This year’s draft class has been widely noted to be one of the deepest classes in recent memory, largely due to a record number of underclassmen declaring for the draft. This means that the pool of undrafted free agents (UDFAs) will also likely be more talented than it ever has been.
Signing quality UDFAs is just as important as the draft itself; last year’s Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks had 21 players, out of the 53 on their roster, that were previously undrafted. While we don’t yet know how the draft will fall, let’s take at some of the prospects the Eagles could sign if they fall out of the late rounds of the draft.
South Florida running back Ryan Eppes has the look of a bruiser who could potentially be used in short yardage situations. Standing at 6’1″232 pounds, Eppes definitely has the size to do so. The Eagles don’t currently have a back who can enter the game in short yardage situations and bully his way to one or two yard gains, as evidenced by the numerous 4th-and-short situations that they couldn’t convert last year. Eppes could potentially make the team as the 3rd running back and the number 1 goal line back if need be.
Boise State wide receiver Aaron Burks hails from a run-heavy offense, so his production wasn’t high enough to really get him noticed in college. However, at 6’3″, he has the size that Eagles head coach Chip Kelly covets at the position. Burks is someone who could get signed to compete for a spot on the roster based on size alone. He also ran a hand-timed 4.4 40-yard dash at his pro-day.
Hawaii defensive end Tavita Woodward projects to be a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, as he’s only 250 pounds. However, he does have some pass-rushing abilities, as evidenced by his 5.5 sacks in 2012. He would likely need some work in coverage, and would never be an elite pass-rusher, but he could definitely be a contributor on a team that desperately needs depth at outside linebacker.
Memphis free safety Lonnie Ballentine is probably my favorite late-round player in terms of being a fit for the Eagles. He has tremendous size for the position (6’3″ 220 lbs) and is very fast, posting times of 4.3 and 4.4 in the 40-yard dash at his pro day. He also has a decent amount of experience, garnering substantial playing time all 4 years and starting for 3 of them.
Lastly, Washington State kicker Andrew Furney is worth looking at, if only to give current Eagles kicker Alex Henery a little competition in training camp. After a rather lackluster season, it looks like Henery is replaceable. The Eagles didn’t pursue any veterans in free agency, so they’re either comfortable going into next season with Henery as the unquestioned starter, or they’re confident that they can find a rookie to compete for the job. Furney posted decent numbers at Washington State, but showed off his leg at his pro-day, making several 60+ yard kicks and showing decent accuracy.
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Tags: Philadelphia Eagles