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November 12, 2022

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

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.

Mike Morris, DE, Michigan (6'6, 292): Nebraska at Michigan, 3:00 p.m.

Morris had limited opportunities to rush the passer at Michigan playing behind Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, but he has broken out in 2022 with 7.5 sacks, 2 batted passes, and a forced fumble in 9 games for the Wolverines. He has outstanding size at 6'6, 290, and some inside-outside versatility.

Morris would be an easy fit into the Brandon Graham role on the Eagles' line.

Christopher Smith, S, Georgia (5'11, 195): Georgia at Mississippi State, 7:00 p.m.

Smith was a high school corner who has transitioned to safety for Georgia. He's a productive cover safety (3 INTs in 2021, 2 so far in 2022) who plays centerfield and some slot corner for the Bulldogs. Here he is picking off Clemson and taking it to the house in 2021:

Smith could use some improvement in the run support department, but as we have seen under Jonathan Gannon the Eagles now prioritize stopping the pass. Smith has similar swag and versatility as Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, and would fit the Eagles' defensive scheme whether the Eagles are able to bring Gardner-Johnson back on a contract extension or not.

DJ Johnson, DE/TE, Oregon (6'4, 270): Washington at Oregon, 7:00 p.m.

Johnson originally enrolled at Miami way back in 2017. He transferred to Oregon in 2018 but had to sit out a year due to the NCAA's ridiculous transfer rules at the time. After a brief search, I couldn't find a birthdate for Johnson, but he is probably going to be around 25 years old when he is drafted next April. As such, he is just Day 3 prospect, in my opinion, although an interesting one.

At Oregon, Johnson has played both at DE and TE, sometimes in the same game. In the Ducks' upset win over Ohio State in 2021, Johnson had a key 11-yard fourth quarter reception, and he sacked C.J. Stroud on the final play of the game.

In 2022, Johnson is focusing on defensive end, and his season is off to a great start, as he has 7.5 sacks.

The Eagles need reinforcements at DE. Johnson would be sort of a weird developmental project since he is already an older prospect, but if the price is right (seventh round?) he's a guy to keep an eye on.

Bijan Robinson, RB, Texas (6'0, 222): TCU at Texas, 7:30 p.m.

Robinson is a big, powerful back who gets tough yards between the tackles, but who also has speed and explosiveness to be a home run hitter. He is a complete, three-down type of back who can run inside, outside, and catch passes out of the backfield. He is widely regarded as the best running back prospect in the country.

Many of Robinson's highlight reel plays look effortless. On inside runs, he executes subtle, but shifty moves that do not slow down his forward movement. On outside runs, he runs patiently until a hole opens up, and then he hits it with sudden acceleration. His cuts in the open field have little wasted motion and often leave defenders with "broken ankles." Even his stiff arm seems almost nonchalant, but puts defenders on the ground. And he's a hands catcher.

So, uh, yeah, he's good. Over a three-year career at Texas, Robinson has 473 carries for 2959 yards (6.3 YPC) and 27 TDs. He has 60 catches for 805 yards (an outstanding 13.4 YPC for a RB), and 8 TDs.

I don't think he's as good of a prospect as Saquon Barkley or Ezekiel Elliott were when their respective teams stupidly drafted them No. 2 and No. 4 overall, respectively, but he is a player who is highly likely to be drafted in the first round.

We reviewed Robinson by popular request, but it's a low likelihood that he will be an Eagle. Howie Roseman will almost certainly not draft a running back with the Saints pick, and Robinson will probably be gone by the time the Eagles make their own pick, and I'm not sure they would even take him in the back half of the first round, if available.

Steve Avila, OL, TCU (6'4, 330): TCU at Texas, 7:30 p.m.

The Eagles love them some versatile offensive linemen and Avila has experience at C, LG, RG, and RT for the Horned Frogs.

Should Jason Kelce retire after the 2022 season, Cam Jurgens would become the team's new starting center, but the Eagles would need depth to fill in behind him. Avila is a player who could assume that backup center role while also adding value as a reserve at both guard spots.

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

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