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Reports: Ryan Bates, DeAndre Thompkins To Sign Pro Contracts With Philadelphia Eagles

By Matt Paolizzi and Patrick Arnold

A pair of Nittany Lions will reportedly join Miles Sanders and Shareef Miller with the Philadelphia Eagles as undrafted free agents.

Offensive lineman Ryan Bates and wide receiver DeAndre Thompkins will start their NFL careers in Philadelphia after signing with the Eagles, according to multiple sources.

After redshirting his freshman year, Bates started for Penn State for the next three years. He was named a freshman All-American in 2016 and earned third team All-Big Ten honors in his sophomore and junior seasons. The tackle played a key role in helping the Nittany Lions win the Big Ten in 2016 and the Fiesta Bowl one season later.

Bates helped pave the way for running backs like Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders to run wild against opposing defenses while also providing Trace McSorley enough time in the pocket to work his wizardry against opposing defenses. McSorley, Barkley and Sanders, who was selected by earlier in this year’s draft, obviously have tons of talent on their own, but they couldn’t have done it without Bates’ work in the trenches.

A versatile option, Bates made appearances at both guard and tackle throughout his college football career. He also put together a strong performance at the NFL Combine with 28 reps on the bench press and a 102-inch broad jump.

Meanwhile, Thompkins was one of the most versatile players on Penn State’s offense during his collegiate career. He featured mostly as a wide receiver, but also showed out as a threat in the return game with a punt return touchdown in each of the past two seasons.

The wide receiver established himself as a threat in the passing game with a combined 55 receptions, 883 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in 2016 and 2017, respectively, but his production tailed off as a senior. He only hauled in 25 passes for 329 yards and two scores as he lost his starting role to up-and-comers like KJ Hamler and Jahan Dotson.

Thompkins turned some heads at Penn State’s pro day with an impressive 4.33-second 40-yard dash time. That time would’ve tied with Georgia’s Mecole Hardman — who was drafted in the second round by Kansas City — for the third-fastest at the NFL Scouting Combine.

He finished his career ranked 21st in at Penn State in career receiving yards with 1,245. He earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and third-team accolades from the media voters as a returner during his junior season in 2017.

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