play deep half, I can play in the box. My senior year I played more in the box because we had some young, inexperienced linebackers.”
Wolff gets added to a safety group that includes Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Colt Anderson, Patrick Chung, Kenny Phillips and David Sims.