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:

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Ohio vs Utah State (5:30 p.m., ESPN)

Bobby Wagner, LB, Utah State, No. 9

Wagner is a well built linebacker who looks bigger than his 6-foot-1, 230-pound frame. He played all over the field for the Aggies this season, lining up inside, outside and as a stand up pass rusher. Wagner shows really good instincts against the run and is a solid tackler. As a pass rusher he looked a bit out of his element, showing little burst off the line and few, if any, pass rushing moves. While Wagner is a rock-steady against the run, his lack of athleticism will cause him to fall to the late rounds of the draft.

Robert Turbin, RB, Utah State, No. 6

Turbin is in his fifth year of college after missing two seasons (2007 and 2010) to injuries, the last being an ACL injury during 2010's preseason conditioning program. In 2009 Turbin piled up 1,714 yards from scrimmage and 18 scores. This season, Turbin showed he was completely recovered from his knee injury, posting 1,580 yards from scrimmage and 23 TDs on his way to becoming the 2011 WAC Player of the Year. Turbin (5-10, 216) is a bowling ball of a back. Thickly muscled and powerful, Turbin also has the speed to break the long run. The redshirt junior still has another year of eligibility if he wants to come back, but all signs point to Turbin throwing his hat in the NFL ring. Turbin should be off the board somewhere before the fourth round.
LaVon Brazill, WR, Ohio, No. 7

The senior Bobcat is having a very nice season after his 2010 campaign was cut short by knee and hand injuries. Brazill isn't a burner or a physical specimen (5-11, 191), but he just seems to know how to find the gaps in coverage and makes plays. He is Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton's (Mickey of baseball fame's son) favorite target (64 catches for 1,042 yards) and has a nose for the end zone (10 TDs). Could be a late round draft pick and excel as a slot receiver.
Others to Watch
Joe Flading, OT, Ohio, No. 78

All-MAC First Team selection as voted by the MAC News Media Association. Flading (6-3, 292) has started 37 consecutive games.
Noah Keller, LB, Ohio, No. 47

Keller is a tackling machine for the Bobcats. Lacks elite athletic ability but could be a core special teamer in the NFL.

LSU vs Alabama (8 p.m., CBS)

Robert Lester, S, Alabama, No. 37

Lester gets overshadowed by his fellow safety Mark Barron, but he is by no means a lesser prospect. Lester has the size (6-2, 210) to match Barron but with better coverage skills. He always seems to be around the ball. Lester looks very aggressive against the run, but doesn't seem to take the best angles all the time. He'll be going somewhere before the end of the second round.

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

This isn't a big surprise, but Jason Peters will be back with the Eagles — big salary and all — for the 2017 season.

While the Eagles approached the veteran left tackle about his contract in January, Peters has not restructured his deal, according to a league source. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Thursday morning reported that Peters will be back next season on his normal contract. 

Yes, Peters is expensive in 2017. His base salary after hitting another Pro Bowl escalator written into his contract is up to $10.45 million for next season (plus a $250K workout bonus), which comes with a big cap hit of $11.7 million. That cap hit is the highest on the team, but not outlandish for a high-caliber left tackle. 

The Eagles could have very well cut Peters and moved on. It would have saved them significant cap space to use elsewhere. They just wouldn't have found any player more valuable to pay with that money. 

Peters, 35, is still their best option to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. He made his ninth Pro Bowl in 2016 after playing all 16 games. The team hasn't been shy about wanting him back and Peters toward the end of the season said he wanted to return for another year. 

"We certainly want to have him back," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said of Peters in early January.

“I love him. I want him on the team,” head coach Doug Pederson said with two games remaining this past season. “I don’t want him to go anywhere."

With Peters back, it means Lane Johnson's eventual trip to left tackle will be held off for another year. Eventually, he'll take over that spot … just not right now. 

During the season, Peters opened up about his future, saying he hopes Wentz can be the guy who finally gets him a Super Bowl ring (see story).

Eagles Mailbag: Restructuring Barwin, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce's importance

Eagles Mailbag: Restructuring Barwin, Allen Barbre, Jason Kelce's importance

We answered half of your questions in the first mailbag this week (see story)

But there are plenty more to go. 

With free agency just around the corner, let's not waste any time jumping into today's questions: 

I don't think so. 

Yeah, moving on from Connor Barwin is going to be tough. He's a great guy and has been a tremendous asset in the community. His foundation is amazing. But on the field, his production dropped while his price tag soared. That's a problem. 

Barwin has said publicly that he'd be willing to take a pay cut to stay in Philly. He's a smart guy and knew there's no way the Eagles are going to keep him around with an $8.35 million cap hit, especially when they can save $7.75 million of that if they cut him. ... So maybe they would keep him at a reduced rate. There's logic in that, but it's time to move on. I don't think Barwin would really want to stay for the pay cut it would probably take. 

Right now, Barwin is blocking Vinny Curry from seeing significant playing time. And while Curry didn't have a good year in 2016, he's getting paid a lot, so it's time to see if he can live up to that contract. 

And for Barwin, while he loves Philly and has made this his home, he deserves to be in a defense that fits him better.

I'm a little surprised more haven't come already. To me, this likely means the Eagles are trying to exhaust any trade options first. Why cut a guy if you can get some kind of return, even a late-round or conditional pick? 

There's no real harm in waiting right now, and maybe the team will find a trade partner for one of their players on the chopping block. 

I always like these hypotheticals from Drew. Basically, I'd keep the youngest and most-talented players:

Carson Wentz, Fletcher Cox, Lane Johnson, Jordan Hicks, Malcolm Jenkins. 

Wentz, Cox and Johnson were pretty easy. Then I really struggled. Jenkins is the oldest guy on the list, but he's so important to the team. I left off Brandon Graham and Zach Ertz and Brandon Brooks and Jordan Matthews, which I'm not so sure about. This was harder than I anticipated. 

I guess you're talking about Allen Barbre's hamstring injury. Yeah, barring something I don't know about, he should be completely healed and ready to go. 

Here's something to think about, though: Barbre will be 33 when the 2017 season starts and I wouldn't put him down in pen as the starter at left guard next year. If Jason Kelce is still on the team, he'll be the center, but why not let Isaac Seumalo battle for the left guard job? 

If Seumalo wins the spot, then Barbre is still a relatively inexpensive and really good backup option. 

I honestly think Jason Kelce is better than most fans in this city think. People see him get blown up a few times in a year — really blown up — and think he's an awful player. He's not. No, he can't go 1-on-1 with nose tackles, but he's still great at getting downfield and into the second level. 

And then there's the importance of the center. I don't know exactly how important he is in terms of calling the shots on the line, but he didn't miss a single snap in 2016. I know cutting or trading Kelce would save significant cap space, but I wouldn't do it. The Eagles have shown they'll do whatever it takes to develop Wentz; I think keeping his veteran center for a second year would help.