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November 28, 2015

Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles in the 2016 NFL Draft

Eagles NFL
112615AntonioMorrison John Raoux/AP

Antonio Morrison hits everything that moves.

As long as you're taking in some college football games today, here are some players who could make some sense for the Eagles in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State (5'11, 205): (8) Ohio State at (10) Michigan, 12:00 p.m.

The Eagles have their best pair of safeties in Malcolm Jenkins and Walter Thurmond since the Brian Dawkins era, so this is no longer the pressing need it once was. Although obviously, the play of the Eagles' secondary has fallen off dramatically in recent weeks. Even with Jenkins and Thurmond staying healthy, guys like Chris Maragos and E.J. Biggers have seen a lot of meaningful snaps. The more players you have in your secondary who can play versatile roles in the defense, the better.

Bell has served both as a nickle back and safety for the Buckeyes, so he fits the bill in terms of the Eagles' preference for safeties who can drop down and play in the slot. 

As we've noted, the Eagles also highly value defensive backs who rack up a big number of pass breakups. On the season, Bell has nine PBUs, a very impressive number for a safety. A highlight reel:

Bryce Williams, TE, East Carolina: Cincinnati at East Carolina, 12:00 p.m.

Williams is a later-round prospect who has great size and very good receiving skills. On the season, he has 53 catches for 549 yards and 3 TDs. That has earned him an early invite to the Senior Bowl.

In 2015, Brent Celek will count for $5 million against the cap.

That is wholly unjustifiable. The Eagles should be looking to replace Celek with a cheaper developmental option.

Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (6'4, 236): Penn State at (5) Michigan State, 3:30 p.m.

For each quarterback we profile, we're going to do an extensive look worthy of its own post. That's what we did for Christian Hackenberg here on Friday. In case you missed any of the other quarterbacks we've profiled, you can catch up on them all below:

• Michigan State's Connor Cook
• Ohio State's Cardale Jones
• USC's Cody Kessler
• Cal's Jared Goff
• Cincinnati's Gunner Kiel
• Mississippi State's Dak Prescott
• Memphis' Paxton Lynch

Spoiler on Hackenberg: I think he should stay in school. Hackenberg has a stiff test against the Spartans this week.

Max Tuerk, C, USC (6'5, 285): (22) UCLA at USC, 3:30 p.m.

Tuerk is a great fit for the Eagles for his versatility. His primary position before he went down was center, but he has also played left tackle, left guard and right tackle. He's a rare player you can plug in to play all five positions along the offensive line.

Tuerk is done for the season after he tore his ACL, so obviously, he will not be playing, but let's be real -- you're not going to watch a football game and focus on the center all game, so I'm going to profile him anyway. Obviously, Chip Kelly isn't afraid to take chances on players with injury histories.

At the center position for the Eagles, Jason Kelce has rare athleticism, but he has had a disappointing follow-up to his first Pro Bowl season in 2014. He tore his ACL in 2012, and he missed a chunk of last season after having surgery for a hernia. Kelce returned from both injuries in impressive fashion, so it's too early to call him injury prone, or injury-damaged. Worst case scenario is that Tuerk could serve as a backup both at center and other spots along the OL. Best case is that he earns a starting job somewhere else along the line.

Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida (6'1, 229): (13) Florida State at (12) Florida, 7:30 p.m.

Here's Morrison's overview, via Dane Brugler of CBS:

Arguably the most intense player at the college level, Morrison wasn't supposed to play the first half of the 2015 season due to a serious knee injury in the Gators' bowl game last January. He was expected to miss 10-12 months, but was back on the field in only six months and has played at a very high level as a senior.

Do yourself a favor and just watch Morrison's game against Ole Miss, and you'll see what Brugler is talking about when he says he's an intense player.

Morrison is a small ILB, at 6'1, 229, but he's a badass who will hit anyone and anything that moves:

The Eagles have numbers at ILB, however, Kiko Alonso has not panned out this season and DeMeco Ryans appears as though he's nearing the end of his career.

Check out our grocery shopping page here, or any of the individual grocery shopping posts below.

September 5

  1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama
  2. A'Shawn Robinson, DL, Alabama
  3. Joey Bosa, DE, Ohio State
  4. Dadi Nicolas, Edge rusher, Virginia Tech
  5. Kendall Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech

• September 12

  1. Tyler Johnstone, OT, Oregon
  2. DeForest Buckner, DE, Oregon
  3. Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State
  4. Shilique Calhoun, Edge rusher, Michigan State
  5. Tre'Davious White, CB, LSU

• September 19

  1. Ronnie Stanley, OT, Notre Dame
  2. Leonard Floyd, OLB, Georgia
  3. Rashard Higgins, WR, Colorado State
  4. Jared Goff, QB, California
  5. O.J. Howard, TE, Alabama

• September 26

  1. Wayne Lyons, CB/S, Michigan
  2. Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas
  3. Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M
  4. Christian Westerman, OG, Arizona State
  5. Cody Kessler, QB, USC

• October 3

  1. Jordan Jenkins, Edge rusher, Georgia
  2. Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana
  3. Cody Whitehair, OT/OG, Kansas State
  4. Emmanuel Ogbah, Edge rusher, Oklahoma State
  5. KeiVarae Russell, CB, Notre Dame

• October 10

  1. Maurice Canady, CB, Virginia
  2. Tyler Boyd, WR, Pittsburgh
  3. Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee
  4. John Theus, OT, Georgia
  5. Dean Lowry, DE, Northwestern

• October 17

  1. Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia
  2. Jalen Mills, CB/S, LSU
  3. Vadal Alexander, OT/OG, LSU
  4. Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida
  5. Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State

• October 24

  1. Jeremy Cash, S, Duke
  2. Le'Raven Clark, OT/OG, Texas Tech
  3. Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
  4. Jalen Ramsey, CB, Florida State
  5. Darian Thompson, S, Boise State

• October 31

  1. Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida
  2. Isaac Seumalo, C/OG/OT, Oregon State
  3. Nick Martin, OG/C, Notre Dame
  4. Tyler Matakevich, ILB, Temple
  5. Kyle Murphy, OT, Stanford

• November 7

  1. Landon Turner, OG, North Carolina
  2. Gunner Kiel, QB, Cincinnati
  3. William Jackson III, CB, Houston
  4. Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  5. Jarran Reed, DL, Alabama

• November 14

  1. Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State
  2. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State
  3. Chris Jones, DE, Mississippi State
  4. Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor
  5. Shawn Oakman, DE Baylor

November 21

  1. Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis
  2. Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
  3. Braxton Miller, OW, Ohio State
  4. Spencer Drango, OT/OG, Baylor
  5. Joshua Garnett, OG, Stanford

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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