More Sports:

December 29, 2018

Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft

Eagles NFL
122618JoshJacobs John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Alabama RB Josh Jacobs

The third week of the college football bowl season (and first round of the College Football Playoff) will kick off on Saturday. Below are five players who could make sense for the Eagles in the 2019 NFL Draft, in which the Birds are projected to have 10 picks.

Juan Thornhill, S, Virginia (6-foot-0, 210 lbs): South Carolina vs. Virginia, Belk Bowl, 12:00 p.m.

As we note here constantly, Jim Schwartz likes his safeties to have cornerback experience in their backgrounds, and that's true of Thornhill, who moved to safety as a senior at Virginia.

Thornhill was also a very productive player in college, which is something the Eagles seem to be prioritizing over the last three drafts. As you can see, he gets his hands on a lot of footballs:

Juan Thornhill Tackles (TFL) INT FF-FR PBU 
 20152 (0)0-0 
 201645 (3)1-0 
 201763 (4.5)0-0 12 
 201892 (3.5)0-0 

A highlight reel:

I would project him to the Rodney McLeod role in the Eagles' defense.

Jawaan Taylor, OT, Florida (6-foot-5, 328 lbs): (10) Florida vs. (7) Michigan, Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, 12:00 p.m.

Taylor has LT/RT versatility, and very good athleticism for his size. He is a lesser-know potential first-round pick, though he's starting to get some mainstream attention, as he recently made Todd McShay's top 32 list. Here he is working (at times) against stud Kentucky pass rusher Josh Allen.

The Eagles' LT spot is an interesting situation, as they'll need a replacement for Jason Peters. I personally think Halapoulivaati Vaitai is best served as a backup swing tackle, but is not an ideal starter. The wildcard is Jordan Mailata. Can he be counted on to start at LT in 2019? In 2020? If the Eagles think the answer is yes, they're not going to take a tackle in the first round. If they have any doubts, it's a pretty important position worth making sure you get right.

Dru Samia, OT/OG, Oklahoma (6-foot-5, 303 lbs): (4) Oklahoma vs. (1) Alabama, Capital One Orange Bowl, 8:00 p.m.

Samia will be a guard in the pros, but he does have extensive experience at Oklahoma at RG and RT, which will appeal to the Eagles. At barely 300 pounds, he's undersized, but makes up for it with his athleticism. His ability as a pulling guard and a guy who can work to the second level is obvious. The biggest concern would be powerful defenders getting a push against him on bull rushes, as Ohio State's soon-to-be pro defensive line was able to do last season:

Samia is a tough, competitive player with some nice athletic attributes, and the Eagles will have a need for interior OL depth if they part ways with Stefen Wisniewski after this season.

Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma (6-foot-4, 338 lbs): (4) Oklahoma vs. (1) Alabama, Capital One Orange Bowl, 8:00 p.m.

Like the other two linemen above, Ford has played multiple positions. He played LG at Oklahoma initially, but moved to RT in 2018. Here's his game against UCLA this season:

Ford can be a great guard in the NFL. He moves defenders off the line of scrimmage against their will, and he has enough athleticism to have played on the edge in Oklahoma's spread offense.

In the Eagles' system, he could be a plug-and-play starting LG with Isaac Seumao moving back into the role of versatile backup at all five positions.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama (5-foot-10, 216 lbs): (4) Oklahoma vs. (1) Alabama, Capital One Orange Bowl, 8:00 p.m.

Jacobs is one of my favorite prospects that I've watched this year. He's a physical, fast runner who dishes out punishment, and also flashes versatility as a receiver out of the backfield, and as a kick returner. Here's a highlight reel. Note some of his big-time blocks, in addition to plays he makes with the ball in his hands:

Jacobs is a less-heralded Alabama prospect, however, because he simply hasn't gotten as much playing time as Bama backs in recent years, because their offense is so ridiculously loaded. His numbers:

Josh Jacobs Rushes Yards YPC TD 
 201686 564 6.6 
 201746 284 6.2 
 201894 495 5.3 11 

He also has 43 catches for 505 yards and four TDs as a receiver over the last three years.

The lack of production can also almost be looked at as a good thing, in that he'll be a 21-year old prospect with very low mileage, if he comes out. I would absolutely have interest in the second round, if I'm the Eagles.

Previously profiled players

• August 25

  1. Carl Granderson, DE, Wyoming
  2. Justice Hill, RB, Oklahoma State
  3. Nate Herbig, OG, Stanford
  4. T.J. Edwards, LB, Wisconsin
  5. David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

• September 1

  1. Nick Bosa, DE, Ohio State
  2. Devin Singletary, RB, Florida Atlantic
  3. David Sills V, WR, West Virginia
  4. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
  5. Raekwon Davis, DT, Alabama

• September 8

  1. Ed Oliver, DT, Houston
  2. Nick Fitzgerald, QB, Mississippi State
  3. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
  4. Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia
  5. Cameron Smith, LB, USC

• September 15

  1. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma
  2. Dexter Lawrence, DT, Clemson
  3. Derrick Brown, DT, Auburn
  4. Dakota Allen, LB, Texas Tech
  5. Zack Moss, RB, Utah

• September 22

  1. Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
  2. Jaylon Ferguson, DE, Louisiana Tech
  3. Bryce Love, RB, Stanford
  4. Troy Dye, LB, Oregon
  5. N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

• September 29

  1. Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson
  2. Mitch Hyatt, OT, Clemson 
  3. Dalton Risner, OT, Kansas State
  4. Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
  5. Jalen Jelks, DE, Oregon

• October 6

  1. Ross Pierschbacher, OG/C, Alabama
  2. Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami
  3. Joe Jackson, DE, Miami
  4. Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
  5. Montez Sweat, DE, Mississippi State

• October 13

  1. Jerry Tillery, DT, Notre Dame
  2. Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
  3. Mecole Hardman, WR, Georgia
  4. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
  5. Rashan Gary, DE, Michigan

• October 20

  1. Kavontae Turpin, WR/KR/PR, TCU
  2. Christian Wilkins, DT, Clemson
  3. Isaiah Buggs, DT, Alabama
  4. Myles Gaskin, RB, Washington
  5. Connor McGovern, OG/C, Penn State

• October 27

  1. Austin Bryant, DE, Clemson
  2. David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
  3. Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
  4. Elgton Jenkins, C/OG/OT, Mississippi State
  5. Jeffery Simmons, DT, Mississippi State

• November 3

  1. A.J. Brown, WR, Ole Miss
  2. Dre'Mont Jones, DT, Ohio State
  3. Lukas Denis, S, Boston College
  4. Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan
  5. Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

• November 10

  1. Quinnen Williams, DT, Alabama
  2. Mack Wilson, LB, Alabama
  3. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
  4. Zach Allen, DE/DT, Boston College
  5. Preston Williams, WR, Colorado State

• November 17

  1. Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State
  2. Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
  3. Gerald Willis III, DT, Miami 
  4. Byron Murphy, CB, Washington
  5. Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

• November 24

  1. Brian Burns, DE, Florida State
  2. Jachai Polite, DE, Florida 
  3. Terry Godwin, WR, Georgia
  4. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
  5. Dexter Williams, RB, Notre Dame

• December 1

  1. Kris Boyd, CB, Texas
  2. Lil'Jordan Humphrey, WR, Texas
  3. Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina
  4. K.J. Costello, QB, Stanford
  5. Tony Pollard, RB/WR/KR, Memphis

• December 8

  1. Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma
  2. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
  3. Porter Gustin, Edge, USC
  4. Olive Sagapolu, DT, Wisconsin
  5. Mark Gilbert, CB, Duke

• December 15

  1. E.J. Ejiya, LB, North Texas
  2. Max Scharping, OT, Northen Illinois
  3. Ryan Bee, DE, Marshall
  4. Cody Thompson, WR, Toledo
  5. Corbin Kaufusi, DE, BYU

December 22

  1. Tyree Jackson, QB, Buffalo
  2. Khalil Hodge, LB, Buffalo
  3. Michael Deiter, C/OG/ OT, Wisconsin
  4. Sheldrick Redwine, S, Miami
  5. Kyle Shurmur, QB, Vanderbilt

Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | @thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader