Heading into the offseason, offensive line was an area that the Eagles were well built-in, they had depth players and a quality set of starters. However, after legal tampering and free agency, the Eagles lost a few key pieces in the offensive line and are now looking at the draft to bring some depth back to the area. Here are my 5 suggestions for late-round prospects the Eagles could target.
Terence Steele, OT, Texas Tech
Steele is the perfect athletic profile for an NFL offensive tackle, standing at 6-foot-6, 312 pounds, and being very nimble with his feet. Steele moves extremely quick for his size and his mobility on the outside will help him out a lot if he sees snaps in the NFL. Another thing that NFL scouts will love is he has experience across the entire offensive line and was a team captain at Texas Tech. He has the foundations of a fantastic project for a coach. Steele was a four-year starter in college, amassing 47 career starts.
Steele does have issues with his technique and balance, there are times where he gets hit and falls to the floor, something he’ll need to work on before taking the field. Steele can be all over the place with his foot placement, he may have the speed but he lacks control in this area and that is the main cause of his balancing issues. Steele has a lot of good parts to his profile that will see an NFL team take a chance on him as a developmental piece, who could turn out to be a solid tackle in the NFL and something that the Eagles may look at for a quality depth piece.
Charlie Heck, OT, North Carolina
Charlie Heck is a monster of a man for an offensive tackle, 6-foot-8, 309 pounds but he moves extremely well for his size and stature. Heck almost has a head start over most other prospects due to his Dad being an offensive line coach in the NFL, so Heck has been taught to do things in-game that will instantly translate over to the NFL, such as rolling his hips into contact and accelerating at the right times.
Heck will always have to overcome the restrictions his body type will have for an offensive tackle, his high center of gravity will be something that he’ll have to fight against and framing himself for a better set during passing plays will be something else Charlie will have to work on, but for the most part, Heck has the foundations to build on that could lead him to be a starter in the league.
Keith Ismael, OG, San Diego State
Ismael is an interesting prospect at offensive guard, his mobility is a huge plus and will set him up to be a surprise for defensive lineman when they’re attacking him at the line. Ismael’s football IQ is incredible and he can read defensive linemen really well and that is a great pairing factor with his speed and athletic ability. He is a constant pain for defensive linemen, he’s always there in front of them and just being an annoying factor for onrushing defenders.
Ismael does struggle with strength, however, and with his current frame, it doesn’t look like he’ll be able to add much more to his game. If you give Ismael an assignment in a short passing system, he will thrive, however, if you ask him to keep the pocket alive for a deep route, Ismael will struggle due to his lack of strength. Ismael will play really well against speed rushers but if he matches up against power rushers, he will be bullied on the line with his skillset at this moment in time.
Kyle Murphy, OG, Rhode Island
Kyle Murphy is one of my favorite offensive line prospects in this draft and here’s why. Murphy seems like the swiss army knife of a prospect. He started 36 games in college and played left tackle, left guard, right tackle and center. Due to this kind of experience, Murphy has a fantastic understanding of his position and he knows how to help his fellow linemen out by doing things with his assignment. He’s a very balanced blocker who doesn’t falter when hit, but when he does, he has the desire and skill to recover and still make plays.
There’s one thing that really worries me about Murphy and his potential to be an NFL caliber player and that’s the fact he wasn’t dominant whilst playing for a small school. Murphy was impressive, don’t get me wrong, but with the skill level he was playing in, it just seemed to me that Murphy should have stood out more than he did. That could possibly be down to the fact that he may have been bored with the lack of talent in that league but it’s just a question mark that’s stuck with me ever since watching him for the first time.
Zach Shackelford, C, Texas
This is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about since I first had the series idea, my beloved Zach Shackelford. Zach was my first draft crush, all the way back in early December, I really think he’s the guy we should have as Kelce’s replacement and here’s why. Zach stands at 6-foot-4 and weighs 305 pounds, a similar build, and frame to Kelce. Shackelford has great mobility for a center and is hardly ever tricked by defensive linemen and their fancy moves at the point of contact. Shackelford is a great leader and all you have to do is look him up to see how much of a great man he is and the things he does for the community.
Shackelford struggles with strength and can be pushed out of blocks easily if the oncoming lineman has space to work with before the initial point of contact. He also has a tendency to make stupid mistakes like roll snaps and mess up his footwork for no apparent reason other than not focussing properly, but that can be ironed out with time and coaching. Zach seems to be the best person to put under Kelce for a couple of years, or whenever Kelce decides it’s time to hang the boots up, and learn from one of the best to play at the position.
Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports