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November 19, 2022

Five college prospects who could interest the Eagles in the 2023 NFL Draft

Eagles NFL
111922GervonDexter Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports

Florida DT Gervon Dexter

During the college football season each year, as long as you're watching the games, we point out five players each week to keep an eye on who make logical sense for the Eagles in the following year's draft.

Gervon Dexter, DT, Florida (6'6, 312): Florida at Vanderbilt, 12:00 p.m.

Dexter is big, strong, athletic beast of a man who has the ability to dominate one-on-one matchups in the trenches. He is a particularly good run defender who can shoot gaps with his quickness, or two-gap and hold the point of attack. The latter skill is one that NFL teams found less valuable for a while, but are now coming back to, as noted by Daniel Jeremiah.

Of course, the Eagles traded up for such a player in the 2022 draft in Jordan Davis. Like Davis, Dexter is a player who has not played a ton of college snaps, and a quick glance of his stats won't wow anyone. Also like Davis, it is expected that Dexter will impress at the Combine with his rare blend of size and athleticism, which he has shown in flashes, like here:

Dexter can play a bunch of positions along the defensive line, and his appeal to the Eagles would be that he and Davis would allow Jonathan Gannon (or fill in the Eagles' next DC, who would likely run a similar scheme) to play coverage on the back end, while also possessing upside as a pass rusher.

The Eagles just signed a pair of big-name veteran defensive tackles this week to help the rest of this season. Think DT might be a priority this offseason?

Drew Sanders, LB, Arkansas (6'5, 233): (14) Ole Miss at Arkansas, 7:30 p.m.

Sanders is having a stellar season after transferring to Arkansas from Alabama, where he didn't get much playing time in his freshman and sophomore seasons. He is a versatile, athletic off-ball linebacker / edge defender hybrid with great size who is filling up the stat sheet in 2022. In 10 games, Sanders has 86 tackles (12 for loss), 8.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, an 3 pass breakups. He is also a big hitter. For example:

I love the color commentary on that hit, lol.

Sanders is an intriguing player and a potentially valuable piece for any defense that seeks to be "multiple." The Eagles could have needs both at off-ball linebacker, and on the edge in 2023, so Sanders makes a lot of sense as a defender who can wear multiple hats.

Laiatu Latu, DE, UCLA (6'4, 265): (7) USC at (16) UCLA, 8: 00 p.m.

Latu suffered a serious neck injury while playing at Washington, and his football career was seemingly over. He transferred to UCLA, where he is now thriving, with 8 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in 10 games. When you watch his highlights, it's easy to see that he has an extensive repertoire of pass rush moves, and he can win either on the edge or from the interior on obvious passing downs:

Latu's medicals will have to check out, but he has been a breakout defensive playmaker this season.

Clark Phillips, CB, Utah (5'10, 183): (10) Utah at (12) Oregon, 10:30 p.m.

Phillips has had a very productive 2022 season, picking off 5 passes, 2 of which he has returned for touchdowns. In 2021, he had 61 tackles, 2 INTs, and 13 pass breakups. Over his career, he has 4 pick-sixes in 29 games.

He consistently gets his hands on passes, and makes game-changing plays. He plays outside and inside for Utah, but because of his small frame, he'll probably be a slot corner in the NFL.

The Eagles have a quality starting slot corner in Avonte Maddox, but Maddox has missed time in all but one of his five NFL seasons. Phillips will likely be a Day 2 pick, so if you're the Eagles and you're considering taking him in that range, you should feel comfortable with his versatility to also play some outside.

Bo Nix, QB, Oregon (6'2, 213): (10) Utah at (12) Oregon, 10:30 p.m.

Nix was a guy who had sort of been written off after an erratic career at Auburn, but he has had an excellent year after transferring to Oregon. He is completing 72.8 percent of his passes on 9.2 yards per attempt, and 24 TDs vs. 5 INTs, to go along with 13 rushing TDs and one receiving TD. He has adequate size, good arm strength, he can create when protection around him breaks down, and he's an athlete:

Remember when the Eagles drafted Jalen Hurts in the second round because they wanted a good backup? Well, uh, they'll need a backup if Gardner Minshew leaves for another team this offseason, and Nix is a player with some similar attributes as Hurts who wouldn't require major offensive changes if he had to step in.

To note: Nix is injured, and may or not play in this game. I'm curious to see how he fights through an injury if he's a go.

Previous profiled players

August 27

  1. Ochaun Mathis, EDGE, Nebraska
  2. Sydney Brown, S, Illinois
  3. Robert Scott, OT, FSU
  4. Isaiah Land, SAM, Florida A&M
  5. Josh Downs, WR, North Carolina

September 3

  1. Jalen Catalon, S, Arkansas
  2. Kelee Ringo, CB, Florida
  3. C.J. Stroud, QB, Ohio State
  4. Isaiah Foskey, Edge, Notre Dame
  5. Zach Harrison, DE, Ohio State

September 10

  1. Bryce Young, QB, Alabama
  2. DeMarvion Overshown, LB, Texas
  3. Will McDonald IV, SAM, Iowa State
  4. Chris Rodriguez, RB, Kentucky
  5. Kyu Blu Kelly, CB, Stanford

September 17

  1. Sean Tucker, RB, Syracuse
  2. Joey Porter Jr., CB, Penn State
  3. Tyler Van Dyke, QB, Miami
  4. Antonio Johnson, S, Texas A&M
  5. Lou Hedley, P, Miami

September 24

  1. Trenton Simpson, SAM, Clemson
  2. A.T. Perry, WR, Wake Forest
  3. Hendon Hooker, QB, Tennessee
  4. Devon Achane, RB, Texas A&M
  5. Felix Anudike-Uzomah, DE, Kansas State

October 1

  1. Jordan Battle, S, Alabama
  2. Nolan Smith, SAM, Georgia
  3. Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson
  4. Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss
  5. Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State

October 8

  1. Ali Gaye, DE, LSU
  2. Will Anderson Jr., DE, Alabama
  3. Demani Richardson, S, Texas A&M
  4. Zach Charbonnet, RB, UCLA
  5. Brant Kuithe, TE, Utah

October 15

  1. Ji'Ayir Brown, S, Penn State
  2. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota
  3. Matthew Bergeron, OT, Syracuse
  4. Jacoby Windmon, EDGE, Michigan State
  5. Tuli Tuipulotu, DE, USC

October 22

  1. Riley Moss, CB, Iowa
  2. Dawand Jones, OT, Ohio State
  3. Tyree Wilson, DE, Texas Tech
  4. Jahmyr Gibbs, RB, Alabama
  5. JL Skinner, S, Boise State

October 29

  1. Jared Verse, Edge, Florida State
  2. Brenton Strange, TE, Penn State
  3. Brandon Joseph, S, Notre Dame
  4. Jalen Carter, DT, Georgia
  5. Darnell Wright, OT, Tennessee

November 4

  1. Paris Johnson, OL, Ohio State
  2. Max Duggan, QB, TCU
  3. Kendre Miller, RB, TCU
  4. Devon Witherspoon, CB, Illinois
  5. Darnell Washington, TE, Georgia

November 12

  1. Mike Morris, DE, Michigan
  2. Christopher Smith, S, Georgia
  3. DJ Johnson, DE/TE, Oregon
  4. Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas
  5. Steve Avila, OL, TCU

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