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Eagles reportedly set to host top center prospect on pre-draft visit

Planning for the future?

NCAA Football: North Texas at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa center James Daniels is one of 30 2018 NFL Draft prospects who will meet with the Eagles in Philadelphia for an official pre-draft visit, according to Rob Howe of Hawkeye Nation (hat tip to @JoshNorris).

This visit is interesting since Daniels is often ranked as one of the top center prospects in this year’s class.

The Eagles obviously don’t have an immediate need at center with Jason Kelce coming off an All-Pro season, but the epic speech-giving Mummer-dressed bearded wonder does turn 31 years old this season. He current contract runs through 2020 and contains no guaranteed money beyond the 2018 season.

Philadelphia certainly could afford to improve their depth at center. There’s no “pure center’ backup to Kelce. The current Kelce replacement, if the Eagles played a game today, would be either starting left guard Stefen Wisniewski or the guy who Wis replaced, Isaac Seumalo.

Daniels does offer the versatility to play guard. He played at both left and right guard spots while starting for the Hawkeyes.

Though it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Eagles continue to invest in the trenches, considering it helped win them a Super Bowl title, seeing them take an interior offensive line prospect early in the draft would certainly not be ... expected. And that’s not a slight on Daniels as much as it is a question of the positional value.

Speaking of the prospect himself, Daniels has a track record of starting experience to go with a good combination of athleticism and long arms. Oh, and he’s one of the youngest prospects in this year’s draft at only 20 years old, so it’s not like his potential is maxed out.

Scouting report via NFL.com:

Draft Projection: Rounds 1-2

Sources Tell Us: “The Iowa guys are always going to be quick and proficient, but you have to see them tested against power because they are usually going to be a little smaller, too. This guy has decent size and I think he’s got pretty good functional power. He would come in and challenge for best center in our division right away.” -- NFC team college scouting director

NFL Comparison: Chris Chester

Bottom Line: Daniels is a fluid mover with tremendous initial quickness to win positioning on most every zone block he’s asked to make -- both on the first and second levels. His height, weight and arm length numbers at the Combine will be critical in either solidifying his draft slot or potentially dropping him a round. Some teams might see him as a zone-only center, but he may be strong enough to fit in with other blocking schemes. He needs to get stronger, but he’s a plus run blocker and pass protector with a chance to become a Pro Bowl starter.

Spider graph via Mockdraftable:

Here’s a look at some of his game film.

Complete list of known Philadelphia Eagles draft visits

Iowa C James Daniels

Miami TE Chris Herndon - [Click here]

South Carolina State LB Darius Leonard - [Click here]

San Diego State RB Rashaad Penny - [Click here]

Western Michigan OT Chukwuma Okorafor - [Click here]

Northern Iowa WR Daurice Fountain - [Click here]

Boise State LB Leighton Vander Esch - [Click here]

Stanford S Justin Reid - [Click here]

LSU RB Derrius Guice - [Click here]

LSU CB Donte Jackson - [Click here]