It wasn’t so long ago that the Eagles were scouting the future of their franchise in Carson Wentz at the Senior Bowl. Howie Roseman and company have long cherished the cream of the crop at the Reeses event held in Mobile and while all eyes are on the Super Bowl, here are some prospects who are certainly worth watching this weekend.
Wide receiver, DaeSean Hamilton, Penn State
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. After accepting an invitation to the East-West Shrine game not long ago, Hamilton registered a pair of catches for a total of 42 yards.
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, Mike Gesicki, Penn State
The second Penn State standout on this list, Gesicki could be the perfect compliment to the Eagles offense. At 6’6, 250 lbs, Gesicki is a matchup nightmare, especially inside the red zone. The senior was the focal point of the Nittany Lions’ offense when the ball wasn’t in the hands of Saquon Barkley, recording 563 yards and 9 touchdowns.
With the long-term future of Trey Burton and Brent Celek being clouded at best, the Eagles would be wise to add a developmental playmaker who can develop behind one of the best receiving tight ends in the game, Zach Ertz.
Linebacker, Darius Leonard, South Carolina State
At 6’3, 235 lbs, Leonard possesses the perfect size for a prototypical linebacker in the Jim Schwartz system. He may not be as technically sound as some of the higher touted prospects on show, but his sideline-to-sideline speed (4.6 40-yard dash) and coverage prowess make him an intriguing player to watch.
114 tackles, 8.5 sacks and a pair of picks. Those are the stat-line numbers for Leonard that would raise eyebrows among MLB prospects. What’s more astounding as Leonard spent most of his time as a weak side linebacker. If the Eagles do decide to move on from Kendricks, having someone with the upside of being able to play in every situation would be a huge asset.
Running back Royce Freeman, Senior, Oregon
One of the more polished backs in the draft, the former Oregon Duck amassed 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. The Eagles may not have such a pressing need for a bell-cow back after all, but after arguably missing on Donnell Pumphrey, this 5’11 prospect adds a little more size and patience to the equation.
Freeman is a back who has plenty of burst hitting the hole and has no problem creating his own space where needed. He could be a really interesting addition to an Eagles backfield that’s already among the most dangerous in the NFL.
Defensive tackle, Maurice Hurst, Michigan
Hurst may be among the most physically impressive defensive tackles in Mobile this week. He also took snaps all across the line of scrimmage during his time at Michigan, playing as both a 3-tech and a 1-tech. The knock on him has often been his size. At 6’2, 280 lbs, Hurst would struggle against guards and centers at the next level, but he makes up for it with incredible athletic ability that sees him burst through blocks and harass running backs consistently.
Hurst wasn’t a prominent pass-rusher, but his ability to disrupt the run-game was second to none. The Eagles already have plenty of elite pass-rushers, but after an injury plagued season for Destiny Vaeao, Hurst could be the perfect developmental tackle to sit in and learn behind Jernigan and the number-one ranked rush defense in the league.
Armani Watts, Texas A&M
This 5’11, 205 lbs, DB racked up 87 tackles and 4 interceptions in his final season for the Aggies along with a stunning 10 tackles for a loss. Watts has the frame to replicate the kind of play the Eagles crave form Malcolm Jenkins. A safety who is disruptive in the box and has great instincts to play zone coverage without biting on any baited plays.
Watts is a safety who could simply use some refinement and with Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins having question marks over their head, a rookie DB to develop under Corey Undlin would be favorable for the Eagles.
Offensive lineman, Isaiah Wynn, Georgia
The versatile lineman was a huge part in the dominant Bulldogs rushing attack that of course ended up in the National Football Championship after a Rose Bowl win. He spent most of his senior year at left tackle but has the ability to line up all across the offensive front, a trait that is rapidly becoming a staple of Eagles offensive linemen.
The Eagles may have some question marks over their offensive line depth and adding in a versatile piece who could be molded in this relentless machine that is only getting better by the year, would be huge for Jeff Stoutland’s unit. Big V and Seumalo have been the last two developmental pieces drafted by the Eagles, but Wynn would almost combine the best of both worlds at 6’2. 302 lbs. With the potential to be a ruthless run-blocker with sound technique already, Wynn has plenty of upside.
Wynn has also been one of the standouts in Mobile this week, dominating practice at a position unnatural to him, left guard. With versatility on full display, Wynn has been excellent this week and will have a chance to shine tomorrow.
Mandatory Credit: Glenn Andrews-USA TODAY Sports