Eagles add more offense and then focus on defense

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Eagles added more offense on Day 3 of the NFL draft before shifting their focus to defense.

West Virginia running back Wendell Smallwood and Texas Christian offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai were selected in the fifth round on Saturday, making it four straight offensive players for the Eagles. They finished up with four in a row on defense.

Smallwood led the Big 12 with 1,519 yards rushing and nine touchdowns in 13 games. He also caught 26 passes for 160 yards. Smallwood, 5-foot-10 and 208 pounds, was the first running back drafted by Philadelphia since Bryce Brown went in the seventh round in 2012.

Smallwood was arrested in 2014 and charged with trying to get a witness to recant statements that implicated a friend of his in a 2012 fatal shooting in Wilmington, Delaware. The chargers against him were later dropped.

Smallwood blamed it on "being friends with the wrong guys."

"We did a lot of background into Wendell with our security team, with the league's security, and he was never charged with anything," said Howie Roseman, executive vice president of football operations. "We're very comfortable bringing him in here. We have no doubts about what kind of player and person he is."

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Vaitai started at right tackle as a junior and left tackle his senior season.

"He's got all the tools to be a good player," Roseman said. "He has to be more consistent. That's why he went in the fifth round. But this is something we need: a big, athletic body to work with at tackle."

The Eagles didn't have a fourth-round pick. They also traded down in the sixth round to add a third pick in the seventh round.

Auburn cornerback Blake Countess was selected in the sixth round. LSU safety Jalen Mills, Florida defensive end Alex McCalister and Oregon linebacker Joe Walker were chosen in the seventh round.

Countess, 5-foot-9 and 184 pounds, played both cornerback and safety in college. He earned a degree in education at Michigan before going to Auburn to pursue a graduate degree in adult education. Countess had six interceptions in 2013 for Michigan. He had a career-high 71 tackles and two interceptions in his only season with Auburn.

Mills, 6-foot and 191 pounds, was a four-year starter in college. He had 216 tackles, four sacks and six interceptions.

McCalister, 6-foot-6 and 239 pounds, led Florida with 6 ½ sacks last season. He was dismissed from the Gators late in the year for violation of team rules.

Walker, 6-foot-2 and 236 pounds, had 205 tackles in three seasons.

The Eagles traded up twice from No. 13 to No. 8 to No. 2 to take North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz on Thursday night and drafted Oregon State offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo in the third round on Friday.

Roseman was back in charge of Philadelphia's draft after taking a one-year hiatus when former coach Chip Kelly took control of personnel moves. Kelly was fired in December and replaced by Doug Pederson.


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