After taking a closer look at some of the names who could find themselves being drafted in the third round by the Eagles, we decided to take a look at the team’s fourth round pick, number 139 overall.
WR, Shelton Gibson,West Virginia
In a Draft filled with offensive talent, there are always going to be potential stars who slip through the cracks. Gibson fits that bill perfectly. The 5’11. 191 lbs, wideout caught 43 passes for 951 yards last season..but interestingly, he was targeted on deep looks 29 times. Of the 17 that were labelled “Catchable”, he hauled in each and every one for 726 yards and a score. In the last two seasons alone, 36% of his receptions went for 25 yards or more.
A sure pair of hands would be a welcome addition to the Eagles receiving corps, and Gibson brings that trait along with some stunning athleticism and effort. Although he’s a little less effective on shorter routes, Gibson would bring the “Chris Hogan” quality to the Eagles receiving group, becoming the overlooked home-run hitter who can deliver time and time again as attention continues to be focused on Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.
The Eagles don’t have a lot of sustainability on the outside at the moment and even though Torrey Smith may be the deep threat that Pederson covets and tried to find one year ago, Gibson could be the perfect low-cost alternative to develop for the future.
DT, Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA
It would be easier to find things that Eddie Vanderdoesn’t do well..(sorry I had to). The Eagles love senior bowl standouts and the UCLA product was an under-the-radar monster during the week in Mobile. At 6’3, 340 lbs, he amassed three tackles and proved to be an extremely efficient run stopper, plugging holes extremely well.
A deep and concerning injury history could see Vanderdoes slide to the bottom of the fourth round. Missing the entire 2015 season due to an ACL-tear and facing even more injuries this season, Vanderdoes needed a big moment to put his name on the map. A near QB hit and an assisted force fumble saw him fly into the spotlight, but his stock didn’t see a meteoric rise after, working out well for the Eagles.
A versatile lineman who can play fluently in 3 and 5 techniques, Vanderdoes received All-Pac-12 recognition three times as a Bruin. In 2016, he was able to rack up 28 stops following a season of 50 tackles, 2 sacks and 5.5 tackles for a loss.
The beauty is that the Eagles don’t need a devoted starting replacement for Bennie Logan, due to the addition of Timmy Jernigan. Vanderdoes could work his way into rotation, just as undrafted rookie Destiny Vaeao did last season. The difference is that the ceiling for Vanderdoes is much, much higher..especially if he is drafted by one of the healthiest teams in the league.
CB, Rasul Douglas, West Virginia
One of the most overlooked corners coming into the Draft, Douglas has great length at 6’2, and size at 209lbs. The Eagles don’t just crave a long cornerback..but a playmaker. In his senior year, Douglas intercepted 8 passes and broke up 8 more. Douglas contributed heavily to a Mountaineers defense that dominated the Big-12, but has all the makings of a strong press corner.
Douglas is a true dinner corner..and one with rare length. In 2015 he amassed 8 tackles and one pick in 11 games, before his eye popping senior year that along with the aforementioned 8 picks, saw him rack up 70 tackles.
The problem is that with a 4.59 40-yard dash time, there are concerns he doesn’t have the gas to keep up with some of the faster NFL wideouts. When playing in zone coverage, he’s able to read the eyes of the opposing quarterback incredibly well and come down to make a play on the ball. He shows no fear in jumping routes or leaping up to catch a 50-50 ball, but if he’s not in position, exploited on a complex route, or beaten at the line..the recovery can act as an achilles heel.
Contrarily, the size of Douglas means he could play at Safety with a moments notice. Long-term depth behind McLeod and Jenkins is anything but stable and versatility is a quality that the Eagles love on Defense.
There’s no doubting that Douglas has playmaker potential..but he isn’t as polished in man-coverage as some of the other players mentioned in this article, or as aggressive as some of the higher round picks. This is what has allowed Douglas to slip into the heart of the Draft, where he’s projected to go between rounds 3-5. Douglas would be a perfect 4th round swipe for the Birds.
RB, Jamaal Williams, BYU
Compared to the likes of Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette, Williams has gone almost unnoticed in comparison to the flashier backs in the draft. The sheer abundance of talent means that Williams is another player who in reality should be projected to go much higher than the fourth round.The 6’0, 220 lbs back has 3,901 yards on 726 attempts and 35 touchdowns in his career..but where value really lies for the Eagles, is his 567 career receiving yards.
With some minor legal setbacks and a less worrying injury history than some, Williams has seen his stock stagnate in the middle rounds. But he’s a dominant downhill runner with incredible vision, who averaged 5.9 yards per carry in 2016. His physical frame, light feet and instinctive burst not only make him a perfect compliment to a backfield struggling to find its identity, but a rotational back who has the potential to carry the ball 20 times a game if asked.
LB, Ben Boulware, Clemson
When you hear Boulware’s name, it’s usually linked with two labels. “Sleeper”, and “the quarterback of Clemson’s championship winning defense”. A vocal leader who has the frame and motor to make it at the next level, Boulware could be the perfect partner for Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks, really creating the three musketeers at linebacker.
With a team-high 166 tackles and four sacks as a Senior, Boulware was instrumental in Clemson’s success last year. The 6’0, 238 lbs linebacker is able to penetrate the trenches with ease using a strong base and a quick burst off the line (4.85 40-yard dash) and also contribute heavily in zonal looks.
If there’s one thing we love about Jordan Hicks, it’s the ability to bat passes down..and also intercept everything that comes his way from the Dallas Offense. Boulware has that same awareness, with 14 pass defenses in his career and five interceptions, Boulware’s vision and ability to dissect plays are beyond impressive. But even further than that, he’s a four core special teamer who could really help Fipp’s unit thrive.
The Eagles aren’t blessed with a lot of linebacker depth and if they’re unable to bring in some of the more attractive options in the early rounds, Boulware would be a player who can rotate his way into formations on Defense and become a perennial standout on Fipp’s ever impressive special teams unit.
Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports