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September 16, 2017

Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles in the 2018 NFL Draft

Eagles NFL

As long as you're taking in some college football action this Saturday afternoon/evening, here are some players who could make some sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2018 NFL Draft.

To note, the Eagles currently have seven draft picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, listed here.

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State (6'1, 205): (9) Oklahoma State at Pittsburgh, 12:00 p.m.

Torrey Smith showed last Sunday that he can take the top off a defense, but he may only be a short-term fix. The Eagles may look to add a young speedster on the outside, like they did in the 2017 draft, when they took Shelton Gibson, although obviously that has not worked out.

Washington fits the bill, as he has averaged 19.8 yards per catch over his career.

James Washington Rec Yards YPC TD 
 201428 456 16.3 
 201553 1087 20.5 10 
 201671 1380 19.4 10 
 2017243 30.4 
 TOTAL160 3166 19.8 31 

A highlight reel:

Note in the video above that Washington does a great job adjusting to balls in the air that aren't perfectly thrown, which is something Carson Wentz didn't get much help with in his rookie season.

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Barring injury of some kind or unknown off-field issues, he'll be a first-round pick.

Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU (6'4, 216): SMU at (20) TCU, 3:30 p.m.

While Washington above may be a faster, younger Torrey Smith, Courtland Sutton is more of an Alshon Jeffery clone. At 6'4, 216, Sutton has a wide catch radius, and he excels at winning 50-50 catch opportunities, as well as in the red zone. His numbers:

Courtland Sutton Rec Yards YPC TD 
 201427 13.5 
 201549 862 17.6 
 201676 1246 16.4 10 
 201710 185 18.5 
 TOTAL137 2320 16.9 24 

A highlight reel:

The Eagles' wide receiver corps are certainly better in 2017 than they were in 2016, but they can still stand to continue to improve. The Eagles will have to decide whether or not they try to re-sign Alshon Jeffery to a long term deal after adding him on a one-year contract this past offseason. 

Deon Cain, WR, Clemson (6'1, 190): (3) Clemson at (14) Louisville, 8:00 p.m.

Clemson has produced quite a bit of receiving talent over the last half decade:

 Clemson WRsYear Team Round Overall 
 DeAndre Hopkins2013 Texans 27 
 Sammy Watkins2014 Bills 
 Martavis Bryant2014 Steelers 118 
 Adam Humphries2015 Buccaneers UDFA UDFA 
Charone Peake 2016 Jets 241 
 Mike Williams2017 Chargers 

Deon Cain is the next in line. Cain, like Washington above, has good speed and is a threat to take the top off a defense. Additionally, he has good hands, great body control, and is thought of as a good blocker. A highlight reel:

Again, I expect the Eagles to continue to give Carson Wentz added weaponry at receiver.

Jaire Alexander, CB, Lousiville (5'11, 192): (3) Clemson at (14) Louisville, 8:00 p.m.

The guy who will have to cover Cain will be Jaire Alexander. If you haven't yet heard of Alexander, you will, as he is as sticky a cover corner as there is in college football.

In 2016, Alexander had 5 INTs, 9 pass breakups, a forced fumble, and he was also an electric punt returner. A highlight reel:

You can never have too many corners, and I believe the Eagles will continue to target the position. With Darren Sproles likely retiring after this season, Alexander could double as the punt returner.

Ronald Jones II, RB, USC (6'1, 195): Texas at (4) USC, 8:30 p.m.

Jones' game is all about speed. His career numbers at USC:

Ronald Jones Rush Yards YPC TD 
 2015153 987 6.5 
 2016177 1082 6.1 12 
 TOTAL330 2069 6.3 20 

In 2016, Jones started slowly, but he turned it on big-time at the tail end of the season. In his first seven games as a sophomore, he had 62 carries for just 285 yards and 2 TDs. In his last six games, he had 115 carries for 797 yards and 10 TDs. A highlight reel:

The Eagles' needs at running back this upcoming offseason are obvious.

Previously profiled players

• August 26

  1. Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State
  2. Adam Breneman, TE, UMass
  3. Quinton Flowers, QB, South Florida
  4. Quenton Meeks, CB, Stanford
  5. Justin Reid, S, Stanford

• August 31

  1. Richard Lagow, QB, Indiana
  2. Simmie Cobbs Jr., WR, Indiana
  3. Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
  4. Azeem Victor, LB, Washington
  5. Vita Vea, DT, Washington

• September 2

  1. Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
  2. Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
  3. Antonio Callaway, WR, Florida
  4. Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
  5. Tarvaris McFadden, CB, Florida State

September 9

  1. Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn
  2. Tyrone Crowder, OG, Clemson
  3. Jordan Thomas, CB, Oklahoma
  4. Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma
  5. Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State

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