The later rounds is all about taking shots on players with significantly high upside. They may be mentally or technically raw, but they have dominant athletic traits that are not coachable and you need to have players like that on your team. As we know, the Eagles love athletes and seventh round pick, Brian Mihalik is exactly that.
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Six foot nine, two hundred and ninety pounds. Let us say that again. Six. Foot. Nine. Two. Hundred. And. Ninety. Pounds. They do not just make people like that. Not only is he that big, but he has reportedly run the 40 yard dash in under 4.8 seconds. That is absurd levels of movement from a man his size. So yes, he is humungous and athletic. As we know, Chip Kelly and defensive line coach, Jerry Azzinaro, have long loved these freakish defensive linemen, dating back to their days at Oregon. What is important, is finding if Mihalik can become more than an athlete.
The first issue you run into with players Mihalik's size is leverage. Mihalik comes up way too high out of his stance, naturally, and lets offensive lineman get their hands on very quickly. It is very hard to generate power, at least efficiently, when pad level is high, and thus Mihalik can get worked way more than a man his size physically should.
When Mihalik was able to achieve a good pad level, he became a totally different player. His power was a lot more present, and he was able to work offensive linemen quickly off the snap. Boston College liked to kick him inside on passing downs, and he has the burst to shoot gaps as a one or three technique in those situations. He has a very good motor as well, so if he can clean up his leverage, he could be an impacting player down the road.
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Last year, the Eagles spent their pick on current nose tackle, Beau Allen. I thought the pick was odd at the time, but Allen turned into a really nice rotational player on the defensive line. This year, I think the Mihalik pick is in the same vein. The team saw an athletic defensive linemen and made a play for him. I definitely will not knock that mentality.
Unfortunately for Mihalik, he is coming into one of the deepest defensive lines in the NFL. So deep that 2014 pick, Taylor Hart, never even saw the field during his rookie year. It is going to be hard to crack the lineup with Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Cedric Thorton, Brandon Bair, Bennie Logan, Beau Allen and Taylor Hart, so Mihalik figures to be a special teams candidate year one. Ideally for him, he can make an impact on special teams in preseason to create a spot for himself. If there is a shot for him, he needs to beat out Bair as one of the rotational five techniques, which will be difficult because Bair is good on special teams (and went to Oregon). I think the Eagles got a very nice developmental player and because Jerry Azzinaro is a mad scientist, I could see Mihalik having a shot here long term.