Editor’s note: Staff writer Steve Fini breaks down the later rounds of the NFL Draft.
Call them late round fliers, workout warriors, or undervalued, but the players drafted after the fourth round can often swing the fate of an NFL franchise. Despite this, the majority of fans tune out the draft by the time it reaches its latter stages. But many hardcore football fans have that one player they hope their team will take in the draft that they “know” will be great.
So let’s move beyond players like Luke Kuechly or Fletcher Cox and countdown some of the Eagles’ potential late round targets.
1.Mike Martin (DT/Michigan) – Mike Martin isn’t a guy that’s going to wow you with his combine or workout results. He’s 6-1, 305-pounds and appears even shorter on film. I know Eagles fans are looking for bigger defensive linemen, but think about this. When you watch Martin he reminds me a lot of Derek Landri, a player that succeeded in the “wide-9″ scheme last year. Martin gets off the ball quickly and has a good blend of speed and power. But his best attribute is his motor. He never stops. And as it appears that the Eagles are poised to let Landri leave, a player like Martin could fill in nicely.
It should be noted that there’s a possibility Martin goes a bit earlier in the draft. Current mocks place him anywhere between a third and fifth round pick.
2. Marvin McNutt (WR/Iowa) – At 6-3, McNutt could fill the Eagles’ need for a big target in the red zone. He’s not a speed guy, but plays like a taller Jason Avant. He has great hands and is an above average route runner. He uses his hands to attack the football, bodying out smaller defenders well. He was really productive on an Iowa team that is a run oriented offense–he had 78 receptions for 1,269 yards and 12 touchdowns during his senior season. He isn’t a big splash pick, but is someone who could develop into a reliable third receiver/possession guy.
3.Coryell Judie (CB/Texas A&M) – Judie was placed in the first round in some mock drafts prior to his injury plagued 2011 season that saw him miss five games. At 5-11, 194-pounds, Judie has the size and speed to play man or zone, but isn’t a very polished player. With Asante Samuel’s future in doubt, the Eagles need cornerback depth. Judie is also an intriguing prospects because of his ability to return kicks and punts. He’s a player that could come in right away and play in nickel packages while gaining experience to start in the future.
4. Keenan Robinson (OLB/Texas) – He’s a good athlete who didn’t live up to his potential at Texas. But Robinson is a player that could find his way in the pros. At 6-3, 240-pound Robinson plays faster than his 4.7 40-yard dash suggests. He’s long and plays well in coverage. However, he needs a lot of seasoning. Robinson is a big hit kind of guy, but is prone to missing easier tackles. He also needs to learn how to navigate through traffic more efficiently. He has the potential to be a quality starting OLB in the right situation. He can also contribute immediately on special teams.
5.Janzen Jackson (S/McNeese State)- Vontaze Burfict has gotten a lot of headlines for being someone who killed his draft stock because he doesn’t play under control. And deservedly so, but perhaps more disappointing is that Burfict’s workout numbers were disappointing, too. Jackson is in the same boat mentally with Burfict, but he is a still a physical force on the field. He was an All-SEC performer during his two years at Tennessee before getting booted from the team for legal issues. For a safety, he’s on the small side at 5-11, 190-pounds, but can really lay a hit. He’s also a ball-hawk who can go get the football. As is the case with most late round prospects, he needs to be coached up. But new Eagles secondary coach Todd Bowles should be up to the challenge. He has to tackle with consistency and stay within himself. He could be a boom or bust player, but keep in mind the Eagles need to add some bodies at safety. Using two second round picks in the past two drafts on safeties means the team will probably wait until the later rounds to address the need. Adding Jackson, who has the versatility to also play nickel corner, would fit well with what the Eagles like to do.