This week over 300 draft prospects will be evaluated by all 32 teams across the NFL. The draft prospects will go through various testing, drills, and interviews. The Philadelphia Eagles will have 10 picks in April’s draft and this combine presents a chance to get an up-close look at various players they may have interest in. In this article I am going to provide the top 5 players I’ll be watching this for this team.
5) Troy Pride Jr. – CB (Notre Dame)
Troy Pride Jr. is a speedy corner who excelled in coverage during his senior season at Notre Dame allowing just 32 receptions and 327 yards for the entire season. Pride Jr had an impressive showing at last month’s Senior Bowl, which helped him gain national attention. Pride Jr has elite speed and the ability to stay with fast receivers, which is something the Eagles have lacked at the cornerback position for years. Some of his weaknesses include his physicality as a tackler and his play strength. Pride Jr. would fit the Eagles defense like a glove. He provides great coverage down field and is sticky in coverage. Pride Jr. would excel with the Eagles, he fits what they want to do on defense, is a competitor and most importantly, he plays fast.
4) Antonio Gandy-Golden-WR (Liberty)
This man is an absolute physical specimen. At 6’4 223 pounds, Antonio Gandy-Golden has shot onto the national scene due to his play at the Senior Bowl. Gandy-Golden played at a lesser known Division 1 school, Liberty University where he put up 79 Receptions, 1396 Receiving Yards, 10 Receiving TDs during his senior year. Gandy-Golden’s calling card as a receiver is his ability to pull in contested catches and his in-game speed is greater than many expect when looking at his size. His size and ability to box out corners in 50-50 ball situations is noteworthy. I’ll be interested to see how he runs in the 40 yard dash and his time in the cone shuttle drill. (Disclaimer: not saying AGG is the next Mike Evans but there are similarities is measurements) Something I noticed in researching AGG; he measurements are distinctly similar to 3-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans. AGG and Evans’ heights are an inch apart, with Evans at 6’5, the two have the exact same hand size at 9 5/8″, and their weights are around the same with Evans weighing about 8 more pounds. If the Eagles have soured on last year’s second round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside, this another big bodied, hyphenated last name wide receiver they could look to draft in the later rounds.
3) Jordyn Brooks-LB (Texas Tech)
The 6’1 senior out of Texas Tech is a high motor style defender who is very instinctual and quick linebacker. Aligning at the MIKE linebacker spot for Texas Tech, Brooks amassed 108 tackles, 20 for loss (which ranked top 10 nationally) and 3 sacks. One thing that was clear when watching Brooks was his speed/instincts and motor. This guy plays like a missile when shooting gaps and wrapping up and making tackles. One of the downsides/inconsistencies in his game comes when he’s put into a role where he has to cover. This is where a good coach can help develop him. Looking at the Eagles linebacker spot, after recently cutting Nigel Bradham, the only serviceable starter that remains in the room is Nate Gerry. Brooks’ high motor could help this team a lot as a pass rusher. Brooks is player I’ll be watching closely in the linebacker specific drills.
2)Antoine Winfield Jr. – S (Minnesota)
The son of former 3 time Pro Bowler, Antoine Winfield Sr, the Jr has made a name for himself at the University of Minnesota for being a playmaker. Whether he was blocking kicks, forcing fumbles or intercepting passes, Winfield Jr always manages to stand out. Racking up a team leading 88 tackles and 7 interceptions, Winfield Jr has established himself as someone worthy of being taken in the early rounds of the NFL draft. Winfield Jr’s biggest skill is his ball hawking ability. He’s a very tough and versatile player who can help in run support or cover tight ends. Winfield Jr is a very intelligent player with an NFL lineage that, no doubt will help him excel at the next level. With the Eagles, the safety position is in a state of flux. Rodney McLeod is set to be a free agent and defensive leader Malcolm Jenkins has already banged the table for a new contract. Winfield Jr would be able to step in and I think, start from day one. Defensive coordinator, Jim Schwartz would love Winfield Jr’s toughness and the absolute dog like mentality he plays the game with.
1)Brandon Aiyuk-WR (Arizona State)
Brandon Aiyuk is a big play threat when he touches the ball. He has the second gear the Eagles organization desperately lacked in 2019. The 6’1 205 pound wide receiver lead Arizona State in receiving in 2019 with 65 catches for 1192 yards (18.3 per) and 8 touchdowns. This guy has the it factor from watching his play. He’s a serious threat to score when he has the ball in his hands. With an 81″ wingspan, Aiyuk’s long arms create a great catch radius for a receiver of his size. Aiyuk also brings versatility to the table. He can play outside or in the slot and he can even contribute in special teams, where as a returner last season he returned 14 punts for 226 yards and a touchdown. The main negatives I noticed when watching his play was his route running can be cleaned up a bit and I think he will need to add a little bit more muscle/physicality at the next level to be able to deal with the press coverage he will face at the next level. Aiyuk can bring some electricity and versatility to an offense that lacked it at the wide receiver position in 2019.
Other Prospects I’ll keep an eye on this week: Lamar Jackson (CB-Nebraska), Jordan Elliot (DT-Missouri), Leki Fotu (DT- Utah), Grant Delpit (S- LSU), Damon Arnette (CB-Ohio State) and Jeff -Thomas (WR-Miami)
-Sidenote: I would’ve included guys like Henry Ruggs or CeeDee Lamb but those are the expected guys who nine times out of ten will probably be gone when the Eagles are on the clock at 21.
Follow me on Twitter!