January 15, 2017
Throughout the season, as long as you were watching college football action on Saturdays, we would profile five players to watch who could make some sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2017 NFL Draft. The college football season is over, but here are five guys we missed.
To note, the Eagles currently have eight draft picks in the 2017 NFL Draft, listed here.
The University of Florida isn't the only school with two standout cornerbacks (Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson). Ohio State has a pair of very talented corners in their own right in Lattimore and Gareon Conley.
Lattimore is only a redshirt sophomore who has participated in under 20 games in his career at OSU. 2016 was Lattimore's only season as a starter, when he had 41 tackles, four interceptions, and nine pass breakups. Lattimore does a great job of staying in phase with opposing receivers, which allows him to get his head around and look for the football when it's in the air. A highlight reel:
According to cfbfilmroom.com, Lattimore was targeted 36 times in 2016, and gave up just 13 receptions, or approximately one per game. He allowed one TD while collecting four INTs. He was also credited with 36 tackles, and just one missed tackle. That's outstanding.
If you watched Stanford's bowl game against North Carolina, you saw that Solomon Thomas was the best football player on the field, not hyped quarterback Mitch Trubisky. A highlight reel:
Thomas doesn't have eye-popping numbers (8 sacks in 2016, 3.5 sacks in 2015), but he was a disruptive force along the defensive line for Stanford.
From the Eagles' perspective, however, where do you put him? Is he a defensive end? Is he too small at 6'2, 275 to play DT in the Eagles' 4-3 front? Ideally, he'd be both -- a player who can play DE on early downs, and then kick inside to beat guards on obvious passing downs. Of course, that's what the Eagles just signed Vinny Curry to a five year deal worth $46.25 million to be.
Godwin showed up bigtime in the Rose Bowl against USC, torching the Trojans for 187 yards and two TDs on nine receptions. Here is his Rose Bowl performance:
Godwin's career numbers:
While his yards per catch numbers are good and he makes plays down the field, Godwin doesn't have great speed. He does, however, do a very good job winning contested catches by high-pointing the football and being physical in his route-running with opposing corners. He also has very good hands. I see him as a quality possession receiver in the NFL, who will make the occasional big play down the field. Anyone who can merely catch the football for the Eagles would be a good start.
Despite his small size, Elder is a physical tackler who also contributes on special teams for the Hurricanes. Watch him hit:
In 2016, Elder had 76 tackles (4.5 for loss), 3 sacks, 1 INT, and 12 pass breakups. In 2015, he had 41 tackles (4 for loss), 2 sacks, 2 INTs, and 11 pass breakups.
Last offseason, the Eagles brought in Ron Brooks, a physical tackler at the slot corner spot who also contributes on special teams. Over the next two years, Brooks' cap numbers will be $2.1 million and $2.4 million. If Brooks cannot recover fully from a ruptured quadriceps tendon, the Eagles would save $1.6 million if they move on from him next offseason. Elder could be a potential replacement for Brooks, especially if the Eagles plan to eventually move Jalen Mills to safety.
At 6'1, 208, Douglas has ideal size at the corner spot in the NFL, and he led the country in interceptions in 2016, with eight. Those two things alone will make Douglas an attractive prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. A highlight reel:
Douglas isn't always the most willing tackler in the run game, and he can tend to be a gambler in coverage. The latter will be viewed by some coaches as a negative, but is likely to appeal to Jim Schwartz.
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