The Eagles may be laser-focused on the upcoming NFC Championship clash with Minnesota, but for fans itching to see some football before then, the East-West Shrine game takes place tomorrow afternoon. The slightly less publicized prospect showcase in Florida will boast plenty of players with mid-round potential and for a team so intent on building through the draft, this is an event they need to keep an eye on. Here are ten prospects who the Eagles could well take a shine to.
Wide receiver, DaeSean Hamilton:
Hamilton is a wideout who will already have plenty of eyes on him. The Penn State star ended his season strongly, catching two touchdowns out of the slot in the Fiesta Bowl. On the season, the 6’1, 206 lbs wideout caught 53 passes for 857 yards and 9 scores.
Hamilton is a perfect project receiver to add to this group. A reliable route runner with a safe set of hands, Hamilton has no fear in going up for 50/50 balls. His ceiling is probably going to be as a slot wideout in the NFL but some depth behind Nelson Agholor would be welcomed. Hamilton ranks 10th among active FBS receivers with 204 career catches, leading active B1G wideouts too.
Hamilton was able to use his solid frame to help carve open the run/screen game for Saquon Barkley and considering how much the Eagles depend on their backfield, this will undoubtedly be a trait worth observing.
Tight end, David Wells:
Wells is one of my favorite prospects competing in tomorrow’s game. The Eagles need tight end depth. Zach Ertz may be signed for the long-term future but Brent Celek has just one year remaining and is unlikely to be extended beyond that, while Trey Burton is a pending free agent.
Wells measures at 6’5, 252 lbs and while primarily a blocking tight end, caught nine passes for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns in 11 games. Projected to go in the bottom rounds of the NFL Draft, Wells would be a perfect candidate to catch on as a TE4 and develop, mirroring Trey Burton’s path to a breakout.
The San Diego State standout brings plenty of size and athleticism to the table and would be a sleeper that the Eagles should keep an eye on.
Guard/Center, Brad Lundblade
At 6’3, 300 lbs, Lundblade is a center with the versatility to play guard too, something that Philadelphia has actively sought out in recent years. Lundblade has reportedly been shining in practices and has attracted attention from the Niners already and with glowing accounts of his technique surfacing recently, he’s bound to become a popular name this weekend.
Defensive end, Joe Ostman
Measuring at 6’2, 248 lbs, Ostman doesn’t exactly look like a rampant defensive end, but looks can be deceiving. In the last year alone for Central Michigan, Ostman finished third in the nation in sacks, racking up 12 along with 69 tackles. Even more impressive? 20.5 were for a loss. The speed-rusher has been turning plenty of heads during practices and the Eagles could always use an extra piece for their well-oiled pass-rush machine.
Joe Ostman, DE45 (left end) out of Central Michigan is a pass rusher to keep tabs on. Has been explosive all day, wins with spin and club here. pic.twitter.com/LGeyPXwOKd
— Zach Goodall (@zach_goodall) January 15, 2018
Cornerback, Avonte Maddox
This 5’9 cornerback from Pitt may not have the size to be a reliable LCB/RCB at the next level to begin with, but the Eagles don’t need that. Some depth behind Patrick Robinson (who may not even get re-signed) however would be a huge step forward.
Maddox was actually interviewed by the Eagles earlier this week, according to a source. With 4 sacks this season along with 2 picks, 27 tackles and 11 passes defensed, Maddox is a corner who has shifty footwork and a surprising amount of length to his game when contesting for 50/50 balls. Sneakily athletic, Maddox has been one of the standouts of the Shrine game this week as he looks to overcome injury setbacks and a dip in form this season.
Linebacker, Kenny Young:
This UCLA product was named All Pac-12 First team this season and led the Bruins with 101 tackles. At 6’1, 226 lbs, Young is projected to go undrafted but could have considerable upside as a developmental prospect. His coverage ability over the middle is reminiscent of that of Joe Walker, which could attract the Eagles to add another project piece to their arsenal.
Linebacker, Matthew Thomas:
Thomas has been one of the hottest commodities of the practices so far, with numerous NFL teams lining up for interviews. Thomas is a bigger bodied linebacker at 6’3, 227 lbs who had 85 total tackles and 2 sacks during his time as a Florida State Seminole, but his career was hampered with injuries and suspensions. He could be a great prospect to develop, with a total of 21 tackles for a loss in the last two year’s, but the Eagles would have a lot of work to do.
Defensive tackle, Folorunso Fatukasi:
Fatukasi is already a name that has drawn the attention of the Eagles, who reportedly met with him earlier this week. The 6’4, 318 pounder had 44 tackles for UConn this season along with 4 forced fumbles and 7 sacks. A mid-round label has been placed on his shoulders, but the thick-based defensive tackle is eager to change that with an impressive outing at the Shrine game. The Birds’ could use some depth at defensive tackle and Farukasi has plenty of upside as someone who has the power to penetrate offensive lines and open up holes for the linebackers to clean up.