Eagles draft targets at No. 14: UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley

Eagles draft targets at No. 14: UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley

Takkarist McKinley, DE, UCLA

Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 250 pounds

2016: 61 TKL, 18.0 TFL, 10.0 SK, 3 FF
2015: 35 TKL, 7.5 TFL, 3.5 SK, 2 FF
2014: 3 TKL, 2.5 TFL, 2.5 SK, 1 FF

40-yard dash: 4.59 seconds
Bench press: 24 reps
Vertical jump: 33.0 inches
Broad jump: 122.0 inches
3-cone drill: 7.48 seconds
20-yard shuttle: 4.62 seconds

When you look at the list of defensive ends who have made the Pro Bowl under Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, the group generally has one thing in common: speed. So with that in mind, if any pass rusher in the 2017 NFL Draft makes sense for the Eagles at No. 14, it might Takkarist McKinley.

McKinley's name is rising up rankings sheets as the draft approaches, which is probably less a sign of his stock going up than it is analysts catching up to scout' evaluations. Truth be told, it's surprising it took as long as it did given the way the UCLA product ran at the combine.

Only one prospect who projects as a potential 4-3 end timed faster in the 40 than McKinley, and nothing against Kansas State's Jordan Willis, he isn't going in the first round, much less the top 15. With a sub-4.6 and a productive senior year to hang his hat on, McKinley certainly may sneak up that high.

A first-team All-Pac-12 selection, McKinley was one of the most disruptive players in the nation in 2016. The two-year starter finished the season ranked 10th in tackles for loss per game, 11th in sacks per game and 22nd in forced fumbles per game. When he was on the field, McKinley was getting to the quarterback and making plays in the backfield.

This is exactly what Schwartz’s scheme -- and defense in the NFL, for that matter -- is predicated upon. Except, in the wide-nine front the Eagles operate out of, speed off the edge can be a critical factor in getting to the quarterback.

Somebody like Tennessee's Derek Barnett impressively broke Reggie White's school record for sacks and may be considered a more polished player right out of school. He's also more than a quarter-second slower than McKinley in terms of running in a straight line, which can make a world of difference when lined up far wide of the tackle box.

What sets Barnett apart from somebody like McKinley now is technique. The Bruins pass rusher simply doesn't have many moves apart from racing past his man, which when that doesn't happen, he tends to get stymied at the line of scrimmage. McKinley will need to add muscle and learn how to use his hands and find new ways to beat the protection.

Of course, he's only 21, and while he can hone his craft in the NFL, somebody like Barnett isn't suddenly going to become a lot faster. If speed is the name of the game off the edge, and the Eagles are willing to work with a raw prospect for a year, McKinley may have more upside in Schwartz's scheme.

That's a lot to project at No. 14 overall, which is why many mocks and rankings still push McKinley out of the top 20. That being said, of all the defensive linemen we've looked at for the Eagles, this might be the best fit. If the team winds up trading down from their current spot, McKinley quickly becomes an intriguing option a little later.

 

Other Eagles draft targets at No. 14:
Tennessee DE Derek Barnett
Michigan DE Taco Charlton
Ohio State CB Gareon Conley
Florida State RB Dalvin Cook
Western Michigan WR Corey Davis
Alabama LB Reuben Foster
LSU RB Leonard Fournette
Alabama TE O.J. Howard
Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
Washington CB Kevin King
Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey
Michigan State DT Malik McDowell
UCLA DE Takkarist McKinley
Wisconsin OT Ryan Ramczyk
Washington WR John Ross
Clemson WR Mike Williams

Trust the … lego? Reddit user reveals Lego version of Joel Embiid

Trust the … lego? Reddit user reveals Lego version of Joel Embiid

He calls himself "The Process."

He is a main piece of The Process.

And now there's a Lego version of The Process' poster child.

Yes -- thanks to Redditor user dweg1999 -- we have a picture of what Joel Embiid would look like if, yes, he was built of Legos.

After sitting out his first two years in the NBA because of injuries, Embiid burst onto the scene and became an instant star for the Sixers. A piece they can build around both on the court and off it. He's charismatic who knows how to use social media.

Embiid is a special blend of greatness on the court and marketable off it. If he can stay healthy -- his season was cut short because of another one and he will be limited again in 2017-18 -- the Sixers have their guy to build around. Add in a Ben Simmons, a more experienced Dario Saric, potentially two more lottery picks -- at least one more -- and next season will be a whole lot of fun.

But for now, as we wait for the May 16 draft lottery, we are stuck checking out Lego versions of Joel Embiid. If only we were that good with Legos ourselves.

Christian McCaffrey reportedly outscores Dalvin Cook on Wonderlic

Christian McCaffrey reportedly outscores Dalvin Cook on Wonderlic

The Wonderlic scores for two running backs who have been linked to the Eagles have surfaced. 

Per Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Christian McCaffrey scored a 21 out of 50, and Dalvin Cook scored an 11.

The top score in McGinn’s report was held by Tennessee's Alvin Kamara, who notched a 24. Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon scored a 12 and LSU’s Leonard Fournette shared a score of 11 with Cook.

The average score for a running back, according to renowned football writer Paul Zimmerman, is 16.

The Wonderlic test, a 50-question multiple choice test that measures cognitive ability and problem solving, is given to NFL prospects every year at the combine. Of course, the score doesn't measure how successful a player is on the field. Per Jeff Reynolds of CBS Sports, Jets' QB Ryan Fitzpatrick scored a 48, which is higher than Tom Brady (33), Aaron Rodgers (35) and Hall of Famer Dan Marino (15).

Per Sports Illustrated, Pro Bowler Frank Gore and Adrian Pederson had scores of six and 16, respectively. 

Test scores aside, you’ll have to tune in Thursday at 8 p.m. to see if the Eagles will even draft a running back at 14 overall. Or head down to Philadelphia and see it in person (parking is free).