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December 27, 2017

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

We're now into the bowl game part of the college football season, as there are games on TV most nights. As long as you're taking in some of the action over the following week, here are some players who could make some sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa (6'2, 236): Iowa vs. Boston College, Dec 27, 5:15 p.m.

Over the last three years, Jewell has been a tackling machine, racking up at least 120 tackles each season. He has also been something of a ball hawk, picking off 6 passes and forcing 3 fumbles over that same span.

 Josey JewellTackles (TFL) Sacks INT FF 
 201451 (1) 
 2015126 (7.5) 
 2016124 (6) 1.5 
 2017121 (13.5) 4.5 

Here's Jewell's game against Penn State this season, in which he had 16 tackles (3 for loss), a pick, a couple pass breakups, and a fumble recovery:

Despite his impressive numbers, Jewell is probably going to be available in the mid-to-late rounds, due to a lack of speed, which will likely be exposed at the NFL Combine. 

MORE ON THE EAGLES: Brandon Brooks: We're not looking for perfect wins, just wins | It seems the Eagles have a new starting middle linebacker | Eagles vs. Cowboys: Five matchups to watch | What they're saying: The rest of the league is suddenly licking its chops | Eagles vs. Cowboys: Five matchups to watch 

As you can see in the video above, he won't exactly wow anyone running sideline to sideline. Still, he is an instinctive linebacker with special teams promise who could help the Eagles' linebacker depth.

DeShon Elliott, S, Texas (6'2, 210): Texas vs. Missouri, Dec 27, 9:00 p.m.

Elliott is a big, 6'2, 210-pound safety with premier ball-hawking skills. So far in 2017, he has 6 INTs, with 127 return yards and 2 pick-sixes. He has also forced 3 fumbles, and has 9 pass breakups.

A long highlight reel: 

Safety is something of an underrated need for the Eagles, in a long-term sense. Elliott hasn't gotten much buzz as a first-round pick, and I'm not sure why. I believe his stock will rise when the fans/media catch up with the NFL's thinking on players.

Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas (6'3, 240): Texas vs. Missouri, Dec 27, 9:00 p.m.

Jefferson was a five-star recruit out of high school (28th in the country, according to Rivals). Over his first two college seasons, he evidently turned off a few NFL scouts, per Lance Zierlein of

The scoop: "I see Malik (Jefferson) and all of this hype around him as carry over from when he came in highly recruited. Where is the production? Where do you see him dominate games on tape? It's not on the tape yet." -- NFC scouting director

The skinny: The scouting director has a point. I looked at all of the data to check on Jefferson's production and the most glaring issue is his lack of tackles. Jefferson has good size and great athleticism, but managed just 121 tackles over his first two seasons. He has only one game in his career with double-digit tackles, and his "impact" production (game-changing plays like tackles for loss, fumbles forced and recovered, INTs) is very modest.

In his junior season, Jefferson's tackle numbers are way up, as he has 110 on the season. The worries about his ability to create game-changing plays are warranted, however, as he has no career INTs and just two forced fumbles.

Still, he has excellent size at 6'3, 240, with athleticism. In the right system, he could flourish, and the Eagles' needs at linebacker are obvious.

Uchenna Nwosu, LB, USC (6'2, 240): (8) USC vs. (5) Ohio State, Dec 29, 8:30 p.m.

Nwosu's best fit in the NFL is probably as a 3-4 OLB, but I don't care. I'm profiling him anyway. On the season, he has 71 tackles, 7.5 sacks, and an absolutely absurd 13 pass breakups, the majority of which are batted passes at the line of scrimmage. Nwosu is basically a volleyball player in a football uniform.

A highlight reel: 

I believe the Eagles are an unlikely landing spot for Nwosu, because it's hard to find an obvious place to put him in Jim Schwartz's defense, but we'll just show him because he's fun to watch.

Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State (6'5, 310): (8) USC vs. (5) Ohio State, Dec 29, 8:30 p.m.

Jones is a polarizing player whose projections are all over the map. Ohio State lists him at 6'5, so he may be even shorter than that, which is less than ideal for an NFL offensive tackle. (Yes, I realize Jason Peters is 6'4.) He's also only a two-year starter, having taken over at left tackle after Taylor Decker was drafted.

Still, Jones has good athleticism, quick feet, and a bit of nasty to him. Here's his game this year against Penn State:

Interestingly, Jones accepted an invite to the East-West Shrine Game, the less prestigious of the two main college football all-star games, after the Senior Bowl.

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 23

  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

• September 30

  1. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
  2. Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
  3. Jamar Summers, CB, UConn
  4. Adonis Alexander, CB, Virginia Tech
  5. Dante Pettis, WR, Washington

• October 7

  1. Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest
  2. Brian O'Neill, OT, Pittsburgh
  3. Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
  4. Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
  5. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford

• October 14

  1. Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
  2. Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin
  3. Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas
  4. Lowell Lotulelei, DT, Utah
  5. Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

• October 21

  1. Trey Marshall, S, Florida State
  2. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
  3. Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State 
  4. Cameron Smith, LB, USC
  5. Quenton Nelson, OG, Notre Dame

• October 28

  1. M.J. Stewart, CB, North Carolina
  2. Trey Adams, OT, Washington
  3. Adarius Pickett, S, UCLA
  4. Allen Lazard, WR, Iowa State
  5. Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State

• November 4

  1. Brian Allen, OG, Michigan State
  2. Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
  3. Cedrick Wilson, WR, Boise State
  4. Tim Settle, DT, Virginia Tech
  5. Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama

• November 11

  1. Jaylen Samuels, RB/FB/TE/WR, NC State
  2. Shaquem Griffin, LB, UCF
  3. Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
  4. Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama
  5. Josh Adams, RB, Notre Dame

• November 18

  1. Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
  2. Jordan Whitehead, S, Pittsburgh
  3. Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
  4. Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi
  5. Tyrell Crosby, OT, Oregon

• November 25

  1. Chukwuma Okorafor, OT, Western Michigan
  2. Ian Thomas, TE, Indiana
  3. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Auburn
  4. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
  5. Marcus Davenport, DE, UT San Antonio

• December 2

  1. Derrick Nnadi, DE, Florida State
  2. Braden Smith, OG/OT, Auburn
  3. Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
  4. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
  5. T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin

• December 9

  1. Derrick Nnadi, DE, Florida State
  2. Braden Smith, OG/OT, Auburn
  3. Jaleel Scott, WR, New Mexico State
  4. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
  5. T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin

• December 16

  1. Mike White, QB, Western Kentucky
  2. Jake Wieneke, WR, South Dakota State
  3. Richie James, WR, Middle Tennessee
  4. Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
  5. Justin Lawler, DE, SMU

• December 23

  1. Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech
  2. Kylie Fitts, DE, Utah
  3. Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
  4. Jordan Lasley, WR, UCLA
  5. Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State

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