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The Draft Bag: Early Combine Takes; Ed Oliver Falling; Chase Winovich is Good

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IT’S THE FIRST DRAFT BAG OF THE YEAR!

Michigan v Rutgers Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images

In The News Cycle

Howie Roseman + Doug Pederson Pressers

I really enjoyed being in a Eagles presser this year in which the first 30 questions weren’t about Carson Wentz and his rehabilitation from his knee injury. Dougie was a much nicer guy.

Most of it was characteristic coach/GM speak, though I thought their praise for Nelson Agholor was very interesting given the rumor that he might be on the trade block, and I liked Doug’s insistence that the RB position is one they’ll just solve as it comes to them naturally.

The only truly interesting thing to me was the parallel that Doug drew between Pason Peters’ situation and Darren Sproles’. On paper, they both do seem similar: aging prospects, respected veterans, high-character guys of whom you never want to let go. And of course, both have a decent chance to retire in this offseason.

But the one key difference should really be highlighted: Darren Sproles is a free agent. Jason Peters is owed $10.6M.

Retirement feels a little different when you’re giving 8 figures back.

It’s clear the Eagles hold Peters in high esteem and still think he can be an effective player, but I’m not sold that they want to pay him $10.6M dollars — I know I’d sure love to see that number drop for a guy who’s gonna play 80% of the snaps, and potentially at a lower level than he has before.

The Eagles aren’t gonna cut him, and Peters has very little incentive to take a pay cut in what is likely his final season as a pro. I’m not sure if anything will really move on this front, but it’s worth monitoring.

Notable Measurables

Couldn’t care less about Kyler Murray’s weight. He hit thresholds and he’s gonna slim right back down.

Arm length and height are good news for him though, no matter how much these numbers should actually matter. Yippie-kai-yay.

Of the measurements we’re seeing thus far, OT, RB, and WR will be of the most interest to the Eagles. Some notable results, by position:

RB

Myles Gaskin, Washington: A four-year 1,000 yard rusher, Gaskin has been under-appreciated this cycle because teams think he’s undersized — my man came in at 205 pounds. Huge win to clear 200, especially if he comes in under 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. he ran a 4.44 hand-timed last year.

Darrell Henderson, Memphis: Similar situation. Henderson, despite being under 5’9, came in at 208 — that’s great density. He and Gaskin now will be two of the fastest runners (along with Trayveon Williams, at 206). His agilities will be great, too.

Travis Homer, MIami: If you had asked me, off of film, what Homer weighed, I would guessed...215 pounds. He is 201. And he is not fast.

WR

D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss: HE IS 6’3 AND 228 POUNDS WITH 35” ARMS AND GONNA RUN A 4.4 HE’S AN ANIMAL

Hollywood Brown, Oklahoma: His 166 pounds is a little less damning because he has been dealing with injury and not able to do heavily load work to mass up...he’s still uncomfortably small even for his speed. You’re banking on an outlier here.

OT

Jawaan Taylor, Florida: Big winner and almost undoubtedly off the board before Philly, but 35” arms at 312 pounds is ideal for him.

Jonah Williams, Alabama: 33 5/8” arms is a huge W, especially for the rumored size he was gonna bring to Indy. That won’t deter teams from drafting him, if they rely on AL measurables to determine their tackle targets.

Dru Samia, Oklahoma: He’s not technically an offensive tackle, but he’s huge and I love him. 33” arms, over 300 pounds, 6-foot-5. He’s a future starter and a Day 2 pick, book it.

Seven Round Mock Draft

Let’s fire up the ol’ Mock Draft Machine at The Draft Network and see what we can do for this team.

I like to keep mock drafts fresh — I get yelled at for that a lot — so I should emphasize that I don’t think the Eagles are going to perfectly divide the draft by their offensive and defensive needs.

But this is how the board fell, and I liked what I got. I took Nasir Adderley over Christian Wilkins at 25, which I’m not sure the Eagles would do were they given the chance, but I think it’s the right move — Adderley is an impact player in Big Nickel packages in Year 1, and an easy plug-and-play replacement for Rodney McLeod’s vacated FS spot in Year 2. Harder to find those in later rounds than it is to find DT rush talent, especially with how much Schwartz rotates his guys.

Devin Bush fell to me at 53, and I was holding my breath as it happened. Instinctive, wicked quick, and with great body control, Bush is the ideal space backer to play off of Nigel Bradham’s size. Stayed in that Michigan defense when I picked Chase Winovich four picks later: great rotational rusher who is technically sound against the run and has good to great hand usage off the outside rush track. He, Josh Sweat, and Derek Barnett are a great future three.

Khalen Saunders will likely leave the board earlier than this, to the one team that’s willing to take a huge gamble on his upside. This is where I like his athletic ability and versatility across the front four. Bobby Evans gets slept on, because he’s probably the lowest ranked of the four studs on the Oklahoma offensive line, but he’s got the requisite quickness and length to develop into a staring-caliber tackle — that’s what the Eagles need, in the last year of Jason Peters’ career.

Love the value on Myles Gaskin, in a class so thick with middle round talent that there will be contributors available in Round 5 — that’s almost always the case with running backs. Shifty with good receiving ability fits their needs, and they’ll love his field vision. Late, I grabbed the two highest-upside WRs I could find on the board: Jalen Hurd and Lil’Jordan Humphrey are both fun athletes with big slot potential.

Scouting Report

Let’s give out some full notes on Myles Gaskin, that wonderful scatback from the University of Washington.

I hesitate to use the phrase scatback for a guy who ran for 1,000 yards in four straight seasons! at the college level — that’s a rare feat — but that’s likely his role at the next level. Gaskin is a bit undersized, though weighing in at 205 was a big win (as I said above In The News Cycle) for him. HIs field vision and explosiveness lend his skill set to play in space, and he has some major receiving chops.

So he doesn’t really have to be a change-of-pace guy — he can certainly carry a full workload — but under traditional constructs of running backs, he’s a “third-down” type.

Teams who favor zone runs will love Gaskin, as he has that butterfly ability to flit in and out of gaps at will, manipulating second-level defenders with an unteachable instinct. Gaskin looked more explosive in 2018 tape as compared to his 2017 film work I did over the summer, and it helped him rip off bigger runs.

Gaskin currently projects as an early Day 3 pick off of my grading scale, but with a strong showing Indy thus far, he is grading out favorable on the athletic scale I use for my grades — it could push him into a Round 3 valuation.

Gaskin won’t break the tier of running backs who demand the lion’s share of touches because of their home run ability (Josh Jacobs, Elijah Holyfield, Darrell Henderson) but he belongs firmly in the next group, who can be eddie-steady options in a 1A-1B backfield. He projects nicely as a foil to Corey Clement, a bigger body, in the Eagle backfield.

He’s one of the most slept-on runners in the class right now. It’s in your hands to change that.

Mail Bag

Drafting is a numbers game. That’s the most important thing to remember, every single time.

Oliver, who I believe will be very successful at the NFL level, is objectively an outlier if he’s successful. Defensive tackles typically don’t play at his size, and thereby typically aren’t successful at the NFL level.

And because the draft is a numbers game, you don’t want to take gambles on outliers — you don’t want to be betting against the trends of the league. If you can do it, and do it successfully, that’s where you get great value picks that define elite draft classes. But generally, you have to draft in line.

That’s why Oliver will fall. He’s a risk, and with a limited number of picks, drafting risky can have huge, career-ending ramifications.

To the second question: watch Evan Worthington out of Colorado and Jah’Shawn Johnson from Texas Tech.

Byron Cowart from Maryland. Shareef Miller from Penn State is also interesting.

Love this question, and love Winovich. Top-10 EDGE and a worthy pick in Round 2 at either 53 or 57 — anywhere after is a big steal.

Winovich gets typecast into an absolute nonsense take: that’s he’s a stiff, high-motor white dude who won because he just wanted it that badly at the college level. No way a guy like Winovich could really translate to the NFL level.

Hogwash.

He is high motor, and he is a little stiff — and with his passion and his hair, yes, he just seems like a try hard. But put on the film, team! He can rush with tilt and knows how to time his dip to sneak under a punch and force the tackle into recovery situations. He has excellent hand usage to soften the inside and outside rush track and will work secondary counters when he gets pushed beyond the peak of the pocket.

While he’s not super explosive, he is smart enough to use that outside alignment well. I love his fit with the Eagles.

No.