Five Eagles Rookies Who Could Make an Impact This Year
Early in the draft, teams are trying to find guys who can play right away. With the Eagles taking quarterback Carson Wentz No. 2 overall, you can pretty much count out the Eagles first round playing right away this season.
Last year's rookie class had some contributions, but not a huge impact.
Linebacker Jordan hicks was brilliant, the Eagles third-round pick, No. 84th overall, was a much-criticized draft choice but was performing at an extremely high level before he was placed on the injured reserve list with a torn pectoral muscle, ending his season.
First round pick Nelson Agholor and second rounder Eric Rowe both played, but made very little impact last season - both will be looked to add to their roles this season.
Hopefully this year's draft class with have a more immediate impact even without their first round pick adding much, if any, production this season.
Here’s a look at the five rookies who are most likely to earn a starting job in Week 1:
1. Isaac Seumalo, OL, Oregon State: Seumalo should battle veterans Allen Barbre and free agent addition Stefen Wisniewski to be the starter at left guard. I think the Eagles took Seimalo, who could play center down the road, to win the left guard spot this season and allow Barbre to go back to being a swing player.
2. Wendell Smallwood, RB, West Virginia: The No. 153 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft was the Big XII rushing champion in 2015. He is a guy who is very well versed at running between the tackles and catching the ball out-of-the-backfield. His 2,462 yards, 68 receptions and 12 touchdowns show just how productive he as and his breakaway speed, running a 4.47 40-yard time at the combine should get him plenty of playing time with Darren Sproles and oft-injured starter Ryan Mathews in front of him right now.
3. Jalen Mills, S, LSU: The seventh round pick was picked at the 233rd overall pick, but many had him rated higher. Scott Wright of Draftcountdown.com had him ranked as his 63rd best player in the draft, a second round grade. Off-the-field issues played a role, but there is no doubt he has talent. Mills played both safety and nickel back at LSU, and I can see him getting plenty of time as the Eagles top nickle back.
4. Blake Countess, CB, Auburn: If Mills doesn't get the starting nod as the nickle corner Countess might. He is the type of corner who will come up and play the run and is a good tackler, an underrated skill for a slot corner. He has true slot experience, which could give him an advantage over many corners coming into the league who have played more on the outside.
5. Alex McCalister, DE, Florida: A freak athlete, McCalister started just six college games but had eye-popping numbers, piling up 18.5 career tackles for loss, 15.5 sacks, six interceptions and seven forced fumbles. The 6-foot-6, 239-pounder is a raw, and was dismissed from the Gators prior to their Citrus Bowl game, but he could end up being a pass rushing specialist that enters the game on passing situations, similar to Vinny Curry the past few seasons.