The Eagles will begin hosting prospects for the 2012 NFL draft in the coming month and some names have already started to leak out. According to Scout.com, the Eagles will host LSU DT Michael Brockers, Arizona State CB Omar Bolden & Montana CB Trumaine Jones.
Before putting too much stock into these visits, It's important to note that there are a lot of reasons a team may invite a prospect in for a visit and not all are because they're really interested in drafting them. Some players they may just want to get another look at medically, some they simply may not have had a chance to talk with at the combine or Senior Bowl and other they may just have in for a smokescreen. You specifically see this when teams bring in top prospects. They know it will be reported when they do and come draft day other teams will assume they're considering picking the player they brought in for a visit.
Related: Tommy Lawlor's 7 round Eagles mock draft.
Of course, it certainly is also the case that a team brings in a player simply because they're interested in him as well. With that in mind, the first report about a visit was LSU DT Michael Brockers.
He's got nearly unmatched size at 6-6, 322 pounds and is also an impressive athlete. He reportedly ran a sub 5 second 40 at his LSU pro day. His lack of refined technique and experience have been his main criticisms, which is why Dan Kadar of Mocking The Draft says he'd benefit from going to a team where he can be part of a rotation early in his career (like say, here?).
In the 2012 NFL Draft, few players carry as much potential and upside as Brockers, a redshirt sophomore. On a loaded LSU defensive line, Brockers routinely stood out and should transition well to the NFL. At 6-foot-6, Brockers has an impressive frame with a lot of room to grow. Because of his relative inexperience (one season as a full-time starter), he'll need to get drafted on a team that can rotate him in while he develops.
Related: Mel Kiper has Brockers to the Eagles in his latest mock draft.
They've also reportedly invited Montana CB Trumaine Johnson. He's got really good size at 6-2 and is seen as a physical, press corner with good, polished technique. He does have some character concerns and didn't exactly play against the highest level of competition. Here's his NFL.com scouting report.
Johnson is arguably one of the best and most polished NFL prospects to come out of the Big Sky Conference in quite some time. He is a big, athletic cover corner who has completely dominated his competition to this point in his career. He has the speed and agility to stay with receivers and also the height -- a shade over 6-foot-2 -- to match up in the red zone. Despite playing in the Football Championship Subdivision, Johnson is an NFL-ready corner who is projected to be picked in the second round.
Johnson is projected as a 2nd to 3rd round pick.
Johnson is not the only corner the Eagles will be hosting in the next couple of weeks. Arizona State CB Omar Bolden will also be in according to Scout.com. Bolden was a physical corner and a productive kick returner, but has suffered from injury issues in his career. He tore his ACL and missed all of 2011. He also missed a big chunk of his 2009 season.
As Philly.com's Sheil Kapadia points out, Bolden did more bench press reps than any other CB at the combine and ran a 4.5 40 at his pro day. His NFL.com scouting report says he's got second second round talent.
Bolden was a productive three-year starter at left corner for Arizona State. He missed the final eight games of the 2009 season due to injury and sat out in 2011 with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, so his recovery and return are integral to his value. When healthy, he is a big, athletic cover corner with second-round value and the ability to start immediately.
It's not likely that any team takes him that high, but some team probably will take a shot him in the later rounds. Certainly the health of his knee will be a major factor there, so I would expect that the Eagles will give that a good look on his visit.
For more analysis and discussion of the Eagles prospect visits, check out Bleeding Green Nation's prospect page.