By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor
The Eagles will have to get it right with their first round pick this year, since they pick last and have no second or third round picks to fall back on.
With the draft drawing closer, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will profile the prospects that are on the Eagles radar ahead of draft day each week leading up to the NFL draft.
Rashaan Evans | ILB | Alabama | Projected Round 1
Measureables: 6'3", 234 lbs, , no 40yd dash, no bench press, 30.0" vertical
Rashaan Evans fits the modern archetype of inside linebackers. It also does not hurt that he comes from a school that has produced good NFL linebackers like Dont'a Hightower, Courtney Upshaw, and C.J. Moseley.
Evans offers a skill set that would allow to fit in multiple linebacker schemes. He combines athleticism and strength that can allow him to be a legitimiate factor at the position, but the nature of Alabama to have players sit a while before getting to start has stunted Evans's development in terms of his ability to diagnose because he has not gotten as much game action as some other linebacker prospects.
Despite the stunt in growth, Evans showed that he is a fast learner. "He made a lot of progress as an inside backer from last year to this. He was more instinctive and a lot more natural," said an AFC scout.
Evans had a formal meeting with the Eagles at the draft combine.
Will Hernandez | G | UTEP | Projected Rounds 1-2
Measureables: 6'2", 348 lbs, 5.15 40yd dash, 37 reps on bench press, 24.0" vertical
There is a lot to like about UTEP's Will Hernandez. Hernandez started all four years at UTEP and never missed a game. The left guard is great in the run game. He is able to drive opponents off the line of scrimmage and has enough agility to get out and pull for ball carriers. He is also technically sound in pass protection.
The issue with Hernandez is not production or technique, because they are about as good as it gets. The only real knock in Hernandez is his size. He has a massive body, but his height and length are below what scouts generally want in a guard, although his ability may outweigh those concerns.
"He's exactly what you are looking for in terms of his work ethic and how much he loves the game. He will clique instantly in the offensive line room and he will be one of the strongest and toughest guys on the team as soon as he makes the roster. The only thing that scares me are those short arms," said an NFC scout.
Hernandez has not been contacted by the Eagles at this time, but if the team wants to add a better depth option than Isaac Seumalo or Chance Warmack at guard – Hernandez makes sense. Without Stefen Wisniewski last season the Eagles saw a significant drop off in offensive line play at the left guard spot and Hernandez would put that to a halt.
James Washington | WR | Oklahoma State | Projected Round 2
Measureables: 5'11", 255 lbs, 4.54 40yd dash, 14 reps on bench press, 34.5" vertical
James Washington could make a lot of sense for the Eagles at 32nd overall.
With the team's field stretcher gone in Torrey Smith, Washington would bring his 20-yard-per-catch average from Oklahoma State and become a dangerous weapon for Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson to play with.
Wahsington – along with Mason Rudolph – drew the national eye to Oklahoma State because of their great chemistry that has made them both into top prospects at their respective positions. Washington is interesting because he looks like a running back physically, but his talent as a receiver is undeniable, with over 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons. He also scored 32 touchdowns over that span.
As explosive as Washington is, he worked mostly down the field at the Oklahoma State and is limited in his route tree. Washington will need to develop a bit on short and intermediate routes to become a complete wide receiver, but he has the ability to step in right away and be a player that stretches out a defense.
"He doesn't look a receiver and he doesn't run routes like a receiver but then you see him get open deep and make all those explosive plays and you know exactly what he does for an offense," said an assistant coach in the Big 12 conference.
The Eagles had an informal meeting with Washington at the draft combine, and he was mocked to the Eagles in CBS Sports most recent mock draft.