With Senior Bowl week coming to a close, it is always interest to see who the team had their eye on through out the week. Obviously, meeting with players isn't overly indicative of anything, but with the team usually investing into Senior Bowl players, it is important to track. The Eagles met with at least 17 players this week, some of whom are rumored to be first round picks. Who are these players and what do they bring to the table?
- Carson Wentz, QB, NDSU: The belle of the ball right now among draft media is Carson Wentz. The former NDSU signal caller has great size, athletic ability and a huge throwing arm. With traits like these, rumors are swirling that there is not "too high" for Wentz to be taken this year. Personally, I think Wentz is being heavily overrated due to "traits" and a relatively weak class. He definitely has jaw dropping moments, but he was not asked to do much on the field from a cerebral standpoint. While I definitely like what he has to offer, I worry about his learning curve and the expectations being paced on someone going in the first round. With a need at quarterback, it's natural for the team to be interested in Wentz, but I do worry about investing in him to be a right away starter.
- Cody Whitehair, OL, Kansas State: There is nothing a Philadelphia fan likes more than a guard. Whitehair has been a stalwart for the Wildcats for a long time now and after a strong week in Mobile, his name is buzzing as a potential first round pick. Whitehair is certainly a good player, exhibiting clean technique, good strength and a tremendous mean streak, but the idea of taking a guard at 13 who will be 24 when the season starts irks me a bit. However, Whitehair is a very solid player, if not unspectacular. This defeintely signals a shift in philosophy, with Whitehair being a nastier, more physical player who would be at home in a gap blocking scheme.
- Shawn Oakman, DL, Baylor: Everyone knows Howie Roseman LOVES memes and that's why the Eagles interviewed this guy. Standing at 6-8 and a lean 270 pounds, Oakman looks more like he should be starring in a movie with the Rock than he should be on a football field. Despite his incredible stature, Oakman plays like I played defense when I was in high school when I was 5-8 and barely 160 pounds. Oakman is usually on the ground, playing too high and getting pushed around, or nowhere near the play... He does have some athleticism to his game and once every blue moon he will play like the freak of nature he is. Teams, like most people, love shiny things and could be enamored by the "upside" that Oakman theoretically has. Jim Schwartz has a propensity for long, athletic defensive ends so it makes sense for the team to show interest in Oakman. Let's just hope they don't think of him highly enough to take him at #13.
- Sean Davis, DB, Maryland: Playing at Maryland, it's hard for any player to get national recognition. However, Sean Davis was one of few bright spots on what was otherwise an abysmal Maryland football team. He is not the fastest defensive back, but at 6-1, 190 with long arms, Davis has a nice build at corner. He plays his size too, constantly getting into it with wide receivers and never shying away from landing a big hit. He talks trash and will fight for the ball on every play which is something we have not seen on this defense in a long time. Davis would be a great mid round addition and the team interviewing him could show interest in a nastier type of defensive player. The old trope is that teams and units will take on the personality of their coaches and with a mad man like Jim Schwartz, the defense will be looking for swagger and physicality next season.
- Darian Thompson, Safety, Boise State: Once again, the Eagles will be looking at safeties this offseason because it will likely be a relatively large need. Thompson has been a big part of the Broncos defense, both as a cover guy and a run defender. He is versatile and plays at 100 miles an hour on every play. After what was apparently a strong week in Mobile, it is no surprise the team took interest. Thompson is another day 2 defensive back to keep an eye on.
- Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana: If you have been following my work back to before the season started, you will know I am a huge fan of Jason Spriggs. The former tight end has great size, athletic ability and a mean streak to boot. The team desperately needs to add athletes to its offensive line and Spriggs would be a tremendous addition and could be plugged in at right tackle for when Lane Johnson inevitably moves over to the other side. I have a strong feeling about Spriggs in the first round for the Eagles and it would be a great pick.
- Kyler Fackrell, EDGE, Utah State: Fackrell is another player who fits into this physical type of prototype the team is going after. He is a solid athlete and plays with great awareness and a high motor. He is an older player, so I'm worried he is who he is, but he would be a nice sub package player to pick up in the mid rounds for the Eagles.
- Vadal Alexander, OL, LSU: When talking about big, physical offensive linemen, Vadal Alexander comes to mind. He is a behemoth, standing at 6-6 and 345 pounds with long arms. He lumbers around, making it painful to watch him move, but if he gets his hands on a defender, they are toast. I am not sure what he is in the NFL, because his height makes it difficult for him to play inside and I am not sure about his feet on the edge. However, his size and strength combo definitely make him intriguing. With the other offensive linemen the team interviewed, Alexander doesn't come as a surprise.
- Read here for a breakdown of the other nine players: Penn State DE Carl Nassib, Utah LB Jared Norris, William & Mary DB DeAndre Houston-Carson, Southern Missouri State WR Paul McRoberts, Kansas State FB Glenn Gronkowski, Samford DB James Bradberry, WVU LB Nick Kwiatkoski, Stanford guard Josh Garnett, and Washington State OL Joe Dahl.
The main thing to take away from these interviews is the theme here with the type of player the team is interested in. A mean streak almost seems like a necessity, as is paying strength ... After the team was given the "soft" label during the Chip Kelly years, it looks like the staff is doing anything it can to move away from the idea of finesse and more towards punching teams in the mouth.