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December 26, 2015

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

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122515JoeSchobert Andy Manis/AP

Joe Schobert could be a defender the Eagles look to cross-train at ILB and OLB.

Yes, the Eagles play tonight, and while that will be the primary focus of any Eagles fan today, there are six college bowl games on today, and more throughout the week. As long as you're taking in some college football bowl games while you're just putzing around the house on the day after Christmas, here are some players to watch who could make some sense for the Eagles in the 2016 NFL Draft:

Keyarris Garrett, WR, Tulsa (6'4, 221): Camping World Independence Bowl, Tulsa vs Virginia Tech, Saturday, December 29, 5:45 p.m.

In 2013, Garrett had a devastating injury that cut his 2013 season short, and limited him physically in 2014, via Kevin Connelly of the Shreveport Times

Garrett’s remarkable career has faced more doubt than it may seem through his numbers and accolades. He suffered a compound fracture of his lower left leg after catching a pass on a game-winning drive against Colorado State in 2013 (Think Louisville’s Kevin Ware vs. Duke in the 2013 Elite Eight).
It was just the second game of his junior season and came on the heels of a breakout sophomore campaign where he was named second-team All-Conference USA with a team-high 67 catches for 845 yards and nine touchdowns.
“That was an awful injury,” Garrett said. “I had a lot of surgeries on my leg just to get it back right, so it took me a lot of time. At one point in time I didn’t think I was going to be able to come back, because there was just so much going on.”

In 2015, Garrett broke out again, catching 88 passes for 1451 yards and 7 TDs. The Eagles are willing to take chances on players with serious injury histories, and Garrett fits the bill. Garrett isn't a run after the catch guy, but he uses his size well on vertical routes and in the red zone, which is something the Eagles lack. A highlight reel:

Keenan Reynolds, RB, Navy (5'11, 195): Military Bowl, Pittsburgh vs Navy, Monday, December 28, 2:30 p.m.

Much like Vikings backup running back and former Georgia Southern quarterback Jerick McKinnon, Reynolds will likely make the transition to running back in the pros from being an option quarterback in college.

Reynolds is the all-time NCAA leader in rushing touchdowns, with 85 of them. The next closest player is Montee Ball, who had 77.

A year ago, the Eagles interestingly brought in Navy long snapper Joe Cardona for a pre-draft visit, but the Patriots selected him in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. I'm sure Chip Kelly would love to draft a kid from Navy, because, you know, #culture.

A highlight reel: 

Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State (6'4, 235): Belk Bowl, NC State vs Mississippi State, Wednesday, December 30, 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 Jacoby Brissett earlier this week. 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
• Penn State's Christian Hackenberg
• Western Kentucky's Brandon Doughty
• North Dakota State's Carson Wentz
• NC State's Jacoby Brissett

Spoiler on Brissett: He has some ability, but is not at all a polished product and is a late-round developmental prospect.

Su'a Cravens, LB/S, USC (6'1, 225): National Funding Holiday Bowl, (25) USC vs Wisconsin, Wednesday, December 30, 10:30 p.m.

Cravens is reminiscent of former Washington LB/S Shaq Thompson, who was taken by the Panthers in the first round of the 2015 draft. Like Thompson, Cravens played both safety and linebacker in college. During the pre-draft process a year ago, the Eagles reportedly brought Thompson in for a visit to the NovaCare Complex, which makes Cravens at least worth noting as a player of interest.

Throughout his college career, Cravens has filled up the stat sheet, making plays all over the field:

 YearTackles TFL Sacks FF INT 
 201353 2.5 
 201468 17 
 201578 14.5 5.5 
 TOTAL199 34 10.5 

Cravens also has 15 pass breakups the last two seasons, which is very impressive from a safety/linebacker spot.

A few weeks ago, we profiled Miles Jack, another safety/linebacker tweeter. While I think Jack is more likely a linebacker at the pro level, I see Cravens more as a safety. 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, guys like Chris Maragos and Ed Reynolds have seen a lot of meaningful snaps because Jenkins and Thurmond double as slot corners. The more players you have in your secondary who can play versatile roles in the defense, the better.

Joe Schobert, OLB, Wisconsin (6'1, 236): National Funding Holiday Bowl, (25) USC vs Wisconsin, Wednesday, December 30, 10:30 p.m.

Schobert is tied for 12th in the nation with 10 sacks this season. The Badgers use Schobert as an edge rusher in their defense, but at 6'1, 236, he's probably going to have to either play OLB in a 4-3 in the NFL, or perhaps even kick inside to ILB in a 3-4.

Schobert is an athlete. Check out this between the legs dunk in front of his teammates:

Against Iowa this season, he nearly single-handedly wrecked the second half of the game, when he had 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, several additional knockdowns, and he killed the QB while throwing, leading to a pick. This is worth your time:

The Eagles have tried cross-training players at ILB and OLB. Schobert would be an excellent candidate for that kind of role as long as they feel they can get him to add some bulk without jeopardizing his speed and athleticism.

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

• November 28

  1. Vonn Bell, S, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Williams, TE, East Carolina
  3. Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
  4. Max Tuerk, C, USC
  5. Antonio Morrison, ILB, Florida

• December 5

  1. Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
  2. Devon Cajuste, WR, Stanford
  3. Desmond King, CB, Iowa
  4. Quinshad Davis, WR, North Carolina
  5. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

• December 12

  1. Myles Jack, LB, UCLA
  2. Carson Wentz, QB, North Dakota State
  3. Adam Gotsis, DL, Georgia Tech
  4. Devontae Booker, RB, Utah
  5. Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas

• December 19

  1. Bronson Kaufusi, DE, BYU
  2. Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech
  3. Kyler Fackrell, OLB, Utah State
  4. Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan
  5. Parker Ehinger, OT, Cincinnati

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski

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