Philadelphia Eagles Draft: Penn State University Pro Day Results

Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shane Simmons (34) and cornerback Zech McPhearson (14) enter the field before the 2017 Rose Bowl game against the USC Trojans at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 2, 2017; Pasadena, CA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions defensive end Shane Simmons (34) and cornerback Zech McPhearson (14) enter the field before the 2017 Rose Bowl game against the USC Trojans at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

For what were the Philadelphia Eagles looking at the Penn State Pro Day, and which players might fit the bill? We have the data and the analysis.

Scouts from about 20 NFL teams gathered at Holuba Hall in Happy Valley this past Thursday to watch the soon-to-be Nittany Lion alumni make their case for an NFL Draft selection and roster spot.

The Philadelphia Eagles had three members of their personnel department in attendance, which is a pretty significant number for a Pro Day. They did little to hide their interest in Chris Godwin, Garrett Sickels, and Malik Golden, requesting different performances and pulling players aside to chat. You can bet that Eagle scouts across the nation will attend many Pro Days over the next few weeks, doing exactly the same thing.

But that’s a concern for tomorrow. For now, here are the numbers, instant analysis, and projected rounds of each participant in the Penn State Pro Day.

Brandon Bell, LB:

  • 6’1, 229 lbs
  • Bench press: 15
  • Vertical jump: 32″
  • Broad jump: 9’6
  • 40-yard dash: 4.68s
  • Short shuttle: 4.32s
  • 3-cone: 7.16s

Instant reaction: Bell’s performance re-affirmed his tape. He flew around the field from a predominantly WILL alignment, showing nice closing speed and solid blitzing abilities. Inflexible hips give him poor change of direction, however, and make him a liability in coverage. He doesn’t have the size (229 lbs is low) to take on blockers with any consistency.

A short shuttle of 4.32 was a nice number, but the 3-cone and broad jump both worry me, regarding his explosiveness and quickness. Bell will no doubt find himself in a training camp, and must prove worth on special teams to have a shot making a roster. His long speed will help him there.

Projected round: Priority FA

DE Garrett Sickels

  • 6’4 254 lbs
  • Bench press: 20*
  • Vertical jump: 33″
  • Broad jump: 9’5
  • 40-yard dash: 4.81s
  • Short shuttle: 4.41s*
  • 3-cone: 7.21s*

*Numbers taken from NFL Combine.

Instant reaction: Sickels was a bit of a surprise declaration for the 2017 NFL Draft. In his interviews on Thursday, he spoke about how he wanted to declare if he felt he was ready, not if some advisory board thought he was.

Sickels plays with excellent hand technique and knows how to use his length well. I like his motor, but his quickness and explosiveness really worry me. He significantly improved his jumps from the Combine, but they still don’t blow me off the tape.

Projected Round: 4th

S Malik Golden

  • 6’1 201 lbs
  • Bench press: 16
  • Vertical jump: 35″
  • Broad jump: 10’5
  • 40-yard dash: 4.50s
  • Short shuttle: 4.14s
  • 3-cone: 7.16s

Instant reaction: If you’re asking about a player who improved his stock, Golden is the guy. On tape, Golden flashed with excellent run fits, nice instincts, and over-aggressive play at times. He wasn’t asked to cover too much as a true box safety, and when he did, he struggled.

While Golden’s coverage issues haven’t magically vanishes, his positional drills looked real nice. He changed direction really well and attacked the football in the air. His jumps both measure preferably amongst his peers in this loaded safety class, and his 40, short shuttle and 40 both cut the mustard. But that 7.16 3-cone worries me. Without improved quickness, Golden is forever destined to special-teams/fringe backup SS work.

Projected round: 6th

C/G Wendy Laurent

  • 6’2, 288 lbs
  • Bench press: 19
  • Vertical jump: 29″
  • Broad jump: 8’7
  • 40-yard dash: 5.43s
  • Short shuttle: 4.90s
  • 3-cone: 7.65s

Instant reaction: Given the lack of tape on Laurent, I didn’t know what to expect coming in. But none of these numbers give me much hope for promise. There isn’t enough explosiveness in that lower body, change of direction skills, or functional power up top to be an NFL offensive linemen.

Projected round: UDFA

C/G Brian Gaia

  • 6’3, 292 lbs
  • Bench press: 32
  • Vertical jump: 28″
  • Broad jump: 9’6
  • 40-yard dash: 5.19s
  • Short shuttle: 4.62s
  • 3-cone: 7.88s

Instant reaction: Read above. Gaia beat his old Nittany Lion teammate in some drills and lost to him in others. In the positional workouts, Gaia showed nicer set points and created more drive than Laurent, but Laurent’s hands looked much cleaner, and he played with far better leverage and balance.

Projected roundUDFA

DE Evan Schwan

  • 6’5, 261 lbs
  • Bench press: 19
  • Vertical jump: 31.5″
  • Broad jump: 10’1
  • 40-yard dash: 4.69s
  • Short shuttle: 4.46s
  • 3-cone: 7.33s

Instant reaction: If Golden jumped out for his numbers, Schwan jumped out for his positional work. In the above video of Sickels’ work, I eventually started including clips of Schwan for the quickness and violence with which he worked.

Clearly a long and fluid player, those jump scores are nice, and that 3-cone might be passable. Edge rushers are almost as valuable as quarterbacks in today’s NFL–even without any tape on Schwan, a team ought to gamble on his physical upside.

Projected round: 7th

LB Nyeem Wartman-White

  • 6’2, 245 lbs
  • Bench press: 17
  • Vertical jump: N/A
  • Broad jump: N/A
  • 40-yard dash: N/A
  • Short shuttle: N/A
  • 3-cone: N/A

Instant reaction: Wartman-White suffered three significant injuries over his Penn State career: a left PCL in 2012, a left ACL in 2015, and a right ACL in 2016. He could have pursued a sixth-year of eligibility after this season, but elected to declare instead. Ahead of schedule in his recovery, Nyeem said during interviews he would be ready for training camp in July.

A terribly tricky tape study given the lack of consistent film, Wartman-White shows strength at the point of attack with ideal size and nice burst. A limited participant in the positional drills, he changed direction better than expected, three months removed from surgery. Drafting him is unlikely, but fighting to get him on a roster isn’t.

Projected round: Priority FA

LS Tyler Yazujian

  • 5’11, 237 lbs
  • Bench press: 20
  • Vertical jump: 32″
  • Broad jump: 9′
  • 40-yard dash: 4.80s
  • Short shuttle: 4.37s
  • 3-cone: 7.50s

Instant reaction: Quick disclaimer: I have no idea how to scout long-snappers. GB pulled Yazujian over for a private workout and timed how long his snaps took to arrive to their location. It looked fast…and accurate. I really don’t know what else to tell you.

In the interviews, he was nice.

Projected round: Where do you draft a long-snapper? I don’t want to be disrespectful, but UDFA, right?

CB Jordan Smith

  • 5’11, 186 lbs
  • Bench press: 14
  • Vertical jump: 35.5″
  • Broad jump: 9’2
  • 40-yard dash: N/A
  • Short shuttle: 4.40s
  • 3-cone: 7.28s

Instant reactionJordan Smith did not impress. All of his numbers come in below the benchmarks for NFL level corners. 186 lbs and a 7.28 3-cone really concern me. A 9’2 broad is also less than ideal in a big way. He struggled to track the football and flip his hips during positional drills.

WR Chris Godwin

  • 6’1, 208 lbs
  • Bench press: 19
  • Vertical jump: 36″
  • Broad jump: 10’6
  • 40-yard dash: 4.42s
  • Short shuttle: 4.00s
  • 3-cone: 7.01s

*All numbers taken from NFL Combine, as Godwin did not participate in measurement drills at Pro Day.

Even though he chose to stand on his outstanding Combine numbers, Godwin was the belle of the ball in Holuba Hall, especially for the Philadelphia Eagles. Both their scouts, and those of the Baltimore Ravens, asked Godwin to run specific routes during his positional work.

He looked dynamic in and out of his breaks, which I had marked as a big question coming in. His stop/start explosiveness particularly impressed. Godwin is scheduled to meet privately with the Eagles, among other teams, as the draft nears.

Projected round: 2nd

RB Irvine Paye

  • 5’5, 169 lbs
  • Bench press: 14
  • Vertical jump: 36″
  • Broad jump: 10’5
  • 40-yard dash: 4.59s
  • Short shuttle: 4.33s
  • 3-cone: 7.37s

Instant reaction: Irvine Paye is a short dude, but man is he tightly wrapped. 14 reps on the bench press, of a weight 55 lbs over his size, shows how stacked this young man is. A nice vertical and great broad jump for his size help prove his explosiveness.

Next: Philadelphia Eagls Draft: Offensive Line Positional Rankings

But to play at that size, Paye would have to be much quicker than what his numbers and positional workouts show. After a couple of drops when running routes, I can’t imagine he fills the scatback role, and thereby fails to make an NFL roster.

Projected round: UDFA