Chris Johnson, RB, East Carolina
5’11 197 lbs 4.24 – 40 yards
Pros: Extremely fast and elusive. Very explosive. A complete terror to tackle in the open field. Fantastic receiver with outstanding hands. Runs very good routes and has great vision as a RB and a WR. A very versitale weapon RB, WR, KR and dangerous at each position. He is a standout weight lifter so if very solid and strong for his size. He averaged 227.69 all purpose yards which lead the NCAA. He was 24th with 109.5 yards rushing per game and is only the 24th person in NCAA history to gain over 6,000 all-purpose yards. After suffering a toe injury which limited his production in 2006 came back in 2007 and put up 1,423 yards rushing with a 6.0 yard/attempt, and 17 TD’s, 528 yards receiving on 37 catches with 6 TD’s, along with his kick return production. He was #4 in vertical jump and #3 broad jump for RB’s at the combine.
Cons: A little small for a RB, does not pick up blocks well, tried to bounce too much outside. Durablity is a concern. Does not have a true position and is a bit of a WR/RB ‘tweener’. He is not a very physical runner.
How he fits with the Eagles: Just imagine having a Reno Mahe, who was athletic, explosive, and everytime he touched the ball in space you got that feeling semi hard feeling in your pants you get when #36 gets the ball in space. We need playmakers and that is what Johnson is. He fits perfectly into Reid’s philosophy, being a great WR/RB and can contribute as a KR as a rookie too. He is also from a smaller school, which means the Eagles can reach for him in 2nd round and not lose a beat. He is projected anywhere in the 2nd round from early to late. Oh yeah, he has a nice gold grill piece which goes along with our 2008 philosphy. Reid knew we needed some bling to compete. Also, every year I fall in love with one prospect. Last year it was Patrick Willis and in 2006 it was Brandon Marshall, Antonio Cromartie, and DeAngelo Williams. This year it is Johnson. He has superstar written all over him.
James Hardy, WR, Indiana
6’6 220 lbs 4.51 secs – 40 yards
Pros: Lets start with his size. This WR is 6’6 220 lbs and runs a 4.51 forty. He was the 78th ranked Prep High School Basketball player his senior year and played basketball and football his freshman year at Indiana. He is very athletic with long arms and big hands. He catches the ball very well and uses his big body to create additional space in tight areas. He is a terror in the red zone. He ranked in the top 10 in 4 categories at the combine for WR’s. Bench press, Broad Jump, 3 cone, and 20 yard shuttle. This shows that he has explosion and quick feet.
Cons: Not a great blocker, but what WR is these days. Needs to get a little stronger, but has the frame to get that done. He has a few character concerns, but nothing too serious. He is still pretty raw and has only really focused on football for two years, but was a Junior All-American so he obviously has the skill.
How he fits with the EAGLES: He is rising rather quickly up draft boards, but if the Birds are not able to secure a WR via a trade, Hardy fits in very well with their need of a red zone threat. People are comparing him to Plaxico, but I would compare him more to Marques Colston. The bad part is that Eagles WRs never play as rookies, but he could perhaps focus on red-zone packages and have a niche his rookie year. #19 in the first round is too high for him and he may be gone by our second round pick. Maybe a trade down for an addition 3rd round pick and grab him in the early part of the second round. Everyone has us locked in to draft a tackle in round 1, but I am not sure they are locked in on that position. McNabb needs a play-maker and they are trying to get him one, plus they have Winston Justice who is not nearly as bad as he played against the Giants and the Eagles really like Pat McCoy. They could also move Herremans to LT and put Max-Jean in at guard. I think they go with play-makers early.
Next up: Chris Johnson, RB/WR, East Carolina
Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
5’10 ¾ 190lbs 4.38 sec – 40 yards
Pros: A very athletic corner with excellent timed speed and an outstanding burst to close. Has great footwork, fluid hips, and is smooth in his transitions. He is a natural man coverage and is best in a man to man system, but shows the ability to play in a zone system as well. He is not afraid to support in the run game and is a very good tackler. Electric in the return game.
Cons: His competition level was not very high. He relied a lot on his athletic ability against smaller competition, needs to work on technique and be more disciplined using it on every play.
Notes: He fits in to the Eagles right away as a return man right away. Averaged 13.1 yards per punt return with 7 TDs and 23.7 yards per kickoff return with 1 TD. He was up to 17.4 yards per punt return with 3 TDs as a senior which gave him many All-American honors. The same knock of being a smaller school that plays against lesser talent has not slowed down the progress of Osi Umenyiora or DeMarcus Ware who both are Troy Alumni. If the Eagles trade Lito for a WR, then Leodis would be the starting return man and a nickel or situation corner. Best case scenario he can start if Sheldon Brown is eventually moved to safety. He will most likely be the top CB taken and it may take a trade into the top 10 to get him. As far as playmakers go, this guy is right there with anyone else in this draft as far as return men go.