Pre-Draft Visit Rules
In the weeks leading up to the draft, each NFL team is allowed 30 official pre-draft visits with draft-eligible players. They met with several players at the combine, but here is an update on the players the Eagles have hosted for official pre-draft visits.
There are a few different reasons that teams will host players for pre-draft visits. Sometimes it’s because they really like a player and want to get to know them deeper to determine if they’re worth a first-round draft pick or if they might last a little bit longer. On the opposite side, sometimes it’s to answer questions that teams might have about their personality or character i.e. Derrius Guice.
However, for a team like the Eagles who put such a strong emphasis on culture in the locker room, it could just be getting to know the players they’re interested in on a deeper level to ensure there would be a fit culturally.
Really, there’s no way to know the reasoning behind these meetings. However, here is a recap of the folks the Eagles have met with for pre-draft visits so far.
Eagles plan going into the draft
The Eagles have had an extremely active offseason. There were several spots that needed addressing like defensive line depth, offensive line depth, running back, and linebacker. For the most part, the Eagles have shored up all of the biggest question marks.
At the NFL meetings, Howie Roseman mentioned that the trenches would be the Eagles main focus in this year’s draft, meaning that the offensive line and defensive line would be getting some attention. There are several interesting prospects on both sides in this year’s draft. In fact, there are rumors that the Eagles could potentially trade up in the draft if they see their choices dwindling on offensive or defensive linemen.
Pre-draft visits with running backs
The Eagles have hosted the following running backs on pre-draft visits:
- Josh Jacobs, Alabama
- Karan Higdon, Michigan
- Miles Sanders, Penn State
- Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
- Ryquell Armstead, Temple
The Eagles and Josh Jacobs have been linked very tightly since the combine. Apparently, the Eagles love Jacobs and what he brings to the table. They are extremely keen on his skill set, especially for a team that believes in running back by committee. Adding his catching, running, and blocking skill set (combined with fresh legs as he was never the lead back at Alabama) to the skills of Jordan Howard and Corey Clement? Now that’s a dynamic three-headed monster that gives a defense some challenges. However, the Eagles have a history of missing on running back draft selections.
Wide receivers seen by the Birds
The Eagles have brought in the following wide receivers in for visits:
- N’Keal Harry, Arizona State
- A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
- Parris Campbell, Ohio State
- Jalen Hurd, Baylor
- Mecole Hardman, Georgia
- Diontae Johnson, Toledo (tomorrow)
- Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma
- Chris Lindstrom, OL, Boston College
- Hjalte Froholdt, C/G, Arkansas
- Tytus Howard, OT, Alabama State
- Brandon Hitner, OT, Villanova
- Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida
It has been rumored that Eagles offensive line coach, Jeff Stoutland is a big fan of Alabama State offensive tackle,
Defensive Linemen the Eagles have hosted on pre-draft visits
- Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State
- Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
- L.J. Collier, DE, TCU
- Oshane Ximines, DE, Old Dominion
- Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
- Trysten Hill, DT, Central Florida
- Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
- Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
- Rashan Gary, Dt, Michigan
- Dexter Lawrence DT, Clemson (tomorrow)
This is where it starts to get slightly interesting. In a perfect world, I think we’d all love to have Christian Wilkins rotating in next to Fletcher Cox, but I don’t think there is even a slight chance he falls to 25. However, of all these players, the majority of them (with the exception of Sweat, Oliver, and Wilkins) are projected to still be there when the Eagles pick rolls around.
L.J. Collier is a guy that is seemingly flying under the radar, however, his stock has been rising since the combine. In 2018, Collier had 6 sacks, 39 hurries, and 10 quarterback hits. Brandon Graham is here for the next few years, and we have a solid rookie edge rusher in Derek Barnett. However, might not be bad to add another rotational guy in there to learn for the next few years.
- Deandre Baker, Georgia
- Isaiah Johnson, Houston
- Amani Oruwariye, Penn State
Based on this very short list, it appears to be safe to say the Eagles are NOT looking to take a corner in the first round of the NFL draft. However, most of the mock drafts still have them taking one.
Safeties visiting Philly for pre-draft visits
- Juan Thornhill, Virginia
- Darnell Savage, Maryland
- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Florida
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is appealing because of his versatility, which we all know the Eagles prioritize and love a good versatile player. Furthermore, with the revolving door in the defensive backfield last year, a guy like Gardner-Johnson would have been extremely helpful. He played safety throughout his freshman and sophomore years at Florida, then primarily in a nickel role during his junior year where he recorded 3 sacks, 4 interceptions, and 2 pass deflections.
Draft time closing in
We’re only 9 days away from the draft. The players reported for their first offseason workouts. The NFL season will be here before we know it. However, the Eagles have their work cut out for them. There are free agents and newly traded players to get acclimated, and of course, there are the rookies that will join the team in a few short weeks.
Looking at the different players the Eagles brought in for pre-draft visits is interesting. They’ve clearly focused on both offensive and defensive lines, just as Howie Roseman said they would. There are some rumors swirling that the Eagles might trade up as well. However, who knows? Draft night is always an exciting one!
Featured Image: Fanspeak via Flickr, stats via Sports-Reference
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