What a week it's been at the 2020 NFL combine. It began with Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson providing a glimpse into the team's vision for the upcoming years (story here). We got to see the team meet with the top receivers in the draft, and how well they performed in the combine drills. With the combine wrapped up, now is a good time to recap the news from the week, what players over-performed vs under-performed, and where the Eagles stand moving into free agency.
Newsworthy Notes from the Week
Short and Long-Term Vision for the Eagles
Howie and Doug were both asked about how the team plans on filling holes left by veteran players, specifically Jason Peters. Both could not commit to letting JP walk in free agency, confirming that they are still in the evaluation process. Just a short month or two ago - Pederson gave the same outlook on the late offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Carson Welch. While the Eagles may have just been giving lip service, who knows what they plan on doing with JP.
Expect the Eagles to be players in free agency. While they are not expected to go "Dream Team" again, it is safe to expect maybe a Byron Jones and a signing of a young upcoming linebacker like Nick Kwiatkowski from Chicago. Roseman mentioned a youth movement, rather than attempting to sign undervalued vets for a year or two.
Potential Trade Up in Draft?
The Eagles are projected to have 10 draft picks in this year's class - seven in the first four rounds alone. With that type of capital, the Eagles have the potential to move up in the first, or even to trade back into the first round in order to secure "their guy". Knowing Howie - keep an eye out for a draft-day trade or two from the birds.
The combine is a good chance for certain guys to improve their draft stock. It can also hurt a fringe guy who may have had question marks around his game. Let's take a look at how the prospects that the Eagles have interest in helped or hurt their draft stock over the weekend.
Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
The LSU wideout was a fringe first-rounder heading into the weekend. After his performance, he was able to cement himself as a first-round talent. Jefferson displayed his elite hands, but was not expected to run a sub 4.5 40-yard dash. He ended up running a 4.44 40-yard dash, one of the biggest surprises.
Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
Claypool has been implored to make the transition to tight end at the NFL level. His 6'4 238 lb frame lends itself well to making that transition. However, Claypool also ran the 40 well, clocking a 4.42 40-yard dash time. He also jumped out of the stadium with a 40.5 inch vertical jump. Another NFL great wideout had similar measurables while putting up those athletic numbers - Calvin Johnson.
A.J Espenesa, DE, Iowa
Espenesa was not known to be elite athletically, but was more successful using brute force. He had great production in college while using his strength and hands. He had a slow 40-yard dash time, and was stiff in the 3 cone drill. This may hurt his draft stock heading into April.
Jalen Raegor, WR, TCU
Raegor plays with elite athleticism and is well known for his speed. That speed did not translate well to the 40-yard dash. Raegor still ran a 4.47 second 40-yard dash, which is very fast, but most were expecting a low 4.3 or even a 4.2 second 40-yard dash. Raegor is still going to go in the first round, but rather than cementing himself as a potential top 20 pick - he may slide into the late 20's.
With the Combine all but wrapped up, it's time to direct our focus to free agency. With just two weeks until teams can begin "tampering" - Eagles fans are eager to see what Howie and company do to improve the team. Once we see how they go about free agency, we will have a better idea of who the team will target come draft time.