The Scouting Combine really got going on Saturday. That’s when the OL and TEs hit the field to do drills and the athletic tests. Sunday is for WRs, RBs and QBs. Monday is DL/LBs. The DBs will close things out on Tuesday.
This is a very talented, very deep draft class. Tons of athleticism. Chip Kelly has to be drooling as he watches these prospects work out on the field.
For PE.com I wrote a column on understanding the Combine. This is a critical part of the scouting process, with “part” being the key word. Some dismiss this as the underwear olympics. Others think players are defined by how fast they run, how much they lift or how high they jump. Both of those extremes miss the mark.
The Eagles could be in the market for some young OL. Yesterday’s workouts showed a deep, athletic group of blockers. I won’t cover the high prospects because those guys will be long gone by pick 22. Let’s talk about some other guys who could be of interest.
Xavier Su’a-Filo is a very interesting guy. He played LT and OG for UCLA. Mike Mayock relayed a really good story. Coach David Shaw of Stanford recruited Su’a-Filo a few years back. At some point Shaw watched a pickup football game where Su’a-Filo played Safety. Granted, Su’a-Filo probably wasn’t as big back then, but that’s still pretty crazy. Shaw said Su’a-Filo backpedaled and looked good in coverage. He even picked off a pass. Does that sound like the kind of OL that Chip Kelly would like or what?
Su’a-Filo (6-4, 307) ran 5.04 in the 40. He tied for 3rd with a SS of 4.44. Su’a-Filo will play OG in the NFL (doesn’t have OT feet), but he could slide to OT during a game if needed. He is a versatile athlete.
Michael Schofield played RT for Michigan this year. He’s got a frame that Kelly will like at 6-6, 301. Schofield ran the 40 in 5.01, showing better speed than I would have anticipated. He’s not a top athlete, but he is an interesting mid-to-late round target.
Ja’Wuan James from Tennessee is an interesting OT prospect. He is 6-6, 311. He’s got 35-inch arms. Hands are 9 7/8. I thought he was impressive in the on-field drills. He looked especially good in the mirror drill. James looked like a natural pass blocker. He tied for 5th in the vertical jump and was 6th in the 3-cone drill. You’ve got a prospect with a good frame, long arms, athleticism and pass blocking skills. Could be a good mid-round player to take and develop.
Matt Patchan was the LT for Boston College in 2013. He began his career at Florida as a DL. He then moved to the OL. Injuries kept him from playing at all in 2012. Patchan measured in at 6-6, 302. He had a strong day of workouts. Patchan ran 4.97 in the 40 and then had the top VJ at 33.5 inches. He’s another guy with the background, size and athleticism Kelly should like.
We know Kelly likes LSU players. OG Trai Turner was impressive on Saturday. He measured in at 6-3, 310 with 34-inch arms. He then ran 4.93 in the 40. Turner is a pure OG and lacks the size that Kelly wants, but he could be an interesting prospect to draft and develop.
Some of you will scream about 40 time being meaningless for OL. The real key is the 10-yard split, but to my knowledge the NFL doesn’t make them publicly available so I can focus on them. And the Eagles do have a lot of OL who ran fast 40s. Even Allen Barbre, the backup LT, ran a fast 40 when he was at the Combine. Please understand that I’m not saying you simply look at the fastest OL and draft them. The guys have to be good blockers first and foremost. Speed is more than just a bonus trait, but it only matters if the prospect is a good blocker.
The TEs also worked out on Saturday. Eric Ebron is the big name. He measured in at 6-4, 250. I don’t know that he’ll last all the way to pick 22, but if he does, the Eagles could be interested. Ebron could be a special player. If you get the chance to draft someone like that, you have to be be really careful before passing on them. Ebron ran a 4.60, which is very good for his size. Unfortunately he didn’t do a full workout.
Former Oregon TE Colt Lyerla was up and down. He measured in at 6-4, 242. I expected him to be closer to 255. He only did 15 reps on the bench, not good for a TE. But he also ran 4.61, which is very good, and then had a VJ of 39 inches. That’s incredibly impressive for his size.
I’m not going to write about a bunch of TEs. The Eagles will take someone if it is the right guy, but I don’t think they’ll feel they must go get one.