By Ari McCoy ’17
The City of Brotherly Love has not been feeling much love lately. The team has slowly been falling, from division winner to a below .500 team to a rebuilding franchise. After a bottoming out year, Philly is trying to return to the spotlight. After hiring Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator last offseason, the team is continuing to supplement the defense.
|3||Rasul Douglas||CB||West Virginia|
|4||Mack Hollins||WR||North Carolina|
|4||Donnel Pumphrey||RB||San Diego State|
|5||Shelton Gibson||WR||West Virginia|
Barnett and and Jones could both be day one starters (as soon as Jones gets healthy). Barnett was the most polished defensive lineman in the draft and had the stats to back it up, as the Vols all-time sack leader. Jones was considered a top 15 talent who fell after tearing his achilles at his pro day. Jones can start on the outside and has both ideal size and speed to go along with strong man coverage skills.
While they wait for Jones to recover, Rasul Douglas could play a huge role for Philly as a large corner who thrives in man coverage. At 6’2” and 209 lbs, the WVU corner could see a ton of snaps for the size deprived group of DBs.
Hollins is an intriguing size/speed guy, at 6’4” with a 40 yard dash at 4.53 seconds. He’ll contribute on special teams while remaining a depth player and deep ball threat.
Pumphrey has a wide open shot for a starting job, as expected starter Ryan Mathews is to be released upon passing his physical. The SDSU running back was the top FBS rusher in history, amassing over 6,000 career yards from scrimmage. While he’s only 180 lbs, Pumphrey has carried the ball over 300 times in each of the past two seasons, proving his durability.
Gibson is a true burner, averaging over 23 yards per catch over his past three seasons at WVU. While he isn’t a lock to make the roster, he’ll have a shot if he can prove to be useful on special teams.
While he was a college safety, Jim Schwartz appears to be converting Sherry to a linebacker. At only 218 lbs, he’ll need to bulk up if he makes the team. He’ll start out as a special teams player, but may be able to make a difference in sub packages as he develops.
Qualis has a good chance to make the team, unusual for a sixth rounder. An athletic, powerful defensive tackle, he may be able to join the rotation featuring Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan and Beau Allen in Schwartz’s rotating defense.
The Eagles are fighting to get out of the NFC East basement. With a rebuilding but not too far off team like they have, Philly went for the correct approach, acquiring high upside players who can also contribute in the short term. If these players can develop as projected, the Eagles will be a playoff contender sooner than expected.