NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock held his annual pre-combine conference call on Tuesday afternoon to give his thoughts on the 2015 NFL Draft class. Mayock touched on a number of topics. One note of interest was a question Mayock answered about a potential Eagles first round target at the No. 20 overall pick.
According to Mayock, two players that could make sense for Philadelphia are both defensive backs: Washington's Shaq Thompson and LSU cornerback Jalen Collins. Mayock also noted that he doesn't think Philadelphia goes inside linebacker in the first.
Let's start with Thompson. At 6-2, 231 pounds, the Washington junior doesn't just play one position. He's showed the ability to play at running back, safety, and linebacker in college. Mayock said he sees Thompson as a safety option for Philadelphia. PhillyVoice's Jimmy Kempski recently wrote a nice blurb on Thompson regarding his fit with the Eagles:
"At the pro level, because of his smaller size, there will be debate about whether Shaq Thompson is a 4-3 WILL, or if he's a safety, or if he can play ILB in a 3-4. What is not up for debate is that he's a ridiculous athlete who makes plays. He's fast, he's agile, he's a sure wrap-up tackler, and is thought of as a high character player with good instincts. He was even a very intriguing running back at Washington. Some teams value "tweeners" like Thompson. Other will struggle to figure out where he fits in their scheme. But just look at what this guy can do. Could the Eagles find a way to use Thompson creatively if he were to be available at 20? On the one hand, this will be the Eagles' third year in Billy Davis' scheme, so they'll be much further along than they were two years ago. On the other hand, we're talking about a defense here that didn't even have a dime package until last offseason. Still, the way I see it, Thompson is simply too athletic to pass on even if he may not have perfect measurables for any specific position in the Eagles' scheme. Just go get him and watch him make plays."
Thompson certainly seems to have the versatility that a coach like Chip Kelly covets. It's also relevant that Thompson was recruited hard by Kelly when the Eagles coach was still at Oregon.
As for Collins, Mayock mentioned that he fits the size the Eagles like in their cornerbacks. The red-shirt junior from LSU measures in at 6-2, 198 pounds. Here's a scouting report on Collins via NFL.com:
"Immensely talented cornerback who brings the entire triangle (height, weight, speed) with him. Still learning technique and how to sink his feet with his eyes, but the instincts and athleticism to make plays on the ball both short and deep are what set him apart. Collins is a work in progress, but his physical and play traits create a very high ceiling if he continues to learn to play the position."
The secondary is obviously a huge position of concern for Eagles fans so it's no surprise to see Mayock mention these players as possibilities. Are you on board with these options?