I mentioned during Senior Bowl week that the Eagles were checking out and talking to some ILB prospects. I wrote an article for BGN explaining why the Eagles would do that.
One thing the Eagles would have to figure out is what kind of ILB they wanted. I think this is a deep, talented group of ILB prospects. Here are some quick thoughts on a few of them.
* Christian Jones – 6-3, 232 – Florida State – If the Eagles want a versatile player, Jones could be of serious interest. Played ILB, OLB and DE for the Noles. Jack of all trades, master of none. The Eagles could use him creatively. Has a good frame and could bulk up to as much as 245 if the team preferred him bigger. His frame and long arms could help him to cover TEs over the middle. Neither Ryans nor Kendricks is ideal vs TEs right now.
* Kyle Van Noy – 6-3, 244 – BYU – I’ve written plenty about Van Noy recently. Some think of him as an OLB, but I think he could be a really good fit inside. Spent his Junior year going after the QB and piled up 13 sacks and 6 FFs. Dropped into coverage more as a Senior and proved to be very effective playing in space. Had 2 INTs and 7 pass deflections. Smart, instinctive LB that could thrive as 3-4 ILB where he’s used to cover and blitz.
* CJ Mosley – 6-2, 238 – Alabama – One of the first concerns with regard to Mosley is whether he’ll last to pick 22. Doesn’t seem likely. Mosley didn’t post gaudy stats, but put on the tape and you see a really good football player. Can attack downhill or make plays sideline to sideline. Very good tackler. Can take on blockers. Plenty of experience covering as well as playing the run.
* Ryan Shazier – 6-2, 230 – Ohio State – If the Eagles want a smaller, more athletic guy, Shazier could be the target. He posted some freaky numbers in the last 2 years: 11 sacks, 39.5 TFLs, 7 FFs, 15 PDs. He was a playmaking machine. In the past, you didn’t want ILBs his size in the 3-4, but Daryl Washington has been a force for the Cardinals and he’s only about 6-1, 230.
* Chris Borland – 5-11, 245 – Wisconsin – A polarizing player. Some see him as Mr College Overachiever while others see a tough, instinctive LB that will have a good NFL career. Mike Mayock predicted he will be this year’s Kiko Alonso. Borland finished his career with 50 TFLs and 15 FFs. That’s impressive as heck. He has a compact build and short arms so Chip Kelly may not have interest in him. I like Borland. Fun kid to watch.
* Jordan Zumwalt – 6-4, 231 – UCLA – Zumwalt has a frame that I’m sure Kelly would love. His stats aren’t special at all, but put on the game tape and you’ll have fun. Zumwalt is one of the more violent LBs in the draft. He does remind me of Kiko Alonso, in build and style of play. Eagles fans would love watching Zumwalt. He would pair up nicely with Kendricks.
* Shayne Skov – 6-3, 245 – Stanford – Kelly saw plenty of him when Stanford battled Oregon over the years. Skov started for 4 years and is everything you’d want in a player in terms of intangibles. If only he was athletic. Skov tore up his knee in 2011 and that has hurt him. Lacks speed and overall athleticism. Best when used as a downhill player. Can be effective when he does attack, which is what many 3-4 ILBs do. Skov isn’t going early and might not project to being a starter, but Kelly could love his size and I could see Skov interviewing very well. Could be a player you take a chance on since you know he’ll do everything in his power to succeed.
There are other ILBs to talk about. These guys are the biggest names and players I have somewhat of a feel for. I’ll cover other ILBs as we move on toward May.
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You guys ask a ton of questions about draft prospects. I’ll answer as best I can, but I’m not going to get to every question. I can’t write about every player at once so I’m trying to stay topical and keep things interesting. Some will be covered in the form of a post rather than just a quick answer in the comments section. I also like to be thorough with my research so I’m giving you informed opinions and not just knee-jerk reactions.