Eagles Sign Five Draft Picks
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — The Eagles have signed five of their draft picks, agreeing to terms on four-year contracts with third-day picks, running back Wendell Smallwood, defensive back Blake Countess, safety Jalen Mills, defensive end Alex McCalister, and linebacker Joe Walker.
Smallwood, the 153rd overall pick in the fifth round, is a Wilmington native who played collegiately at West Virginia where he was named WVU’s offensive player of the year while being named second-team All-Big 12 honors after rushing for a career-high 1,519 yards.
"I think what you’re looking for is vision, you’re looking for explosiveness through the hole, decisiveness and toughness. There was a lot of love for this player in our draft room," Eagles executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman said of Smallwood.
Countess, the team's sixth-round pick, who played at Michigan before making a graduate transfer to Auburn last season, is a versatile player who toiled at both cornerback and safety with the Tigers a season ago where he compiled a career-high 71 tackles, two interceptions and 11 passes defended.
"Coach Will Muschamp, who was defensive coordinator at Auburn this year, thinks he was not only one of the best players on defense, but one of the best players on the team," Roseman said. "...Phenomenal character kid and somebody that we had really kind of earmarked."
Mills, McCalister and Walker, meanwhile, were all seventh-round selections.
Mills, a four-year starter at LSU, Played in only seven games as a senior after breaking his ankle in the preseason but was still a first-team All-America selection by CBS Sports after finishing the season with 30 tackles, one sack and three pass breakups
"He’s very bright," Roseman said. "I think safety is certainly a place he can play. He can also play in coverage. You’re looking at a guy who can line up in the slot, or in a season where you get a guy nicked up, he can step up and play corner in a heart beat."
The lanky McCalister finished his career at the University of Florida with 52 tackles, 12 1/2 sacks and two forced fumbles, while Walker amassed 205 tackles, 17 tackles for loss and five sacks in 40 games (21 starts) at Oregon.
Quarterback Carson Wentz, the second overall pick, third-round selection Isaac Seumalo and fifth-round offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai are the only unsigned picks remaining.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen