West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith, San Diego State tight end Gavin Escobar and BYU defensive end Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah were all at the NovaCare Complex Wednesday for official visits with Chip Kelly, Howie Roseman and the Eagles’ brass, according to league sources.
Also, according to a league source, Oregon linebacker Dion Jordan and Central Michigan offensive tackle Eric Fisher are scheduled to arrive Wednesday evening for their meetings with the Eagles. Additionally, Florida defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, a Philadelphia native, is scheduled for a visit on Friday, and the team is also set to meet with Texas A&M offensive tackle Luke Joeckel sometime in the next few days.
Smith, Jordan, Floyd, Ansah, Joeckel and Fisher are all potential first-round candidates for the Eagles, who currently have the fourth pick in the draft (April 25-27). Escobar is projected as a likely second- or third-round pick. These are all visits. None are workouts.
Smith is likely to be the first quarterback drafted this year. He’s coming off a senior season in which he had 42 touchdowns and just six interceptions, passed for 4,205 yards and completed 71 percent of his passes.
The Eagles have Michael Vick and Nick Foles at the top of their quarterback depth chart, but Vick will be 33 before the season starts and hasn’t won a playoff game since 2004, and Foles though he played well as a rookie last year is certainly no lock to be the Eagles’ starter.
Ansah played very little before this past season and is seen as a raw project with tremendous tools who can play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 front, and his stock has gradually improved since the season ended.
Jordan, who played for Kelly at Oregon, helped himself at the Combine with a 4.60 for the 40 and would instantly give the Eagles athleticism, speed and power at the outside linebacker spot in their new 3-4 defense.
Jordan is versatile enough that he started his college as a tight end, was used at a variety of defensive positions at Oregon and even ran in a two-point conversion last year. He underwent surgery in late February, after the Combine, to repair the torn labrum in his shoulder, so certainly a big part of his visit to Philly included a long look by the Eagles’ medical people.
Floyd, who attended George Washington High School in the Somerton section of Northeast Philly, is another defender who helped himself dramatically at the Combine, thanks in great part to his 4.87 at 295 pounds.
The Eagles released veteran defensive tackles Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins earlier this offseason, and first-round pick Fletcher Cox and free agent acquisition Isaac Sopoaga are the only locks on the roster. The Eagles also have Cedric Thornton, Antonio Dixon and street free agent Ronnie Cameron.
Joeckel and Fisher are both seen as possible franchise offensive tackles and either would make sense for the Eagles, who are fairly old on the offensive line and would love to move Todd Herremans back to guard.
Escobar caught 122 passes for 1,646 yards and 17 touchdowns in his college career. The Eagles have several tight ends on the roster -- Brent Celek, Clay Harbor and James Casey [along with camp bodies Evan Moore and Derek Carrier] -- but Kelly is known to be interested in keeping as many as five on the roster.
Barring a trade out of No. 4, this will be only the third time in the last 30 years the Eagles have drafted in the top five. They took Kenny Jackson with the fourth pick in 1984 and Donovan McNabb with the second pick in 1999. The last defensive player they took in the top five was defensive end Richard Harris with the fifth pick in 1971 -- 42 years ago. Harris never started a game for the Eagles.