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:
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:
» READ MORE: 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
» READ MORE: 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
» READ MORE: 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
» READ MORE: 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
» READ MORE: September 21, 2013
Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
Daniel McCullers, NT, Tennessee
Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
Craig Loston, S, LSU
Yawin Smallwood, ILB, UConn
» READ MORE: 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
» READ MORE: 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
» READ MORE: 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