2017 NFL draft positional breakdown: Defensive tackles

2017 NFL draft positional breakdown: Defensive tackles

We continue our positional breakdown leading up to the 2017 NFL draft with a look at defensive tackles. Instead of a top five, we'll highlight players at these positions who fit the Eagles and have a chance to be available when the team picks.

We've already looked at running backs, linebackers, quarterbacks, offensive linemen and defensive ends.

At No. 14

There are no interior linemen that would make sense for the Eagles in the first round. The player with a chance to go in the mid-teens is Michigan State's Malik McDowell, but he's more of a 3-4 end.

In the middle

Jaleel Johnson, Iowa, 6-3, 316 pounds
Johnson was named first-team all-conference after recording 7 1/2 sacks and 10 tackles for a loss during a strong senior season.

Johnson is big, strong and athletic. He anticipates the snap well and has a high motor. His issue is his pad level. He'll outmuscle offensive linemen, but lose because he's too high. With proper coaching, Johnson has intriguing physical tools. He'd fit well in Jim Schwartz's attacking defense.

Elijah Qualls, Washington, 6-1, 313 pounds
Qualls was also a first-team all-conference pick in the Pac 12. His efforts don't necessarily show up on the stat sheet, but Qualls tallied three sacks and five tackles for a loss despite missing three games with an ankle injury.

Qualls doesn't necessarily fit the Eagles' defense. He's more of a run stuffer in the mold of Beau Allen. Qualls is a little longer and more athletic than Allen, but is also limited in his ability as a pass rusher. Still, Qualls should be extremely effective on early downs at the next level.

Tanzel Smart, Tulane, 6-1, 296 pounds
Smart put up impressive numbers while being named – you guessed it – first-team all-conference. During a strong senior season, Smart accumulated 67 tackles, 18 1/2 for a loss and 5 1/2 sacks.

Smart was a dominant player on tape. The biggest issue will be his level of competition in the AAC. He's a bit undersized but flashes the quickness and athleticism that would be an ideal fit for Schwartz and the Eagles. He's not an every down tackle, but as a rotational piece, he can be valuable.

Late-round sleeper(s)

Charles Walker, Oklahoma, 6-2, 310 pounds
Walker's career at Norman was mired by concussions and inconsistency. He played just the first four games of this season before suffering his third concussion and deciding to forego the rest of the season to prepare for the draft. Walker has cited his young daughter as the reason for leaving early.

The concussions are definitely scary, but this kid is a good football player. He recorded six sacks as a sophomore reserve. He can look explosive and disruptive at times, but is inconsistent. Apparently the coaching staff at Oklahoma was not thrilled with Walker's decision and his love of football has been questioned. If he's there in the sixth round, he's worth a flyer.

Treyvon Hester, Toledo, 6-2, 300 pounds
Hester dropped weight for his senior season and had a strong campaign. He tallied 34 tackles, eight for a loss and five sacks.

Like Smart, Hester will be evaluated with a grain of salt because of his conference. Hester shows flashes of being able to play the run and get a pass rush, but struggles with pad level at times. He's another player with physical ability that needs to be coached up.

Howie Roseman on Jason Kelce, Mychal Kendricks: 'They're going to be here going forward'

Howie Roseman on Jason Kelce, Mychal Kendricks: 'They're going to be here going forward'

The 2017 NFL draft has come and gone.

And Jason Kelce and Mychal Kendricks are both still Eagles.

The two players, who have been with the team since 2011 and 2012, respectively, have reportedly been on the trade block throughout this offseason. It seemed possible one or both could be moved during the draft, but it didn't happen.

"Yes, they are here and we fully anticipate they're going to be here going forward," Eagles VP of football operations Howie Roseman said Saturday after the draft wrapped up.

Kelce is coming off a Pro Bowl year, but at times last season didn't perform well and the Eagles have Isaac Seumalo waiting to take over. Kendricks was technically a starter last season but played minimally, coming off the field in non-base packages, something he likely wasn't thrilled about.

With the Eagles still in a tight salary cap situation, trading Kelce would save $3.8 million in cap space. Cutting Kendricks would save $1.8 million.

Did teams inquire about the two veterans over the last three days?

"We don't ever talk about trade discussions with any teams, but both those guys have been here in the offseason and they're going to be here going forward," Roseman said.

Eagles 2017 undrafted free-agent tracker

Eagles 2017 undrafted free-agent tracker

The 2017 NFL draft is over and the Eagles added eight players.

Now, they're adding more via undrafted free agents.

"There's a lot of leg work that's done prior," Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas said. "It's an all-hands-on-deck mentality. Scouts are working with coaches. We have our list of guys, we're recruiting these guys. We're calling agents, recruiting agents as well.

"Much like the draft, once the draft is over, we have our list of guys. We go by the ranking. We load the roster up. I think it went as smoothly as possible."

The Eagles addressed defensive needs and added a few offensive weapons for quarterback Carson Wentz. They drafted a defensive end — Derek Barnett — in the first round Thursday.

On Friday, they added two cornerbacks and on Saturday, they drafted two wide receivers, a running back, a safety-turned-linebacker and a defensive tackle.

Here is a tracker of the undrafted free agents the Eagles signed after the draft.

Greg Ward Jr., WR, 5-11/185, Houston
Ward signed with the Eagles after the draft, according to FOX 26's Mark Berman. He was a quarterback in college but switched to wide receiver during the draft process. At Houston's pro day, Ward ran a 4.40 in the 40-yard dash. He threw for 8,705 yards and 53 touchdowns in four years at Houston but was also a dual threat. He ran for 1,108 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2015, and last season, he added 518 yards and 10 scores on the ground. In 2013 and 2014, he combined for 25 catches for 234 yards and two receiving TDs.

Cam Johnston, P, 5-11/190, Ohio State
Johnston tweeted after the draft he signed with the Eagles. Johnston was the Eddleman-Fields Big Ten Punter of the Year in 2016, an All-Big Ten first team and a Ray Guy award finalist. Johnston set Ohio State single-season and all-time records for punts inside the 20 — 31 punts inside the 20 in 2015 and 109 career punts inside the 20. He also set a school record with a 57.0-yard average in 2014 against Illinois.

Tyler Orlosky, C, 6-3/298, West Virginia
Orlosky is the third Mountaineer to join the Eagles this draft. The center signed with the team after the draft, according to the Daily Athenaeum's Chris Jackson. The Eagles drafted cornerback Rasul Douglas on Friday and wide receiver Shelton Gibson on Saturday. Counting running back Wendell Smallwood last season, that's now four West Virginia players added in some capacity in the last two drafts.

Corey Clements, RB, 5-11/209, Wisconsin
Clements joins the Eagles as an UDFA, according to FOX 29's Howard Eskin. Clements ran for 1,375 yards with a 4.4 yards per carry average, 15 touchdowns on 314 attempts.