Driving from Lumen Field in Seattle to the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami would take 48 hours, covering 3,283 miles across 11 states. Right now, NFL candidates all over the USA are packing their bags for a journey that could land them anywhere between those two very distant points. But some may end up right where they started. Here are three Philly-based prospects who might extend their stay in the city.
Amir Tyler: Strong Safety
If you’re looking for a player to root for in the upcoming draft, look no further. Amir Tyler was born in Philly, went to school in nearby Lakewood New Jersey, and played at Temple for six years. Last season, he was named a team captain and awarded a single-digit number in recognition of outstanding toughness and dedication. And he earned an All-ECAC football spot for 2021.
The 6’0 and 205-pound safety is Shaun Bradley’s former roommate. He’s listed with a 4.56-second 40-yard dash and is a powerful hitter – as shown in his game-winning stop on a two-point attempt against South Florida. He’s been projected as a Day Three selection.
The Eagles have had some iconic safeties in their history. It’s a position that requires heart and soul. Amir Tyler is a player with plenty of those qualities. And he already knows his way around the city too.
Arnold Ebiketie: Defensive End
You can probably already name one Philadelphia athlete from Yaoundé, Cameroon. Now, you can name two. So far, Arnold Ebiketie has never met Joel Embiid, but that might change if the Eagles make a move for the 6’3, 256-pound pass rusher. He’s projected anywhere from Round 1 to Round 3, depending on who you ask. He met the Bills and Seahawks at the Combine – and met the Eagles at the Senior Bowl.
Ebiketie spent the 2021 season at Penn State after four years at Temple, so he’s no stranger to the City of Brotherly Love. He made 9.5 sacks and 18 tackles for loss as a Lion last year, while he had six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss during his 16 games as an Owl. In a stacked draft for DEs, he offers explosive speed-to-power and the versatility to switch to outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
With uncertainty about Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett (and somebody called Kerrigan), the Eagles need to strengthen their rushing group. Ebiketie could offer a local solution.
Isaac Moore: Offensive Lineman
Do you like monstrous offensive linemen who took an international path to Philly? Here’s something for you! Isaac Moore has been Temple’s starting left tackle for the last two years. He’s 6’7 and 305 pounds, and was born in Orebro, Sweden. He’s mobile. He has a finisher’s mentality. And he plays nasty.
Like most overseas players, he’ll need some coaching before he achieves discipline and domination. But the Eagles have arguably the best OL coach in the NFL, and may find his physical and athletic profile too exciting to turn down. He’s projected in the sixth round. And with his potential to switch inside and play guard, he may earn himself a chance to stick around in his adopted hometown…
Not everyone is cut out to play sports in Philly. But after drafting Miles Sanders from Penn in 2019 and Shaun Bradley from Temple in 2020, as well as Fletcher’s cousin Kenny in 2021, the Eagles have shown a tendency to pick players with ties to the town. So perhaps it’s too early for some local prospects to start packing their suitcases. Their first steps in the NFL may involve following a very familiar route.