Continuing our our pre-draft series, we continue to take a look at players the Philadelphia Eagles may consider selecting at some point during the 2017 NFL Draft. While these players may not all be first round quality, this series will look at players across all the rounds that the Philadelphia Eagles could select during the draft process.
Moving on from the potential day three selection of Jeremy McNichols, today, we take a look at a player that could end up being one of the Eagles two day two picks this year. Looking for someone to play across from Graham on the defensive line, Philadelphia could look to add Illinois defensive end Dawuane Smoot.
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Possessing both solid weight and size for the defensive end position, Dawuane Smoot has transformed himself into one of the better physical specimens in all of college football. At one time, Smoot was even a hurdler that participated at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics. Given that athletic ability still remains, Smoot may be the most athletic defensive end in this draft class.
A two-year starter for the Fighting Illini, Smoot took some massive steps in the last two seasons once he became a starter. Also elected as one of the team captains heading into his senior season, Smoot has all the physical traits and experience needed to make an impact at the NFL level without much development.
A motor that few will match at even the NFL level. Will pursue players all across the field. Strong burst when closing to get right in the face of quarterbacks and running backs. Nimble on his feet and also extremely agile due to his days at a hurdler. Works to get ahead of potential blocks while also cutting nicely around the edge.
Knife’s through the offensive line and able to stop the ball carrier at or behind the line of scrimmage. Turns his speed into all out power when he has an open lane. Lateral quickness to get around the edge. Can turn on a dime and change his body placement instantly. Swipes at the ball and has a history of forcing fumbles. Also played under former NFL head coach Lovie Smith in 2016.
Must improve his overall skill level to compete at the next level. Needs to be more consistent with hand usage and placement when pass rushing. Has issues making snug turn around the edge. Acts before thinking about what his plan of attack will be on the pass rush. Has few counter moves to try and get off potential blockers.
Struggles when it comes to setting and edge and also has been shown to be moved by inferior athletes. Will struggle against the bigger tackles at the NFL level. Doesn’t have many wins in man-to-man situations on the pass rush. Smaller hands than what is expected could lead to some block shedding issues down the line.
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