The Eagles followed their draft strategy of the past few years, placing a lot of value on late round draft picks, and this year they wound up with four selections in rounds six and seven.
With their original pick at the 18th spot in the sixth-round, the Eagles chose to draft former Cal guard Mike Gibson as the 184th overall player taken. Gibson came to Cal in 2006 as a junior college transfer and in his first season with the Bears, the offensive line actually improved when he stepped into the starting lineup at right tackle. As a senior, Gibson moved to left tackle and played well enough to earn an All-Pac 10 Conference honorable mention.
Gibson has the potential to play tackle in the NFL but will likely make another position change, as he is more suited to play guard at the next level. At 6-foot-4, 305-pounds, he has good agility and is very strong.
Eagles 6th-round draft choice Mike Gibson
Former NFL scout Thomas Marino of Scout.com provided his own analysis on Gibson: "Is an athletic big man who appeared more natural on the right side then his current LOT position. Is a versatile player, who although is better suited inside, could lineup in a pinch at the tackle spot. Didn't see him as having a lot of functional playing strength at this time (legs stall on contact), but appeared to have more then adequate feet and contact balance."
The Eagles next pick in the sixth round was at the 34th spot (a compensatory pick), and they chose to take former North Dakota State linebacker Joe Mays as the 200th overall player selected.
Even though he was the Great West Football Conference's Defensive Player of the Year in 2007, Mays garnered attention from scouts because of his strong pro day.
He is somewhat undersized for an NFL linebacker, at 5-foot-11, 245-pounds, so his biggest chance of impacting the team will most likely be on special teams. Mays has the potential to be a standout kickoff coverage kind of player.
Marino's analysis of Mays was: "Productive and tough, but short in stature. Tough individual, but wasn't particularly fast. Limited range player."
With another compensatory pick in the sixth-round, the Eagles selected another pass rasher, taking Andy Studebaker out of Wheaton College at the 37th spot (203rd overall).
Much like their third-round pick Bryan Smith, Studebaker is an outside linebacker/defensive end hybrid. Although he only played in five games his senior year due to an injury, Studebaker still managed to record five sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss. He has good size, standing at 6-foot-3, 251-pounds, and is also a good pass rusher, but he will be looked at primarily to contribute on special teams.
Many people may not know about Studebaker, but Marino offered some insight on the former Wheaton standout: "Small college player who has solid athletic skills and runs extremely well but was injured (broken foot) in October and missed the remainder of the season. Player will need to be accounted for (has too many positive physical skills), but given the level of play and limited play as a senior, I would have to question his overall readiness as a professional prospect in 08. At least two years away from having any chance of contributing."
The Eagles final pick in the 2008 draft was former Auburn tackle King Dunlap, at the 23rd spot in the seventh-round (230th overall).
Although Dunlap has unique size at 6-foot-9, 310-pounds, his value took quite a hit after a weak senior season. King was being looked at as a first day selection after his junior season, but things turned for the worst and he wasn't even a starter on Auburn's offensive mid-way through 2007. Many scouts felt that Dunlap lacked the commitment and dedication needed to be an impact player.
Marino offered a similar opinion on Dunlap: "Has been just an average worker. Huge frame with long limbs, but was underdeveloped. Showed little in the way of tenacity or toughness. Marginal knee bender and power in his hands (might be too tall). I'm bothered by the fact that he still needs to be pushed on and off field. Would also question his willingness to play through things. Wouldn't trust on the left as a left tackle."
Andrew Pluta can be reached at email@example.com