October 24, 2015
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.
Cash is a player who will almost certainly interest the Eagles due to his ability to drop down close to the line of scrimmage to cover slot receivers. In the games I watched of him, he played a nickel CB role more than he did as a deep safety. Additionally, he has excellent size at 6'1, 208, and is a tough run defender. Watch him blow up the tight end here and make a tackle for loss against Florida State:
Cash's numbers the last three seasons are awesome:
31.5 tackles for loss and nine forced fumbles in just 33 games form the safety position is absolutely ridiculous.
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. However, even with Jenkins and Thurmond staying healthy so far, Chris Maragos has seen a lot of meaningful snaps. Maragos has been fine in his role, but there are limits with how you can use him. The more players you have in your secondary who can play versatile roles in the defense, the better. Cash isn't a very well-known player nationally, but he is a potential late first round pick, in my opinion, and a guy who will gain more attention as the season progresses.
A highlight reel:
Clark started his career at RG, where he earned Freshman All-American honors in 2012:
He then kicked out to left tackle, as many players do when they're the best offensive lineman on their team. As we always note, the Eagles place a high premium on versatile offensive linemen.
Clark's projection to the NFL will be difficult for many teams, as he plays in Texas Tech's spread offense. The Eagles may actually find Texas Tech's up-tempo offense to be a decent measuring stick to how he might fit into Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense.
Clark is athletic, so much so that Texas Tech ran a swinging gate play to him against Kansas this year:
Here's Clark against Oklahoma State last year, often working against Emmanuel Ogbah, who is a top pass rushing prospect. He is good in pass protection, and while Texas Tech doesn't do much power running, you can still see Clark being physical when they do. (Via draftbreakdown.com)
The Eagles' season would have to take a massive tumble for them to have a shot at drafting Tunsil, who is arguably the best offensive lineman prospect in the draft. However, Tunsil has been suspended to this point in the season, and he will make his first start today.
The details of Tunsil's suspension, via an Ole Miss press release:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
The Eagles, of course, place a high value on character, so they'll have to be comfortable with Tunsil's mental makeup, but it's not as if he punched a woman or something.
Here's what a couple NFL scouts had to say about Tunsil, via Albert Breer of NFL.com.
"A big athlete and one of the more impressive players you'll watch. May be the most NFL-ready player to come out as a junior in a long time." Another AFC scout assigned to Tunsil's area added, "A top-10 pick, legit left tackle. And I think he's top-five. He's an elite athlete, can move in any direction, any way he wants. He's premier. Easy moving, quick, sudden, explosive, fast. All the athletic traits, he has them all."
Tunsil could indeed be a top 5 pick, in which case the Eagles will not be drafting him. However, Tunsil had a serious leg injury in Ole Miss' bowl game a season ago, when he broke his fibula. He'll be poked and prodded by doctors at the Combine, and if some teams doesn't like what they see, maybe he falls to an area of the first round where the Eagles could pounce? Obviously, Chip Kelly has shown he will gamble on players with a history of serious injuries.
Again, like Laremy Tunsil above, Jalen Ramsey is a potential top 5 pick, so things would have to go wildly wrong for them to have a shot at him. However, it seems that every week people mention Ramsey when I post this column, so here he is.
Clearly, Ramsey is a player the Eagles would covet. At Florida State, he has played a myriad of roles, from corner to safety to linebacker to special teams stud. He's fast. He's aggressive. He's physical. He can cover. He can hit. He can rush the passer. And he's awesome on teams. Incredible football player.
But again, forget it. Just hope the Giants, Redskins or Cowboys don't get him.
Thompson is a more traditional safety than Jeremy Cash above (although still versatile), but one thing the Eagles value highly in their secondary is players who can get their hands on the ball. So far throughout his college career, Thompson has 18 interceptions. He also has great size, at 6'2, 210.
Check out our grocery shopping page here, or any of the individual grocery shopping posts below.
Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski