All you need to know about the Eagles fifth round picks

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The fifth round of the NFL Draft is over for the Eagles who are still yet to pick a player on the Defensive side of the Football. The round saw the Eagles first add a running back before drafting a physically intimidating tackle with their second fifth rounder. Here’s all you need to know on the Eagles fifth round picks

Wendell Smallwood, RB:
The Big-12’s rushing leader in 2015, Wendell Smallwood broke out in his senior year. In 13 games he racked up 1,519 yards and nine touchdowns. In seven of his nine games against Big-12 opponents, he scored more than 100 rushing yards including a career-high 165 against Texas.

Smallwood ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds and plays exactly how that time suggests…fast. His slim frame makes him very elusive and agile meaning he can punch through holes with rapid acceleration or bounce to the outside with ease if needed.

Smallwood is more of a complimentary back (confirming what I had previously reported: Eagles are building a committee backfield and don’t seek a leading rusher) and his style is almost a perfect hybrid of Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews. At 5’10 and 208 pounds, he also ticks the boxes for a back that would seemingly succeed under Doug Pederson (article coming later).

He does come with some character issues following an arrest in 2014, but after bouncing back with such an impressive season, the Eagles were wise to take a chance on the running back after the more appealing options were drafted in a quick string just picks before.

 

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, LT:
Another lineman for the Eagles as they continue to fortify the Offensive Line following the arrival of Carson Wentz. Pronounced “HAL-AH-POO-LIV-ARTY  VY-TY”, (simple enough, right?) Vaitai started in 10 games out of his 13 appearances in 2015 for TCU. Here’s some more information on him courtesy of Lance Zierlein of NFL.com:

 “Vaitai has been a full-time starter over the last two seasons for a successful TCU squad, but doesn’t have the plus athleticism to play left tackle or the hand strength and core power to start on the right side. Despite decent technique and football intelligence, may be too lacking in physical qualities to make the NFL leap.”

Vaitai also continues a trend for the Eagles, having started on the right hand side in 2014 and the left in 2015. Versatility continues to be the theme on the line and the 6’6 320 pounder certainly brings it, even if he lacks the quickness and athleticism of some of the more notable tackle prospects.

 

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