Ask Andrew: Best Interior Offensive Line Prospects?
As the days trickle down to April 29 and teams begin finalizing draft boards, fans will spend the next three weeks viewing every bit of news and nuggets under a microscope for potential clues as to which direction the team might lean on draft night.
This week brought more thought-provoking questions to the forefront and covered a ton of territory. Without further ado, let’s get to it!
From ITB Facebook Group: Shane Six
Q. Do you think Philadelphia passes on playmakers just so they don't have to pay that big contract down the road?
A. Well, that would be malpractice and an incredibly short-sighted line of thinking. I truly believe the team is comfortable enough with its array of weaponry to wait on adding reinforcements. To a degree, I feel as though many of the recent investments should be graded on a curve due to the truncated offseason. Not every rookie develops at the same pace, so it’s important that the team gives those players a full offseason before rushing to judgement. In some cases – such as J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – you can tell right away that he wasn’t equipped to be a focal point at the pro level.
In my most recent mock draft, I had the team selecting UNC receiver Dyami Brown at No. 84. Brown’s straight-line speed and length would ideally complement Reagor, Hightower, and Watkins. Another enticing player with blistering speed expected to go in that range is Western Michigan wideout D’Wayne Eskridge. There will be options.
From ITB Facebook Group: Sean Woolford
Q. Best interior lineman in the draft (AVT, Wyatt Davis, Dickerson, etc.) and what day 2/3 targets could you see as a fit for the eagles?
A. For me, Sean, it’s Wyatt Davis. Davis is athletic, powerful, plays with proper pad level, and has a lightning-quick burst off the ball. As far as some Day 2/3 targets that I believe to be ideal fits for the Eagles, I look at players like Baron Browning, Elijah Molden, D’Wayne Eskridge, Caden Sterns, Jaylen Twyman and Thomas Graham. In fact, if the team lands a premier boundary defender on the first or second day, Graham would make a lot of sense on Day 3. Though Graham has the intangibles to play outside, I think the slot will be his primary residence at the next level.
From ITB Facebook Group: Chris Glover
Q. 1) Are there any late round inline blocking TE's you could see as a possible fit. 2) What are your thoughts on Walker Little?
A. Yes! Boise State’s John Bates and Virginia’s Tony Poljan fit the bill. While Poljan is still relatively new to the TE position, he offers tremendous size (6-7, 265 pounds). Poljan isn’t particularly quick and will never become a downfield threat but is coming into his own as a blocker. Bates (6-5, 259), on the other hand, is a three-year starter who didn’t reel in many passes for the Broncos. However, he fires off the ball and serves as a physical presence at the point of attack. Again, not of the twitchy, athletic variety, but a dependable pass catcher who holds his own as a blocker.
Little, an offensive tackle from Stanford, is an interesting prospect. He’s more of a finesse blocker, especially in the run game, and I’m not sure the role of a mauler is in his DNA. However, his size, savvy technical ability, lateral fluidity, and overall awareness put him on radars in 2019 before an injury derailed his season. He opted out last season, so he’s become a bit of an afterthought in a way. If there are concerns about Andre Dillard’s play strength and physicality, not sure it makes sense to pursue another finesse tackle with pass blocking prowess.
From Twitter: Anthony Ricciuti (@Richooots)
Q. A few decent WR candidates after round 1 for the Birds who can fit the "X" roll? Thanks
A: Terrace Marshall (LSU), Dyami Brown (UNC), Sage Surratt (Wake Forest).
From Twitter: Ronnie Newman (@RonNewman1985)
Q. Eagles have needs at every position. If the following players are available, who would you pick? Waddle, Paye, or Horn?
A. Great question, as I have Waddle and Horn ranked closely on my Big Board. To be comfortable enough to slide down to 12, the team obviously believes the player they are eyeing can still be added there, which leads me to believe that Horn would be the pick. That’s also the direction I would lean as well, as I believe Horn offers immense upside and would serve as a bonafide building block at a position that has been a revolving door for over a decade. Horn’s athleticism, physicality, and alpha mentality reminds me a bit of Jalen Ramsey.
From Twitter: Tomek Dobrzanski (@TomekDobrzanski)
Q. I understand trading down is the value play but what does it say about a GM that trades down for one of the elites to fall, rather than trusting your scouting and picking the best player. Yes, the draft is taking gambles and more swings is better but great GM is a great scout 1st.
A. I think it says that a player they like – be it Jaycee Horn, Rashawn Slater, or Kwity Paye – can likely be acquired at 12 based on the information they’ve received. You’re right that the draft is a crapshoot and you’d hate for the selection process to hinge on an elite tumbling down the draft board, but I think the trade down speaks more to a calculated plan than lack of aggression or complacency.
– Andrew DiCecco (@ADiCeccoNFL) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for InsideTheBirds.com.