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December 26, 2019

Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft

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122219MichaelPittman Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports

USC's Michael Pittman won't solve the Eagles' speed deficiencies, but he does make plays down the field.

As long as you're taking in some college football bowl action this holiday season, here are some players who could make sense for the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech (5'9, 183): Louisiana Tech vs. Miami, Walk-On's Independence Bowl, Thursday, December 26, 4:00 p.m.

I love this guy. To begin, in three season at Louisiana Tech, he has filled up the stat sheet across the board, particularly with a high number of interceptions and pass breakups:

 Amik RobertsonTackle (TFL) Sacks INT-PBU FF-FR 
 201763 (7.5) 5-6 0-0 
 201861 (7.5) 4-12 1-1 
 201960 (8) 5-16 1-1 
 TOTAL184 (23) 14-34 2-2 

It's not often you see a guy with the type of tackle, tackle for loss, and interception combination that Robertson has. At 5'9, 183, Robertson doesn't have ideal size, but he sure as hell doesn't play small.

Most teams will view Robertson as a slot corner at the next level, but I wonder if the Eagles might view him as a safety.

Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami (6'1, 241): Louisiana Tech vs. Miami, Walk-On's Independence Bowl, Thursday, December 26, 4:00 p.m.

Quarterman is sort of a throwback, in that he's a physical badass, but there are questions whether he can be a "three-down" linebacker in the modern NFL. If this were 20 years ago, Quarterman would probably be a second-round pick. In the pass-happy version of the game today, teams would prefer their linebackers to be capable of covering running backs and tight ends, and there are questions about Quarterman's ability to do so.

That said, there's a lot to like about him. He's often playing harder than anyone on the field, which you like to see in a MIKE backer, and while he can't run sideline to sideline the same way the Cowboys' linebacker tandem does, Quarterman does seem to have at least decent athleticism. Here's a list of Miami's all-time career tackle leaders. If you're over 30 years of age, you'll recognize more than a few of these names:

Player Draft position (overall) Tackles 
Dan Morgan, 2001 12 532 
George Mira Jr., 1988 331 490 
Scott Nicolas, 1982 310 456 
Micheal Barrow, 1993 47 423 
Darrin Smith, 1993 54 401 
Ray Lewis, 1996 26 388 
Jonathan Vilma. 2004 12 377 
Rod Carter, 1989 252 361 
Denzel Perryman, 2015 48 351 
Shaquille Quarterman, 2020 ?? 345 

A look at some of Quarterman's 2019 highlights: 

The Eagles already have their share of linebackers who are more cover guys than they are enforcers, and Quarterman brings a "2017 version of Nigel Bradham" type of energy to the defense. And oh by the way, Bradham may not be back in 2020.

The bet here is that Jim Schwartz will like Quarterman, and I think the third round would be a reasonable place to take him.

Dane Jackson, CB, Pittsburgh (6'0, 190): Pittsburgh vs. Eastern Michigan, Quick Lane Bowl, Thursday, December 26, 8:00 p.m.

I was made aware of Jackson by a friend of mine who covers the team, who thinks Jackson reminds him quite a bit of Jalen Mills, in that he's an overconfident corner who is excellent in run support (4 FF in 2018), but may have some speed limitations. I don't know what this says about me, but after watching him, I kinda like him.

Assuming Jim Schwartz is still the defensive coordinator this draft season, I'm pretty sure he'll like this guy.

Justin Madubuike, DT, Texas A&M (6'3, 300): (25) Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M, Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl, Friday, December 27, 6:45 p.m.

Madubuike is a redshirt junior who has already said he will skip his senior season to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft. He'll also skip this bowl game, but whatever, I'm profiling him anyway. 

Madubuike is a penetrating, 1-gap style defensive tackle with 5.5 sacks in each of his last two seasons. In 2018, he added 40 tackles (10.5 for loss), and 3 forced fumbles. In 2019, he had 45 tackles (11.5 for loss), and 1 forced fumble. 

The Eagles badly need an infusion of youth in their defensive interior, and Madubuike would be good value in Round 3.

Michael Pittman, WR, USC (6'4, 220): (22) USC vs. (16) Iowa, San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl, Friday, December 27, 8:00 p.m.

Pittman doesn't fit the burner profile that (I believe) the Eagles need. However, he's not a stiff athletically, and he is a vertical threat who made plenty of plays down the field at USC using his impressive size, hands, and physicality. In 2019, he's third in the nation in receptions (95), sixth in yards (1222), and 13th in TDs (11).

He reminds me a bit of lesser Mike Williams, when he was coming out of Clemson. Williams has developed into a deep threat in the Chargers' offense, despite a lack of great speed.

In addition to his ability as a receiver, (Chip Kelly days warning) Pittman is thought of as an outstanding blocker both in the run game, and down the field after his teammates make catches. His physical nature and willingness to do the dirty work makes him a potential special teams stud early in his career while he develops his game at receiver.

Previously profiled players

• August 24

  1. Lamical Perine, RB, Florida
  2. Jabari Zuniga, DE, Florida
  3. C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida
  4. Jonathan Garvin, DE, Miami
  5. Jeff Thomas, WR, Miami

• August 31

  1. Scottie Phillips, RB, Ole Miss
  2. Henry Ruggs, WR, Alabama
  3. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
  4. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
  5. Jeremiah Dinson, S, Auburn

• September 7

  1. Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa
  2. Laviska Shenault, WR, Colorado
  3. J.D. Spielman, WR, Nebraska
  4. Jason Huntley, RB, New Mexico State
  5. Ashtyn Davis, S, California

• September 14

  1. Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
  2. Cohl Cabral, C, Arizona State
  3. Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
  4. Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia
  5. Neville Gallimore, DT, Oklahoma

• September 21

  1. Tyler Biadasz, C, Wisconsin
  2. Shyheim Carter, S, Alabama
  3. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
  4. Tylan Wallace, WR, Oklahoma State
  5. Solomon Kindley, OG, Georgia

• September 28

  1. Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
  2. Alex Leatherwood, OG/OT, Alabama
  3. Jacob Eason, QB, Washington
  4. Jaquarius Landrews, S, Mississippi State
  5. Zack Moss, RB, Utah

• October 5

  1. Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU
  2. Ben Bredeson, OG, Michigan
  3. Oluwole Betiku Jr., DE, Illinois
  4. K.J. Hill, WR, Ohio State
  5. Jake Hanson, C, Oregon

• October 12

  1. DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama
  2. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
  3. Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU
  4. Joe Burrow, QB, LSU
  5. Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

• October 19

  1. Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
  2. Larrell Murchison, DT, NC State
  3. Brandon Jones, S, Texas
  4. Steven Gonzalez, OG, Penn State
  5. Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan

• October 26

  1. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma
  2. Jeffrey Okudah, CB, Ohio State
  3. Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU
  4. K.J. Costello, QB, Stanford
  5. McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas

• November 2

  1. Marvin Wilson, DT, Florida State
  2. Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
  3. Patrick Nelson, S/LB, SMU
  4. James Proche, WR, SMU
  5. Joe Reed, WR/RB/KR, Virginia

• November 9

  1. K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State
  2. James Lynch, DT, Baylor
  3. Grant Delpit, S, LSU
  4. Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama
  5. Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas

• November 16

  1. A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa
  2. Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota
  3. Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota
  4. Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford
  5. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State

• November 23

  1. Binjimen Victor, WR, Ohio State
  2. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, LSU
  3. Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU
  4. Matt Hennessy, C, Temple
  5. Julian Blackmon, S, Utah

• November 30

  1. Kelly Bryant, QB, Missouri
  2. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
  3. Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame
  4. Darryl Williams, OG/C, Mississippi State
  5. Douglas Coleman, S, Texas Tech

• December 7

  1. Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
  2. Creed Humphrey, C, Oklahoma
  3. Rashard Lawrence, DT, LSU
  4. John Hightower, WR, Boise State
  5. Jordan Fuller, S, Ohio State

• December 14

  1. Omar Bayless, WR, Arkansas State
  2. Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State
  3. Robert Hunt, OG, Louisiana Lafayette
  4. Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois
  5. Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne

December 21

  1. Luq Barcoo, CB, San Diego State
  2. Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, Liberty
  3. James Morgan, QB, FIU
  4. Akeem Davis-Gaither, LB, Appalachian State
  5. Gabriel Davis, WR, UCF

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