September 09, 2017
As long as you're taking in some college football action this Saturday afternoon/evening, here are some players who could make some sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2018 NFL Draft.
To note, the Eagles currently have seven draft picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, listed here.
With only two quarterbacks on the roster and Nick Foles only signed through 2018, the Eagles would be wise to draft a quarterback in 2018 to develop behind Carson Wentz so that he can be ready if needed in 2019 and beyond. One intriguing quarterback who could be drafted after the first wave of big names, should he choose to come out, is Auburn's Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham initially enrolled at Baylor, but transferred to a community college after head coach Art Briles was fired amid Baylor's scandals. He then enrolled at Auburn, where he is now the starting quarterback.
At Baylor, Stidham filled in for Seth Russell, going 75 of 109 (68.8%) for 1265 yards (11.6 YPA), 12 TDs, and 2 INTs. Stidham has a good arm, which Baylor showed off when he played. Here's a cutup someone made of all of Stidham's deep throws:
Stidham is considered a redshirt sophomore, so there's a decent chance he won't come out, especially in a loaded quarterback class, but he's perhaps a player to begin monitoring.
As you might imagine with a 6'2, 340-pound guard, Crowder is a mauler in the run game. For example, watch him dominate Auburn DT Montravius Adams, who was a Day 2 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft:
The Eagles clearly like maulers, seeing as they just gave a contract extension to Chance Warmack, a player likely to be inactive this season until someone along the OL gets hurt.
Also as you might imagine for a man of his dimensions, Crowder isn't exactly pretty to look at in the screen game or when he's asked to pull, although there some moments when he does a good job coming off double teams and picking up an extra block at the second level.
While you might think that Crowder could be easy pickings in the passing game against quicker interior defensive linemen, that hasn't happened at the college level. According to cfbfilmroom.com, Crowder didn't allow any sacks in 2016, and he allowed just one in 2015. He also had just three penalties over the last two seasons, all of which were false starts.
The Eagles only kept eight offensive linemen at 53-man cutdowns, and it's very possible that Jason Kelce will not be with the team next season. As such, the Eagles are going to have to reload on the interior of their O line.
At around this time last year, Thomas was thought to be a potential first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft by some. For example, ESPN's Todd McShay had Thomas as his No. 1 rated cornerback back in August of 2016:
Thomas tracks the ball well and routinely comes down with 50-50 balls. He finished last season with five interceptions -- one of which was returned for a touchdown. He projects as an early-round pick because of his combination of size (6-foot, 192 pounds), athletic ability and instincts. But Thomas' off-field decision making -- two suspensions in 2015 and an arrest -- deserves attention from teams.
The off-field decision making McShay referred to includes two different suspensions, as well as an arrest for failing to appear in court after receiving a speeding ticket for driving 94 MPH. He was also arrested in June on charges of "assault and battery, public intoxication and interference with official process." The Eagles have shown that they are willing to add character concern players since the departure of Chip Kelly.
On the field, Thomas wasn't nearly as good in 2016 as he was in 2015. CFB Film Room has him down for seven touchdowns and 831 yards allowed last season, with two interceptions. That's very bad, clearly.
As a result, Thomas made the obvious decision to stay in school for his senior season. The talent is there, but he'll have to regroup from a bad season.
In each of his first two seasons at OU, Andrews scored seven touchdowns. He also had very impressive yards per catch numbers for a tight end:
In 2017, Andrews got off to a good start with a 7-134-1 showing against UTEP. He has good hands, he can win contested catches, and he has outstanding run after the catch ability:
On the downside, Andrews needs a lot of work as a blocker. Still, he's a very athletic tight end with legitimate receiving skills that NFL teams look for.
Lewis' pass rush numbers for the Buckeyes over the last two years are good. He had eight sacks both in 2015 and 2016, and tacked on a combined 24.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles over that span, although he was helped by favorable matchups due to Ohio State's outstanding front seven. After one game in 2017, Lewis already has two sacks.
CBS currently ranks Lewis as the 14th best draft eligible player in the nation. I don't see that at all. Compare Lewis with Derek Barnett, who was drafted 14th overall by the Eagles, and Barnett was clearly a far better prospect. Additionally, Lewis is a redshirt senior, so he'll be among the older draft applicants this year.
Still, defensive ends are always in demand and should be for the Eagles once again next offseason. Brandon Graham will be 30 by the next draft, Chris Long is in the twilight of his career, and the Eagles are likely to shed Vinny Curry's contract after this season. While they invested a high pick on Barnett last offseason, adding more edge rusher presence makes sense.
Lewis relies on his power, but he's not exactly the most explosive guy around the edge. Even in his highlight reel, you can see that a number of his big plays are the result of some pretty crappy play from the RT opposite him:
While he's not Von Miller, Lewis' appeal is as an excellent run defender, which makes sense for an Eagles team in the same division as the Cowboys and Redskins, who both have excellent road-grading offensive lines.
Lewis can be an immediate contributor on run downs, and a guy you can work with to improve the pass rush element of his game over time.