December 29, 2018
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.
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|
A highlight reel:
I would project him to the Rodney McLeod role in the Eagles' defense.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.