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November 16, 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.

A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa (6'6, 280): (8) Minnesota at (20) Iowa, 4:00 p.m.

As a sophomore in 2018, Epenesa had 10.5 sacks and four FF. As such, in his junior campaign, he has received more attention this year, and his numbers are down a bit. Overall, through 33 collegiate games, Epenesa has 19.5 sacks, six FF, and a six batted passes.

Epenesa is a long, 6-foot-6, 280-pound powerhouse who wins with bull rushes and hand fighting. He is very likely not going to wow anyone with his athletic measurables at the Combine, but you can still see that he has some bend and explosion in his game. A highlight reel:

Epenesa is probably a first-round prospect. The Eagles have begun building a young stable of defensive ends that they are trying to develop in players like Josh Sweat and Shareef Miller. Their interest in taking another defensive end early in the draft will depend on how they believe that is going.

Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota (5'10, 205): (8) Minnesota at (20) Iowa, 4:00 p.m.

Watching Penn State's loss to Minnesota last week, my biggest takeaway from that game was how old I felt learning that Antoine Winfield has a kid potentially entering the draft next offseason. Ugh.

I loved the older Antoine Winfield as a player when he was still in the league. He was an undersized corner, but tough as hell, and a playmaker. Remember this from the Joe Webb Tuesday Night Football game? 

Anyway, the younger Winfield, who plays safety, is a playmaker too, as he has seven INTs this season, second in the nation. Two of those were last week against Penn State. Here's the first one:

Aaaaand the second one:

He'd be a great fit in the Rodney McLeod role in the Eagles' defense.

Tyler Johnson, WR, Minnesota (6'2, 205): (8) Minnesota at (20) Iowa, 4:00 p.m.

Another player who impressed me watching PSU-Minnesota was WR Tyler Johnson, who doesn't have blazing speed, but looks like a savvy route runner who can actually, you know, make plays for his quarterback by making difficult catches. Despite that lack of track speed, it should be noted that Johnson does have a career YPC average of 15.4.

His career numbers:

Tyler Johnson Rec Yards YPC TD 
 201614 141 10.1 
 201735 677 19.3 
 201878 1169 15.0 12 
 201950 730 14.6 

A highlight reel:

With 403 more receiving yards this season, Johnson will pass Eric Decker as Minnesota's all-time receiving yards leader. I think that somewhere around the Nick Foles comp pick would be appropriate value.

Paulson Adebo, CB, Stanford (6'1, 190): Stanford at Washington State, 4:30 p.m.

Adebo has excellent ball skills as he has 27 pass breakups and eight INTs the last two years for Stanford. You can see those ball skills here: 

The downside is that Adebo can occasionally be too aware/overaggressive and bite on double moves. 

The Eagles have an obvious need at cornerback with Sidney Jones not having panned out and several other corners on the roster headed toward free agency, and Abedo could be an intriguing option if he makes it to Round 2.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State (6'1, 195): Arizona State at Oregon State, 7:30 p.m.

Aiyuk is an off-the-radar prospect (I think?) who should be getting more attention as draft season begins to heat up. He is a junior college transfer in his senior year who is in his second season at Arizona State. His numbers:

 Brandon AiyukRec Yards YPC TD 
 201833 474 14.4 
 201943 791 18.4 

Aiyuk has some shake once he gets the ball in his hands, and provides added value as a kick/punt returner. A highlight reel:

He probably fits best in the Eagles' offense in a Nelson Agholor-type role.

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

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