On the radar

Senior Bowl week comes to an end today and eveybody who has paid attention to the practices and interviews has formed new opinions about the players down there. For me, North Carolina cornerback Kendric Burney confirmed his status as a real sleeper to me. I was also impressed with TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, Boise State receiver Titus Young, LSU linebacker Kelvin Sheppard, and USC cornerback Shareece Wright. However, my opinions are not nearly as important as those of Eagle talent evaluators. I have compiled a list of seventeen players that the Eagles have been spotted meeting with, a list which I find interesting. The most fascinating part is that not one defensive lineman is on the list. That tells me that the Eagles either will go after a guy like Jason Babin or Albert Haynesworth in the offseason or that they really believe in Brandon Graham and some of the youngsters like Ricky Sapp and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Without further ado, here’s the list.

Ahmad Black, S, Florida: Black is one of my favorite players. He’s small at 5’9″, 183, but is a great open field tackler and is always around the ball. He always finds a way to make plays and is not unlike last year’s seventh round pick Kurt Coleman. Black started out at Florida as a corner, and while he doesn’t have the height or long speed to start for us there, he could drop down and cover slot receivers one-on-one in certain situations. He’s probably a fourth round pick at this point, but the Combine could really make or break his stock.

Jalil Brown, CB, Colorado: Brown is a big, physical corner who gets off blocks as well as any defensive back in the country. He can play bump-and-run and off coverage, and is a pretty complete corner. He is over 6’0″ and weighs 202 pounds, and has the potential to be a starter at the next level. I actually like Brown better than his teammate Jimmy Smith, who is regarded as the better prospect. Brown is not a lock-down guy though, and he may struggle with the speed of the game at the next level. He’s probably a fourth round pick right now.

Gabe Carimi, OT, Wisconsin: At 6’7″, 315, Carimi is a very tough player in the mold of an Eagles offensive tackle. He reminds me of Jon Runyan with his wingspan and nastiness. He is also a better pass blocker than Runyan, although Carimi comes off as a bit lazy to me. He’s a legitimate first round pick though, and he would certainly cost us 23rd overall should we want to make him an Eagle come April.

Rashad Carmichael, CB, Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech always seems to produce good NFL defensive backs even though the Eagles missed on the last one they drafted (Macho Harris). Carmichael is a competitor and instinctive and certainly has what it takes to start at the next level. He’s a second or third round prospect who will remind some of Brandon Flowers, the outstanding cornerback for the Chiefs selected 35th overall three seasons ago.

Brandon Fusco, C/G, Slippery Rock: I have never seen Fusco play, but division II players rarely get invitations to the Senior Bowl, so he must have been special. At 6’4″, 302, Fusco has adequate size to start in the NFL, and he reportedly held his own in drills. I don’t know an awful low about him, but he looks like he will go between rounds four and six.

Marcus Gilchrist, DB, Clemson: Gilchrist is a corner/safety ‘tweener who doesn’t look like a starter to me. He doesn’t have ideal speed to play corner, and he is a little small for safety (5’10”, 193). He looks like a great special teamer who can be a reserve safety and/or a dime corner. He’s a fourth or fifth round prospect.

Eric Hagg, S, Nebraska: Hagg looks like an Eagle. He is a blue collar, versatile defensive back who loves to hit and relies on instincts. He has pretty good size (6’1″, 206) and very good quickness. Look up his 95 yard punt return TD against Texas if you don’t believe me. Hagg isn’t an immediate starter, but will be a star special teamer and provide good depth. He should be drafted in the fourth round.

Mark Herzlich, OLB, Boston College: We’ve all heard his remarkable story, but I’m not sure Herzlich is what this team needs right now. He is physically very similar to Stewart Bradley, but unfortunately he is just as bad in coverage. This team needs quickness at linebacker, and Herzlich cannot really provide that at this point. He’s a mid-rounder.

Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State: The Eagles could use another running back because at this point, there is not enough depth behind LeSean McCoy. Hunter fits what the Eagles want to do offensively as he is not only a tough and elusive runner, but he is a fearless pass protector and an adequate receiver out of the backfield. He will be drafted in the middle round.

Casey Matthews, LB, Oregon: Matthews is very average physically at 6’1″, 232, and he looked just as average all week at Senior Bowl practice. He’s tough and has great pedigree, but looks like more of a special teamer at this point. He will also be a better fit in a 3-4, which is still a possibility for the Eagles. He’s a fourth or fifth round selection.

Bilal Powell, RB, Louisville: Powell plays bigger than 204 pounds and looks like one of the more complete backs at the Senior Bowl. He has good vision, burst, and can run both inside and out. He won’t be a game-breaker at the next level, but can be very effective in spelling LeSean McCoy. He’s a mid-round pick.

Da’Norris Searcy, S, North Carolina: A big, physical strong safety who is very good in the box. He’s also a good enough athlete to return punts. The coverage skills aren’t quite there yet, but Searcy is a guy who could develop into a very good role player in the NFL. He’s yet another mid-round prospect.

Derek Sherrod, OT, Mississippi State: Sherrod is certainly not as good as Gabe Carimi or Tyron Smith, but he is a good technician and an overall solid player. He has the makings of a starting left tackle in the league, although his Senior Bowl coaches said that he should not be a day 1 starter. Ouch. He would be our first round pick.

Lee Smith, TE, Marshall: Smith is by far the biggest tight end at the Senior Bowl at 6’6″, 269. I’ve never seen him play, but he is supposedly a great blocker and gets the job done as a receiver. He has 61 catches in the past two seasons. He is probably a fifth round pick or so at this stage of the game.

Nate Solder, OT, Colorado: Solder is massive at 6’8″, 314, which is exactly what the Eagles look for in their tackles. He could also run in the neighborhood of a 4.9 40 yard dash, which could mean that he will be long gone by 23. I personally have not been impressed with him as he is a project. I’d rather go with Carimi or maybe even Derek Sherrod in the first round.

DeMarcus Van Dyke, CB, Miami: Van Dyke has unmistakable physical gifts at 6’1″ and is regarded as one of the fastest players in all of college football. However, he is only 168 pounds and may not be able to hold up in the NFL. His 40 time will dictate his stock, but it’s hard to envision him coming off the board before the fourth round or so.

Lawrence Wilson, OLB, Connecticut: Wilson is only 225 pounds and it shows. He is engulfed by blockers and is not very physical at the point of attack. However, he’s very comfortable in space and makes some great plays in pursuit. He is a clone of last year’s fourth round pick Keenan Clayton. He’s a mid-to-late round pick.

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