Just after the Eagles selected defensive back Blake Countess from Auburn, vice president of football operations Howie Roseman called him "a favorite player" of the team's.
And Countess knew it.
"I had a pretty solid idea about how they felt about me," Countess said on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "They brought me in kind of late for a visit, but when I got down there, I could really tell that they had done their homework and looked into me a lot. I really felt the love on my visit more so than on my other visits."
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The Eagles hosted Countess for a visit extremely late in the pre-draft process. He was at the NovaCare Complex sometime during the voluntary minicamp from April 19-21. Because the coaches had to get out to practice, he met just briefly with defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and defensive backs coach Cory Undlin.
Even though the meeting was brief, Countess felt more love from the Eagles than he did on his other three visits, with the Ravens, Redskins and Giants.
"Countess is kind of a favorite player of ours as we watch him," Roseman said. "He played safety at Auburn this year and he has some traits of guys like [Rodney] McLeod when he plays that. He also played nickel. He can play nickel, he can play corner."
Countess (5-9, 184) showed his versatility in college, playing every position in the secondary. He graduated from Michigan before transferring to Auburn for the 2015 season. After Brady Hoke was fired and replaced by Jim Harbaugh, Countess decided he needed "a change of scenery" and went to Auburn.
Despite a very good year with the Tigers, in which he had 71 tackles and two interceptions, he didn't receive an invitation to the scouting combine in Indianapolis.
How did he take it?
"Personal. Very personal," he said. "As a competitor, you want to be at those events, competing with the best. They say they try to invite everybody they think is going to get drafted and not being invited, I took it very personal, but you can only control what you can control."
According to Roseman, the Eagles targeted Countess, but saw an opportunity to pick up an extra pick and took it. Instead of drafting him at pick No. 188, they traded down to 196 to add an extra seventh round pick and had to "sweat it out a little bit" as they waited to draft Countess.
The new defensive back said he doesn't like playing safety or corner more. He feels comfortable with either. That's part of the reason why he thinks the Eagles were so interested in him.
"I think just the versatility in my game, a guy that's comfortable playing outside, playing inside, comfortable playing the free safety position," he said, "and then, just a guy that's tough and a guy that understands the game of football."