The Eagles had a trio of 7th round picks and added a trio of defenders.
S Jalen Mills, LSU
DE Alex McCalister, Florida
ILB Joe Walker, Oregon
I was shocked that Mills fell this low. I had him going in the mid-rounds. The only question is if he would be viewed as a Safety or CB. The Eagles are listing him at S for now. The 6-0, 191 DB is very talented. He fell in the draft for a couple of reasons. He ran a 4.61 at the Combine. He was much faster at his Pro Day, running 4.47. Mills also had character issues. He was arrested for hitting a woman. The charges were lowered and then dismissed, but it hardly sounds like he’s totally innocent. I’m not a PI so I’ll stick to the football stuff for now.
Mills reminds me of Walter Thurmond. He’s not as much of a playmaker, but is much more physical. I think Mills can develop into a starting S in the NFL. He has a good frame and can add a bit of weight. He can play the slot or even cover on the outside.
The Wide 9 needs DBs who can tackle. That said, Jim Schwartz is no longer a coach that wants a pure box Safety. He now believes in the importance of cover skills and likes interchangeable DBs. Mills makes a lot of sense from that standpoint.
McCalister is a 6-6, 239 pass rusher. He obviously must get bigger and stronger if he’s ever going to push for a starting role. He is a DPR (designated pass rusher) for now. McCalister has a natural bend and dip as he gets by OTs. Some players are quick or fast, but stiff. McCalister’s agility helps him as a rusher. While he lacks ideal strength/power, McCalister has the kind of long frame that Schwartz loves in his DL.
I think McCalister can bulk up to the 260-pound range and eventually challenge for a starting role. I’m not saying that will definitely happen, but he’s got the kind of frame to add bulk and carry it well. He was good value in the 7th round.
Walker is a player I need to do work on. I watched him play early in the year and thought he looked like a late round or UDFA target. His Pro Day results shocked me.
Those are great numbers for a guy who is 6-2, 236.
I need to re-watch tape on him to see if I missed something or if Walker is a workout warrior. He did start for 2 years at Oregon and led the team in tackles this year so it isn’t as if he’s completely a workout guy. I just didn’t see that level of athleticism.
Walker makes a lot of sense when you consider his size and workout numbers. He could be a backup at SAM or MLB. The Eagles aren’t exactly set at either spot.
Lots of UDFA rumors right now. Every year we find out some reports are wrong so don’t get too excited by anything you see tonight. We’ll have a more definitive idea of who really signed where on Sunday or Monday.
The Eagles moved back in the 6th round, adding a 7th round pick. When they got back on the clock, the Eagles finally added some help for the defense, drafting DB Blake Countess.
This is a really interesting pick. Countess played at Michigan for 3 years and then transferred to Auburn for his final season. He played CB and S. I’m really interested to see where the Eagles use him. Countess could play FS, CB or possibly in the slot.
Put on the tape and you see a good player. He has man cover skills. Solid hitter and tackler. He lacks ideal speed, but has good quickness. Lists at 5-10, 184. That is good size for a slot CB.
Countess wasn’t a guy getting a lot of attention until Auburn’s Pro Day.
Cornerback Blake Countess — 5-9 3/4, 184 — ran the 40 in 4.5 and 4.48 seconds. He had a 36 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-1 broad jump. He did the short shuttle in 4.19 seconds and the three-cone drill in 6.85 seconds. He also performed 21 reps on the bench press. He worked out well enough to get earn a camp look by an NFL team.
21 reps on the bench is good for a DB. You see that strength show up with the physicality he plays with. He’s got a CB build, but it won’t shock me if they try him at FS. Should also be a good STer.
The Eagles selected a franchise QB on Thursday night.
On Friday they added an interior lineman to protect him. Today they added an OT, Halapoulivaati Vaitai from TCU.
I like this pick quite a bit. I’ve listed Vaitai to the Eagles in previous mock drafts. He is a big man at 6-6 and 320. He played RT and LT at TCU. He has good feet and is a natural pass blocker. I think he’s got the potential to be a starting LT in the NFL. He certainly adds a big, talented body to the OT mix.
The Eagles didn’t have to grab an OT, but Vaitai was a combination of good fit and good value.
Doug Pederson made no secret of his desire to upgrade the OL. The team has done that in the past couple of days. These are young, big, talented blockers.
One of the benefits from this move is that Vaitai can work at LT behind Peters and Dennis Kelly can focus on RT behind Lane Johnson. That helps both players, as they fit those positions. It gives the Eagles better OL depth.
One mid-round prospect I like is running back Wendell Smallwood from West Virginia. I’m not sure if he can be a starter in the NFL, but he could be a very good role player. Smallwood was the Big 12’s leading rusher in 2015 and caught 68 career passes. He has kickoff return experience as well. Smallwood is 208 pounds and has a good combination of speed and quickness.
I wrote this about him after the Combine.
RB Wendell Smallwood – Good showing. 5-10, 208. Ran 4.47 and posted great 3-cone time of 6.83. Only jumped 33.5 inches. I was impressed by him in the drills. Also looked good catching the ball.
I thought the Eagles might go for a RB with a bit more size, but Smallwood is definitely a player I like. He was a volume runner in college and is tough for his size. With Ryan Mathews not being the most durable RB in the world, the team needed someone that could be a volume runner if called upon.
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