Eagles Droppings 4/17: Spikes at MLB, Caplan Twitter and Two Late Round Prospects to Keep An Eye On
By Lance Epstein
Eagles Looking At Florida LB Spikes:
According to Robbie Andreu of GatorSports.com, Terry Watson, the agent for Florida middle linebacker Brandon Spikes, said that the Eagles are on of eight teams that have shown "a great deal of interest," in the highly touted middle linebacker.
Spikes (6-3, 250) is the second-best middle linebacker according to most draft analyst. However, Spikes has seen his draft stock plummet dramatically since the beginning of the 2009 season. One reason is due to his suspension before Florida's biggest game for the season, which has caused scouts to question his off the field issues.
Still, Spikes is a downhill style middle linebacker much in the mold of Jeremiah Trotter. In fact, he has the same struggles in coverage that Trotter has had, but is very strong and a force against the run. Many teams worry about him being able to play coverage against running backs and against tight ends. Yet, he has shown he has the athleticism to be a playmaker, which the Eagles defense desperately needs.
Despite his downfalls, Spikes would be a nice pick up for the Eagles with the 37th overall pick. He would allow Stewart Bradley to gradually work himself back into the lineup (coming off ACL tear). More importantly, Spikes could start at MLB from day one and permit head coach Andy Reid to slide Bradley back over to his natural SAM linebacker position, which he played at Nebraska.
Selecting Spikes would improve the linebacking corps as a whole and gives Reid a lot of options.
Scout.com's Adam Caplan Twitter:
One of the more reliable sources for Eagles news is Scout.com's Adam Caplan. When he posts anything on twitter or makes a appearance on TV or radio he usually has a pretty good nugget of information for fans.
Yesterday on his twitter account, he was asked if the Eagles moved up in the first round if it would it be for a defensive back. He gave an answer that was quite shocking.
"But if they do trade up, DB is most likely the target based on need. There is one other D player who could be in the mix," Caplan tweeted.
So if it is not a defensive back, then who is it? The educated guess would be a defensive lineman. Linebacker is a position that Reid does not value that high. Furthermore, the team has not taken a linebacker in the first in nearly three decades. In addition, the Eagles could use an upgrade at tackle and a left defensive end to go with Trent Cole.
The guy that makes the most sense is Georgia Tech's Derrick Morgan. Morgan has the physical tools, smarts and ability to be an elite defensive end in the NFL. Plus, he makes Cole more dangerous since teams cannot strictly double-team Cole unless they want him teeing off on the right tackle.
One name that would not be surprising if the Eagles took as well is Dan Williams. Williams is a defensive tackle that is a space eater and is a pass rushing threat. Currently most mock drafts have him going No. 12 to the Miami Dolphins.
Two Late Round Prospects to Watch:
Over the past couple weeks, numerous draft experts have said the Eagles might look to add another tight end in the draft. This means one of two things. First, the Eagles are unsure if Cornelius Ingram will be the same player after having his second ACL surgery. Second, the Eagles would like to find a blocking tight end to protect Kevin Kolb because the weakness in Brent Celek's game is his blocking.
One player that the Eagles have shown interest in has been Rutgers' tight end Shamar Graves. Graves (6-2, 235) had an impressive pro day, which has been making him a riser coming into the NFL Draft. At his Pro Day, he ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, 27 reps of 225 lbs on the bench press and 11.31 60-yard shuttle and a 6.90 three-cone drill.
He has some durability concerns since he missed all but two games his freshman year due to injuries. Additionally his numbers were not very impressive in his senior season.
On the other hand, the Eagles have taken a tight end from Rutgers before in L.J. Smith; who is surprising around the same size and speed that Graves comes into the draft with. Certainly the Eagles will not take a tight end high in the draft, but the Eagles have struck gold before in the fifth round when they selected Celek, they might be thinking the same with Graves.
As for the other late round prospect to keep your eyes on is Dekoda Watson. At the combine, the Eagles were one of the more noticeable teams flirting with the projected late round linebacker according to Nationalfootballpost.com.
Watson (6-2, 226) is an undersized linebacker, but still managed to be productive this past season at Florida State. He registered 65 tackles, 13 for losses and six sacks.
He is considered to be a weak-side linebacker, which is still one of the positions that the Eagles have question marks at. Akeem Jordan has not shown the ability to play a full season without injury and did not play particularly well down the stretch.
Of course Watson will not be an immediate starter, but the Eagles could let him develop and eventually replace Jordan.