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January 01, 2020

Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft

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010120XavierMcKinney John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Alabama DB Xavier McKinney has drawn comparisons to Minkah Fitzpatrick.

As long as you're taking in some college football bowl action this New Years Day, here are some players who could make sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Xavier McKinney, CB/SCB/S, Alabama (6'1, 200): (14) Michigan vs. (13) Alabama, VRBO Citrus Bowl, Wednesday, January 1, 1:00 p.m.

McKinney is a versatile playmaker who is drawing comparisons to another former Bama DB in Minkah Fitzpatrick. McKinney was only a starter for two years at Bama, and he put up impressive numbers in a defense where there sometimes aren't enough big plays to go around:

 Xavier McKinneyTackles (TFL) Sacks INT FF PBU 
 201874 (6) 10 
 201985 (4.5) 

McKinney can play either safety spot, and he's comfortable covering running backs, tight ends, and slot receivers. He's also an aggressive tackler, and a savvy blitzer. A highlight reel:

We're profiling McKinney because he'd be a good fit in the Eagles' defense (or any defense, really), but I would say the odds are low that he lands in Philly, as I can't imagine that they'll take a safety in the first round, and he won't be there in Round 2. I do think he'd make sense for Dallas, so you may as well just know about him now.

Shane Lemieux, OG, Oregon (6'4, 316): (6) Oregon vs. (8) Wisconsin, Rose Bowl, Wednesday, January 1, 5:00 p.m.

Lemieux a four-year starting left guard at Oregon, so if you're the Eagles, you'd only be interested if you think Isaac Seumalo is your center of the future, and you think Lemieux can be your starter at LG, as you're not (in theory) getting a versatile lineman.

If you do think Lemieux can be that, he is a technically sound guard with some power and an ideal demeanor., but he's not going to block guys out in front of screen 20 yards down the field like Jason Kelce. Here's Lemieux against Auburn's talented front this season. There's definitely plenty to like: 

He'll probably go Day 2.

Juwan Johnson, WR, Oregon (6'4, 231): (6) Oregon vs. (8) Wisconsin, Rose Bowl, Wednesday, January 1, 5:00 p.m.

Johnson was a 4-star prospect out of Glassboro High School in South Jersey who enrolled at Penn State, reshirted, and played at Happy Valley for three years before transferring to Oregon. He had some moments, like a walk-off TD reception against Iowa in 2017, but overall, his PSU career was a disappointment.

In his redshirt senior season at Oregon, Johnson hasn't made a huge impact, catching 25 passes for 401 yards and 4 TDs. So why profile him? Well, he's very big, and clearly skilled. A highlight reel from 2017:

Should Johnson go undrafted, perhaps Johnson would follow in the footsteps of former Glassboro High alum Corey Clement, by signing with the Eagles as an undrafted free agent?

MORE: 10 numbers that explain the Eagles 2019 season (and unconventional success) | Eagles sign RB Elijah Holyfield, place DE Daeshon Hall on IR | Eagles power ranking roundup: End of regular season

Marquez Callaway, WR, Tennessee (6'2, 204): Indiana vs. Tennessee, Taxslayer Gator Bowl, Thursday, January 2, 7:00 p.m.

Callaway is a speed receiver whose talents may have been wasted to some degree in Tennessee's offense. His production there wasn't great overall, but his yards per catch average should appeal to the Eagles, especially his 21.2 YPC in 2019.

Marquez Callaway Rec Yards YPC TD 
 201613 13.0 
 201724 406 16.9 
 201837 592 16.0 
 201929 616 21.2 

While the numbers aren't where you'd like them to be, Callaway's talent is still pretty clear, as he made more than his share of spectacular plays:

An added bonus is that Callaway brings some return ability to the table, as he has 3 career punt return TDs on 39 opportunities, and a 13.8 career punt return average. Here's one against South Carolina: 

The Eagles haven't had a threat at punt returner since "Chip Kelly era Darren Sproles." I think Callaway makes sense late on Day 3, as an immediate special teams contributor, and developmental receiver.

Trey Smith, OG, Tennessee (6'6, 325): Indiana vs. Tennessee, Taxslayer Gator Bowl, Thursday, January 2, 7:00 p.m.

Smith's fit with the Eagles is pretty straightforward. He is a brick wall offensive lineman with left tackle and left guard experience who anchors against power, and moves the line of scrimmage in the run game (though there are concerns about his aggressiveness). In the NFL, he'll very likely play guard.

With Jason Kelce soon to retire, the Eagles will either need a center to replace him directly, or a left guard if they view Isaac Seumalo as the center of the future.

The hard part with Smith is determining how healthy he is, as he has had recurring issues with blood clots in his lungs.

MORE: A chronological look at the journey of the Eagles' 'practice squad guys' to the active roster | Looks like the Eagles' three NFC East rivals will all have new head coaches in 2020

Previously profiled players

• August 24

  1. Lamical Perine, RB, Florida
  2. Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida
  3. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
  4. Jonathan Garvin, DE, Miami
  5. Jeff Thomas, WR, Miami

• August 31

  1. Scottie Phillips, RB, Ole Miss
  2. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
  3. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
  4. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
  5. Jeremiah Dinson, S, Auburn

• September 7

  1. Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa
  2. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
  3. J.D. Spielman, WR, Nebraska
  4. Jason Huntley, RB, New Mexico State
  5. Ashtyn Davis, S, California

• September 14

  1. Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
  2. Cohl Cabral, C, Arizona State
  3. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
  4. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
  5. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

• September 21

  1. Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
  2. Shyheim Carter, S, Alabama
  3. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
  4. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
  5. Solomon Kindley, OG, Georgia

• September 28

  1. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
  2. Alex Leatherwood, OG/OT, Alabama
  3. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
  4. Jaquarius Landrews, S, Mississippi State
  5. Zack Moss, RB, Utah

• October 5

  1. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
  2. Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan
  3. Oluwole Betiku Jr., DE, Illinois
  4. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
  5. Jake Hanson, C, Oregon

• October 12

  1. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  2. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
  3. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
  4. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
  5. Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

• October 19

  1. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
  2. Larrell Murchison, DT, NC State
  3. Brandon Jones, S, Texas
  4. Steven Gonzalez, OG, Penn State
  5. Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan

• October 26

  1. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
  2. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
  3. Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU
  4. K.J. Costello, QB, Stanford
  5. McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas

• November 2

  1. Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
  2. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
  3. Patrick Nelson, S/LB, SMU
  4. James Proche, WR, SMU
  5. Joe Reed, WR/RB/KR, Virginia

• November 9

  1. K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
  2. James Lynch, DT, Baylor
  3. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
  4. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
  5. Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

• November 16

  1. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
  2. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
  3. Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
  4. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
  5. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

• November 23

  1. Binjimen Victor, WR, Ohio State
  2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
  3. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
  4. Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
  5. Julian Blackmon, S, Utah

• November 30

  1. Kelly Bryant, QB, Missouri
  2. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
  3. Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
  4. Darryl Williams, OG/C, Mississippi State
  5. Douglas Coleman, S, Texas Tech

• December 7

  1. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
  2. Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
  3. Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
  4. John Hightower, WR, Boise State
  5. Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State

• December 14

  1. Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State
  2. Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
  3. Robert Hunt, OG, Louisiana Lafayette
  4. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
  5. Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne

• December 21

  1. Luq Barcoo, CB, San Diego State
  2. Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
  3. James Morgan, QB, FIU
  4. Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
  5. Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF

• December 26

  1. Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
  2. Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami
  3. Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh
  4. Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M
  5. Michael Pittman, WR, USC

• December 28

  1. Antonio Gibson, WR/RB/KR, Memphis
  2. Khalid Kareem, DE, Notre Dame
  3. Troy Pride, CB, Notre Dame
  4. Shaun Wade, CB, Ohio State
  5. Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State

December 30

  1. Jonathan Greenard, DE, Florida
  2. Lynn Bowden Jr., ATH, Kentucky
  3. Hamsah Nasirildeen, S, Florida State
  4. Tamorrion Terry, WR, Florida State
  5. Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming

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