Sunday, December 21, 2014

Grocery shopping: 5 college players to watch today who could be Eagles draft targets

As long as you're sitting around watching college football today, here are 5 players to keep an eye on who could be of interest to the Eagles next May. Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech

Grocery shopping: 5 college players to watch today who could be Eagles draft targets

Eagles coach Chip Kelly watches his team get blown out by the Broncos. (Joe Mahoney/AP)
Eagles coach Chip Kelly watches his team get blown out by the Broncos. (Joe Mahoney/AP)

As long as you're sitting around watching college football today, here are 5 players to keep an eye on who could be of interest to the Eagles next May.

Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech

Exum tore his ACL in January, and this will be his first game back from that injury. Exum is a very intriguing prospect, as he played nickel corner his Freshman year, safety his Sophomore year, and CB his Junior year at Virginia Tech, in addition to special teams. That’s the kind of versatility that Chip Kelly values. He has odd dimensions, at 5’11, 220, and it will be interesting to see where NFL teams will value him. My guess would be safety.

Another player worth checking out if you catch a VT game is CB Kyle Fuller, who is playing well this season.

Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado: Oregon at Colorado, 6:00pm

Richardson has very good numbers so far this season. Here is what he has done through 3 games:

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Even more impressive is that he’s playing at this high a level after tearing his ACL in practice before the 2012 season.

The negatives are that he has a small frame at 6’1, 172 pounds, and he’s a weak blocker. He probably needs to get in the weight room, and his willingness as a blocker needs to be proven. But his production is obviously very impressive.

Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon: Oregon at Colorado, 6:00pm

USC isn’t on Oregon’s schedule this year, which means that Paul Richardson might be the best test Ekpre-Olomu (to be referred to as “IEO” from here on out) will get this season.

IEO doesn’t have blazing speed or good size (5’10, 190), but he’s extremely physical and very instinctive. In 2012, IEO had 4 INTs and an incredible 6 forced fumbles.

Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon: Oregon at Colorado, 6:00pm

As long as you’re watching Oregon’s D, keep an eye on 6’6, 287 pound DE Taylor Hart. Hart not only played under Chip Kelly at Oregon, but his position coach was Eagles DL coach Jerry Azzinaro. Hart had 8 sacks last year for the Ducks as a 3-4 rusher. Impressive. While a 3-4 DE isn’t a huge need area for the Eagles, Hart could be of interest if he slides to the middle rounds.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington: Washington at Stanford, 10:30pm

At 6’6, 276 pounds, Austin Seferian-Jenkins (to be referred to as ASJ from here on out) isn’t just a big body. He can play. The Huskies line up ASJ out wide, in-line, in the slot, and occasionally at FB. Last season, he was 2nd in the nation among TEs with 852 receiving yards. The only TE who had more?

(Drumroll)…

Zach Ertz! Here’s ASJ’s highlight reel:

However, what you don’t see there is ASJ’s awful blocking. Bad effort, bad technique. His blocking is inexcusable for a guy of his size and athleticism, although that is something that can be taught, while his size and athleticism cannot. If he was a plus blocker and didn’t have any character concerns (DUI), he’d be a surefire 1st rounder (and he may very well be anyway). A great deal of attention will be paid to his mental makeup during the pre-draft process, but the physical skills are there.

Brent Celek will count for the following amounts against the Eagles’ salary cap the next 3 years:

2014: $4,075,000

2015: $4,800,000

2016: $5,000,000

The Eagles can release Celek at any time, without penalty. They will have to decide if his production is worth that kind of money.

Also...

• Philly.com's Jonathan Tannenwald previewed Teddy Bridgewater earlier this week. Bridgewater will be in Philly today, taking on the Temple Owls.

• Keep an eye on (25) Maryland at (8) Florida State. Maryland has an athletic OLB, Marcus Whitfield, who is 6th in the nation with 5.5 sacks. He could be a mid-late round target. Florida State has a pair of undersized senior safeties worth watching. They are 5'8, 190 pound Lamarcus Joyner and 5'11, 200 pound Terrence Brooks.

Previously highlighted players:

September 28, 2013:

  • Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
  • Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
  • Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas
  • Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
  • Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State

September 21, 2013:

  • Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
  • Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee
  • Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
  • Craig Loston, S, LSU
  • Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UConn

September 14, 2013:

  • Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
  • Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
  • C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
  • Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
  • Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

September 7, 2013:

  • Stephen Morris, QB, Miami
  • Louchiez Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, and Jaylen Watkins, CBs, Florida
  • Tayler Lewan, OT, Michigan
  • Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
  • Stephon Tuitt, NT, Notre Dame
  • David Fales, QB, San Jose State
  • Trent Murphy, OLB, Stanford

August 31, 2013:

  • Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
  • Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
  • Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
  • Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
  • Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
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