After breaking down everything you need to know about the ten undrafted free agents who officially signed with the Eagles yesterday, it’s time to take a closer look at the twenty hopefuls who will be trying out with the Eagles during this weekend’s rookie minicamp.
Strap yourselves in, because this is going to be a long one!
WR, Chance Allen, Houston
Allen may have led Houston with six touchdown passes, ranking second on the team with 815 yards on 56 receptions..but he missed their biggest game of the year. After transferring from Oregon, it seemed like Allen was destined to end his career on a high, but after missing curfew..the team ruled him out of the Las Vegas Bowl.
In 2015, Allen was just as integral to the Houston offense, tallying 61 catches for 850 yards and seven scores. The 6’3, 215 lbs, receiver certainly brings a lot of upside to the table, as yet another bigger wideout who runs hard in his routes. But with his missed curfew hurting his future, Allen will be looking to make the most of his opportunity in Philadelphia this weekend.
OL, Lorenzo Allen, Northern Oklahoma State
At 6’6, 290 lbs, Allen is a natural left tackle..but has only been playing the position since Junior College. With athleticism on his side, Allen could be a name to watch, with the Eagles showing every intention of stacking offensive linemen. Prior to the announcement of UDFA’s and tryouts, there were 17 on the roster. That number is now over 20..and if the versatile left tackle can stand out, his sheer size alone makes him an incredibly interesting prospect considering the amount of dominant edge rushers who lie ahead on the Eagles schedule…and how the future beyond Jason Peters at LT is still cloudy.
WR, Chris Black, Missouri
Prior to joining Missouri, Black played for the University of Alabama. During three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Black caught 25 passes for 290 yards, averaging 17.1 yards per catch in 2014. His 2015 campaign was cut short, but he made up for it after transferring to Missouri.
He ended his final collegiate season with 17 receptions for 257 yards and a touchdown pass, but also showed his value on special teams, returning 12 punts for a total of 97 yards. The 6’0, 190 lbs, wideout could add yet even more electricity to the plethora of talent that the Eagles have at wide receiver..and is certainly one of the underdogs to watch when looking for camp standouts who are hoping of earning their first contract.
DT, Winston Craig, Richmond
This 6’4, 290 lbs, pass rusher simply exploded in 2016. With 8 sacks and 11 tackles for a loss in his final season alone, leading the team in those categories as well as QB hurries, Craig even added a pick and 3 passes defensed to his tally. A team captain for the Spiders, Craig ended his four-year career at Richmond with a total of 166 tackles, 20 tackles for a loss, 13.5 sacks and 2 picks.
After taking over the starting reins, Craig would go on to start in 43 consecutive games as a Spider, showing both his durability and reliability.
It’s interesting that Craig completely contrasts the style of Elijah Qualls, the Eagles sixth round pick. Craig is a tenacious pass rusher, who carries his weight well and is extremely agile, using his long wingspan to his advantage. While the bigger bodied Qualls thrives in plugging holes and run Defense..although he may have a niche under Jim Schwartz.
Considering that Beau Allen’s injury may keep him sidelined during the opening stages of the 2017 season, competition on the defensive line will be rampant..and Craig could well be the Destiny Vaeao of 2017. The irony is, it’s Vaeao that he will be competing with.
S, Reggie Daniels, Oregon
This 6’1, 208 lbs, safety brings a lot of size and physicality to the table. He ended his career with the Ducks amassing 166 tackles in 38 games, to go with one interception and 21 passes defensed. A clean tackler, Daniels also has unique ball skills, making an impressive toe-drag-swag interception against Arizona earlier this year. Daniels could be looking to compete for a depth Safety role, with Jaylen Watkins only bought back on a tender. But for that opportunity to arise, he simply has to shine this weekend.
TE, Romond Deloatch, Temple
A local kid, Deloatch is actually Temple’s only tight end to record a sack…there’s something he can tick off the bucket list! Versatility may as well be Deloatch’s middle name. The 6’4, 220 lbs, tight end has played in the slot, as a wideout..and even a defensive end. Playing in every game during his senior year, Deloatch had a career high five receptions at Memphis, before hauling in a memorable 67-yard catch in the heartbreaking loss to local rivals, Penn State. Pederson loves versatile players, especially at tight end..Deloatch, along with Billy Brown, will be looking to gain the attention of Pederson this weekend.
QB, Dane Evans, Tulsa
This pro-style quarterback ended his career in stunning fashion. Evans completed 59.4% of his passes in 2016, throwing for 3,340 yards, 32 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. At 6’1, 210 lbs, Evans has nice size for a pocket passer, but has largely been inefficient when scrambling..actually totaling -29 rushing yards last year, fumbling twice. Evans will be competing for an eventual QB3 spot..but with Jerod Evans ahead and Dakota Prukop alongside, it will be a tall mountain to climb.
OL, Stephen Evans, North Alabama
The 6’4, 301 lbs offensive guard is one of very few guards actually bought in by the Eagles for rookie minicamp. Most UDFA’s and tryouts are tackles..so Evans is in a slightly unique spot. Named an AFCA National Division II Second Team All-American, Evans finished sixth in the voting for the top lineman in D2. He was a huge part of the offense that averaged over 40 points and 440 yards per game. Although Brandon Brooks appears to be the long-term option at RG, the starting battle at LG is wide open..meaning there’s a slight chance that Evans can throw the cat amongst the pigeons so to speak.
LB, Chris Harthone, West Georgia
West Georgia’s defensive leader could be a name that brings back memories of Joe Walker last year. A coverage linebacker who played in all 14 games for the Wolves during the 2015 season..but would really break out in 2016. Harthone led the Wolves in tackles with 76, and amassed at least five in every game. At 5’11, 234-lbs, he’s a little smaller than some..but with linebacker depth thin, Harthone will be hoping his secure tackling is something valued by the Eagles this weekend.
LB, Kozeal Tyke, Nebraska-Kearney
The second of three LB tryouts this weekend, Tyke ended his career as a Loper with eye-popping numbers. Not only did he break the school-record for tackles, with 604, but he averaged 13 tackles per game. With 8.5 sacks, 14 pass breakups, and 13 QB hurries to go along with such impressive stats, this three time co-captain hits..and hits hard.
Tyke started all 44 games in his career at Nebraska-Kearney, and joins Cole Manhart as the second graduate since 2000 to try-out for the Eagles. Tyke tried out for the Eagles a few days ago and earned an invite to this weekend’s rookie minicamp. The 6’0, 240 lbs, linebacker is one step closer, but can he now earn a spot on the 90-man roster?
WR, Keevan Lucas, Tulsa
With such a deep WR class, it was always inevitable that some star potential would slip through the cracks. At 5’9, 192 lbs, it’s likely that Lucas is viewed as a slot receiver..which is a shame, because his outside production and ability to run crisp routes is impressive.
Playing in all 12 games as a true freshman, Lucas recorded 442 yards and a score, before breaking out one year later, earning AAC honors in the process of receiving for 1,219 yards and leading the conference in touchdown receptions with 11. A torn Patella Tendon hurt his progress in 2015, but he was able to bounce back for another 1,000 yard season..and set a career high 15 touchdown receptions.
The one thing to pay attention to here is that of course, he will be working out with Dane Evans, his quarterback from Tulsa. If the two can compliment each other, and push on to put on a strong display this weekend..there is every chance that the duo can boost each other’s chances of sticking to the Eagles roster..having a chemistry advantage that others simply won’t have.
DE, Paulin Miano, Virginia Union
At 6’5, 260 lbs, Miano is a much taller prospect than many around him when lining up on the outside..which can work to his strengths. Named a pre-season All American heading into his final year, Miano racked up 57 tackles and 10 sacks in 11 games. With 5 forced fumbles to go along with those stats, Miano is a true monster on the outside..but he does lack the athleticism and explosiveness of some of the leaner DE’s competing for a spot. Miano’s physique alone causes a lot of speculation as to how he would succed at the next level..only time will tell.
QB, Dakota Prukop, Oregon
After transferring to the Ducks after graduating from MSU, Prukop really developed s the season went on. He started off hot, setting a program record for passes completed in a debut game, going on to start the first five games of the year, amassing 1,214 yards and 8 touchdowns, completing 94 of 143 pass attempts. The 6’2, 205 lbs, signal caller also rushed for 171 yards, demonstrating his versatility in the infamous Oregon Offense. With a tough quarterback competition this weekend, Prukop’s strong career at MSU will be invaluable, as will his experience competing against the likes of stern defenses such as Colorado. Although he may be an outsider, Prukop has proven he has the accuracy to pick apart Defenses and run the show at the line of scrimmage..and invaluable skill that may be the difference.
OL, Victor Salako, Oklahoma State
The 6’6, 335 lbs, left tackle is simply a monster in terms of size. Having size is one thing, using it is another..and it’s something Salako does well. Although his athleticism may be seen as a setback by some, his sheer size, like other names in this list, make him an exciting name to watch. Named second-team-all-conference in 2016, Salako is a dark horse to keep an eye out for when looking at how the OL prospects perform.
S, Nick Safnisky, Lehigh
This local prospect actually made his name at Lehigh as a quarterback, despite trying out as a Safety. We’ve seen players go from QB to WR, and even vice versa..but going from offense to defense is something relatively rare. Safnisky earned Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, and ECAC Offensive player of the year, after appearing in all 12 games in his final year. At 6’2, 220 lbs, it will be interesting to see if the accurate quarterback can take his skillset onto the other side of the ball.
S, Weston Steelhammer, Air Force
A contender for the best name in Football, Steelhammer will be looking to assert his physicality and military mentality on the Eagles Defense this weekend. Leading the Falcons with 72 tackles in his final year, he would go on to tie for third in FBS for interceptions, picking off 7 in 2016. The ballhawk has 18 total career interceptions, making it easy to see past his slight size setbacks (6’2, 201 lbs) and lack of speed. Steelhammer’s ball skills are second to none, but can the Eagles find a way to use him in sub-packages to compensate for his raw physical traits?
DE, Sam Van Ginkel, Northwestern College (IA)
This 6’5, 245 lbs, pass rusher certainly has the explosiveness and vision to succeed at the next level. The GPAC defensive player of the year one year ago, cemented his legacy in 2016 by ensuring he leaves as the conferences all time sack leader, with 39.5. Can he succeed at the next level? It remains to be seen..but there may be none more refined when it comes to pass rushing out of this group of players, than Sam Van Ginkel.
LB, Anthony Williams, Utah State
Williams only just signed a contract with the New England Patriots, but the Philadelphia native finds himself trying out for his hometown team, the Eagles. The 6’1, 245 lbs, linebacker played in all 12 games last year, leading the team in tackles, and tying third when it came to sacks. His prestige of hurrying the quarterback and balance to play as a coverage linebacker, saw him amass a stunning back-to-back 13 tackle tandem against Wyoming and New Mexico. The Eagles crave a third linebacker to develop with Hicks and Bradham, but could Williams do enough to force his way onto the roster to earn an OTA invite?
S, Dorian Williams, Princeton
Finally, Williams is a four-year starter out of Princeton, who ranked third on the team in tackles last year, adding two picks, to breakups and a forced fumble during 2016. At 5’10, 203 lbs, Regarded as one of the biggest small school sleepers entering this year’s draft, Williams brings a lot of tenacity in his game to match his production. If there’s a group of players likely to pop over the course of the weekend, you can add Williams to that list.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports