Before you read any further, just to clear things up, this isn’t a debate about top-level guys. There is a wealth of those types of articles all over the place.
The main observation here is on players who likely won’t be picked any earlier than the middle of round two at the earliest. Watching three days worth of Senior Bowl practices on NFL Network, these are five players who may be playing their way onto the Eagles‘ radar during their favorite area of the draft.
Again, this is not a prediction or a mock draft. This is a list of five guys who have popped off the screen and looked like unheralded players that could really help the Eagles.
Also, there was an attempt not to duplicate positions. It easily could have been a list of five linebackers, but really, the Eagles aren’t going to draft a stable of players at that position, and every football team can use reinforcements.
5. Marvin Jones: Wide Receiver, California
Marvin Jones is not one of the more hyped players at this event, but he has outplayed a lot of other wide receivers. He measured in at 6’1-7/8″ and 198 pounds.In drills, Jones has consistently gained separation, and seems to have a knack for making big plays. He’s shown great hands with his ability to catch the ball outside his frame. He also shows the ability to run down the deep ball.
Jones isn’t a burner like DeSean Jackson, but he has the size and physicality to compete with defensive backs for the ball, which is a skill that would greatly benefit Michael Vick, or anyone under center.
In his three years as a starter, Jones has caught 148 passes for 2,178 yards and 13 touchdowns.
4. Brandon Boykin: Cornerback, Georgia
Brandon Boykin’s stock slipped a bit when he measured in shorter than 5’10” and 183 pounds, but he has more than made up for it with his play on the field.Boykin has shown an unrivaled level of toughness and competitiveness at the cornerback position. Going up against a group of very big receivers, he has really been impressive. North Carolina‘s Dwight Jones was measured at over 6’3″ and 226 pounds, and Boykin took him out of his game.
Despite his lack of size, he has a very muscular build and he has played a hard-nosed style through his whole college career.
Boykin was a captain and an emotional leader for Georgia, intangibles that are needed on the Eagles’ defense. He would fit in nicely in the slot alongside Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Aside from his defensive play, he also offers a lot of return experience, returning four kicks for touchdowns in Athens.
3. Demario Davis: Outside Linebacker, Arkansas State
Demario Davis was a late addition to the Senior Bowl rosterand wasn’t in Mobile to be measured and weighed. He is listed at 6’3″ and 230 pounds. He hasn’t garnered much attention but he has shown some versatility and potential.Despite his small frame, he was very impressive in pass rush drills, showing an ability to both push blockers back and beat them around the edge.
In passing drills he showcased his speed and quickness, breaking up plays and showing a knack for sticking tight ends, an ability Eagles fans covet in a linebacker.
Davis had a very productive four-year career. He amassed 231 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, six forced fumbles and four interceptions. He even scored two defensive touchdowns, one a 75-yarder and the other a 53-yarder.
2. Mike Martin: Defensive Tackle, Michigan
Mike Martin may not be the most impressive looking specimen, being just over 6’1″ and weighing in at 307 pounds. He is, however, all muscle, and is built like a wrecking ball. The Eagles have not shown that height is something they value.Martin is very powerful, consistently driving offensive linemen backwards. He also showed surprising side-to-side quickness to go along with his high energy and high effort style.
Despite his shorter stature, he actually has long arms which allow him to be more effective against bigger interior linemen.
Martin recorded 25 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his career at Michigan. He also won Michigan’s defensive lineman award over Brandon Graham when Graham was a senior.
He will not be a dynamic pass rusher, but he could be a nice fit inside next to Cullen Jenkins, taking some pressure off Jenkins and allowing him more freedom to get after the quarterback.
1. Chris Rainey: Running Back/Wide Receiver, Florida
Chris Rainey is in the midst of a conversion to receiver because of his complete lack of bulk. That hasn’t stopped him from outshining the rest of the receiver class so far this week.Rainey can fly, and he has put that speed on display over and over again. He has run by cornerbacks like they were standing still on his deep routes, and showed some physicality, fighting through corners to stay on his routes. He isn’t the most polished, but as a running back, he looks pretty advanced.
Maybe more than his pure speed, Rainey has shown an innate ability to immediately get upfield and make yards after the catch. He has also shown a surprising ability to run through contact.
Rainey may be projecting as a wide receiver, but he could be a really nice addition to the backfield with LeSean McCoy. McCoy has good hands, and is effective in the screen game, but he hasn’t been a game-breaker in the passing game.
Rainey can add a new dimension in that area, running downfield routes and being a nightmare in the slot and out wide the way Brian Westbrook used to.
Who knows if Howie Roseman or Andy Reid plan on taking a shot on any of these players, but all of them have been incredibly impressive, and could contribute in some capacity immediately for the Eagles.