This week, the Saturday college football schedule is a little weaker because the two best matchups occurred on Thursday night. Those games were (3) Oregon vs. (5) Stanford, and (6) Baylor vs. (10) Oklahoma. Still, as long as you're sitting around watching the college kids play on Saturday. here are 5 players to keep an eye on who could make sense for the Eagles.
Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech: Virginia Tech at Miami
I’ll just be blunt. Over the last two seasons, Logan Thomas’ passing numbers suck:
However, he’s a 6’6, 250+ pound freak of nature with a big arm and impressive athleticism. In the week leading up to the Eagles game against the Oakland Raiders, Chip Kelly talked about big, athletic QBs:
“I think the first thing that will strike you when you see [Terrelle Pryor] is just actually how big he is,” said Kelly. “You watch him on tape, he had a 93‑yard run, the longest run for a quarterback in NFL history. But when you see him you look like you're looking at a defensive end. There's two guys that I've had an opportunity to coach against, Cam Newton and Terrelle Pryor, that are that, that when you look at them they're kind of like an NBA power forward, but they can run, and that's kind of the thing that jumps out at you is his athleticism.”
There's a good chance Michael Vick won’t be back in 2014. If the Eagles do not draft a QB in the early rounds and/or decide that Nick Foles can be the ‘franchise QB,’ then Thomas could be a very intriguing project for Kelly in the late rounds.
2011 was Thomas’ best season at Virginia Tech. If you look at his highlight reel from that season (which of course ignores the bad), you’ll see a QB with outstanding size and very impressive physical tools.
Thomas will be one of the more interesting QB prospects this offseason, in terms of how NFL teams will value him. Is he a QB? Is he a guy you can try to use creatively at other positions? To me, he just seems like a player Chip Kelly would love to try to mold into something unique at the next level.
Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh: Notre Dame at Pittsburgh
At 6’3, 195, Street is one of many big receivers who will be available in the 2014 draft. Pitt likes to use Street close to the offensive line, often in the slot, where they can work him over the middle on quick slants. Street does a good job using his body to shield defenders from the football and making catches over the middle.
Street is also not content to just go down once he has the ball in his hands, and will fight through tacklers for additional yardage, which is something the Eagles have lacked in recent years from the WR position. He can be a deep threat, using his size to high-point the ball. While he doesn’t have many TDs in his college career (13), he done have some attributes (size, hands catcher) which could make him a good red zone threat.
On the downside, Street is a “get in the way” blocker, as opposed to a guy who aggressively tries to move DBs out of the way for his teammates. That’s not good enough for a receiver of his size. If he’s available in the middle rounds and the Eagles want a bigger receiver to challenge Riley Cooper for place in the offense, Street could be an option for the Birds.
Cyrus Kouandijo, OT, Alabama: (13) LSU at (1) Alabama
Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State: Mississippi State at (15) Texas A&M
Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee: Auburn at Tennessee
I’m becoming more and more convinced that the Eagles could take another offensive tackle with a high pick in the 2014 draft. My guess is that people won’t like that, as they used the 4th overall pick on Lane Johnson in the last draft, but another OT would make sense, for a number of reasons.
There are a lot of talented offensive tackles who will be available in the 2014 draft. There are five of them who could be drafted in the 1st round:
Additionally, while the Eagles have a young team in general, they have an aging offensive line.
- Evan Mathis turned 32 in November.
- Jason Peters will turn 32 in January.
- Todd Herremans turned 31 in October.
Jason Peters is in the final year of his deal. Are the Eagles likely to re-sign him in 2015 and beyond? At his age, I have my doubts. In 2014, Peters will count for roughly $10.3 million against the cap. If the Eagles were to draft a tackle, and decided to cut or trade Peters, they would save $10 million off their cap. Would you pay Jason Peters $10 million if he were ‘2011 Jason Peters?’ Hell yes. Will the Eagles pay $10 million for ‘2013 Jason Peters?’ If they have a long term replacement in place, they could consider moving on. Peters could be an attractive trade chip for a team that thinks they can compete for a Super Bowl, but has a hole at LT.
As far as the players worth watching…
• Kouandijo is probably the best prospect among the three noted here, and has an Eagles connection, as Eagles OL coach Jeff Stoutland recruited and then coached him at Alabama. Kouandijo was the 4th rated high school prospect in the country in 2011, according to Rivals.com. The Eagles have a recent history of drafting, signing and trading for former elite high school prospects.
• Gabe Jackson is massive guard at 6'3, 340, who is not only big, but very strong. According to NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, he's not particularly athletic (which may not jibe with what the Eagles value at the guard position). However, Jeremiah also notes that Jackson rarely outright loses matchups. I don't know if the Eagles would be well served to draft a guard in the first two rounds, but if they did, Jackson could be a possibility.
• Antonio Richardson is my least favorite of the top OT prospects, but he's highly regarded by others, so we'll point him out as a player to watch. Richardson was badly overmatched by Jadeveon Clowney, although a lot of offensive linemen can also say that. Still, Richardson's poor performance against Clowney is sort of etched in my brain, and I can't get away from it (via DraftBreakdown.com):
Previously highlighted players:
- Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami
- Cameron Erving, OT, Florida State
- Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
- Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
- Aaron Murray, QB, Georgia
- Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
- Hroniss Grasu, C, Oregon
- Michael Sam, DE, Missouri
- E.J. Gaines, CB, Missouri
- RaShede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
- Vic Beasley, DE, Clemson
- Lamarcus Joyner, CB/S, Florida State
- Christian Jones, LB, Florida State
- Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
- Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
- De'Anthony Thomas, TAZR, Oregon
- Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
- Allen Robinson,WR, Penn State
- Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
- Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech
- Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
- Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon
- Taylor Hart, DE, Oregon
- Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
- Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
- Donte Moncrief, WR, Ole Miss
- Chris Smith, DE, Arkansas
- Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
- Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State
- Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
- Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee
- Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
- Craig Loston, S, LSU
- Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UConn
- Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA
- Adrian Hubbard, OLB, Alabama
- C.J. Mosley, ILB, Alabama
- Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
- Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
- 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
- Kyle Van Noy, OLB, BYU
- Colt Lyerla, TE, Oregon
- Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, S, Alabama
- Tajh Boyd, QB, Clemson
- Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA