The Eagles have their starters in place at inside linebacker, but there is always room for depth and competition within the Philadelphia locker room. DeMeco Ryans is getting up there in age and salary, so his time with the Eagles will likely be up in the near future. It is important for the Eagles to prepare for this move in advance and could take a talented prospect at the position in May's draft. Connecticut's Yawin Smallwood could be a Day 3 option for Philadelphia.
A Central Massachusetts All-Star, Smallwood committed to Connecticut in 2010. He redshirted as a freshman but started all 12 games at middle linebacker in his first year of action. He finished his first season of play with 94 tackles (2.5 for loss) and 1.5 sacks. In his redshirt sophomore season, Smallwood was named first team All-Big East in 2012. He had 120 tackles (15 for loss), four sacks, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups.
In his final season at UConn, Smallwood started all 12 games and collected 118 tackles (9.5 for loss), four sacks, an interception, two forced fumbles and nine pass breakups. He was named a first team All-American Conference selection and a Butkus Award semifinalist.
Weight: 246 lbs
Arm Length: 31 3/4"
Hands: 9 1/2"
40: 5.01 seconds (Update: Pulled hamstring during drill)
Bench Press: 18 reps
Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches
Broad Jump: 108.0 inches
Smallwood attacks his gap and tackles in bunches. He is solid at inside blitzing and possess the size and strength to attack blockers. He was used in coverage and uses his hands well to defend the pass. He has the ability to make plays. Smallwood was a team captain and has leadership ability.
He has tight hips. He lunges for tackles and will whiff at tackling attempts. His instincts are mediocre and he lacks catch up speed to make up for it. He needs to do a better job of wrapping up and his technique needs work.
Smallwood is the type of player that the Eagles would likely need to develop over a season or two before giving him starter snaps. He will likely go in the fourth or fifth round, so the Eagles would not have to sacrifice a major pick to grab him in the draft. The Eagles would need get over his unimpressive speed and really have to fall in love with his intangibles to jump at him.