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October 12, 2019

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

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101219DeVontaSmith John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

Wait, Alabama has THREE receivers who are going to go high in the 2020 NFL Draft?

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

DeVonta Smith, WR, Alabama (6'1, 175): Alabama at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m.

Many believe that Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy will be a top 10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and teammate speed demon Henry Ruggs could land in the first round as well. The forgotten guy heading into the 2019 season was Smith, who is leading the team with 537 yards and 8 TDs. Jeudy, Ruggs, and Smith are probably better than a handful of NFL WR corps. It's almost not fair.

Smith isn't as athletically impressive as Jeudy or Ruggs, but he is a smooth route runner, who catches the ball easily and gets yards after the catch.

A highlight reel:

As you can see in the video above, Smith mostly operates on the outside at Bama, but I think he'd be very difficult to cover out of the slot. If Nelson Agholor leaves in free agency next offseason, I believe Smith could step into his role seamlessly.

Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama (6'7, 312): Alabama at Texas A&M, 3:30 p.m.

Davis is a 6'7, 312-pound freak of nature. There aren't too many guys his size who can move like this:

In addition to being a size-athleticism oddity, Davis is also well regarded for his character, as he is a high-energy player who, as football guys would say, "loves ball."

Curiously, his numbers have fallen off drastically since his sophomore season. In 2017, Davis had 69 tackles (10 for loss), 8.5 sacks, and a pick. Since then, in 19 games, he has 6.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. Odd.

Regardless, Davis opted to stay in school for his senior season, and he remains a high-upside player, though it would help if his production matched his potential.

Kristian Fulton, CB, LSU (6'0, 200): Florida at LSU, 8:00 p.m.

Despite a lack of big plays to his credit (1 career INT, 1 career FF), Fulton is being viewed as one of the top corners in 2020 NFL Draft. I don't see that. I think he's a Day 2 guy at best, especially considering he got suspended for the 2017 season for using someone else's urine to pass a drug test. (To note, it was originally a two-year suspension, a ridiculous punishment, even by absurd NCAA standards, but he got reinstated early.)

Here's a highlight reel. As noted already, you won't see many picks here:

What the Eagles will like about Fulton is his size, his man-to-man skills, and his ability to play inside or outside.

Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (6'4, 216): Florida at LSU, 8:00 p.m.

Burrow enrolled at Ohio State in 2015, but he was behind J.T. Barrett initially, and then he fell behind Dwayne Haskins on the depth chart after suffering a broken bone in his throwing hand in 2017. Haskins showed enough in his brief time on the field in 2017 to become the starter in 2018, and Burrow, once a four-star recruit, decided to transfer to LSU, as he had already graduated in three years.

In his first season in Baton Rouge, LSU went 10-3, including a win in the Fiesta Bowl over UCF, but Burrow didn't really stand out. In 2019, he has come out on fire, throwing 22 TD passes vs. 3 INTs in LSU's first five games. Burrow is now in the Heisman conversation, and some are talking about LSU as a National Championship contender.

At 6'4, 216, he has good enough size, which seems to be a prerequisite for Eagles quarterbacks. He also has some mobility (399 rushing yards in 2018), he's making good decisions, and seems to be in complete control of the LSU offense, which is suddenly built around Burrow's passing as opposed to the run game.

Here's Burrow's highlights against Texas this year, in which he made Matthew McConaughey sad:

The Eagles drafted a quarterback in 2019, who then got cut. They could try again in 2020.

If Burrow keeps playing the way he's playing, he's going to go Round 1, in which case the Eagles won't be drafting him. If he cools off a bit, he has shown enough that the Eagles should have interest, especially if he slides further than he should in a loaded QB draft.

Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State (6'3, 265): Hawaii at Boise State, 10:15 p.m.

When the Eagles drafted Derek Barnett in 2017, they touted his outstanding college production. He had 32 sacks in 39 games. In 30 career games at Boise, Weaver has 26.5 sacks. 

Weaver wins with his impressive get-off at the snap, and the Eagles will value his positional versatility, as he can stand up in two-point stance, he can play DE in a 4-3 front, and he slides inside at times on obvious passing downs, as you'll see in his game last year against Colorado State: 

The Eagles have, in my view, an obvious need of more production on the edges, and Weaver gives them similar inside-outside versatility that they have with Brandon Graham and had with Michael Bennett.

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

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