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September 30, 2017

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

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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.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia (5'10, 228): (7) Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.

When Georgia lost Todd Gurley for the season in 2014, Chubb came in and the Bulldogs' run game didn't suffer all that much. Insert Chubb, and everything was fine. In his first five games in 2014, playing second fiddle to Gurley, Chubb only had 31 carries for 224 yards and 2 TDs. As the starter, Chubb lit it up in the final eight games, carrying the ball 219 times for 1547 yards and 14 TDs. 


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In 2015, he picked up where he left off the previous season, rushing 92 times for 747 yards (for a ridiculous 8.1 ypc) and 7 TDs in his first five games. And then he suffered a grotesque injury in his sixth game against Tennessee.

His numbers at Georgia:

Nick Chubb Rush Yards YPC TD 
 2014219 1547 7.1 14 
 201592 747 8.1 
 2016224 1130 5.0 
 201759 371 6.3 
 TOTAL594 3795 6.4 27 


Chubb has a low center of gravity, running with good power and vision. However, his explosive cutting ability and home run potential last season wasn't quite what it used to be before he shredded his knee in 2015. A highlight reel, post-injury:


As you can see from Chubb's numbers above, his yards per carry plummeted after his injury. As a result, he made the correct decision to stay in school for his senior season. In 2017, Chubb is off to a good start, another year removed from his injury.

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia (5'11, 222): (7) Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.

In the 2016 NFL Draft, two Alabama running backs -- Derrick Henry and Kenyon Drake -- were both taken in the first three rounds. Georgia could also have two backs taken in the 2018 NFL Draft in Chubb and Michel. 

 Michel's numbers aren't what they could be because he has had to split time with Chubb. A quick look:

Sony Michel Rush Yards YPC TD 
 201464 410 6.4 
 2015219 1161 5.3 
 2016152 840 5.5 
 201736 192 5.3 
 TOTAL283 1571 5.6 13 


Here's a highlight reel from Michel's 2015 season, when Chubb went down:


While he doesn't have top-end speed, Michel is a hard runner with receiving ability, which will appeal to the Eagles. In 2015, he had 26 catches for 270 yards and 3 TDs.

Jamar Summers, CB, UConn (6'0, 190): UConn at SMU, 4:00 p.m.

In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Eagles selected a bunch of players with excellent college production. For example, Derek Barnett broke Reggie White's sack record at Tennessee, Rasul Douglas tied for the nation lead in INTs, and Donnel Pumphrey was the NCAA's all-time leading rusher.

In 2015, Summers was very productive, picking off eight passes, which tied for second in the country. A look at those picks:

In 2016, Summers struggled a bit and did not have anywhere near the same level of production. Still, he is likely to interest the Eagles, because he has played both cornerback and safety at UConn.

Jim Schwartz has noted repeatedly that he likes his safeties to have coverage ability.

"I think that's an asset," he said. "First of all, it's tough to find guys that can do both. I've probably been very long-winded on how we like safeties that have some corner in the background. Now Corey Graham, former corner. Malcolm Jenkins, corner. Rodney McLeod, corner in college. All of those guys fit in that same role, and Jaylen Watkins did also."

All four of the Eagles' non-Maragos safeties were once corners. The Eagles could see a similar role for Summers.

SMU has a very talented wide receiver in the previously profiled Courtland Sutton, who should test UConn's secondary.

Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech (6'3, 193): (2) Clemson at (12) Virginia Tech, 8:00 p.m.

Like Summers, Alexander has played some safety in addition to corner for Virginia Tech. As a freshman in 2015, Alexander had 55 tackles and four interceptions, one of which is shown below:


In 2016, he had 44 tackles and two picks.

Alexander is a tall, athletic corner who is not afraid to stick his nose in and make tackles, and his ball skills are rather obvious. However, he comes with serious character concerns.

In 2016, he was suspended for Virginia Tech's opener after being busted for possession of marijuana. Last week against East Carolina, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente had him stay home for 'not living up to' VT's expectations.

"We will continue to uphold the exemplary standards of Virginia Tech football," Fuente said. "Integrity, trust and teamwork remain the foundation of this program and that will not change.

"Adonis has not lived up to our expectations at Virginia Tech. He will continue practicing and participating in team activities. Our staff will continue to monitor his progress and evaluate his progress going forward."

The Eagles have shown they are willing to take chances on character concern players, and Alexander will likely be available much later in the draft than he otherwise would if his background were clean.

Dante Pettis, WR, Washington (6'1, 192): (6) Washington at Oregon State, 8:00 p.m.

With one more punt return TD, Pettis will own sole possession of the all-time NCAA record for career punt return touchdowns. A list of the NCAA career leaders for punt return TDs:

Player Years School Punt return TDs 
Dante Pettis 2014-2017 Washington 8 
 Wes Welker2000-2003 Texas Tech 
 Antonio Perkins2001-2004 Oklahoma 
 David Allen1997-2000 Kansas State 
 Javier Arenas2006-2009 Alabama 
 Leodis McKelvin2004-2007 Troy 
 Ryne Robinson2003-2006 Miami Ohio 
 Ryan Switzer2013-2016 North Carolina 7 
 Derek Abney2000-2003 Kentucky 
 Ted Ginn2004-2006 Ohio State 
 James Henry1986-1988 Southern Mississippi 
 DeSean Jackson2005-2007 California 
 Santana Moss1997-2000 Miami 
 Steve Suter2001-2004 Maryland 


Here are all 8: 


With Darren Sproles' career likely over and Donnel Pumphrey having showed next to nothing in the way of a viable punt return candidate, the Eagles could (and should) be looking to add one. In Pettis, they'd get one of the best punt returners ever to come out of college, as well as a dangerous receiver.

As a receiver, Pettis' reception and yardage numbers aren't great, but he found the end zone 15 times in 2016 and has 3 receiving TDs already in 2017.

Dante Pettis Rec Yards YPC TD 
 201417 259  15.2
 201530 414 13.8 
 201653 822 15.5 15 
 201715 263 17.5 
 TOTAL115 1758 15.3 20 

If the Eagles are hell-bent on running those quick screens to their receivers, Pettis is a guy who can actually make defenders miss and get positive gains. He would also give the Birds another downfield receiver that they prioritize.

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

• September 16

  1. James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
  2. Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
  3. Deon Cain, WR, Clemson
  4. Jaire Alexander, CB, Lousiville
  5. Ronald Jones II, RB, USC

September 30

  1. Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
  2. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College
  3. Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson
  4. Martinas Rankin, OT, Mississippi State
  5. Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa


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