UDFA Update

Posted: June 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 23 Comments »

Let’s take an updated look at the UDFAs. Some of these notes will be based on practice with the Eagles. For others, I watched some more college tape.

WR Russell Shepard – LSU – 6-1, 196

* OLD NOTES – Really interesting addition. Shepard went to LSU as a big time football star. He was going to be a 2-way QB for them and make the Tiger offense explosive. Didn’t exactly pan out as hoped. Shepard never came close to living up to the hype, but I was impressed by the fact he stuck it out there and carved out a role for himself as a WR/RB/STer. You see some star QBs get to a school and then leave to chase their dreams elsewhere, but most fail at the new school just like the old one. Shepard made something of himself.  Finished his LSU career 104-716-5 as runner. 58-570-5 as receiver. He even helped on STs.  Shepard covered KOs and punts.

Shepard is a good fit for the Chip Kelly offense. If he can develop his receiver skills, he could be a slot receiver and offensive weapon. Shepard is very good on end arounds and gadget running plays. Kelly loves to do that type of stuff with receivers. I assume Shepard will bust his butt on STs in the NFL since he did that in college. If he can become a backup RS as well, that could help. Shepard is ideal for the practice squad. I don’t think it is likely he makes a strong run at the roster this year, but never say never. The guy has NFL athleticism (4.46 in the 40 and a 38.5 inch VJ).

UPDATE – Shepard had an up and down spring. He struggled with catching the ball consistently. Shepard then started working with Jason Avant and caught extra passes every day after practice. PE.com videos showed him making impressive catches in the last few practices. Shepard is showing the right attitude. He has the raw talent to play in the NFL, but must work his butt off to develop the polished WR skills that it takes to make it in the league.

* * *

P Brad Wing – LSU – 6-2, 205 

* OLD NOTES -Let’s start with the punting first. Wing is a gifted Punter. He finished 11th in the nation with 44.8 yards per punt this year. LSU was 8th in net punting, and consider that Wing was 2nd in the nation with 11 touchbacks. Returners averaged just over 3 yards per return. Wing has a very strong leg. He can boom the ball. He has the 2 longest punts in the history of the SEC Championship Game. The longest was 67 yards and he had a total of 6 punts go more than 50 yards in that game. Wing easily could have been worth a mid-round pick based on his punting ability.

But Wing isn’t a typical Punter. Rather than tell you the story, go read this great piece from Bob McGinn and you’ll understand that Wing is a handful, on and off the field.  If Wing can get his act together, he is talented enough to be the Eagles Punter for the next decade.

UPDATE – Wing had a good showing in the spring. He displayed a strong leg and impressed the coaches. The bad news for him is that Donnie Jones was even better. Wing will need to out-kick Jones this summer to steal the job away.

* * *

ILB Jake Knott – Iowa State – 6-2, 243

* OLD NOTES – Knott is sorta like the Iowa State version of Dan Connor. He’s the guy who was a star LB in college and did all kinds of amazing things and then the NFL picked apart his game and said “you really weren’t that good”.  I see Knott as the ultimate tweener LB. He isn’t physical enough to be the thumper inside. He’s not fast/athletic enough to be the playmaker. Make him just a tad faster and he’d have a chance.  I think he could make it in the NFL, but only if he adjusts his game. In college Knott didn’t use good form in dealing with blockers. He would go around them. Or he’s use his shoulder to try and scrape off them. Some players can get away with that, but he lacks the athleticism to be that guy in the NFL. Knott must learn to use his hands. He must stay square and aggressively engage blockers. No more trying to get by. Take them on, defeat the block, and go get the ball.

Knott was a big time playmaker at ISU. He picked off 8 passes and had 10 career FFs. He broke up 15 passes. He had 224 solo tackles and 18 TFLs. Knott has good instincts. He is a wrap-up tackler. He has moments where he is a very impressive player. I just don’t know how he’ll adjust to the NFL game.

UPDATE – Knott is a player the Eagles have real interest in. The scouts love him. The coaches like what they’ve seen so far, but they need to see him in practices with live hitting. The big concern with Knott is his shoulder. He’s had multiple injuries and that is a tough spot for an ILB. He must use his arms to engage blockers and that puts a lot of stress on the shoulder. Knott developed some bad habits at ISU. He tried to slip blocks or use his body to hit OL. That won’t fly in the NFL. You must stay square to the LOS and use your hands/arms to engage and shed blockers.

Knott got some reps with the #2 defense in the spring. He’ll be given a serious chance to win a backup role this summer. Knott would be a good fit behind Mychal Kendricks. That ILB will be shielded by DL and will spend less time dealing with blockers.

* * *

RB Matthew Tucker – TCU – 6-0, 221

* OLD NOTES – Tucker is bigger than Maysonet. He is faster, stronger, and more athletic. I don’t think Tucker has as good a feel for being a RB as Maysonet. I didn’t see anything special in terms of vision or instincts.  Tucker is a N-S runner with good burst. Runs with good strength. He’s definitely not going down on first contact. TCU believes in using a group of RBs and that was true in Tucker’s time there. Only twice in his 4-year career did he have 20 or more carries in a game. Tucker finished with 2,602 yards and 33 TDs.  He caught 29 passes. I’ve seen a couple of grabs from him and he looked okay.

Tucker could be a good #3 RB for an NFL team. He has NFL size and speed (4.50). He isn’t a guy that was used to tons of carries in college so being part of a group of RBs isn’t an adjustment for him. He will need to show that he can be good at covering kicks/punts. Tucker has the size and physicality to do that.

UPDATE – There was a buzz around Tucker. He certainly passed the eye test in minicamps. Tucker is big and runs well. His impressive play had to impact the unexpected release of fellow UDFA Miguel Maysonet. Tucker is going to push Chris Polk and Felix Jones for a spot with the RBs. Tucker could also prove to be good practice squad material.

* * *

C Kyle Quinn – Arizona – 6-4, 297

* OLD NOTES – 2-year starter for the Wildcats. Not a flashy player in any way, but a good, solid C. Put on the Utah game and watch Quinn vs Star Lotulelei and you’ll be impressed. There were a few times when Star body-slammed Quinn to the ground, but Arizona ran for 320 yards that day, much of it up the middle. Quinn was a big part of that. He would handle a DT on his own at times. He double-teamed on others. Quinn was able to get to the second level and take on LBs. Good game. Quinn is quick off the ball. He uses his hands well and has pretty good agility. He isn’t going to overpower anyone. He shows good awareness and always seems to be in the right spot to block the right guy. Quinn is very good with shotgun snaps.

That last point helps his cause with trying to make the Eagles. Dallas Reynolds is the backup C for now, but he had some real troubles with shotgun snaps last year, especially down the stretch. I’m sure he’s worked on that religiously since, but he can’t afford to have any problems in practice. Quinn has a chance to challenge for the backup C spot. If not, he could be an excellent practice squad candidate. Quinn only started at C in college, but did play some G early on. Teams want backup OL to be versatile.

UPDATE – We have heard almost nothing about Quinn this spring. I don’t think that is a bad thing. He’s a UDFA on an OL where the focus is on a LT returning from injury, a C returning from injury, a RG trying to save his career and the #4 overall pick trying to win the RT job. Quinn is an afterthought to the media. I did go back and watch more college tape. I really like him and it surprises me that Quinn was undrafted.

* * *

DL Isaac Remington – Oregon – 6-6, 298

* OLD NOTES – Classic camp body. Has good size and has played for Chip Kelly for 2 years. Racked up 25 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3 batted passes. Didn’t stand out when I watched tape on him. Think of him as the DL version of Evan Mathis. Remington is a DL with long hair and a good personality. If only he had the athleticism and talent that Mathis does. Longshot even for the practice squad.

UPDATE – Remington fails to shed blocks the way you need him to. He has a terrific frame, but needs to either be a good athlete or a brawler. Remington is a try-hard guy, but I don’t think that will be enough to keep him around. We’ll see what happens when the pads go on.

* * *

OL Matt Tobin – Iowa – 6-6, 300 

* OLD NOTES – Played LG in 2011. Started off at LG in 2012 and then shifted to LT. Didn’t particularly stand out at either spot. Has a good build, but isn’t all that athletic. Didn’t get much movement in the run game. Good interior pass blocker. Excellent effort. Lacks the footwork to handle edge rushers in the NFL. Must get stronger. Can get moved back in pass pro at times. Limited upside, but is an experienced blocker coming from an NFL system. Longshot.

UPDATE – Watched more of him at LG. I do not think he could play OT in the NFL. Excellent effort when blocking in space. Doesn’t have the agility to make difficult blocks on the move, but he will get upfield and bust his butt to go get a target. What you see is what you get with Tobin. Not worth developing a player who isn’t likely to get much better.

* * *

DL Damion Square – Alabama – 6-2, 293

* OLD NOTES – Square is an interesting prospect. He started 31 games for Alabama. That tells you that Nick Saban thinks he can play and trusts him on the field. Square has average size and is maybe an average athlete. He has short arms for a DL. Those factors won’t help his transition to the NFL. If you watch his 2012 tape, Square isn’t all that impressive. I need to go back and study 2010 & 2011. Square racked up 7 TFLs in each of those years, showing him to be more of a playmaker. What changed (only 4 as a Senior)?

Square is more than a camp body, but he has an uphill battle. He uses his hands pretty well. He’s got some quickness off the ball, but nothing special. You just don’t see anything special from him on tape. Solid college player, but limited pro prospect. The Eagles want guys that are versatile and Square can play 5-tech, 1-tech, or 3-tech. He’s got experience in a hybrid defense from his time at Bama.

UPDATE – Really stands out when you see the Eagles DL on the field. Unfortunately, it is for a bad reason. Square is short and square. He doesn’t look like a Chip Kelly player because of that. The other DEs are taller, sleeker and/or more athletic. Square isn’t going to impress you at casual glance. He needs to stand out when the pads go on and the hitting is live. Could be practice squad material.

* * *

Newer UDFAs

OL Nic Purcell – Golden West Community College – 6-6, 305

Purcell is 26-years old and from New Zealand. He tried to go to Oregon after playing junior college football, but was denied by the NCAA for a highly questionable reason. Here is the full story on things.

Purcell lists at 6-6, 300 and is reportedly a good athlete. He played LT in JC. Purcell is a feisty run blocker who likes to put guys on the ground. It is impossible to get a good reading on his pass protection skills due to the level of competition. In the tape I watched (which was from 2011), Purcell had some strength issues. He has bulked up and gotten stronger since then.

We didn’t hear much about Purcell this spring. I am looking forward to seeing him in action to find out if he is a legit prospect or just a camp body with a great backstory.

DE Daryell Walker – Hampton – 6-6, 285

Walker got a tryout with the team during rookie camp and impressed enough to get a roster spot. I’m sure they love his frame. That’s ideal for Kelly. Long and sleek. Walker played the 3-tech DT in a 4-3 system in college. He had 6 TFLs as a Senior and just wasn’t much of a playmaker. He can push the pocket. You see flashes of good ability. He can play too high at times and also will get stuck on blocks.

Walker could be a good 3-4 DE. He has the size and just enough athleticism. I also think he’d be more comfortable playing in space.  Developmental project, but does have some potential.

WR Will Murphy – Oregon – 6-2, 193

Role player at Oregon. Finished his career 24-240-1. Knows the Kelly system. Has some size.  Longshot.

TE Will Shaw – Youngstown State – 6-2, 245

Like Walker, got a tryout at rookie camp. Like Walker, Shaw impressed and got a roster spot. I’ve seen some practice clips of his and I am very impressed. Shaw catches the ball naturally. He has good agility and makes fluid cuts.

Shaw played collegiately at Youngstown State. He began at a junior college and then played 3 years at YSU. He was a Safety in 2010 and then moved to TE in 2011. This season he led the team in receiving, going 35-429-5. Shaw has found a home at TE and his best football could be ahead of him. That is a very crowded position on the Eagles. If Shaw plays lights out, they’ll find a way to keep him. If he’s up and down, maybe he heads to the practice squad. Shaw has the right build to be the “F” TE or move guy (like James Casey).

* * * * *

Back in early May I put the UDFAs in order of who I thought was most likely to make the roster.

1 – Brad Wing
2 – Kyle Quinn
3 – Matt Tucker
4 – Miguel Maysonet
5 – Russell Shepard
6 – Jake Knott
7 – Damion Square
8 – Matt Tobin
9 – Isaac Remington

Here are my updated thoughts.

1 – Jake Knott
2 – Kyle Quinn
3 – Will Shaw
4 – Russell Shepard
5 – Brad Wing
6 – Matt Tucker
7 – Damion Square
8 – Matt Tobin
9 – Daryell Walker
10 – Nic Purcell
11 – Isaac Remington
12 – Will Murphy

This isn’t just a list of how much I like the players. This list also takes into account how many spots they are fighting for and what the competition is.

Wing only has one guy to battle with, but he’s only got one spot to earn. Good and bad.

Shepard is really intriguing, but think of all the guys in front of him.

I’m rating Quinn high, but don’t know that for a fact. No news on him this spring. This is me using my gut to make a calculated guess.

Purcell is the real wild card to me. He could jump much higher, but I’ve only seen him in action against community college competition. I’m really looking forward to seeing how good/bad he is in camp. Interesting guy.

_


  • T_S_O_P

    I posted this in the last topic which became more focused on Hernandez (a bad teacher) for obvious reasons than on good teachers.

    Buddy Ryan built a terrific defense when he was here. That group had talent.

    Built being the important word. Without free agency, it took time to build and delivered poor return in some parts as a result of lack of talent or drafted talent having not yet matured. I’m not sure if Davis is going to get away with players of the quality of Izel Jenkins or Mike Reichenbach, but in his favour, he may try and hide his worst players and he has Free Agency.

    To tie that in, Reichenbach was an undrafted free agent and Toast was the 288th pick in round 11 which today would also be an undrafted free agent.

  • T_S_O_P

    I like that you described Damion Square as playing square but feel that you missed out on believing Daryell Walker will walk, going out on a wing and a prayer about Brad Wing the player, being in a knot over Jake Knott, and now being more sure on Will Shaw.

    • TommyLawlor

      Have you been hanging out with Baloophi again?

  • Anders

    I think there is some very good PS candidates on that list. Shaw, Shepard, Walker and Purcell are all raw and could do wonders with 1 year on the PS.

  • illadelphia21

    Tommy:
    Can you help me out w/ Jake Knott? Cause after your description, I just keep getting the image in my head of a slower version of Casey Matthews, and would really like to know if I’m wrong and what the differences are? Also, I understand that if Knott were to become a back up for Kendricks, how being kept clean will be benefit him, but would his lack of speed (not a sideline to sideline LB) negate that benefit?

    • GEagle

      Yeah I don’t know wht to make of him either…would appreciate some further Intel….Impression iM getting is not fast enough to bak up Kendrick’s, and not big and physical enough to back up Meco…hope I’m wrong because he sounds like he could be worth developing..
      ..
      ILBs with bum shoulders are worrisome

      • TommyLawlor

        That shoulder is why he went undrafted. Now must show he can play and stay healthy.

        • GEagle

          He certainly isnt competing against the most talented 2nd stringers…so he has a chance, and just having a chance makes you a pretty decent UDFA signing

    • TommyLawlor

      Casey didn’t have ideal speed either. That’s not a bad comparison. I do think Knott is more instinctive.

      What you have to remember is that Casey was a good college player. He has struggled with the move to the NFL. Knott might handle the transition well. He developed some bad habits at ISU, but those can be coached out of him.

      • illadelphia21

        Thanks. I can’t wait till TC and actual preseason games to see why they’re so high on him. His 4.83-4.88 40 time kinda puts me off.

  • GEagle

    TommyGunz lol….You are pumping out articles this week like its nobodys business lol….Thanks for making a boring football week manageable!!!

  • MediaMike

    These bottom of the roster type candidates are important for any team’s ultimate success. The UDFA gang, while never making up a significant portion of a roster, makes a contribution on all teams. I love how TMQ on ESPN highlights these guys every year.
    And would be out of line if I tried to project that Knott might already be our 3rd best player at ILB…………..but that isn’t much of a compliment.

    • GEagle

      I like this years undrafted haul…my only regret is we didnt nab a few undrafted safeties…cough cough Dexter Mc lol….cooper taylor being drafted by the midgets still annoys me lol

      • D3FB

        Guys I would love to get a look at if they shake free from there current teams:

        Braxston Cave, C, Notre Dame

        Jasper Collins, WR Mount Union

        Michael Clay, LB Oregon

        Ryan Otten, TE SJSU

        Dalton Freeman, C Clemson

        Rontez Miles, S Cal(PA)

        Connor Vernon, WR Duke

        Xavier Nixon, T Florida

        Tom Wort, LB Oklahoma

        • GEagle

          Huge Rontez Miles and Braxton Cave fan

  • OregonDucker

    Let’s see how Remington performs with pads. He was a playmaker for Oregon.

    If he can’t shed blocks in the NFL, I know he’s toast.

    • D3FB

      I’m still surprised that the Eagles didn’t get Michael Clay.

  • A_T_G

    With Wing being a bit of a nut (ahem), one would think Donnie Jones only needs to be close to his skill level to allow the FO to sleep well with the safer pick. If he is actually out kicking Brad, it seems he is a lock. With only one punter on the roster, I would think he would need to be A LOT better to justify character concerns.

  • ACViking

    Re: The Old 17-Round Draft

    When the common draft began in 1967, NFL teams participated in a 17-round draft. (It was 22 rounds before ’67.)

    Some teams — like the Cowboys — used double-digit picks in the long-draft era to select players who, for one reason or another, might be considered long-shots (like Roger Staubach).

    Yet even 26 teams drafting nearly 450 players — twice as many as today — great college players still were overlooked.

    For example, in 1967, the entire NFL missed on future HOF OG Larry Little from Bethune-Cookman, future All Pro DE Coy Bacon from Jackson State, and a CB from Colorado State named Randy Beverly (who played a key role in the Jets’ SB-III upset of the Colts).

    In ’68, all 16 teams passed on one of the centerpieces of the Dolphins famous “No Name Defense,” which won 2 Super Bowls: Manny Fernandez from Utah. Local product Wayne Colman — from AC High School and Temple — became a Saint. A couple of future Eagles were missed: OG Woody Peoples of the Eagles SB team (signed with SF), and Tony “TD Tony” Baker who joined the Saints.

    In 1969, a CB named Robert James from Fisk U in TN joined the Bills as a free agent and became an All Pro. Another couple future Eagles, RB Larry Watkins of Alcorn State and Steve Preece from Oregon State, were passed over, but had pretty good NFL careers.

    In 1970, three great players — including a HOF — were igored in every one of those 442 picks. The HOF was C Jim Langer from S. Dakota State, who anchored the great Dolphins O-line in the ’70s. A familiar name to Eagles fans, S Cliff Harris from Outchita Baptist in AK became a Cowboy. And the Dolphins signed and developed a huge OT who started along with Langer named Wayned Moore from Lamar U.

    In 1971, the Steelers signed FA S Glen Edwards from FL A&M. (If you watch highlights of the ’74 SB, you’ll see Edwards drill Vikings WR Sammy White on a deep crossing route — leveling White, popping his helmet in the air, and sending the football about 20 feet up for an INT.) The BIlls struck gold once again in future All Pro S Tony Greene from Maryland.

    In 1973, a pair of FA WRs became NFL mainstays for the next decade. The Cowboys signed college QB Drew Pearson from Tulsa and turned him into a great WR who vexed the Eagles for the next 11 years. [Pearson became a starter in ’73 early in the season replacing WR Otto Stowe — who broke his ankle after scoring a TD against the Eagles when he tripped over the netting in the VET as it was pulled up behind the goal posts to stop the PAT from going into the stands.] The other WR was future Eagles Charlie Smith who signed with the Rams but came to the Eagles in ’74 and started for several seasons opposite WR Harold Carmichael, including in the 1980 SB.

    In 1974, the Steelers — remarkably — hit pay dirt again. At S was Donnie Shell from So. Carolina State who was an All Pro in the late ’70s-early ’80s. (He was a bit more stout, but he and Andre Waters played very much alike — although Shell was a bigger hitter.) The Steelers also signed Temple TE Randy Grossman — who was a key contributor on all 4 Steelers SB wins in the ’70s. Future Eagles S Deac Sanders, from So. Dakata, joined the Patriots. And a pair of pretty good RBs made their teams: Doug Dennison of Kutztown was Tony Dorsett’s predecessor in Dallas, and Ronnie Coleman of AL A&M preceded Earl Campbell for Houston.

    When 1977 came, the number of FA successes increased. The Eagles signed CB Herm Edwards from SD State and WR Wally Henry of UCLA. The Redskins signed S Mark Murphy out of Colgate (who currently is the CEO of the GB Packers and served as President of the NFLPA). The infamous QB Joe Pisarcik from NM State joined the G-men. LBs Bruce Huther from NH made the Cowboys and spent 8 years in NFL and Buffalo signed future starter Shane Nelson.

    The list goes on.

    _______________

    Even when the draft dropped to 7 rounds (as it is today), with all the improved scouting compared to the ’60s and ’70s, players still slip through the cracks. Of course, now only about 240 players are drafted. So it’s to be expected that quality FAs are out there.

    Hitting on a FA is like found money. In 2001, there was former Giant MLB Antonio Pierce was a FA from U-AZ (although he signed with the ‘Skins, who didn’t know what they had).

    In 2002, the Steelers’ great former OLB James Harrison from Kent State got his foot in the door — though Pittsburgh tried so hard to close it. The Steelers’ starting S Ryan Clark started out as a FA (with the Giants).

    The 2003 RFA class was especially good the Eagles. Remarkable even:
    C J-Jax. Safety “Q”. CB Rod Hood. WR Greg Lewis (the G-Lewis who’d never fielded punts before opening day 2007, but who caught that late SB TD in 2004). M-Bop (a/ka/ Josolio Hanson — who bounced around before finding a home in green). And, a more recent addition in Jon “A_T_G’s favorite excuse to show how longsnappers get all the women” Dorembos.

    Other RFAs in 2003 were Cullen Jenkins, Antonio Gates — though he was a B-ball player in college, Tony Romo, Chris Clemons, Kris Dielman.
    ____________________

    I could go on. But the point is that even when the NFL was selecting 442 players, there were good to HOF players undrafted. Even more true today.

    To borrow the title from one of T-Law’s recent posts . . . it’s about Good Teachers. And good scouts, too, of course.

  • Mitchell

    Love how I asked about the UDFA last week and you wrote an article about them this week! Thanks Tommy! I am very interested in Knott as well. Like I’ve said before, if all he is lacking is a little speed there is no reason an NFL program can’t give him some. There is also Chipper’s sport science guy so I think he can get faster.

  • nzflyer

    My brother used to play basketball with Nic Purcellas a teen here in NZ. He was always a monster on the court(he was always easily the tallest on the court at age group level) and even though I’m hearing about him playing football, it’s hard to see him as anything but a basketball player. lol. Given that I have this sorta connection with him – and he is one of my fellow countrymen – I’d feel obliged to buy a Purcell jersey if he makes the team. Here’s hoping.

  • PK_NZ

    Fingers crossed for Purcell… we need a Kiwi in the team so i can convince my mates to support the Eagles…

  • Wilbert M.

    Russell Shepard’s highlight films are unreal. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOi8GaMtcNk He is 10x more explosive than Damaris Johnson. I’d like to know why he only gained 400+/- yards in his last year, but his upside looks great. What’s the real deal with this guy?