The back half of April means the Philadelphia Eagles and every other NFL team should be putting the finishing touches on their draft strategy. They’ve been to the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine. They’ve hung out at Pro Days and invited prospects to the NovaCare Complex as that allowed them to get an up-close and personal look at some of the guys that will hear their names called at various points of the selection meeting.
Here’s a statement that arrives a few blocks past the ‘obvious’ landmark. The Georgia Bulldogs will see quite a few of the stars of their College Football Playoff National Championship-winning team taken. Some of those guys have been linked to the Eagles in one discussion or another, but it appears there’s a name we can remove from their big board altogether, the one belonging to Devonte Wyatt. Rumor has it that several teams have removed him from their boards already.
According to Charlie Campbell of WalterFootball.com, he’s been told by several sources that multiple teams haven’t just dropped him on their draft boards. They’ve removed him from their big board entirely citing character concerns as the main reason for that being the case.
One AFC general manager put it this way in speaking to Campbell:
"He’s off (of) our board. If teams are okay with the character, I think he goes between No. 21 and 32. He has a lot of red flags."
The Eagles’ possible interest in Devonte Wyatt is hard to determine.
Early on, there was a huge Eagles contingent that had their hearts set on the possible selection of Wyatt’s former teammate Nakobe Dean. Much has changed since then. The Eagles no longer have three first-round draft choices, and that age-old narrative has returned to the forefront.
There’s no way Philly intends to take a linebacker in Round 1, right?
Recent history has shown a tendency for Philly to concentrate on the interior of the defensive line whenever they begin the process of roster-building, and recently, we’ve seen several more mock drafts explore the theory of sending Wyatt’s teammate and fellow defensive tackle Jordan Davis to the Birds at 15 or 18.
There’s no guarantee that Wyatt and Dean were at the top of Philadelphia’s wish list. They’ve been discussed in great detail though for several reasons.
One, the general consensus has been the Eagles’ more pressing needs lie in other areas on the roster. Second, if defensive tackle would be Philly’s play in the middle portion of Round 1, Wyatt may have the better all-around skill set of the two.
On their big board, Pro Football Focus ranks Wyatt as the top defensive tackle on their board. Jordan Davis is ranked as their second. They have overall grades of 17 and 20 respectively, but as things stand right now, it appears there’s a chance that Wyatt’s dreams of playing professional football could stall before he has a legitimate shot at getting his feet wet.