By now I’m sure you’ve seen numerous reports of college prospects visiting the Eagles or having private workouts for them. Each team is allowed to bring in a maximum of 30 players for a private visit but there is no limit on private workouts, pro day attendances, or any other type of scouting. The Eagles are annually one of the most active teams during the pre-draft period. However, just because the Eagles are bringing in or working out certain players doesn’t mean that they will actually draft them. The Eagles typically bring in players that they have certain questions about and want to have a closer look to help them decide where that player will rank on their draft board. Some players are also brought in as a “smokescreen” to put the thought in other teams’ minds that they may draft that player (yes, this is an actual strategy some teams employ). So, what kind of information can we garner from all of these visits?
Don’t concentrate on the players as much as the positions they’re looking at. It is true that the Eagles usually do end up drafting a player or 2 that they did have a private meeting with, such as last year when they drafted Daniel Te’O-Nesheim, Charles Scott, and Jamar Chaney. But the better way to gauge the Eagles’ interest is to see what positions they seem to be focusing on. During the pre-draft period last year, the position the Eagles were linked with most (in varying ways, not just visits), was DL and followed by LB. They ended up using 6 of their 13 picks in those 2 areas, including 2 of their first 3 picks on the defensive line.
So far this year, LB is the position that the Eagles have been sniffing around the most. To date, they have been linked in varying ways to 18 total linebackers. The next position getting the most attention is CB as the Eagles have been linked to 15 so far by my count (you can see a list of players for both positions below). Just to be clear, when I say “linked to” what I’m talking about is that the Eagles were known to have had them in for a private visit, held a private workout, interviewed them at the combine, attended their pro day, or met with them at the Senior Bowl or Shrine Game. There are many other pro days for college teams that the Eagles attended but I tried to pick out the ones where the most likely candidate(s) they were there for was a linebacker or cornerback.
Last year our draft was dominated by defensive players (9 out of 13). Could this year be more of the same? I’m betting that it will be since the defense is still our weaker unit. We need OL help but after that, all of our needs are on the defensive side of the ball. And going by the pattern described here, I fully expect the Eagles to be looking at linebackers and cornerbacks with their early picks. Plus, our new DC Juan Castillo is a former linebacker so it’s possible he has Reid’s ear about getting him more LB’s.
So there you have it…add a pinch of safety, a dash of DL, and layer it with OL and we’ll have the perfect Betty Crocker draft day cake. Hopefully it will taste as good as it will supposedly look.
*List of linebackers and cornerbacks the Eagles have been linked to:
Demarcus Van Dyke
Isa Abdul El Quddus
One of my resources for player visits and workouts is this nice list from Sheil Kapadia. Other resources were compiled just by randomingly finding little tidbits on various websites and in various articles about college players and teams…there was not a “1 stop shop” source.