An Eagles-based NFL Combine Shopping List: Tight Ends

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Josiah Deguara | Cincinnati

Another player that checks a lot of the third tight end boxes, Deguara has limited athleticism but will outwork anyone who he is lined up against. A high floor, limited ceiling kind of guy, there aren’t many glaring holes in his game. He won’t offer you much as a downfield receiver but has the tools and the football IQ to get open underneath. When targeted, he’s got natural hands, if not top tier. As a blocker, even at 6’3″, 245 lbs, there are some size limitations, but there is no lack of heart. Some improved technique along with some time in an NFL weight room would make some immediate improvements.

Deguara could realistically do with a good showing in any of the combine drills. Any hint of some overlooked athleticism would do him well. Specifically, a good bench time would be a bonus, as he will likely spend his early days as an in-line blocker. However, a good 40-time may cause teams to consider his potential as a receiving threat, knowing that he has some sure traits and will give 100%. Deguara seems like one of those prospects that’s hard to go wrong with and could really do himself some favors with a good combine.

Pass-Catching Options

Colby Parkinson | Stanford

Parkinson is an impressive figure at 6’7″, 252 lbs and will turn heads just by his size. However, as a prospect, his skill set profiles much better as a receiver than as a blocker. A massive catch radius and surprising straight-line speed make him a very viable downfield receiver. He doesn’t offer much in the way of a diverse route tree but has shown the versatility to line up in various positions. As an in-line blocker, it’s a bit confounding that a man his size just can’t put it together. Perhaps some time spent under the wing of a veteran NFL coach such as Justin Peelle could change that.

The first boon to Parkinson’s draft profile could be his weigh-in. At 6’7″, he still has room to add some weight to his frame, which could convince scouts that there is some hope of him developing the physical side of his game. 252 lbs is a pretty solid weight even considering his height. A strong showing at the bench press could have the same effect. Lateral quickness is also a hole in his game, and a good 3-cone time would be a welcome surprise.

Jacob Breeland | Oregon

A tight end that was featured all over the formation at Oregon, Breeland would bring some necessary versatility to the third tight end role for the Eagles. At 6’5″, he has some length, which is evident in his catch radius. He also has some solid long speed, which made him an occasional deep threat in college. However, his play strength and functional athleticism are limited. He can be physical as a receiver, but as a blocker, he regularly gets overpowered and won’t drive many defenders off the line. His technique is okay and his football IQ and effort levels indicate some potential.

The most significant trait you’d like to see from Breeland is some explosion. All of his length is for naught if he can’t get up in the air and fight for the football. Both the long jump and vertical jump will be a place for him to prove himself. A good showing on the bench could also inspire some hope that he can add strength and develop his skills as a blocker.

Cheyenne “C.J.” O’Grady | Arkansas

Despite being a tad undersized, O’Grady has one of the better-projected ceilings of any 2020 prospect at the tight end position. He has all the necessary athleticism to be both a proficient receiver and blocker. At the catch point, he fights for the football and will come down with it more often than not. He’s also competitive and physical after the catch, something the Eagles could use more of at the tight end position. While his explosion out of his breaks and long speed won’t jump off the screen, he is above average in both areas. As a blocker, he has all the physical traits and shows good effort, but will need some technical work in the NFL.

The biggest concern with O’Grady is his off-field issues. He was suspended a total of three times and was eventually dismissed from Arkansas. This could cause him to slide and create some fantastic value for a team that is willing to take a chance. A fantastic combine could help teams overlook those concerns, and he was invited to the combine for the opportunity to do so. However, the most important part of the weekend for O’Grady will be his interviews. The Eagles have been hesitant taking players with marks on their record and are always a big believer in combine interviews. Perhaps they will give the man an opportunity to redeem himself.

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