The Eagles secondary has been a mess for the past two seasons, so entering the 2013 offseason, the team was looking for a makeover. With four additions in free agency, the Eagles waiting until Day 3 of this year's draft to target defensive backs. Prior to adding Oregon State cornerback Jordan Poyer in the 7th round, the Eagles snagged NC State safety, Earl Wolff, in the 5th round. Wolff is set to compete in what has become a crowded but not-so-desirable safety unit.
Wolff first made his impact at NC State as a redshirt freshman in 2009. Since then, he has been a key cog in the Wolfpack's secondary. A starter since 2010, Wolff has amassed six interceptions, six forced fumbles, and two sacks. He also recorded double digit tackles for loss and pass deflections over his four-year career. He was named to the first-team All-ACC team in 2012, after receiving an honorable mention in 2011.
Here is what NFL.com had to say about Wolff:
STRENGTHSSolidly built defender able to make plays against the run and pass. Physical tackler coming downhill to attack ballcarriers, not afraid to bring intensity to the stop. Diagnoses and attacks. Breaks down quickly and wraps up the legs of receivers effectively to bring them down quickly after the catch. Uses relentless hustle to reach plays, even if on the opposite sideline. Flashes quickness to move from two-deep to a single-high look after the snap, as well as pick up vertical routes and stay with receivers in deep coverage. Displays sound footwork and technique in coverage. Aware zone defender who watches the quarterback and keeps an eye out for targets in his area. Has physical nature and athleticism to contribute on special teams immediately.
WEAKNESSESOnly average height for the position. Stronger backs can run through his tackles, especially when he leaves his feet. Fails to make the more difficult interception where he needs to go low or extend from his frame to bring in the ball. Must prove himself able to get off blocks when playing around the line of scrimmage.
NFL COMPARISONYeremiah Bell
My Take: Wolff does not look imposing by his stature (5'11" and 209 lbs.), but his play on the field shows that he is a true force in the defensive backfield. A talented safety who can play in center field or in the box, Wolff has the ability to cover and make open field tackles. He is a field general and is very good at adjusting to the opposing offense. A finisher on field, he is a very good wrap-up tackler. He has the ability make plays in coverage and has elite speed for his position (4.44 40-yard dash at the Combine) and has serious athleticism (was among the top defensive back performers at the Combine). Howie Roseman has said Wolff will likely make his bones on special teams to start his career, but one would expect him to be in the running to start by his second year. Wolff may have trouble in coverage against bigger tight ends, which is probably why he fell to the 5th round. He has good leaping ability but could be overpowered in press coverage. He ideally is fit for the box in the NFL.
Take a look (or two) at Wolff in action: