Assembled in Mobile is a representative sprinkling from a safety draft class that ought to see several guys taken in the second-to-fourth-round range, where the Eagles are likely to be shopping for help.
"I think it's a different class than we've had the last couple of years, in terms of numbers - I think there will be more numbers," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said this week.
It's interesting in the NFL right now - the two-tight-end offenses and the restrictions on hitting receivers have made coverage in the middle of the field increasingly crucial and tricky, at a time when finding guys who can provide that coverage seems harder.
"That safety position is a tough one to evaluate in college football," Roseman said. "You get a lot of guys that in the past would be playing the safety position that are moving to corner or moving to linebacker . . . Certainly, being able to play in space and being able to cover, play man coverage, is an important characteristic that you look for."
Corner is where the huge NFL contracts are. There also is less tackling involved (especially if you play for the Eagles). So safeties, coming out of college, tend to be guys who have some attractive elements, and maybe lack something you'd want them to have.
Alabama safety Robert Lester, at 6-1 1/2, 212 as measured and weighed here Monday, has the size and build you want. He also has shown with the Crimson Tide that he has good ball skills and can support the run. But the scouts say even though Lester is almost identical physically to former teammate Mark Barron, drafted seventh overall by Tampa Bay last year, he doesn't project as that kind of talent. Lester might be more of a third-to-fourth-rounder, at this point.
Lester said after the South team practice Wednesday that he aspires to be "a guy who can just overall do everything, come up and play the run, play the field, cover one-on-one, basically be a linebacker and a corner."
Lester said he thinks his ability to read quarterbacks and anticipate what's coming will carry over to the NFL. This week, he said, he feels he needs to show teams "that I can play fast, that I can cover."
Roseman noted that with so many elite prospects not here because they're juniors, or they're seniors who don't feel the need to prove anything, this week has become more about players who do have something to prove. Roseman said when he first got here Monday, he saw some guys that in past years a team might have discovered in the scouting process and tried to get very late, or as undrafted free agents, because they weren't well known; now they're out in front of the cameras in Mobile.
One safety who fits that description is Georgia Southern's J.J. Wilcox, who played the position only as a senior, after moving over from wide receiver. Wilcox, 5-11, 214, probably is a good enough athlete to be an NFL safety, but how far behind is he in learning the nuances, having been one only since July?
"It's been a big challenge," Wilcox said Wednesday. "They needed leadership from the secondary [at Georgia Southern]. I was a captain and a leader on offense, they needed somebody to fill the role on defense. [Coach Jeff Monken] said, 'I think you're the perfect fit for it.' He liked my aggression and my physicalness. I think it's paid off . . . I like challenges."
Wilcox might be available even in the middle to late rounds, given his late start and non-BCS background. He said teams have mainly wanted to know how it feels for him out here, practicing with guys he said he knows only from watching them on TV.
"I'm kind of the little brother to the 'big guys' out here," he said.
In the same boat is Florida International's 6-foot, 209-pound Jonathan Cyprien, a late invitee who has stood out in practices.
More familiar to observers is Georgia safety Bacarri Rambo, 6-foot, 215, who tied Jake Scott's school record with 16 career interceptions. Rambo looks like a second-to-third-rounder at this point. His biggest negative is that he was suspended twice in college, but the problem reportedly was marijuana, which NFL teams no longer treat as akin to burglary or kidnapping.
"I've kind of showed my ball skills, my instincts, a lot of coaches have noticed that" this week, Rambo said, but "I just feel like I've got to work on my open-field [tackling], taking better angles on tackles."
Rambo said he knows he needs to "build my trust up in the [NFL] coaches" after the suspensions. "Tell them how much I have grown as a man, how much I have learned from my off-field problems."
Reports indicate that among the unofficially hired Eagles coaches is new special-teams coordinator Dave Fipp, 38, who was the assistant to the special-teams coordinator in Miami, and in San Francisco before that. Chip Kelly has said he doesn't want to confirm any hires until he has his full staff. It looks more and more like Kelly is waiting for the Super Bowl to be over to hire his defensive coordinator (who might also be unofficially hired). So there are a lot of "ghost coaches" in Mobile . . . If the Eagles switch to a 3-4 defense, there is a nose tackle here. Georgia's John Jenkins measured just under 6-4 and weighed in at 359 Monday, and the offensive linemen don't seem to be enjoying getting bullrushed by him.
On Twitter: @LesBowen