The Philadelphia Eagles are in a different position than they have ever really been in under Andy Reid. The team is coming off a failure of a season, but interestingly they don’t exactly have many needs to fill and possess a wealth of talent.
Even more interesting, that talent is spread around on both sides of the ball.
The Eagles have a good offensive line, Pro Bowl caliber players at every skill position as well as across the defensive line and in the defensive backfield.
The biggest trouble areas come at the safety position, where the Eagles have spent consecutive second-round picks, at outside linebacker, in the return game and many would argue that a big “red zone target” is needed.
With the current roster makeup, the Eagles aren’t a team in desperate need of training camp bodies, but they can use depth across the board.
Here are five players that are, at the very least, intriguing prospects to add to the current mix.
Janzen Jackson, Safety, McNesse State
With middle linebacker being addressed last month, many Eagles fans crave help at safety. It’s hard to imagine them spending an early round pick on the safety position for a third straight draft.
That’s where Janzen Jackson comes in. He’s fallen off the map after a series of off-field issues caused him to leave Tennessee for McNeese State last year.
Despite his checkered past, Jackson is a player with huge upside. He was highly recruited out of high school and remains an elite-level athlete.
In three seasons at the collegiate level, Jackson totaled eight interceptions, 12 pass breakups and six tackles for loss.
He doesn’t have an ideal build at just 188 pounds, but Jackson can run and most of all he can really hit. Jackson is known for engaging in violent collisions on the field, something this defense can use more of.
Christian Thompson, Safety, South Carolina State
Another possible pick at safety in the later rounds is Christian Thompson.
He comes from a small school and he is a bit of an unknown. What is known about him is all good.
Thompson is a great athlete for the position with 4.50 speed in the 40 along with a nice build at 6’0″ and 211 pounds.
He has the speed and quickness to cover receivers man-to-man and he is another player with a violent element to his game.
His physical play earned him the nickname C.T. Scan from his college teammates, because that’s what opponents would need after one of his big hits.
Tommy Streeter, Wide Receiver, Miami
Tommy Streeter is a player who could go significantly higher than his fifth-round grade. His measurables are off the charts as he stands at 6’5″ and 219 pounds while running a superb 4.40 in the 40.
The only player at the combine who looked better athletically was Stephen Hill. There are holes to Streeter’s game, but what the Eagles need from a big receiver is exactly what he can bring.
As far as being a threat in the red zone, Streeter fits the bill. With his size, length and leaping ability Streeter is dangerous on fade routes by going up over defenders and coming down with the football.
As a bonus, his straight line speed will allow him to be a factor in the downfield attack as well. Streeter may not be available in the later rounds, but if he is he can satisfy fans’ hunger for a big target for Michael Vick.
T.Y. Hilton, Wide Receiver, Florida International
T.Y. Hilton is only 5’10” and 183 pounds. He isn’t big and isn’t a threat near the goal line. However, he is a threat from everywhere else on the field.
Hilton is small but he can fly, as evidenced by his 4.37 time in the 40. He is also a jack of all trades as he has scored touchdowns on receptions, rushes, kickoff returns and punt returns. He has also thrown a touchdown pass.
With smaller receivers like DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, he may seem redundant, but he can provide a lift in several areas.
First of all, if you view him as only a slot receiver he brings a ton more explosiveness than Jason Avant ever has. He is also an ace returner, having averaged 27.2 yards on kickoffs, 12.5 yards on punts and scoring six combined touchdowns on returns.
He also scored 31 career touchdowns rushing and receiving. Hilton may not be the big target that most fans crave, but he brings a lot to the table and can help replace DeSean Jackson’s explosiveness whenever he isn’t available.
Evan Rodriguez, Tight End/Fullback, Temple
Evan Rodriguez is a player that, personally, I would love to see the Eagles end up with.
For one thing, the Eagles seemed to do pretty well by picking a local back in Brian Westbrook and secondly, Rodriguez has the chance to bring a lot of the same elements to the offense that Leonard Weaver did.
Like Weaver, Rodriguez played tight end in college. He can catch the ball, run with it and block. He is also similarly built at 6’2″ and 240 pounds. He even ran a really impressive 4.58 in the 40 at the combine in February.
In his career, without the benefit of a good quarterback, Rodriguez piled up 70 receptions for 882 yards and seven touchdowns.
He can line up at tight end and fullback and with his array of skills, he can be a fun piece for Andy Reid to play with in the offense.