Friday, August 29, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

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

There are a number of good college football games on the schedule today. As long as you're watching, here are five players to keep an eye on who could be of interest to the Eagles in the draft next May. Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: (10) Texas Tech at (15) Oklahoma

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

Missouri´s Michael Sam (52) sings the school song after Missouri defeated Indiana, 45-28, in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Missouri's Michael Sam (52) sings the school song after Missouri defeated Indiana, 45-28, in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

There are a number of good college football games on the schedule today. As long as you're watching, here are five players to keep an eye on who could be of interest to the Eagles in the draft next May.

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech: (10) Texas Tech at (15) Oklahoma

Amaro is a 6'5, 260-ish pound TE that Texas Tech loves to utilize in the slot in their spread offense, using him as a matchup nightmare. Want to put a linebacker on him? Amaro can run by them. Want to put a nickel CB or a safety on him? You're giving up a lot of height in the passing game, and a mismatch advantage in the run game. Here are Amaro's very impressive numbers on the season so far:

That's 56 catches for 742 yards. Including a bowl game, Texas Tech has 6 games remaining, which puts Amaro on pace for 104 catches, 1378 yards, and 6 TDs. That would be the most yards of any TE in the last 10 years. Here are the NCAA leaders in receiving yards the last 10 years. You may recognize the guy who led the nation in 2008:

More coverage
 
Kempski's Corner: Eagles' top concerns
 
VOTE: Is Malcolm Jenkins the answer in Eagles secondary?
 
WIN: Make picks in our weekly pro football contest
 
POLL: What should the NFL do about the preseason?
 
DOWNLOAD: Philly Pro Football app
 
FORUMS: Will the Eagles repeat as NFC East champs?

People are already comparing Amaro to the Saints' Jimmy Graham, because of his excellent size, route running, speed, and receiving ability. That's far fetched, but he's certainly a player to watch. Oklahoma is 9th in the nation in points allowed, and should provide a good test for Amaro.

Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon: (12) UCLA at (3) Oregon

This is the premier game of the day, and there are a boatload of players who could be of interest to the Eagles in this one. The biggest names:

  • UCLA: OLB Anthony Barr and QB Brett Hundley
  • Oregon: QB Marcus Mariota, CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DE Taylor Hart, and TAZR De'Anthony Thomas.

We've already profiled all of those above players, which you can find links to at the end of this article. However, one lesser known Oregon player (nationally, anyway) is C Hroniss Grasu. Grasu is actually quite a bit like Jason Kelce, in that he's a center that relies on his excellent athleticism instead of overpowering defensive linemen. It is very unlikely that the Eagles would use a high pick at a position where they are seemingly set for a while, but if Grasu were to unexpectedly fall, the Eagles could have interest.

Michael Sam, DE, Missouri: (21) South Carolina at (5) Missouri

In the last 4 games, Sam has 9 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and a fumble return for a TD.

Those 9 sacks tie him with Clemson's Vic Beasley for the most in the nation this season. I have no idea if Sam can cover as a 3-4 OLB. It will be good if they work him out a bit at OLB at the Senior Bowl this year, but watch him get after the passer in the video below. I almost feel bad for this poor RT from Florida, who simply has no chance at blocking Sam 1-on-1. This is dominance:

There's also some dude named Jadeveon Clowney in the South Carolina - Missouri game. The Eagles have almost no chance of landing him, but he'll be playing in this one, too. Lots of talented pass rushers in Missouri today.

E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri: (21) South Carolina at (5) Missouri

Gaines is an undersized, but talented CB with good speed, instincts, and toughness in run support. He's listed at 5'10, but is probably closer to 5'9.

The Eagles may believe that Brandon Boykin is good enough to overcome his lack of size to become a starter on the outside (I believe he is absolutely good enough, for the record). However, if they move Boykin outside, they don't have anyone who can play the slot well.

A shorter player like Gaines could fall to the mid-late rounds, because many teams will view him only as a slot corner, which is less valuable. That's partly why Boykin was available to the Eagles in the 4th round. Gaines could be a player the Eagles can get at a great value, which would allow the Eagles to potentially move Boykin outside.

RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota: (24) Nebraska at Minnesota

Hageman's sack numbers are down this year so far. Last year he had 6 from his interior defensive line spot. So far this season, he only has 1. However, he does have 6 batted passes.

Hageman is a monster at 6'6, 315, but has a sleek build and could probably put even more weight on his frame if that's what an NFL team would like him to do. Hageman plays in a 4-3 at Minnesota, but a team like the Eagles could potentially view him as guy who can play multiple spots along the line in their 3-4, including NT. 

Watch this play by Hageman dropping into coverage from his DT spot against Northwestern:

 

Nebraska's talented OL could provide a good challenge for Hageman today.

Previously highlighted players:

October 19, 2013:

 

  • Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
  • Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S, Florida State
  • Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
  • Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
  • Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

 

October 12, 2013: 

  • Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
  • De'Anthony Thomas, TAZR, Oregon
  • Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
  • Allen Robinson,WR, Penn State
  • Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU

October 5, 2013:

  • Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
  • Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
  • Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
  • Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon
  • Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington

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
About this blog
For news, stats, video, live chats and more, Red Zone is the place to find Eagles coverage you can't get anywhere else.

Jimmy Kempski Philly.com
Latest Videos:
Also on Philly.com:
Stay Connected