Eagles go CB & FB in the 6th and 7th

"Nasti" Nate Ilaoa
It's over. The grueling marathon that is the NFL draft has finally concluded. Did anyone realize that the Eagles only selected one lineman? The DE from Notre Dame. ZERO offensive lineman! Are we totally sure Andy Reid was in the draft room? Has he finally gotten to the point where he has so many offensive lineman that he loves that he can't bear to part with one? Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programming...

Let's have a look at the last few picks of this year's haul.

First a corner in the 6th round, Rashad Barksdale from Albany.

He's very big for a corner at 6-2, 210 and may be a guy the Eagles move to safety. Clearly he's a project and is probably going to have to make the squad on special teams.

His stock shot up over the final three weeks before the draft; several teams brought him in for workouts. This is a good club scout's sleeper find. I'm sure a lot of people thought he wouldn't get drafted.

With their final pick the Eagles drafted a very intriguing player in Nate Ilaoa, FB Hawaii. He's listed as a FB, but played running back in school. He's a big, stout guy that stands at only 5-8 but weighs in at 248 lbs. He's very shifty and changes direction well for a guy so big and run with a low center of gravity that makes him difficult to tackle. He actually average 7.6 yards a carry, and ran a 4.6 40. That's not too fast for a RB, but not many RBs are 248 lbs. He's as big as a linebacker but he's faster.

Positives: Has a thick upper body with good bone structure, shorter-than-ideal arms, thick thighs and calves and good bubble. ... Physical runner who does a good job of keeping his pad level down. ... Keeps his legs churning and has the leg drive to move the pile. ... Has good body lean to pick up extra yardage after contact and is an aggressive downhill type that will stick it upfield and create his own holes when blocking upfront breaks down. ... Has nimble feet and loose hips to cut back and change direction when the initial rush lane is clogged. ... His acceleration is deceiving behind the line of scrimmage; he can cut back in an instant. ... Does a good job of controlling his body to sink his hips and get skinny through the pile. ... Hits the seams with pads low and at top acceleration to break tackles. ... Once he learns to read blocks better, he could be even more efficient gaining the tough yardage due to the pad level he runs with. ... More of a downhill power runner who gets decent yardage between the tackles. ... Good at planting and driving out of his breaks to make the initial tackler miss. ... Has the leg drive to move the pile and runs behind his pads well. ... Even with his short arms, Ilaoa is an effective receiver with good hands to look the ball in. ... Used mostly on screens and fades, but catches the ball with ease and does a good job of keeping his concentration to look the ball in. ... Has the ability to adjust and catch outside his frame. ... With his soft hands, he can adjust to most balls thrown to him (high, low or off-target). ... Lacks the speed to be a valid deep threat, but is effective settling into the soft areas of the zone. ... Quite effective catching the ball in stride. ... With his leg strength, it is tough for defenders to bring him down in isolated coverage. ... Has the natural knee bend and body control to sink his hips and redirect without having to throttle down.

Negatives: His frame is at maximum growth potential and, in order to increase his timed speed, he could stand to lose about 20 pounds of bulk. ... Bit of a "paint-by-numbers" type who does not do a great job of anticipating the blitz or bull rush and needs to be more alert to coverages; he tends to run right into those spots on the field. ... Showed better maturity as a sixth-year senior, but has run afoul of the coaching staff in the past due to weight control issues. ... The additional bulk prevents him from separating from defenders after the catch (has seen his weight steadily increase each year, to the point where he must be considered more of a fullback prospect than at tailback, due to a lack of timed speed to threaten past the second level). ... Could be quicker if he would stop using a roll-over step to get to his point of mesh. ... Has decent instincts choosing his rush lanes, but needs to be a bit more patient waiting for blocks to develop. ... Will run into spots at times and miss a cutback when he tries to get too fancy sliding down the line. ... Gets most of his success moving the chains back when he pounds the ball up the gut, but will get his feet caught in trash some (see 2006 Eastern Illinois and Purdue games). ... Has the power to drive through tackles when he keeps his pads low, but when he runs erect, he can be pushed back through the rush lanes; he struggles some to sidestep trash. ... Needs to be more protective of the ball running up the gut; too many of his fumbles have come when he gets popped from behind. ... Has the upper-body strength to secure the ball inside his body, but runs with the pigskin too loose and fails to distribute the ball away from the defenders (see 2006 Alabama, Purdue and Arizona State and 2005 Nevada and San Diego State games). ... Will make a determined effort as a blocker, but is limited by his short reach in attempts to extend and lock on to the bull rusher. ... Needs to move and slide his feet better and seems to be slow recognizing stunts and blitzes. ... Doesn't have the second-level quickness and fails to take good angles when looking to locate and neutralize linebackers as a cut blocker.

Compares To: Samkon Gado, Houston Texans (Liberty) -- Ilaoa is a between-the-tackles runner with good cutback and change-of-direction agility to turn the corner and bounce outside. He needs to improve his blocking technique, but with his short, squat frame, overall strength and short-area receiving skills, he could shift to fullback at the next level.

He's a guy that is likely going to have to slim down a bit to be really successful, but that's actually something the Eagles have done quite well with their players in the past few years. Shawn Andrews is the shining example of this as he was bigger than the Eagles wanted him to be, so they told him to lose weight and worked with him for an entire offseason to  help him do so. He emerged this past year lighter, stronger, in better shape, and turned into arguably the best OG in the NFL.

At the very least, this Nate Ilaoa pick is very interesting.

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