NFL Draft: Saturday's prospect watch

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NFL Draft: Saturday's prospect watch

If you're an Eagles fan looking towards the 2012 draft, here's who you should be watching this Saturday

Jeff Demps, RB, Florida, No. 28

Florida vs Georgia (CBS3:30 p.m.)

Long gone are the days the Birds rolled with stiffs like Charles Johnson, Torrance Small and Freddie Mitchell. They were plodding receivers compared to the track stars the Birds like to put on display every week now. It's obvious the Eagles love speed -- both on offense and defense -- and what better way to continue feeding that obsession than drafting a real-life sprinter. Demps is a tiny (5-7, 191) running back who has one defining attribute -- speed. The guy can fly, and while the Birds are seemingly set at RB right now with Lesean McCoy and Dion Lewis, Demps might be a dangerous asset to have on special teams. Outside of DeSean Jackson, the Eagles haven't had a real threat in the return game since Brian Mitchell left, and Demps' speed might play well on kick returns. Demps probably won't be an early round selection because he still must improve as a football player, but that speed is too tempting to pass on altogether. If the Eagles can grab him in the last two rounds, it'd be figuratively and literally a flyer.
Devon Still, DT, Penn State, No. 71

Illinois vs Penn State (ABC3:30 p.m.)

The Eagles gravitate towards smaller, penetrating DTs, and they could do a lot worse than Still. While not exactly small (6-5 14, 307), Still isn't much against the run. His lower body strength doesn't seem to be where it needs to be, and he just doesn't look like he wants to fight off other 300-pounders. What he can do though is shoot gaps and use his long arms to make tackles in the backfield. Some mock drafts have Still going in the first round. I just don't see it. But if he's still on the board when the Eagles make their second pick in the second round, Still would be a nice addition.
Markelle Martin, FS, Oklahoma State, No. 10
Baylor vs Oklahoma State (ESPN23:30 p.m.)

Martin is an energetic leader on the field who you can tell just loves playing. Like many players these days, Martin (6-1, 202) is more of a hitter than a tackler. But when he hits you remember it. He covers a lot of ground at the back end of the secondary. Would be a nice pick in the second round.

Eagles select WR Shelton Gibson with 5th-round pick

Eagles select WR Shelton Gibson with 5th-round pick

The Eagles added speed on the outside Saturday by drafting West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson in the fifth round (166 overall) of the NFL draft.

Gibson (5-foot-11, 191 pounds) could be a deep threat the Eagles desperately need. He totaled 80 catches and 1,838 yards (23.1 yards per catch average) in his last two seasons for the Mountaineers.

Before selecting Gibson, the Eagles traded back twice. First, they sent the 155th pick to the Titans for the 164th pick and the 214th pick. Next, as the Eagles were on the clock for the 164th pick, they traded back two spots with the Dolphins to obtain the 166th and 184th picks while giving away picks 164 and 194.

Gibson had a less than stellar performance at the combine in early March, running a 4.5 40 despite his deep threat reputation. He redeemed himself at his Pro Day, however, by reportedly running a 4.39.

Gibson also adds value on special teams, as he returned kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown during his sophomore year and racked up 633 return yards in his junior season.

(More coming ...)

Eagles select RB Donnel Pumphrey with 2nd 4th-round pick

Eagles select RB Donnel Pumphrey with 2nd 4th-round pick

The Darren Sproles comparison is natural, and it's one Donnel Pumphrey is going to hear a lot after the Eagles took the San Diego State running back in the fourth round, 132nd overall.

So what similarities and differences are there between the two running backs?

"He's definitely bigger than me," Pumphrey (see bio) said with a laugh.

Considering Sproles is 5-foot-6, 180 pounds, that is pretty funny.

"He's going to be a Hall of Famer," Pumphrey said. "I feel like we're (I'm) very versatile, do stuff out of the backfield, just like he does.

"(The comparison) means the world to me. I watched guys like him when he played for the Chargers.

"I look forward to building a relationship and looking up to him and getting different pointers on how I can get better each day. I'm excited."

Pumphrey? He stands 5-foot-8, 175 pounds, but he did a lot of the same things on the college level that the electrifying Sproles has done in the NFL.
 
Pumphrey piled up an NCAA-record 6,405 rushing yards in four years at San Diego State, breaking the Division I rushing record of 6,397 yards set by Overbook High graduate Ron Dayne.

Pumphrey, 10th in the Heisman Trophy balloting this past year, surpassed 1,600 yards and 17 touchdown runs in each of his last three seasons, including a Division-I best 2,133 yards last year -- 10th-most in Division I history.

He averaged 6.0 yards per carry in his career to go with 99 catches for 1,039 yards and finished with 67 total TDs, including five receiving.

Pumphrey also finished his career ranked fifth in Division I history with 7,515 all-purpose yards, eighth with 67 touchdowns and ninth with 62 rushing touchdowns.

He's the only player in NCAA history with 5,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards.

Sproles has said the 2017 season, his 13th, will be his final NFL season. He's averaged 4.9 yards per carry with 525 receptions and nine return touchdowns in a brilliant career, including the last three with the Eagles.

The Eagles moved up seven spots in the fourth round to draft Pumphrey, shipping their second fourth-round pick, No. 139, and their seventh-round pick, No. 230, to move up to No. 132.

Despite his lack of size, Pumphrey has never been hurt and averaged 21 ½ touches per game for the duration of his college career.

"I just try to make guys miss, and when it's time to get down I get down," Pumphrey said.

"I don’t think about injuries or anything like that, I just play football to play it. I know injuries come with the game, but I just give my all every time I step on the field. I haven't gotten hurt, and it's been a blessing."

The Eagles are unsettled at running back, with Ryan Mathews in limbo and only 2016 fifth-round draft pick Wendell Smallwood and Sproles also in the mix.

In Pumphrey, the Eagles get a back who survived a staggering 1,158 touches in college.

During the last four years, he had more than 200 more carries than any running back in Division 1 -- 1,059. Justin Jackson of Northwestern was second with 855.

And he never missed a game.

"I've been running the ball since I was about 6 years old and it hasn't taken a toll on me," Pumphrey said.

"Offensive line does a great job getting me to the next level where I'm not able to really take on big hits. I'm just ready to be an Eagle and show everybody what I'm about."

Pumphrey is the first San Diego State player the Eagles have taken since linebacker Matt McCoy in the second round in 2005.

The fourth round is the highest the Eagles have taken a running back in seven years since they drafted all-time franchise rushing leader LeSean McCoy in 2009.

The last running back they selected in the fourth round was Correll Buckhalter out of Nebraska back in 2001.

Buckhalter's former teammate, Duce Staley, is now the Eagles' running backs coach and is a big fan of Pumphrey.

"I built a relationship with Duce Staley at the combine," he said. "He said he loves the way I played. I'm just excited to learn the different aspects of the game from him.

"I can't wait to … learn from guys like Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles and just learn from all the coaches and just doing what I have to do to get better each day," he said.

"I'm ready to do whatever it takes to show that I can earn a role on the team."