NFL Draft season is here and college pro days are in full gear. In years past we used to track Chip Kelly's appearances at various pro days around the country. Now that Kelly is gone we'll be keeping an eye on Philadelphia's new big decision makers ... executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson. For what it's worth, the Eagles are reportedly one of the "most active teams" in visiting pro days this offseason.
Most active teams on the pro day circuit this year: Titans, Lions, Eagles— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) March 15, 2016
According to Howard Eskin, Roseman attended UCLA's pro day on Tuesday. The Bruins have a few players that could be of interest to the Eagles, including one at the No. 8 overall pick. Here are some names to keep in mind.
Myles Jack, OLB
Jack is 20 years old and measures in at 6-1, 245 pounds. In 29 games played for UCLA, Jack finished his college career with 178 total tackles, 19 passes defensed, four interceptions, one forced fumble, and one sack. Jack wasn't just a linebacker, however. He also contributed at running back. He ran for 11 touchdowns and 387 yards on 68 carries for 5.7 yards per attempt. Not bad, huh?
The Eagles don't necessarily have an immediate need at linebacker. Jordan Hicks was looking like the Defensive Rookie of the Year before he got hurt and should be the team's starting middle linebacker. Mychal Kendricks was up and down last season after receiving a contract extension but figures to be a starter as well. Newly signed linebacker Nigel Bradham, who shares a connection with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, was paid to be a starter.
But if the Eagles have the chance to add a talent like Jack, who might not even fall to the No. 8 pick, he might be too good to pass up. BGN draft expert Ben Natan wrote about Jack earlier this offseason:
One of the hottest names in the draft is UCLA linebacker, Myles Jack. The junior defender dominated college as an athletic freak that UCLA moved all over the defense and he was able to play various positions at an incredibly high level. The question remains, where does an undersized but speedy linebacker play in the NFL and how valuable is Jack? The answer is that the dynamic that Jack offers at *middle linebacker* is beyond valuable. The valuation of inside linebacker play is odd, because you can manufacture decent play at the position by having a strong defensive line, so the middle 80% of the league's talent at the position is fairly interchangeable. However, having dynamic speed and coverage ability at the position a la Bobby Wagner, Luke Keuchly or Patrick Willis is invaluable. A linebacker who has that coverage ability can completely change the make up of a defense because it takes some pressure off of defensive backs while locking down the intermediate and shallow middle of the field. Jack's fluidity in coverage and insane closing speed make me think he can be that special type of linebacker and if someone were to take that type of player in the top ten or even top five, I could understand why.
It's not all positive with Jack. He suffered a torn meniscus in his knee during a practice in late September. A projected recovery timeline of four to six months was given at the time of the injury. Note that Jack did not do any running drills during UCLA's pro day. According to Tony Pauline, he recorded a vertical jump of 40 inches and 10-4 in the broad jump. Some more info from Jack's pro day.
UCLA LB Myles Jack said he was at about "80 %" (knee surgery) at today's Pro Day. Will run 40 at another Pro Day April 1 at UCLA— Steve Wyche (@wyche89) March 15, 2016
Myles Jack "looked like a defensive back doing linebacker drills....remarkable athlete." Update in a few minutes.— Tony Pauline (@TonyPauline) March 15, 2016
Jack isn't the only Bruins player that scouts came to see. CBS projects defensive tackle Kenny Clark to be a late first or second round pick. Wide receiver Jordan Payton is slotted as a third round pick while fellow pass catcher Thomas Duarte is projected to be a Day 3 pick. The Eagles need to draft a running back at some point and Paul Perkins is a mid-round guy that could be available.