Draft Daily: On OLBs And Tight Ends

The Eagles appear to be doing their homework on some late-round/undrafted free agent prospects this week.

According to Tony Pauline, they worked out Eastern Washington defensive end Anthony Larry (6-3, 250). Some background courtesy of Pauline:

Two-year starter who lined up at defensive end for Eastern Washington. Academically ineligible in 2012. Athletic, fast college defensive end who projects to outside linebacker in the NFL. Fires off the snap with a quick first step, can bend off the edge, and plays with leverage and balance. Rarely knocked off his feet, shows ability in backside pursuit, and aggressively goes after the action. Remains disciplined with assignments and plays within himself. Nicely redirects to oncoming runners.

One hurdle personnel departments face when trying to identify quality outside linebackers is that a large chunk of the prospects have never played the position. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, who has helped in the shaping of the team’s roster since 2000, says the majority of the OLBs selected by Pittsburgh over the years were college defensive ends.

“You have to look at their raw athletic ability. The defensive ends, a lot of times they haven’t dropped, they haven’t caught balls. They do some of that [at the combine], we’ll build on that in their Pro Day and see what they can do not only athletically but mentally as well because it’s a different challenge. They have to become not only a player coming forward but a player that plays in reverse as well.”

Hence why these types of workouts are very important when you are considering drafting a potential convert. Larry is considered a Day 3/undrafted free agent prospect.

The Eagles also reportedly had some contact with BYU safety Daniel Sorensen and UMASS tight end Rob Branchflower. Tommy Lawlor has more on those players if you’re interested.

I won’t be shocked if the Eagles take a tight end in this draft. When you’re going best player available, oftentimes that player is not at a position of need. And they’ve been checking some prospects out. Ted Williams, as an example, not only went to Fresno State’s Pro Day to look at 6-6, 259-pound tight end Marcel Jensen (projected as a fifth or sixth-round pick) but also spent time with him for hours afterwards, we were told.

Chip Kelly values the position, as we’ve seen, and wouldn’t shy away from adding a tight end to the fold if he’s the top player on the board.