The Eagles, at the very least, need a rotational pass rusher on defense. The team currently features Connor Barwin and Trent Cole as starters, but a third pass outside linebacker with a talent for getting sacks could allow for Billy Davis to really open up his plans on defense. The team could pass on a pass rusher early and try to get another set of starting snaps out of Cole, so having a young guy to develop from the later rounds of the draft could be appealing. If the Eagles went that route, Florida pass rusher Ronald Powell could be a target.
The No. 1 overall defensive end and recruit coming out of high school by Rivals.com, Powell chose Florida over Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Miami and USC in 2010. He was a Freshmen All-SEC selection after playing in 13 games (one start) at SAM linebacker. He had 26 tackles (three for loss), one sack and two pass breakups. As a sophomore, he started 12 games, but missed one with an injury. He had 32 tackles (nine for loss), six sacks and forced fumble.
Powell tore his ACL during an April spring game and medical redshirted as a junior in 2012. He played in 11 games (eight starts) last season. He had 26 tackles (seven for loss) and four sacks in his final season with the Gators. He finished his three-season college career with 84 tackles (19 for loss), 11 sacks, two pass breakups and a forced fumble in 36 games.
Weight: 237 lbs
Arm Length: 32 1/2"
Hands: 9 3/8"
40: 4.65 seconds
Bench: 21 reps
Vertical Jump: 35.5 inch
Broad Jump: 114.0 inch
Powell's measurements and speed make him ideal for an outside linebacker in any defense. He is a solid tackler and can get regular pressure. His speed shows up on tape and he was used in coverage at Florida. Powell has a solid motor and is successful at stunting when lined up as a defense end, as he does well attacking in the interior offensive line. He also plays the run well.
First and foremost, the history of knee injuries may scare off some teams. He has to gain weight and strength in order to be appealing as a 3-4 outside linebacker. His lack of strength is evident against bigger offensive tackles. He is a bit raw as an edge rusher and needs to learn moves that will allow him to get off blocks with consistency.
Powell is an early Day 3 player and will likely be used in a rotation as a rookie and possibly into his second year. Powell has measurables that are likely appealing to the Eagles and he is built to play either outside linebacker positions in Davis' 3-4 defense. He is actually a solid option to develop for a team like the Eagles, who has veterans in place and could take two pass rushers in the draft. Even if the Eagles go with a guy early, it does not mean they will be done in the later rounds at outside linebacker.