The Eagles have a need along their front seven. Mychael Kendricks is likely not returning to Philly, Bennie Logan is probably going to free agency and Connor Barwin nor Vinny Curry were enough to complement Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox last season. The team needs to add some juice to that group, be it in the first round or later. With linebackers and defensive linemen working out yesterday, there were some encouraging takeaways to be had with an impressive and deep group.
- Myles Garrett's freakiness knows no bounds, but luckily there are athletic pass rushers in this class besides him. Running 4.64, having a 41 inch vertical and broad jumping 10'8" at over 270 pounds is practically inhuman. While he is going top two in the draft, there were other athletes along the defensive line that the Eagles could spend a top pick on. Carl Lawson ran a nice 40 (4.67 at 262 pounds), had ok jumps, a great shuttle and tied the bench press record for this year's combine at 35. Lawson is a guy I have been high on in this process and while he did measure a little small, his explosiveness and upper body strength will help him in the NFL. He may not be a first round pick, but what a great addition he would be in the second round.
- Hasson Reddick should be a first round pick by somebody. The Temple pass rusher is undersized, sure, but his athletic ability and intelligence belongs on a football field. While possibly all teams consider him an off ball linebacker instead of having his hand on the ground like he did in college, there is little to suggest he will not be productive there.
- Derek Rivers and Jordan Willis probably helped their stock the most yesterday. Willis, a Kansas State edge rusher, absolutely blew the combine away after a productive career in Manhattan. Rivers is a smaller school guy out of Youngstown State, but his name is buzzing after a great weekend at the combine. Rivers had over 35 sacks and 50 tackles for a loss in his final three years in Youngstown. That type of small school production combined with an outstanding combine is a good indicator for a guy making a big jump to the league.
- There were some relatively disappointing combines as well. While no one expected Jon Allen to be a great athlete (or should have expected), he really did disappoint. Allen was many people's top player in the draft or among their top five. However, a 286 pound defensive linemen with mediocre athletic ability is going to have a difficult time on the inside or outside of a line. Now, Allen will get tagged with the "football player" title that applies to guys who can transcend their athletic ability to be good, predicated on their technique and motor. While Allen should be a solid NFL player, being an bad athlete and a tweener is going to hurt him.
- Teez Tabor, Marshon Lattimore, Cordrea Tankersly and Sidney Jones are not only the best cornerbacks in this class, but all four of them are impressive athletes on tape. While Jones raised some questions with short arms the other day and Tankersly is an older prospect, testing well should assuage a lot of fears about translatability. Lattimore is probably the best all around athlete of this top group, but Tabor should have great jumps, Tankersly will run well and the agility drills will be Jones' wheelhouse. The Eagles definitely need speed in their secondary so today is the day to keep ears perked up.
- While those are the top guys, the most athletic cornerback at the combine should be Adoree Jackson. The former USC multi-threat and track athlete has unreal speed and overall twitchiness. Jackson is also an underrated cornerback prospect, so maybe a great combine will put him on the radar.
- This is an incredibly deep group of cornerbacks and athletic testing will separate guys in rankings where it is hard to differentiate. Guys like Tre White, Marlong Humphrey, Quincy Wilson and Gareon Conley are all top 50 picks, most likely, but could assert themselves as being first rounders.
- Keep an eye on Jourdan Lewis. The Michigan cornerback is small, but was incredibly dependable for the Wolverines. A great combine may help some overlook his height.