Updated 2012 NFL Draft: Profiling Each Player Visiting the Philadelphia Eagles
Regardless of what mock drafts have to say or which “expert” sources you follow, the only players who are guaranteed to be on the Eagles’ radar are the ones who have visited with the team.
Here’s a look at the 16 players Philadelphia has met with and how they would fit into their system.
Janoris Jenkins, Northern Alabama CB
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Jenkins is one of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft. However, he comes with a litany of off-field issues that include two arrests for marijuana possession.
After spending his senior season at Northern Alabama, Jenkins seems to have matured quite a bit and has been extremely open when it comes to interviews about his troubled past.
While his small stature works against him in press coverage, Jenkins does have quick feet and loose hips that allow him to break toward the ball.
His ball skills place him at the top of the draft class and remind me a bit of Asante Samuel.
Time will ultimately tell if Jenkins has truly changed, but his talents alone should warrant a second-round selection.
Jeff Allen, Illinois OL
The 6’4”, 307-pound tackle played all four years during his stint at Illinois and finished his collegiate career with 46 consecutive starts.
Although he spent all of his time protecting the edges, Jeff Allen may be better as a guard.
Allen made the switch inside during the Senior Bowl and appeared comfortable playing closer to the snap.
Although he doesn’t fully extend his arms, or use his hands efficiently, Allen is able to stay in front of rushers by utilizing his nimble feet.
Howard Mudd has been known to like offensive linemen who can reach the second level of the defense, but the two things that work against the former Illini are his soft belly and lack of aggression.
Even if Allen impresses during his scheduled meeting, I believe there are better options for the team.
Bobby Wagner, Utah State LB
Although the team got a good look at the three-time All-Western Athletic Conference linebacker during the Senior Bowl, they still brought in Bobby Wagner for a visit.
Wagner has been projected to fall deep enough into the second round, where the Philadelphia Eagles could select him with their second pick (51 overall).
Even with the addition of middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans, the Eagles should still look to add someone at the SAM position.
Jamar Chaney has had some success at that spot in the past but hasn’t done enough to cement himself into a starting role.
Wagner displays good patience and closes quickly against the run. He uses his long arms and quick hands to shed blocks.
He combines his muscular stature with solid technique to become a sure-handed tackler.
If Philly is unable to get their hands on Luke Kuechly in the first round, look for them to find their consolation prize in the second.
Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech WR
Hill remains to be an unpolished receiver.
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Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech remains to be an extremely raw, big-play wideout who averaged nearly 30 yards per catch during his senior year.
Although his overall college production shouldn’t warrant a high-round selection, his measurables are something that will be sought after.
At 6’4”, 215 pounds, Hill runs a sub 4.40 40-yard dash—making him one of the most dangerous deep threats and best jump-ball options in this year’s draft.
While his visit with the Philadelphia Eagles means that the team is looking to add a receiver of the taller variety, look for the squad with championship aspirations to find a more polished prospect to fit their needs.
Jordan Bernstine, Iowa S
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The Iowa safety and kick returner would pay the bill in more ways than one for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ever since the departure of Brian Dawkins, the Eagles have lacked a leader in the secondary and are still relying on inexperienced or oft-injured players to fill that void.
Bernstine ran a 4.34 40 at his pro day workout and displayed tremendous range by recording a 41-inch vertical.
If the former Parade Magazine All-American can’t crack the secondary rotation, he should still be featured prominently in the return game.
Bernstine took on double duty as a returner in college and averaged 23.8 yards per kickoff return.
Gino Gradkowski, Delaware OL
By playing all three positions on the interior of the offensive line, the University of Delaware All-American center has proven to be more than a “one-trick pony.”
As of right now, he grades out to be a middle-round draft pick but has caught the attention of the Philadelphia Eagles thanks in large part to his versatility and athleticism.
Last season, the Eagles were fortunate enough to have avoided serious injuries along their line but have already lost left tackle Jason Peters for the year.
Aside from starters Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins, there aren’t many other interior options that offensive line coach Howard Mudd can turn to with confidence.
Gino Gradkowski is ideal for Mudd’s system because of his ability to “pull”—something that Philadelphia offensive linemen are asked to do when blocking the sprint draw for LeSean McCoy.
Whether Gradkowski is the answer or not, look for Mudd to find another athletic lineman to add to the roster.
Ben Jones, Georgia C
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According to Adam Caplan of TheSidelineView.com, Georgia center Ben Jones is expected to visit Lincoln Financial Field later this month.
Jones started 49 games during his collegiate career and has been mocked from the sixth round all the way to the second.
Jones is extremely durable and comes with plenty of experience.
However, unlike Gino Gradkowski, Jones was never asked to “pull” block at Georgia, so I fully expect Andy Reid and Howard Mudd to address this issue during their meeting.
Dontari Poe, Memphis DT
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After using the NFL Scouting Combine as a platform to show off his incredible strength and athleticism, Dontari Poe has been shooting up draft boards.
Although he leaves Memphis with a less-than-impressive stat line of 20 tackles and one sack, the 6’4”, 346-pounder ran a 4.98 40-yard dash and put up eight more bench press reps (44) than any other player in Indianapolis.
On film, Poe doesn’t look to have elite instincts or a great motor, but if there’s anyone in the league who can coach him up to his physical potential, it’s defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
While Poe remains incredibly raw, his sheer dominance at the combine intrigued the Philadelphia Eagles and made him worthy of a closer look.
After visiting with the team last Thursday, I hope the Eagles can look past his physical performances and realize that Poe is still an unpolished prospect who is better suited as a 3-4 nose tackle.
Michael Floyd, Notre Dame WR
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Even though DeSean Jackson has signed a long-term deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver remains a position that warrants concern.
According to Scout.com, Michael Floyd worked out for the Eagles privately last Monday and is worthy of a mid-first-round selection.
Floyd enjoyed an extremely productive collegiate career and leaves Notre Dame with five receiving records.
At 6’3”, 220 pounds, the Irish alumni would give Philly an immediate upgrade in the slot, and more importantly, the red zone.
Floyd runs pristine routes, has strong hands and is a proven deep threat. His size and physical nature would be a welcomed addition to a receiving corps that is centered on speed.
Although Philadelphia has three solid receivers in Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant, their top two targets missed time last season due to injury and suspension. The addition of Floyd would not only give Michael Vick another dynamic weapon, but also provide the team with an insurance policy.
Ryan Tannehill, Texas A&M QB
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If you “don’t really know why” the Philadelphia Eagles would send scouts to privately work out a quarterback who’s expected to be a top-10 selection, then you’re on the same boat as Ryan Tannehill.
If nothing changes, chances are that the Texas A&M signal-caller will be long gone by the time Philly gets to make their first selection at 15.
However, recent rumors have said, “half of the teams in the top 10 are trying to trade out.”
If this were in fact true, it would open the door for the Eagles to move up.
While the team possesses three of the top 51 selections in this year’s draft, it’s still extremely unlikely that they would seriously consider a quarterback with their first selection.
As of right now, look at this visit as nothing more than a study session.
Each NFL team is allowed 30 visits with incoming prospects, and with all the carryover hype surrounding this year’s quarterback class, it’s no surprise to see that Andy Reid is curious as well.
Janzen Jackson, McNeese State S
After recently spending high selections on Nate Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett, it’s unlikely that the team addresses the safety position with another top pick.
Janzen Jackson is the kind of player who comes with lots of baggage but has enough potential and talent to warrant a late-round selection.
Although the former second-team All-SEC safety displayed tremendous range and proved to be a violent tackler at Tennessee, his battles with substance abuse eventually led to his dismissal from the team.
After transferring to McNeese State, Jackson made the switch from safety to cornerback.
This kind of versatility is something that defensive coordinator Juan Castillo can appreciate.
Last year, Castillo lined cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha in a variety of positions that included safety and linebacker.
If Jackson used his visit with Andy Reid to put his character issues to rest, then I wouldn’t be surprised to see him wearing green next year.
Kirk Cousins, Michigan State QB
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If the Philadelphia Eagles were looking to spend a mid-round selection on a quarterback, it would most likely be used on Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins.
Cousins has already visited with the Eagles and is likely to have impressed them with his character, leadership and maturity.
Although the Eagles signed Trent Edwards in the offseason, the next quarterback on the depth chart is third-year pro Mike Kafka.
The additions of Cousins would provide a logjam at the position. However, Edwards can be easily cut, and Andy Reid has the reputation for stockpiling quarterbacks to trade.
Kafka does have in-game experience and has already been asked to lead the Eagles in late-game situations without Michael Vick.
This would allow the team to slowly bring along Cousins, who has plenty of experience, as well as a decent and accurate arm.
Nick Foles, Arizona QB
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Nick Foles is coming off an impressive senior season at Arizona, where he set a career-high record with 4,334 yards, 28 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, while completing 69.1 percent of his attempts.
Standing at 6’5”, he would have a distinct advantage over the other quarterbacks on the roster. Foles uses his height to his advantage by looking over his offensive line to read defensive coverages.
The ex-Wildcat has an above-average arm and is incredibly accurate when throwing short to intermediate routes.
After visiting with Andy Reid and staff, the team should be more certain of which middle-round quarterback they want to select.
Omar Bolden, Arizona State CB
Omar Bolden would be the exact type of corner that Juan Castillo could use in the slot.
Bolden put on a tremendous display of power and speed at the NFL Scouting Combine by running a 4.5 40 and leading his position with the most reps on the bench press.
His tremendous upper-body strength would bode well when covering the middle of the field.
The one knock on him is that he comes with tremendous injury concerns.
In his meeting with the team, it’s all but certain that he’ll be asked about the injuries that forced him to miss the final eight games of 2009 and all of 2011.
If those concerns get overlooked, expect Bolden to contribute immediately on defense and on special teams.
Bolden displayed flashes of brilliance as a kick returner at Arizona State and would give Andy Reid an alternative solution to DeSean Jackson.
Trumaine Johnson, Montana CB
NFL.com considers the Montana cornerback as “one of the best and most polished NFL prospects to come out of the Big Sky Conference”.
At 6’2”, 204 pounds, Trumaine Johnson possesses a body type that's eerily reminiscent to that of Nnamdi Asomugha.
His long arms and flexible hips give him an advantage in press coverage—something that the Philadelphia Eagles would like to do more of.
Due to his lack of exposure to top-notch competition and off-field run-ins with police, Johnson figures to fall between the second and third round.
Even with a trio of Pro Bowl cornerbacks still on the roster, the Philadelphia Eagles are in a position to draft the best available player and won’t be handicapped by need.
Depending on how his visit with the team goes, Johnson might find himself learning from one of the best defenders in the NFL next season.
Michael Brockers, LSU DT
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The Philadelphia Eagles are just one of nearly a dozen teams that the LSU defensive tackle will visit for pre-draft workouts.
At 6’6”, 322 pounds, Michael Brockers is an incredibly gifted athlete who was bred in a winning atmosphere.
He possesses an average first step but has learned how to be disruptive by using his quickness and frame against blocks.
Brockers is no stranger to double teams, but even when engaged, has the ability to maintain his ground. This would be invaluable to a team that suffered from poor linebacker play and suffered from mediocre tackling.
While Dan Kadar of Mocking the Draft believes that Brockers would make an “immediate impact as a five technique on a three-man front,” there’s no reason to believe that the ex-Tiger wouldn’t be able to flourish in Jim Washburn’s 4-3 rotational system.
Although the Eagles recently re-signed Derek Landri to a one-year deal, they are still in the market for a difference maker on the interior of the defensive line.
If Philadelphia somehow managed to get a hold of Brockers, I’d expect him to develop into a disruptive force for years to come.