Philadelphia Eagles: 10 Intriguing Offensive Prospects from the Scouting Combine
With the 2012 Scouting Combine packed up and in storage until 2013, it's time to take a look at what has unfolded.
The Philadelphia Eagles don't exactly have much in the way of holes in their offense, but they could always use some key additions. After watching all of the drills, there were a few offensive players who made a mark.
To be clear, this is not a "Top-10 Players the Eagles Should Get" or the "Top-10 Combine Performances." This is simply a list of 10 offensive players who had a surprisingly good showing.
Every one of these players has a possibility of being on the Eagles' radar. They are probably not all that likely to draft any of them, but regardless, here are 10 offensive prospects that became more intriguing after this past weekend.
They are listed in the order in which they performed at the combine.
1. Donald Stephenson: OL, Oklahoma
As far as offensive linemen go, the Eagles don't really have an urgent need at this point.
Their starters are set, and contrary to popular belief, they don't really draft linemen in the higher rounds. In the past 13 drafts, the Eagles have picked just five offensive linemen in the first three rounds.
So that means Donald Stephenson would likely come off the board in the sixth round at the earliest—right in their offensive line wheelhouse.
Stephenson is not looked at as a high prospect, but he was the fastest offensive lineman at the combine. He didn't show great strength, but his athleticism and explosiveness were off the charts. He finished with the top vertical and broad jump.
In the Eagles' system, they value mobility, and Stephenson showed that in every drill. He has also been projected as a guard, so he could add some depth across the line.
2. Ladarius Green: TE, Louisiana-Lafayette
The Eagles have a very good tight end in Brent Celek and a young, athletic player they like in Clay Harbor. But with tight ends all the rage and the Eagles using two tight end sets more, it makes sense to add some depth.
That depth would preferably be an athletic, receiving tight end who can cause matchup problems.
Ladarius Green certainly looked like he could fill that role. He came in at 6'6" and 238 pounds, very similar dimensions to Cornelius Ingram. The Eagles took a shot on Ingram in the fifth round despite his injury history.
Green isn't a red flag and he ran a 4.53 in the 40 and showed a lot of quickness and fluidity in the passing drills.
He is currently viewed as a possible third-rounder, which makes him a possible steal if he translates to the NFL. Against lower-level competition the last two seasons, Green caught 95 passes for 1,400 yards and 15 touchdowns.
3. James Hanna: TE, Oklahoma
Maybe no other tight end opened eyes more than James Hanna on Saturday.
A very lightly regarded prospect, he lit up the combine with his athletic ability.
Hanna measured a little bigger than expected at 6'4" and 252 pounds. He then ran a blazing 4.49 in the 40 and proceeded to rank in the top four in every other measurable drill.
He appeared comfortable in the route-running and catching drills and looks like he could develop into an interesting weapon.
He didn't have the most production in college, but over his final two seasons in Norman, he had 45 receptions for 673 yards, and averaged 15.0 yards per catch. He also caught nine touchdown passes.
4. Evan Rodriguez: TE/FB, Temple
If anyone in the tight end group gave Hanna a run, it was Evan Rodriguez.
He weighed in a little lighter than listed at 239 pounds. Standing 6'1" tall, he is small for a tight end, but Rodriguez is not limited to that role. He has also been projected as a fullback and an H-Back.
Rodriguez ran the third-fastest time in the 40 at 4.58. He showed more speed and explosion than scouts projected. That, along with his versatility, makes him a very interesting prospect.
He had good production in three years at Temple, catching 69 passes for 871 yards and seven touchdowns. He has a style that could play out similar to Aaron Hernandez.
5. Stephen Hill: WR, Georgia Tech
If the Eagles bring back DeSean Jackson, they are not likely to take a receiver anywhere in the first four rounds. If he leaves, though, Stephen Hill made probably the biggest mark on the Combine this year.
Hill is not the type of receiver the Eagles usually go for, but he definitely fits the mold of next-generation types like Andre and Calvin Johnson. To be fair, he is not of their pedigree, but he looks like a big play waiting to happen.
Hill measured 6'4" and 215 pounds. He burned through the 40 in 4.36 seconds. If his height wasn't enough, he had a ridiculous 39.5" vertical. He looks like he could be a serious deep threat.
In his college career he caught just 49 passes but he amassed 1,248 yards. That means he averaged an amazing 25.5 yards per catch. He also scored 10 touchdowns.
Some people have panned him for his lack of production, but DeSean Jackson is solely a deep threat and Hill would do the same job with an extra six inches and 45 pounds.
6. Devon Wylie: WR, Fresno State
Devon Wylie is not ever going to be a No. 1 wideout, but he could definitely find a home in Philadelphia.
Wylie is similar in size to DeSean, at 5'9" and 187 pounds, but he definitely is carrying more bulk and muscle. He ran the 40 in 4.39, significantly faster than expected.
He was a productive receiver in college, with 98 receptions for 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns. He wouldn't be any more than a role player in the Eagles' offense, but special teams is where he could shine.
Wylie is a dynamic punt returner who has taken 41 punts for 553 yards in his career—a 13.5 average. He returned two punts for touchdowns last season.
He also has some kickoff return experience as well, but wasn't as successful in that category.
7. Cyrus Gray: RB, Texas A&M
The Eagles are a rare team because they have an every down running back. LeSean McCoy was an All-Pro in 2011 and there is no reason to think he won't have continued success.
What they do need is a legitimate backup who can spell him at times and adequately fill in if he goes down with an injury. Cyrus Gray fits the bill.
Gray stands at 5'10" and a sturdy 206 pounds. He ran a very good 4.47 in the 40. He also showed good strength and lateral quickness in the running drills.
What really stood out was how comfortable he looked in the receiving drills. He showed nice burst out of his breaks and made clean catches with his hands.
Gray was incredibly productive and durable in college, with 557 rushes for 2,935 yards for a 5.3 average and 29 touchdowns. He also had 93 receptions, 716 yards and six more touchdowns.
He has a ton of kickoff return experience, having returned 99 kicks for a 23.7 average, taking two back for touchdowns. He would be an immediate upgrade over Dion Lewis.
8. Isaiah Pead: RB, Cincinnati
Another running back who performed really well was Cincinnati Bearcat Isaiah Pead.
Pead is a little smaller, at 5'10" and 197 pounds, but he ran well with a 4.47 in the 40. He looked smooth and explosive in the running drills.
He also looked right at home running some of the deeper routes and catching the ball with his hands down the field.
Pead is another highly productive all-purpose college runner. He carried the ball 517 times for 3,139 yards, a 6.1 average and 26 touchdowns. He caught 84 passes for 706 yards and six touchdowns.
He had limited experience returning punts, with six returns for 75 yards. In the Senior Bowl, he returned two punts for 98 yards, helping him win the MVP of the game. He also had 40 yards from scrimmage.
Pead has a ton of experience and had the type of Senior Bowl week the Eagles have always loved.
9. Bernard Pierce: RB, Temple
Bernard Pierce was a dominant player in the MAC, but his level of speed and athleticism was seriously questioned.
A bigger back at 6'0" and 218 pounds, he surprised a lot of people when he posted a 4.49 in the 40. He also showed some good explosiveness, balance and change of direction.
He didn't look completely natural catching the football, but it was better than expected for a guy who caught just 19 passes in his career.
Pierce had some injury issues throughout his career but he was insanely productive. In three years he logged 638 carries for 3,470 yards and 51 touchdowns in 33 games.
Pierce would be a nice change of pace to McCoy and with his history of touchdowns, he could be an asset around the goal line.
10. Kirk Cousins: QB, Michigan State
Everyone in Eagles-land seems to be all worked up over Robert Griffin, and with good reason. He is a dynamic athlete with an engaging personality and he could be the face of a franchise for the next decade.
As exciting as it would be, it really is almost impossible for the Eagles to move up high enough to draft RGIII.
In other quarterback news, Kirk Cousins actually threw impressively at the combine. He consistently hit receivers in stride and put the ball where the coaches wanted it.
He was mediocre athletically, but nobody expected him to be dynamic there.
Cousins had a good college career, albeit one which saw him throw more interceptions than teams prefer. He was productive, however, completing 64.6 percent of his passes, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt and 65 touchdown passes in 44 starts.
He isn't an elite athlete with mind-blowing arm strength, but he can make all the throws and be a leader on a winning team. Cousins has a chance to be a good pro, although it's doubtful many people would be excited about that pick.
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