Three Senior Bowl prospects to follow that would fit the Eagles needs
With the 2021 Scouting Combine officially cancelled, the Senior Bowl provides prospects one final opportunity to showcase their skills and raise their draft stock. For scouts, it’s one final chance to find a potential diamond in the rough in the later rounds of the draft. With practices starting on Tuesday and the official game set for Saturday, here are three prospects the Eagles might keep an eye on in Mobile, Alabama.
WR Kadarius Toney, Florida | 6-0, 193 pounds
Assuming the Eagles go with a defensive player with their sixth overall pick, there should be some interesting wide receiver prospects to choose from on Day Two. One name that has been rising up draft boards throughout the 2020 season is Florida’s Kadarius Toney, who will be playing back in his hometown for Senior Bowl week .
As a former high school quarterback, Toney became a dynamic offensive weapon for the Gators playing everything from running back to wildcat quarterback to special teams ace as a returner on kickoffs/punts. During his senior year Kadarius would flourish as a slot wide receiver, leading the team in both receptions (70) and receiving yards (984) despite splitting targets with Kyle Pitts, the top tight end prospect in this year’s draft.
The phrase “human joystick” gets tossed around frequently but it perfectly describes Toney’s game. He’s not the most polished route runner coming out of college, but get him the ball with room to operate and watch defender’s ankles get taken. His 39% forced missed tackle rate was the highest in all of college football in 2020. When he’s not juking out defenders, Toney invites physicality at the point of contact and grinds out extra yards by constantly churning his legs to break free from would-be tacklers. With a solid Senior Bowl week the former Gators’ wideout could raise his draft stock even higher into the first round. But if he somehow falls to Day 2, Kadarius Toney would be an absolute steal for the Eagles.
RB Michael Carter, North Carolina | 5-8, 199 pounds
Despite splitting snaps with Javonte Williams, Michael Carter ended his senior season posting an absurd 8.0 yards per carry, ranking 1st in the nation among running backs with 100+ attempts. On top of that, the former Florida Player of the Year finished as the 4th leading rusher in the nation with nearly 100 less carries than the other top backs. Carter is a very patient runner who utilizes his vision and jump cuts to explode through running lanes. Even with his smaller frame, Carter displays great contact balance and his short choppy strides allow him to cut on a dime in space as well as reach top speed with relative ease.
New head coach Nick Sirianni’s offensive philosophy places a focal point on utilizing running backs to create mismatches in the passing game. Although his teammate Javonte Williams put up better receiving numbers, Carter might be the better fit to excel in that role. He’s a natural pass catcher with above-average hands for a running back, only dropping two passes on 54 targets during his last two seasons. Carter mostly ran swing or angle routes for the Tar Heels but his lateral quickness will help him expand on his route tree at the next level. Colts running back Nyheim Hines (5-9, 196 pounds) has flourished as a receiving threat since joining Frank Reich and Sirianni. UNC’s Michael Carter could be someone to fill that role in the mid-later rounds of the draft.
S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State | 6-4, 220 pounds
Hamsah Nasirildeen is one of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s NFL Draft. His combination of athleticism, size, speed, and physicality made him a truly positionless defender for the Seminoles, similar to Isaiah Simmons last year. Now he’s not nearly the same dynamic playmaker as Simmons, but coaches at Florida State used his unique skillset to neutralize tight ends, play as the overhang safety, cover running backs out of the backfield, and line up in the box to thump runs. Nasirildeen battled back from an unfortunate ACL tear late in the 2019 season and wound up playing two games for the Seminoles in 2020. In his final collegiate action against Duke, the do-it-all defender recorded a team-high nine tackles, one tackle for loss, one pass breakup, and one interception.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see where teams potentially place this versatile defender into their system. He’s a more reactionary defensive back and doesn’t quite have the top end speed that would translate to playing safety in the NFL. To me, Hamsah is a very promising prospect at off-ball linebacker, a position at which the Eagles are sorely lacking. The 6-4 defender uses his lengthy arms to keep blockers at bay when defending the run and is a sure-fire tackler in space with only 22 misses on 233 attempts in his collegiate career. During his breakout 2019 campaign, he was Florida State’s highest graded coverage defender and their third highest graded defender against the run (according to PFF). Senior Bowl Week offers Hamsah a terrific opportunity to quiet the doubters regarding the health of his knee and to further establish himself as a top defensive player in this year’s draft class.
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