For lovers of the NFL Draft and scouting prospects, there’s no better time than this. The prestigious Reeses Senior Bowl takes place in Mobile this weekend with some very impressive names looking to take scouts by storm. For the Eagles, this event has been key in acquiring some of their most notable talents of the last few years and there’s no finer example than Carson Wentz. But which names should fans be watching out for this week? Here are five to keep an eye on.
DT Isaiah Buggs Alabama
Buggs is an intriguing candidate for so many reasons. Not only does his 6’4, 292 lbs, frame scream ‘monster’, but his 9.5 sack season in 2018 makes sure you can’t avoid associating that word with his name. The problem is that Buggs was used outside at Bama and doesn’t really have the athleticism to be a threat off the edge at the next level. A move inside would suit Buggs well, but he seems to be a ‘flashy’ kind of prospect who can disappear on one quarter before destroying a singular play later one. If Buggs can prove he has the versatility to play all over the D-Line with a strong performance in mobile, there’s every chance that his lowkey impressive quickness and strong use of hands could make him a strong prospect for the Eagles to examine.
WR, Penny Hart, Georgia State
I’m a little biased when it comes to Penny Hart, purely because when I finally got my hands on a copy of NCAA Football 14 over here in the UK, my first save was with Georgia State and Penny Hart was just incredible. Because of that, I’ve followed his progress very closely. Posting 1,121 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2017, Hart Followed up his successful campaign with a slightly less productive 2018, although he showed plenty of versatility.
His ability to change speed and make clean and concise cuts on deep routes make him a threat at any time on the field. He’s extremely quick getting off the line of scrimmage and will soak up the sun when given space to do so. The only real drawback I can see is that he lacks the desired play-strength (standing at 5’8, 180 lbs) to consistently beat NFL DB’s (although can be improved) and as a result, relies on his agility which won’t always be enough when asked to drive vertically.
Hart projects to be a perfect slot receiver at the NFL level and given that the Eagles have no idea whether or not Agholor, Tate, or Matthews will return, grooming a long-term replacement could be a perfect plan.
Andre Dillard OT Washington State
Jason Peters may not be returning next year and even if he does, stacking the offensive tackle shelves would be wise. At 6’5, 310 lbs, Dillard could be a great developmental piece. He has the prototypical NFL frame and combined with his aggressive hand-movement, this makes him a real fiery prospect physically. He’s a red-shirt senior which means that he’s seen plenty of action during his time at Washington State.
While he excels in pass-protection and can move quickly laterally, his run blocking is murky. However, he has all the tools in the shed for someone as renowned as Jeff Stoutland to develop this trait under the radar while the franchise talents take flight as starters. A solid showing this weekend could really enhance his draft stock.
S, Jaquan Johnson, Miami
The one thing that jumps off the screen when watching tape on Johnson is he thumps. It’s hard to believe he’s just 5’10 because he tackles so technically sound and with such a vengeance that it makes it very easy to forget. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done.
Johnson can fall victim to something many defensive backs do and that’s going all-in on that first decision. This means that receivers making double-moves or more importantly, carrying routes down the field. As a single safety, his rigidity could haunt him at the next level. But as a downhill player, someone who reads the run well and tackles like an absolute monster, he could have value…and that’s something that could really benefit this Philadelphia defense.
RB Karan Higdon
Higdon reminds me a lot of Wendell Smallwood in the way that he boasts this ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ type skillset. But if we look at how Smallwood has developed over the last few years and his improved versatility and physicality, it’s not impossible for a player to change his stars. For Higdon, this is key because the one advantage he has here is strong in the areas the Eagles need to improve.
His burst is just remarkable and he can go from 0-100 in the blink of an eye. He can turn the corner extremely well which would bode well for the Eagles zonal rushing attack, while his agility and ability to make any play into a highlight-reel worthy memory is just staggering. That’s compensated by a lack of vision (ahem, Smallwood) and patience, however.
Likely to be available in the middle rounds of the NFL Draft, Higdon could be a steal for a team looking for a complimentary piece to their backfield. The Eagles have their versatility and if they can really nurture Higdon’s explosiveness, there’s no reason why this 5’10, 202 lbs, back can’t be a great asset.
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports