On Thursday, Eagles GM Howie Roseman spent almost an hour talking with reporters. As he has done in the past, Roseman may have dropped a few hints about who the Eagles may be targeting in next week's draft. Let's start with the CB position.
While answering a question about the difficulty of scouting college wide receivers, Roseman likely revealed what the Eagles value in their corners.
"I think it is harder (to evaluate receivers than other positions), said Roseman, "because when you look back at the history of receivers drafted high, the success rate at that position is lower than other positions. The primary reason is one, with the advent of the spread offense, most of the time, your 3rd receiver is going to be better than their 3rd cornerback, so there's not enough defensive backs to cover these guys, and so what defensive coordinators in college football are doing is they're playing softer, so you're not seeing a lot of press coverage. You don't see a lot of the challenging they get in the NFL. That's the hardest thing to project, is how they'll get off the line of scrimmage against press coverage when he's going against a 5'8, 180 pound guy. Now he's got to get up against a 6'0, 205 pound guy with 34 inch arms."
Two takeaways here:
• Did Howie drop a hint that they are not going WR in the first round, by saying that the history of WRs taken in the first round is not good?
• Based on the Eagles' acquisitions of Cary Williams (6'1), Bradley Fletcher (6'0), and Nolan Carroll (6'1), we already know that the Eagles prefer long corners. Roseman seemed to have reiterated the measurables they prefer in their CBs when he used the example of the 6'0, 205 CB with 34" arms as a player who is difficult to defeat in press coverage.
In looking at CBs in this draft that fit something close to that profile, a few CBs stood out:
• Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State: 6'0, 202 lbs, 33 1/8" arms - Not only does Gilbert have ideal size, he ran a 4.35 40 at the Combine. Gilbert will probably be gone by the time the Eagles pick in the 1st round.
• Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech: 6'0, 190 lbs, 32 7/8" arms - Fuller was our 1st round pick in Mock Draft 3.0 earlier this week.
• Pierre Desir, Lindenwood: 6'1, 198 lbs, 33" arms - Competed at the Senior Bowl, and played well. Interesting name. I'd be surprised if the Eagles didnt have interest. Projects as a 3rd round pick, possibly 2nd round.
• Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska: 6'3, 218, 32 3/8" arms - Big player, but doesn't always play to his size. 3rd/4th round guy.
• Keith McGill, Utah: 6'3, 211, 33 1/8" arms - Enormous CB, but poor movement skills will likely prompt a move to safety at the next level.
Fuller and Desir seem like the most probable targets of the players above, and I'll throw out one more name. Ohio State's Bradley Roby is 5'11, 194, with 31 1/2" arms, but he ran a 4.39 40 (4th best in this CB class), a 1.47 10-yard split (best among this CB class), and he has 10 1/4" hands (best among this CB class). He's also a very physical player.
From a measurables perspective, those are the types of corners Roseman hinted that the Eagles like.