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Plenty of Eagles options at Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Ala. - Doug Pederson and the Eagles have several weeks before they have to make a decision on Sam Bradford. They could sign the quarterback to a long-term contract, place their franchise or transition tag on him or let the 28-year old walk in free agency.

North Dakota State's Carson Wentz is said to be the best pro QB prospect in Mobile, Ala., this week.
North Dakota State's Carson Wentz is said to be the best pro QB prospect in Mobile, Ala., this week.Read moreRICK BOWMER / AP

MOBILE, Ala. - Doug Pederson and the Eagles have several weeks before they have to make a decision on Sam Bradford. They could sign the quarterback to a long-term contract, place their franchise or transition tag on him or let the 28-year old walk in free agency.

If they chose to not bring Bradford back - and right now that would come as a surprise - it would be a clear indication that they intend to expend a high draft selection on a quarterback. There is only one prospect at this week's Senior Bowl practices that merits mention as a possible first-round draft pick: Carson Wentz.

Pederson, Howie Roseman and the entire Eagles coaching and scouting staffs will be here this week for Senior Bowl practices, and if they have already elected to go the draft route, every possible eyeball will be on the North Dakota State senior.

Of the other first-round caliber quarterbacks, juniors Jared Goff of California and Paxton Lynch of Memphis won't be here. Michigan State's Connor Cook is a senior, but he elected to skip the event, which has both elevated and exposed various prospects over the years.

The Eagles, since Roseman became general manager in 2010, have drafted more Senior Bowl participants than any other team. Brandon Graham, Danny Watkins and Lane Johnson are three alumni who went on to be chosen by the team in the first round.

Pederson, officially named and introduced as the Eagles' new head coach last week, will be joined by defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, offensive coordinator Frank Reich and the rest of his coaching staff. He still has yet to hire a defensive line coach and could settle on one this week.

Roseman returns after missing the Senior Bowl last year. The vice president of football operations was muscled out of football operations last January, but he is back in the saddle. Owner Jeffrey Lurie wouldn't define Roseman's role until a new "personnel head" was hired, but it is unlikely he'll find anyone that will have more clout than his first lieutenant.

Draft preparations have been underway for months, though, and Roseman and his staff will have to tinker with their evaluations based on Pederson's schematic preferences. Kelly had specific requirements for positions based on size and speed, and he was a hard-liner when it came to character.

The Eagles previously had parameters, of course, but seemed to allow for more flexibility. It's unclear exactly what they would be looking for in a quarterback. Wentz has a traditional skill set. He's big (6-foot-6, 235 pounds), has a strong arm and moves fairly well in the pocket for his size. There are accuracy concerns.

The Eagles could opt to bring Bradford back and draft a developmental type to groom. Of the quarterbacks here, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott (6-2, 230) has the most upside. He's steadily improved as a passer and has the athleticism more NFL evaluators covet.

It's almost a foregone conclusion that the Eagles will draft an offensive lineman. They haven't taken one since Johnson in 2013. The top tackles aren't here, but there are a slew of second- and third-round talents. The Eagles may need to start thinking about their post-Jason Peters plans.

Jason Spriggs of Indiana (6-7, 305) is explosive. Like Johnson, he's a former tight end. Vadal Alexander of LSU (6-6, 329) played both tackle and guard in college. Kyle Murphy (6-7, 301) moved to left tackle last year and anchored Stanford's line.

The Eagles were burned the last time they took a college tackle in the first round and moved him to guard (read: Watkins). Spencer Drango (6-6, 310) is also a Baylor product, but he's probably more of a mid-round pick. Kansas State's Cody Whitehair (6-4, 305) may be the best guard prospect in the draft.

You can never have enough talent on the defensive line, and with the Eagles' likely move back to a 4-3 front, they could be looking to add bodies, especially on the edges. Drugs forced Noah Spence (6-3, 261) out of Ohio State, but the Eastern Kentucky product appears to have left his problems in the past.

Carl Nassib (6-6, 270) of Penn State is long and still relatively raw. BYU's Bronson Kaufusi (6-7, 265) is similarly built. He played all along the Cougars' 3-4 front but could be project as a 4-3 edge rusher.

The Eagles already have Fletcher Cox and Bennie Logan up the middle, but Jarran Reed of Alabama (6-4, 313) would be hard to pass if he fell into the second round.

As for defensive backs, William Jackson (6-1, 185) of Houston and Maurice Canady (6-2, 195) of Virginia are second-day options. They're long cornerbacks, like Kelly preferred, but Roseman had already been emphasizing range in the secondary.

Depending upon free agent Walter Thurmond's future, the Eagles could be looking for a safety in the early rounds. Duke's Jeremy Cash (6-2, 210) and Boise State's Darian Thompson (6-2, 212) are considered the best strong and free safeties in this class.

Braxton Miller may be the best athlete here. The former Ohio State quarterback made the switch to wide receiver, but he could play a variety of positions. The Eagles locked up tight end Zach Ertz long-term on Monday, but if Brent Celek's days are numbered, East Carolina's Bryce Williams (6-6, 260) could be on their radar on Day 2 or 3.

jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane

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