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The Qadry Ismail factor in pre-Draft team visits…and Eagles say goodbye to Trevor Laws…

Listening to my buddy and former NFL star wide receiver Qadry (“The Missile”) Ismail last night on WBAL-AM radio, and he was talking about his experience as a pre-draftee prospect coming out of Syracuse back in 1993… This story is also pertinent because Qadry hails from the same hometown as our esteemed GK Emeritus Brizer… (i.e., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania)…

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Qadry Ismail… now a sports analyst for WBAL-AM Radio, and formerly a standout WR for the Vikings, Packers, Dolphins, Saints, Ravens and Colts…Drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, with the 52nd pick in the Second Round of the 1993 NFL Draft, Qadry Ismail became the highest draft pick from Syracuse since Art Monk…

My question to Qadry was about the Eagles’ interviewing of all these draft prospects in recent days… what does it really mean?

Three more draft prospects were recently in Philadelphia for workouts, according to multiple reports. The Eagles have been busy meeting with and evaluating incoming rookies with the 2012 draft over the last few weeks, and that trend has continued with the revelation that running back Robert Turbin, wide receiver Cody Pearcy, and offensive tackle Josh Oglesby stopped by the NovaCare Complex for workouts. It’s difficult to gauge the team’s interest in prospects through workouts and visits, but the Eagles have hardly been shy in bringing in players this month, making the three college products the latest in a growing list of those who have met the team.

Turbin, whose teammate at Utah State, linebacker Bobby Wagner, recently worked out for the Eagles, might draw interest from the team as a potential backup of starter LeSean McCoy and 2011 draft pick Dion Lewis. Well-regarded for his powerful running style and big frame (5-foot-10, 222 pounds), the ball-carrier is widely projected to be a third- or fourth-round selection.

Pearcy, whose workout was reported by The Montgomery Adviser, is a Division III-level prospect hoping to land in the NFL as a late-round pick or undrafted free agent. A 5-foot-11, 160-pound standout at Huntingdon College, he could face durability questions because of his size, but reportedly posted a 4.31-second 40-yard dash time in addition to a 44-inch vertical leap at his Pro Day event. The Eagles aren’t believed to have a dire need at the wide receiver position, but could have interest in adding competition to the bottom of the depth chart, especially after being tied to veterans like Plaxico Burress and showing interest in other draft prospects such as Michael Floyd from Notre Dame and Stephen Hill of Georgia Tech.

Oglesby, whose meeting with the Eagles was confirmed by his college’s official website, is a mammoth-sized lineman at 6-foot-7 and more than 330 pounds, but is widely regarded as a late-round pick. A highly-touted prospect coming out of high school, he reportedly joined the University of Wisconsin with the expectation of becoming a starting left tackle, but several knee surgeries limited his production and severely dented his stock as an NFL player. Praised for having an immense amount of natural athleticism by various outlets, Oglesby appears to have the skill set to develop into a quality starter at the next level, but lacks experience and a reliable sense of durability after an injury-plagued career in the NCAA. With the Eagles, he might find a role as a developmental backup under the tutelage of OL coach Howard Mudd.

So I asked Qadry: “How many teams interviewed you before you were selected by the Vikings?”

His answer: “I  was invited to visit several NFL teams including the Packers and the Colts and the Saints… but when Draft Day came, I was called by the Vikings…a team that I had not had one syllable of conversation with since the day I graduated from Syracuse…”

And that’s the way this game works. The Eagles may have had over 100 meetings with Draft Day prospects over the past few months, but the guys they will end up selecting at the end of April may very well have never known they were on the Philly radar. Just because a guy visits Philly doesn’t mean the Eagles are interested in picking him on Draft Day… or does it?

Meanwhile, say goodbye to Trevor Laws…at least for now…

Trevor Laws has signed with the Rams… 6-1, 305  lb. DT in his 5th year out of Notre Dame, and former 2nd-round pick for the Eagles in 2008…I will miss the guy only because of my selective memory for some big plays he made at random moments…

“To all my people from Philly I will miss ya… but its time for me to take this show to STL,” wrote Laws on Twitter, and he ended his statement with the word “memories.”

With DT’s Antonio Dixon and Derek Landri expected to man backup roles behind veteran starters Mike Patterson and Cullen Jenkins (who restructured his five-year deal with the intention of eventually retiring an Eagle), there arguably wasn’t a guaranteed spot remaining for Laws, who struggled to stand out in DL coach Jim Washburn’s pass rushing scheme last year. Considering the Eagles were also tied to free agent Jason Jones and have been connected to a handful of top-ranked rookie prospects at the position, Laws might not have even been assured a spot on the final roster if he would have re-signed with Philadelphia. LSU’s Michael Brockers is among several well-regarded players who could have the Eagles’ interest later this month in the draft.

The 47th overall selection in the draft four years ago, Laws played in all 16 games as a rookie, but was used sparingly as a backup defensive tackle, recording just 12 total tackles. The following year, he was limited to 11 weeks of action due to a variety of injuries and inconsistent play on the field, making 10 tackles en route to a smaller role up front. Heading into 2010, however, the Notre Dame product appeared to turn his career around, reportedly adding more than 15 pounds to his frame and beginning the year as a spot starter. In 15 games, Laws posted 15 tackles and four sacks to go along with five pass deflections and an interception–the most productive stat line of his Eagles tenure. Adjusting to Washburn’s aggressive pass rushing system in 2011, Laws wasn’t nearly as effective, making a career high 20 tackles but recording just one sack and giving way to Landri down the stretch run.

Speaking of the Draft, just for shiggles, I thought you might enjoy the results of this recent poll run by the hardest working guy in the Eagles News industry, Mr. Cody Benjamin, who pilots Bleed-Green.com… This poll helps put some perspective on the emotions of what you are about to experience in accepting the draft picks of your Gold Standard Front Office at Evergreen in 2012…  The poll is aptly titled—“Who was your favorite Draft pick by the Eagles in 2011?”…  Here are the results at Bleed-Green after almost 2500 votes:

   A

If we go by the unscientific poll results, looks like Jarrett and Matthews and Rolle have a brighter future in the Eagles immediate master plan than we reckoned…

[Thanks to Cody Benjamin for the use of his poll—Benjamin is the founder/manager at Bleed-Green.com and is also employed by several South Pa. newspapers. An aspiring sports journalist, he is currently an associate editor at the SB Nation Philly website and discusses the Eagles on ESPN Radio 1450/1430. ]

Thomas Jackson

About Thomas Jackson

Jax Sports Media has been reporting on NFL teams in the mid-Atlantic region since 2006. Thomas Jackson is its senior writer. Tom started covering the Philadelphia Eagles for the MVN Network in 2007. In 2009 he joined the Bloguin Network. He now also covers the Baltimore Ravens.

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