Over the next month or so, we’ll be tracking the Eagles’ 30 allotted pre-draft private visits to the NovaCare Complex, as they are pretty good indicators of who the Eagles might select. As reports of visits trickle in, we’ll add analysis of each player. Bookmark, please.
To note, Brandon Gowton of BleedingGreenNation.com does a good job keeping his eye out for these reported visits. He’ll almost always have these first. I’ll literally just be jacking these reports from BGN, and adding my own analysis. Most recent reports first.
Christian Harris, LB, Alabama (6’1, 226)
Harris played some safety, cornerback, and wide receiver in high school, but you’d never know it by how violent of a linebacker he is:
You would know it by his excellent 4.44 speed:
Harris is undersized, but he was a tone setter in Bama’s defense, with the athleticism to run sideline to sideline in the run game, and the ability to get to wide areas of the field in coverage. Think T.J. Edwards, but with Davion Taylor’s speed.
Report via Jordan Schultz.
Jaquan Brisker, S, Penn State (6’1, 199)
In three seasons (34 games) at Penn State after transferring from Lackawanna College, Brisker had 151 tackles (10 for loss), 5 INTs, and 14 pass breakups. He’s a good athlete with size, a reliable tackler who will lay an occasional big pop, he has ball skills, and he has flashed some flair for the timely huge play.
JaQuan Brisker – S, Penn State
🟢Reads the seam route from the TE, recognizes that he is the primary read
🟢Watches the quarterback.
🟢Jumps the route and gathers the INT with incredible athleticism
🟢Shows his return ability 🔥
— 🟢📽🏈 𝔽𝕀𝕃𝕄 ℝ𝕆𝕆𝕄 🏈🖥 (@SapientFilm) October 6, 2021
Round 2 guy.
Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State (6’0, 187)
Like DeVonta Smith, Olave has a slight build, he is an excellent route runner, and he makes difficult catches look easy, though he does not possess Smith’s contested catch traits. He is more of a deep threat than Smith, however, as he has good speed and ball-tracking ability. He won’t remind anyone of Deebo Samuel or A.J. Brown in the run after catch department.
Olave was productive in 2020, catching 50 passes for 729 yards and 7 TDs in just 6 games. That averages out to 7-104-1 per game. In 2021, he had 65 catches for 936 yards and 13 TDs in 11 games.
The Eagles could use a big receiver opposite Smith, but their interest in trading for 6’1, 190-pound Calvin Ridley shows a willingness to just add good receivers instead of fixating on a certain type of receiver. And really, I don’t see the harm in having two skinny guys who create a ton of separation and make life easier for their quarterback.
Report via ESPN.
Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama (6’2, 179)
Oh, hey look another really good Bama receiver. This one is a deep threat who had 79 catches for 1572 yards (19.9 YPC) and 15 TDs in 2021. Behold the jets on this dude:
If Williams hadn’t torn an ACL in the National Championship Game, he’d in the conversation as a top 10 pick. Now that he has, his draft status is wrecked, right?
Meh, he’s still going Round 1, possibly top 15. It seems to be a garden variety ACL tear (no additional damage to his MCL, meniscus, LCL, etc.), and take this for what it’s worth given that the message here comes via his agent, but Williams’ recovery seems to be going well:
Spoke with former #Bama WR Jameson Williams one week after an ACL repair from Dr. James Andrews in Pensacola. @bigsgjamo said, “I’m feeling awesome. Ready to get down this road.” Rocky Arceneaux of @Alliance_Sports said he’s already ahead of schedule following the clean tear.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 25, 2022
In the second round (37th overall) of the 2021 draft, the Eagles selected Landon Dickerson, who tore an ACL on December 19, 2020. He was ready to play when Brandon Brooks got injured against the 49ers Week 2, and ended up playing in 14 games, starting 13.
Williams tore his ACL on January 10th, so in theory, he would be three or so weeks behind Dickerson’s timetable for recovery. While Williams will be disadvantaged compared to other rookie receivers in that he’ll likely miss all of training camp, it’s not as if he’s going to miss the bulk of the season, barring some kind of setback.
The Eagles need players who can produce chunk plays, and Williams does just that.
Report via Josh Norris.
George Pickens, WR, Georgia (6’3, 195)
Pickens is an outside receiver with nice size who has all the tools you’re looking for in an X receiver. He has the athleticism to separate, he’s physical against press coverage, and he wins contested catches. He also has the flair for the spectacular catch, as evidenced here:
However, Pickens also comes with some injury concerns. He tore an ACL in March of 2021, though he impressively recovered in time to appear in Georgia’s last two games.
Pickens put up good numbers as a true freshman, and then of course 2020 was cut short due to COVID. As noted, he missed almost all of 2021 with the ACL tear:
|2019 (12 games)||49||727||14.8||8|
|2020 (8 games)||36||513||14.3||6|
|2021 (3 games)||5||107||21.4||0|
Ideally, if you’re going to take a wide receiver high in the draft, you’d like to see eye-popping numbers, but in Pickens’ case, any team that takes a swing on him early will be drafting him on tools and potential.
The Eagles are willing to take shots on injury-concern players in the second round, as they have shown with Landon Dickerson and Sidney Jones. If they don’t invest in a wide receiver in the first round for the third consecutive year, Pickens could be a high upside play in Round 2.
Arnold Ebiketie, DE, Penn State (6’2, 250)
Ebiketie immigrated from Cameroon and originally enrolled at Temple, where he didn’t play much in his first two seasons, but had 42 tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He transferred to Penn State in 2021, and had 62 tackles (18 for loss), 9.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 blocked kicks in his lone season with the Nittany Lions.
He is undersized, but has some explosive athletic measurables.
Ebiketie has a nice assortment of pass rush moves and great bend for a player thought to be early in his development. There are no cheapies in the highlight reel below:
In the pros, Ebiketie is going to have to improve his run defense to stay on the field for all three downs, but for now, he possesses the more important ability, which is creating disruption and getting to the quarterback.
In a loaded pass rusher draft, Ebeketie is likely to be a Round 2 guy, though it’s not out of the question for him to land in the first round. He could be an option for the Eagles if they trade back from pick 18.
Report via Josh Norris.
DeAngelo Malone, SAM, Western Kentucky (6’3, 243)
Malone was an undersized, but very productive pass rusher for WKU. In 14 games in 2021, he has 94 tackles (17.5 for loss), 9 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. Over the last three seasons, he has 26.5 sacks. Here’s how his production compares to Eagles 2021 seventh-round pick Patrick Johnson’s last three seasons at Tulane:
|Patrick Johnson (2018-2020)||120 (34)||21||6-1|
|DeAngelo Malone (2019-2021)||264 (48.5)||26.5||7-1|
You can see Malone’s explosiveness here:
Western Kentucky Edge:
DeAngelo Malone does a great job winning wide. After shedding the OL, he flattens his angle & runs the line.
The closing burst to hammer the QB & force the fumble 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/EEM7STyUEV
— Damian Parson 🏈 (@DP_NFL) March 30, 2021
Malone also had a good week at the Senior Bowl, playing against prospects from bigger schools:
I like Malone as a similar SAM project as Johnson, but with more upside, and I wouldn’t rule out another SAM backer just because the Eagles signed Haason Reddick.
Report via Tom Pelissero.
Kenyon Green, OL, Texas A&M (6’4, 323)
Green is a likely first-round prospect who has started at LG, RG, and RT during his college career. He’s powerful in the run game, but also nimble enough in pass protection and getting to the second level of the defense. He’ll probably be a guard in the NFL. Here he is in the Orange Bowl last season. It’s easy to see him move defensive linemen against their will:
On the downside, Green is thought to need some technical refinement, which shouldn’t be an issue as long as Jeff Stoutland remains the Eagles’ offensive line coach. He also did not test well athletically:
The Eagles have proven over the years that they draft highly athletic offensive linemen, so Green would be something of a departure from that tendency. However, they do also value offensive line versatility, and Green certainly has that.
Report via Ari Meivov.
Andrew Booth, CB, Clemson (6’0, 194)
Booth is physical and athletic, and he plays with swagger, confidence, and energy. You can see by this dude’s body language that he knows he’s good.
Booth has the speed to run with receivers down the field, and he competes on contested catches. On the downside, while he has shown ball skills and the flare for the incredible catch, he only had 5 career INTs, which in fairness, was spent at times playing behind other future NFL corners.
Booth’s name has drifted to the back end of the first round or out of the first round completely in a lot of recent mock drafts. He didn’t work out at the Combine or Clemson’s pro day because of a strained quad. If that’s the reason why he has seemingly fallen in the perception of the public eye, that’s dumb. He can play.
Jesse Luketa, SAM, Penn State (6’3, 253)
We’ll call Luketa a SAM backer, because that’s likely what his role would be with the Eagles if they were to draft him. He played both at linebacker and defensive end for Penn State, and while he was very well regarded by coaches there, his overall college production (0.5 career sacks) left plenty to be desired. I admit I’ve barely watched Luketa play at all, though at the Senior Bowl, he was a standout rushing the passer.
Report via Jordan Schultz.
Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss (6’2, 212)
Matt Corral said on Rich Eisen’s podcast that he will visit Philadelphia on one of the Eagles’ top 30 visits.
The Eagles have emphatically backed Jalen Hurts as the Eagles’ starting quarterback at every opportunity the last three months, and yet, they tried to trade for Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson, only to be turned down by each quarterback.
Many have assumed that since the Eagles traded one of their first-round picks in 2022 for a package of picks that includes a first-round pick in 2023 that the team is loading up for one of the quarterbacks in the 2023 class. That’s a reasonable conclusion to reach, but if there’s one thing the Eagles have proven over the years, it’s that they are unpredictable when it comes to quarterback acquisitions.
Could they select a quarterback in the 2022 draft? Sure, it’s not out of the question. Gotta keep the factory churning.
It was reported that the Eagles had interest in trading up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Zach Wilson, who ultimately went No. 2 overall to the New York Jets. If there’s a 2022 quarterback prospect who is similar to Wilson — both in terms of skill set and college career path — it’s Corral. Both quarterbacks have plus “arm talent,” good mobility, an aggressive mindset, and they blossomed later in their college tenures. A highlight reel:
The knock on Corral a season ago was that he took too many risks that led to turnovers. He threw 14 INTs in an otherwise statistically impressive season. In 2021, he cleaned up some of those bad habits:
• 2020: 10 games, 231 of 326 (70.9%), 3337 yards (10.2 YPA), 29 TDs, 14 INTs.
• 2021: 13 games, 260 of 384 (67.7%), 3343 yards (8.7 YPA), 20 TDs, 5 INTs.
Out of the box, Corral would be a substantially more accurate quarterback than Hurts, and with better arm strength. While he doesn’t have Hurts’ wheels, Corral does possess some ability to escape the pocket, but he also won’t flee the pocket as quickly. He’s a guy who can run Sirianni’s RPO concepts while also serving as a more competent dropback passer from the pocket.
He is also thought to be a quarterback who teammates liked, so there shouldn’t be concerns about his leadership abilities.
Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE, Oregon (6’4, 254)
Thibodeaux will visit the Eagles, according to Geoff Mosher.
Thibodeaux was the No. 1 recruit in the nation coming out of high school (via ESPN recruiting) and he was an immediate stud as a freshman in 2019, as he led the Ducks with nine sacks. In 2020, in a shortened season (7 games) his tackles were up (42) but his sacks numbers were down a bit (3). His numbers in 2021 were just OK (7 sacks, 2 FF).
Heading into 2021, there were some who believed that Thibodeaux was the best prospect in the country. If you watch his highlight reel, it’s just pure explosiveness.
If he pans out in the NFL, Thibodeaux will win simply on his lightning fast first step, his speed around the edge, and his inside counter moves when opposing tackles overset. If he can develop a deadly speed-to-power rush, he has the chance to be really good.
There’s recent thinking that Thibodeaux could slide on draft day as a result of some effort concerns, which were discussed on Rich Eisen’s podcast by Daniel Jeremiah.
And so, it makes sense for the Eagles to try to get to know Thibodeaux the person ahead of the draft in case he unexpectedly falls either all the down to 15 where they are picking, or to an area of the first round where the cost to trade up for him wouldn’t be too exorbitant.
Tyler Smith, OT, Tulsa (6’5, 324)
Smith is a considered a raw prospect coming out of Tulsa, but his blend of size and athleticism should be of interest to the Eagles, given Jeff Stoutland’s ability to groom offensive linemen with upside.
Smith is a potential first-round pick. Because the Eagles aren’t exactly OT-needy with Jordan Mailata at LT and All-Pro Lane Johnson at RT, this is something of an interesting visit. Perhaps the Eagles could view Smith as a guard prospect? But even then, they’re set on the interior as well, at least for 2022.
Perrion Winfrey, DT, Oklahoma (6’4, 290)
Winfrey was something of a late bloomer as a JUCO transfer who flashed in his first season at Oklahoma in 2020. In 2021, he added some production to his obvious athletic traits, notching 5.5 sacks. But it was at the Senior Bowl where Winfrey made his money. He was unblockable during the week of practices, and unsurprisingly also dominated in the actual Senior Bowl game, collecting 5 tackles and 2 sacks.
He also had an impressive Combine, where he ran a 4.89 40, and measured in with 35 1/4″ arms.
The Eagles signed Fletcher Cox back to the team for $14 million on a one-year deal for reasons I’ll never understand, but his tenure in Philly does feel like it is soon coming to a close. The Eagles highly value the DT position, and Winfrey is a guy who can add to the rotation long-term alongside Javon Hargrave and Milton Williams.
Marcus Jones, CB/KR/PR, Houston (5’8, 174)
Jones will visit the Eagles, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.
Jones had a hell of a season in 2021. He had 47 tackles, 5 INTs, 13 pass breakups, and he returned 4 kick/punts for touchdowns, bringing his career KR/PR TD return count to 9. He also even had 10 receptions on offense for 109 yards and a TD. Highlights:
The Eagles have been stockpiling cornerbacks, and they currently have nine on the roster. They also signed Avonte Maddox to a three-year contract extension. For those reasons, a smaller corner may not make much sense. However, the Eagles have a pretty big need for a returner, and Jones is the premier return man in college football. There’s maybe also an argument that you can never have too many corners, especially when they can make plays the way this guy can.
Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB, Cincinnati (6’3, 190)
Gardner will visit the Eagles, according to Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.
Any corner who is 6’3 with 33 1/2″ arms who runs a 4.41 is going to attract the attention of every NFL team.
But in addition to his outstanding length and his plus athleticism, Gardner was productive on a stellar Cincinnati defense. In 33 career games, he had 9 INTs (2 pick-sixes) and 16 pass breakups. He is also a willing tackler (40 tackles, 5 for loss in 2021), which is a nice feature for an Eagles team that plays its share of zone defense. A highlight reel:
Gardner’s visit to Philly is interesting, since he is likely to be long gone by the time the Eagles pick at 15. Would they trade up for Gardner? My sense is that the Eagles are merely doing their due diligence and if Gardner falls to a spot that isn’t too expensive to move up to, they could be prepared to strike.
Devonte Wyatt, DT, Georgia (6’3, 304)
Per Michael Rothstein of ESPN, Wyatt has visits scheduled with the Eagles and four other teams.
Like his Georgia DT counterpart Jordan Davis (profiled below), Wyatt didn’t have eye-popping numbers in college on a defense that probably just didn’t have enough stats to go around. But he is a quick, disruptive interior player who impressed at the Combine.
Wyatt also had a good Senior Bowl, often dominating his competition in 1-on-1’s and in team drills.
It should probably be noted that the Eagles not only have scheduled visits with two Georgia defenders, but Jonathan Gannon was also personally on hand at Georgia’s pro day.
I believe Wyatt would be good value if the Eagles traded back a bit with one of their three first-round picks.
Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia (6’6, 341)
Our own Joe Santoloquito caught up with Davis at the Maxwell Awards in Atlantic City, where Davis revealed that he would be one of the Eagles’ 30 visits, for BGN.
“I’ve been in contact with the Philadelphia Eagles and I plan on having a top-30 visit soon,” Davis said. “There’s not really too much I can say right now other than that, but we have been in contact. For me, it works great (if the Eagles drafted him). I loved watching Fletcher Cox growing up. I try to pattern part of my game after him and I love how dominant he is.”
“I know the Eagles have three first-round picks. I put in the work for the combine and I did surprise myself with how fast my time was. I came in with a number in my head, and that was a number around 4.9. When they said I hit 4.7, I exceeded my own expectations. My agent told me to shut it down.”
Davis is a mammoth human being at 6’6, 341, and you can see on the field that he’s amazingly quick for his size.
At the NFL Combine, Davis had a jaw dropping performance for a man his size. It’s crazy that a 6’6, 341-pound man is even capable of running 4.78 40, but that’s what Davis did.
I wouldn’t normally advocate for a run stuffing DT in the first round, but if you have a chance to add a player with extremely unique size and athleticism measurables, he’s a player who can perhaps develop as a pass rusher.
But even if Davis never becomes a guy who puts up big sacks numbers, he can still be very effective. He is a player that centers will not be able to single block, so he’ll at least provide one-on-one matchups across the board against the pass when he’s doubled. Against the run, if you plop this dude down in the middle of the line, thus allowing Jonathan Gannon to commit fewer resources toward stopping the run, he would make a lot of sense in the Eagles’ defense.
The Eagles already have a strong defensive tackle rotation in Javon Hargrave, Fletcher Cox, and Milton Williams, but it’s a position they place a high priority on, and Cox’s time with the team could soon be coming to an end.
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