We’ve discussed the Eagles’ first-round options quite a bit in this space.
But there’s plenty of talent to be found on Friday and Saturday too. The Birds currently have a pair of Day 2 picks: Nos. 35 (second round) and 67 (third round). They could acquire more if they trade down in the first round.
So here’s a list of 15 names to know. These are potential Round 2 or Round 3 options. Obviously, there’s plenty of guess-work involved since we don’t know who’s going to go in the first round, so consider this a starting point. I’m sure you all have names that I left off, so feel free to chime in with those in the comments section (as if you need any encouragement!).
Also, before we start, I wanted to pass along some helpful draft resources:
* The PhiladelphiaEagles.com film room series with Greg Cosell, Adam Caplan and Fran Duffy.
* The Shutdown Corner podcast with Yahoo Sports’ Doug Farrar and Cosell.
* Mike Mayock’s top-100 on NFL.com.
* Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 on NFL.com.
These are in no particular order:
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State (6-5, 237) – Readers of Birds 24/7 know the name well. Manuel has been providing us with an insightful draft diary over the last couple of months. He has the physical attributes Chip Kelly is likely looking for in a quarterback, even if the college production didn’t always match the potential. Manuel has created a lot of buzz throughout the pre-draft process, and there’s certainly a chance he could go in the first round. But Mayock said recently he believes only one QB will go off the board Thursday night.
If the Eagles really like Manuel, they could consider using the 35th pick to trade back into the back end of the first round. The Jaguars could take Manuel at No. 33, but there’s a chance the Eagles could stay put and still land him.
Jesse Williams, DL, Alabama (6-3, 323) – We know the Eagles are in the market for versatile defensive linemen, and Williams falls into that category, with the ability to play nose tackle or the 5-technique. Cosell of said recently that he doesn’t see a major difference between Williams and Star Lotulelei. The problem? Williams might not last to No. 35. Several mocks have him going in the back end of the first round. One team to watch is the 49ers, who lost Isaac Sopoaga and Ricky Jean-Francois in free agency. They’ve got picks 31 and 34, and could snag Williams.
Kyle Long, OL, Oregon (6-6, 313) – We’re going to find out just how much Kelly values familiarity. Long, of course, played for Kelly at Oregon and also falls into the versatile category, with the ability to play both guard and tackle. Another plus is athleticism, but Long has just one year of experience at the D-1 level, having transferred from junior college. He’ll turn 25 in December, but Long might not face much of a learning curve if he plays in Kelly’s system. There’s a chance he goes in the first round, but if not, Long would certainly be an option at 35.
D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina (5-10, 208) – The Eagles want to add toughness to a secondary that has looked soft the past couple of years. Swearinger is one of the biggest hitters at the position, but he’s not a one-trick pony. A four-year starter in college, Swearinger showed coverage chops as well. He’s not the tallest guy (5-10) and only ran a 4.67 40 at the Combine, but Swearinger could be the best Day 2 safety on the board, assuming Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro and Florida International’s Jonathan Cyprien are taken in the first round.
Darius Slay, CB, Mississippi State (6-0, 192) – We mentioned yesterday that this is a deep and talented cornerback class. But it’s a need position for many teams, meaning we could see a run in the end of the first round. With his size (6-0) and speed (4.36 40), Slay might even hear his name called on Thursday night. But if he’s there at 35, the Eagles could pounce.
Margus Hunt, DL, SMU (6-8, 277) – If Kelly really likes long players on defense, he has to be intrigued by Hunt. A physical specimen, Hunt ran a 4.60 at the Combine and benched 225 pounds 38 times. Originally coming to America from Estonia with track and field aspirations, Hunt is still relatively new to the game and will be 26 in July. But he had eight sacks last season, blocked 17 (!!!) kicks in college and has a blend of length and athleticism that is unmatched. Hunt projects as a 5-technique in a 3-4 and figures to go off the board in the second round.
Arthur Brown, ILB, Kansas State (6-0, 241) – This time of year, analysts, scouts and others spend a considerable amount of time poking holes at very good prospects. But in doing my research, I really had trouble finding anyone saying anything negative about Brown, other than that he’s not the biggest guy. Bryce’s brother finished up a stand-out career at Kansas State and figures to be one of the first inside linebackers off the board. Cosell called him his favorite linebacker prospect overall. If the Eagles spend a second-round pick on him, it would fall in the “best player available” category. With Mychal Kendricks and DeMeco Ryans on the roster, they have starting inside linebackers in place. But they don’t have a lot of depth, and the Eagles could find Brown’s production and versatility appealing.
Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati (6-5, 255) – Let’s stick with the brother theme, shall we? The Eagles have done a lot of homework on tight ends, including Jason’s brother, Travis. Kelce had off-the-field issues at Cincinnati, and sports hernia surgery kept him from working out at the Combine. But on the field, he presents a versatile skill set, with the ability to block, make plays in the vertical passing game and rack up yards after the catch. He is expected to be a second- or third-round pick.
It’s a deep tight end class, and I didn’t want to include them all here as separate entries. But some other Day 2 guys to watch: Stanford’s Zach Ertz, San Diego State’s Gavin Escobar and Rice’s Vance McDonald.
Robert Woods, WR, USC (6-0, 201) – Wide receiver is an under-the-radar position to watch for the Eagles. They added Arrelious Benn in the offseason, and Jeremy Maclin is in the final year of his contract. Woods had 32 touchdowns in three seasons with the Trojans and caught 20 balls for 183 yards and three scores in three games against Oregon. Woods does not have elite speed (4.51), but he can probably line up inside or outside and has experience as a returner. He’s expected to be a Day 2 pick.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson, CB, UConn (6-1, 195) – The Eagles signed Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher, who are 6-1 and 6-0, respectively. Wreh-Wilson is one of the longer cornerback prospects available, and he ran a 4.53 at the Combine. Could be an option in the second round.
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi (6-3, 250) – If the Eagles don’t take Dion Jordan in the first round, Collins could be an option on Day 2. In addition to his height, Collins has long arms (33 3/4 inches). He had 20 tackles for loss and 10 sacks as a senior and tested well at the Combine (4.64 40, 41.5-inch vertical).
Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas (5-9, 183) – An elite athlete, Goodwin ran a 4.27 40 at the Combine and competed in the Olympics in the long jump, finishing 10th. He is not a polished receiver, but can use his speed in a variety of ways – catching the ball, running the ball and on special teams. Obviously not the biggest guy, but Kelly has to be intrigued by Goodwin’s speed and versatility. Tommy Lawlor over at IgglesBlitz.com has a good write-up on Goodwin and projects him to be a third-round pick.
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff (6-5, 306) -It’s not a deep class of offensive tackles, but Armstead possesses a good blend of size (34-inch arms) and athletic ability. His 4.71 40 at the Combine is the fastest time ever clocked by an offensive lineman in Indy. According to NFL.com, Armstead got offers from D-1 programs, but wanted to participate in track and field also, so he chose Arkansas-Pine Bluff. There is obviously a projection involved with Armstead, given his level of competition, but he’ll likely go off the board in the second round.
Brian Schwenke, G/C, California (6-3, 314) – The question on the Eagles’ offensive line is at right guard. They could move Todd Herremans over and find a new tackle. Or they could simply add legit competition with interior linemen in the draft. Schwenke played against Kelly in the Pac-12 and tested well at the Combine, showing good athleticism. He can play guard or center and has a “mean streak” according to Cosell. Schwenke could be an option in the third round.
Dallas Thomas,OL, Tennessee (6-5, 300) – One more offensive lineman the Eagles could take a look at on Day 2. Thomas spent two years at tackle, before switching to guard his senior season. He was reportedly one of the team’s 30 official visits to the NovaCare Complex.
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