Eagles Announce 16-player UDFA Class Headlined By Tavarres, Green
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — With the team's rookie minicamp set to open on May 13, the Eagles officially announced their 16-player undrafted free agent class on Thursday.
The big fish were San Diego State offensive guard Darrell Greene and Incarnate Word linebacker Myke Tavarres, who both got significantly more money than the average undrafted player.
The Eagles interest in Tavarres was well known and he scored a private workout with the team before the draft. He is a Division I talent who started his college career in junior college before moving to the SEC at Arkansas, and then finishing at Incarnate Word, a private Catholic university in San Antonio where he was named Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year. With the Eagles' depth problems at linebacker, it would almost be a surprise if Tavarres didn't make the team at this point.
Green faces a much tougher numbers game on the offensive line as the Eagles drafted two players -- Isaac Seumalo and Halapoulivaati Vaitai -- as well as bringing in free agents Brandon Brooks and Stefen Wisniewski. Nonetheless, Green is a big powerful road-grader type at 6-foot-3 and 320, who can really move people off the line of scrimmage and should be earmarked for the practice squad after the financial commitment the Eagles have him.
The Eagles also agreed to terms with wide receivers Cayleb Jones of Arizona, Hunter Sharp of Utah State, Marcus Johnson of Texas Paul Turner of Louisiana Tech and Byron Marshall of Oregon, running back Cedric O’Neal of Valdosta State, LSU tight end Dillon Gordon and Maine center Bruce Johnson.
The other defensive players coming in are linebackers Quentin Gause of Rutgers, defensive linemen Connor Wujciak of Boston College, Aziz Shittu of Stanford and Destiny Vaeao of Washington State and cornerback C.J. Smith, a Carson Wentz teammate at North Dakota State. Meanwhile, West Virginia long snapper John DePalma is another addition.
Jones and Marshall were the biggest names from the offensive group while the defensive line trio of Wujciak, Shittu and Vaeao could make noise on that side of the ball.
A draftable player who got a somewhat significant $10,000 signing bonus, as well as $15K guaranteed in base salary, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jones is the son of former NFL linebacker Robert Jones, and originally went to Texas before a charge of felon aggravated assault after hitting and breaking the jaw of a UT tennis player sent him looking for a fresh start. After the charges were reduced, Jones landed in Tucson and was Arizona’s top receiver the past two seasons, capturing honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors after a 55-catch, 904-yard performance last season.
The dynamic Marshall, 5-9, 201, played both running back and receiver in Eugene, excelling at both. He ran for over 1,000 yards in 2013 and then cracked 1,000 in receiving yardage the next year. However, he played in just four games last season due to a leg injury, snaring nine receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns.
Wujciak is a part of a college football dynasty. His brother Alex was a three-time All-ACC linebacker at Maryland and his father, Alan, played on the offensive line on Notre Dame’s 1973 national championship team. The younger Wujiack was first-team All-ACC last season after tallying 12 tackles for loss and 4 1/2 sacks.
Shittu, a 6-3, 279-pounder, was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection in 2015 with the Cardinal, amassing four sacks and 14 tackles for loss while Vaeao was named second team All-PAC-12 after piling up 40 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks in 2015.
As for the others signed, Sharp, 5-11, 198 pound WR, is a cousin of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson and was an honorable mention All-Mountain West selection in 2014, catching 66 balls for 939 yards and seven scores, four of which were longer than 70 yards. Last season Sharp was suspended for two games but returned to be a second-team All-Mountain West performer with 71 receptions for 839 yards and nine TDs.
Johnson played in 10 games for the Longhorns last season with seven starts, finishing third on the team with 12 receptions for 130 yards and one TD while Turner, a 5-11 slot option, started his career at LSU before transferring to the smaller stage.
O’Neal was an All-Gulf South Conference selection who led the conference with 17 touchdowns last season. He also holds school records for career rushing touchdowns and rushing yardage with 4,145 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Gordon, 6-4, 295, is a king-sized tight end who was a three-year starter for the Tigers before injury sidelined him for all but three games of his senior season.
Johnson was the anchor of the Maine offensive line for three seasons and won the Rimington Award as the best center in the FCS Division.
On defense, Gause was a captain at Rutgers and honorable mention All-Big Ten after recording 96 tackles his senior season.
DePalma, meanwhile, reportedly got a $10,500 signing bonus and $15K of extra guaranteed money to compete with Jon Dorenbos, who slipped a bit last season.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen