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October 19, 2019

Grocery shopping: Five college players to watch who could interest the Eagles 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.

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson (6'4, 215): (3) Clemson at Louisville, 12:00 p.m.

Since 2013, nine Clemson wide receivers have been drafted:

 YearPlayer Team Round Overall 
 2013DeAndre Hopkins Texans 27 
 2014Sammy Watkins Bills 
 2014Martavis Bryant Steelers 118 
 2016Charone Peake Jets 241 
 2017Mike Williams Chargers 
 2017Jordan Leggett Jets 150 
 2018Deon Cain Colts 185 
 2018Ray-Ray McCloud Bills 187 
 2019Hunter Renfrow  Raiders149 

Clemson could get back into the first round with another receiver in Higgins, a tall receiver with a huge catch radius who aggressively attacks 50-50 balls and makes plays with his speed down the field. His numbers:

Tee Higgins Catches Yards YPC TD 
 201717 345 20.3 
 201859 936 15.9 12 
 201924 549 22.9 

Note those yards per catch numbers. A highlight reel:

Higgins is similarly sized to Mack Hollins, but with actual receiving chops. He would be an asset both in the red zone, which the Eagles seem to prioritize, as well as in between the 20's, where the offense currently plods along slowly when DeSean Jackson isn't on the field.

Larrell Murchison, DT, NC State (6'3, 291): NC State at Boston College, 12:00 p.m.

In his second season as a full-time starter, Murchison already has 7 sacks in 6 games from his DT spot. Though maybe a touch undersized, he is a penetrating one-gap defensive lineman with an assortment of pass rush moves, power, quickness, and savvy on the interior of the Wolfpack DL.

He was a fullback in high school, enrolled at Louisburg College, and transferred to NC State in 2017, which was a redshirt season. 

Here's a highlight reel from 2018, his first year as a starter, when he had 4 sacks:

The Eagles thought they were very deep on the interior of their line this year, until they weren't. Murchison is a disruptor who could grow in the Eagles' scheme.

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Brandon Jones, S, Texas (6'0, 205): Kansas at (15) Texas, 7:00 p.m.

Jones is an athletic safety prospect with a good build for the position. He is a quality run support player who is second on the team this season in tackles, and brings some physicality. He also has a little experience as a returner.

Some are viewing Jones as a first- or second-round pick. Huh? I don't see that at all. With only 2 career INTs, and 6 pass breakups (ew), he is not what NFL teams are looking for in safeties these days. However, if he slips into Day 3, I can see him as a positive contributor in third safety role for the Eagles.

Steven Gonzalez, OG, Penn State (6'4, 341): (16) Michigan at (7) Penn State, 7:30 p.m.

If you're a pro prospect from Penn State these days, there's a good chance you're going to impress at the Combine in some way, and Gonzalez is no different. Here he is putting up 225 pounds 38 times (OK, some some of these aren't locked out, but whatever): 

At 6'4, 341 pounds, Gonzalez is what you think he is -- a guy who will move the line of scrimmage, but isn't going to wow anyone with second-level blocks, and will likely struggle with quicker interior rushers in the pros. 

But as a late-round backup prospect? Sure, and the Eagles need some depth on the interior of their offensive line. While their injury luck hasn't been awesome, they've been fortunate not to have anyone go down at guard or center yet this year.

Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan (5'11, 182): (16) Michigan at (7) Penn State, 7:30 p.m.

At 5'11, 181, Hill is a slot prospect who will probably be available on Day 3 because of his lack of size, though he is a quality press-man cover corner.

So why would the Eagles be interested in a slot corner when they already have Avonte Maddox? Fair question, Jimmy posing as a reader. Well, first, we have to see how Maddox recovers from the brutal hit he took from Andrew Sendejo. Secondly, there's nothing wrong with having added depth at corner, especially when your starting slot corner can also play safety. And finally, my girlfriend is trying to hurry me out the door to go to The Jug, and since I profiled Hill last year, he is a player I could write about rather quickly.

MORE: 'Maybe Next Year,' a documentary about Eagles fans, to debut at Philadelphia Film Festival | Cowboys' DeMarcus Lawrence fires back at Eagles coach Doug Pederson

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

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