More Sports:

October 01, 2022

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

Eagles NFL
092422NolanSmith Bob Self/USA TODAY NETWORK

Georgia LB Nolan Smith would make sense as a SAM in the Eagles' defense.

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.

Zach Evans, RB, Ole Miss (6'0, 215): (7) Kentucky at (14) Ole Miss, 12:00 p.m.

Evans averaged over 7 yards per carry in a limited role in each of his first two seasons at TCU before transferring to Ole Miss.

Zach Evans Rec Yards YPC TD 
2020 54 415 7.7 
2021 92 648 7.0 

In four games so far at Ole Miss, Evans has 59 carries for 365 yards (6.2 YPC) and 4 TDs. I like his running style. He has some speed, he can break tackles, and as you'll see below, there's not a lot of nonsense or wasted motion in his approach. He's a north-south runner who doesn't leave a lot of meat on the bone, but who can also make guys miss in short areas while continuing to churn up the field. 

On the downside, Evans hasn't yet contributed much in the passing game, and he has 4 fumbles on just over 200 career carries.

Jordan Battle, S, Alabama (6'1, 206): (2) Alabama at (20) Arkansas, 3:30 p.m.

Battle is an instinctive, playmaking safety who has three pick-sixes over his last two full seasons. In 2021, he had 85 tackles to go along with three INTs. For those of you who follow college football closely, he's also the guy who kept Auburn's running back off the ground and shuttled out of bounds, stopping the clock and giving Bama's offense a chance to win that game, which they eventually did. A look at Battle in that game:

He has good range on the back end, he's good in the box as a run defender, he has good size, and he can make plays on the football. There just aren't any obvious flaws. Likely Day 2 guy. 

Bryce Baringer, P, Michigan State (6'3, 215): Michigan State at Maryland, 3:30 p.m.

Baringer is Mel Kiper's top rated punting prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. He averaged 48.4 yards per punt in 2021, and he is averaging 53.0 yards per punt so far in 2022. Do you want to watch punter highlights? Of course you do!

Most importantly about Baringer is that he wears goggles, which as you already know can improve punting performance by up to 38 percent.

Nolan Smith, SAM, Georgia (6'3, 235): (1) Georgia at Missouri, 7:30 p.m.

Smith was a highly rated prospect coming out off high school (2nd in the nation, via Rivals), who had the best SPARQ rating in his recruiting class. (That means that he's an incredible athlete, in case you're unfamiliar with SPARQ.)

The Eagles love them some moldable athletes in the draft, like Jordan Davis, Milton Williams, Jalen Reagor, Davion Taylor, Jack Driscoll, Casey Toohill, Andre Dillard, Avonte Maddox, Josh Sweat, etc. Obviously, some mixed results there.

Smith isn't just an athlete. He is also a physical run defender willing to set the edge so that his teammates can collect tackles.

Smith had an immediate role in Georgia's defense as a true freshman, but his production has left something to be desired. 2021 was been his best year, as he had 53 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one INT, and three forced fumbles. Some highlights: 

Smith is a likely first-round pick in 2023, and with more production in 2022 he could go pretty high. I like him as a SAM in Jonathan Gannon's defense.

Myles Murphy, DE, Clemson (6'5, 275): (10) NC State at (5) Clemson, 7:30 p.m.

At 6'5, 275, Murphy has prototype size, and some power to go along with it. He had 4 sacks as a freshman in 2020, and 8 sacks in 2021, and also makes plays against the run. A look:

Murphy has some inside-outside versatility, and would make sense as an eventual replacement for Brandon Graham. Potential first-round pick.

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

Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader