6 NFL draft prospects to watch in Wednesday's bowl games

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6 NFL draft prospects to watch in Wednesday's bowl games

College football bowl season is upon us so there's no better time to get to know some NFL draft prospects.

The Eagles will have a late first-round pick and no second- or third-rounders. But Howie Roseman isn't one to sit on his hands come draft day.

Here are six prospects in action today that could help the Eagles next season.

Southern Mississippi-Florida State
Walk-On’s Independence Bowl (1:30 p.m./ESPN)

No. 91 - Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State, senior (6-1/312)
Nnadi is built more like a nose tackle, but he doesn't just take up blockers and space. He's been downright disruptive during his time with the Seminoles. He's racked up 9½ sacks and 19½ tackles for loss the last two seasons combined. He's also arguably the strongest man in college football. He may not be a perfect fit in Jim Schwartz's scheme (if Schwartz is even here next season), but he may be too talented to pass up.

No. 25 - Ito Smith, RB, Southern Mississippi, senior (5-9/195)
Nnadi's primary job will be trying to stop the elusive Smith. Smith has rushed for 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons. He's one of only five backs to top 3,000 yards in program history. He's also caught 136 passes for over 1,400 yards out of the backfield in his career. Smith is undersized but man, is he shifty. Fitting that he wears No. 25 like LeSean McCoy because his cutting ability and balance are ridiculous. This running back class may be even more stupid deep than last season's. Smith could be the type of back that sneaks into the later rounds. He'd be a steal there.

Iowa-Boston College
New Era Pinstripe Bowl (5:15 p.m./ESPN)

No. 43 - Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa, senior (6-2/236)
Jewell is a heady player and a tackling machine. The 2017 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year has recorded three straight seasons of at least 120 tackles. This season he set a career high with 13½ for a loss. He also threw in 4½ sacks and two picks. And he's not just bringing guys down with arm tackles either. He plays with an edge. Jewell wasn't highly recruited but leaves Iowa as arguably the best 'backer in the program's history. How he tests at the combine — as a four-sport athlete in high school, he should do just fine — will likely determine his draft status. His matchup with Boston College's star freshman running back A.J. Dillon should be interesting.

No. 25 - Akrum Wadley, RB, Iowa, senior (5-11/195)
With Boston College's stud edge rusher and likely first-round pick Harold Landry out for this game, we turn to another Hawkeye in Wadley. Wadley is another undersized back who's been productive, rushing for 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons. He's also been productive catching the ball out of the backfield, hauling in almost 70 catches in his career. Like Smith, he lacks the size to be a lead back, but with his elusiveness and speed, there's a role for him in an NFL offense.

Iowa's stud corner Josh Jackson (No. 15) has been a popular pick for the Eagles in some mock drafts, but it's hard to imagine the Eagles using a first-round pick on a corner with all the resources they've put into the position recently.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (9 p.m./ESPN)

No. 46 - Malik Jefferson, LB, Texas, junior (6-3/240)
There's a strong chance Jefferson, a likely first-round pick, won't play in this game because of a toe injury. But if he does play, he'll be hard not to notice out there. Jefferson is an aggressive, fast, sideline-to-sideline linebacker. The Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year amassed 110 tackles (10 for a loss) and four sacks this season. He'd make a lot of sense for the Eagles with their late first-round pick. The Longhorns will be without three other possible first-round picks — OT Connor Williams, safety DeShon Elliot ad CB Holton Hill are all skipping the bowl game to prepare for the draft. 

No. 16 - Marcell Frazier, DL, Missouri, senior (6-5/265)
On the other end of the spectrum is Frazier, who yesterday said the Tigers were treating this game "like the national championship." Frazier's play reflects this attitude. He's been hampered by a partially torn quad all season but has still managed to record seven sacks and 13½ tackles for a loss. He's not a tremendous athlete and lacks real pass rush moves. His sacks are the result of bull rushes and/or his crazy high motor. He should be a late-round pick with intriguing physical traits.

If you're into quarterback play, definitely check out the Tigers' Drew Lock (No. 3). He's thrown 43 TDs this season and should be able to pick apart the Longhorns' depleted defense. There's a chance Lock, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior, could declare for the NFL draft following the game. He could be a riser during the pre-draft process.

Mike Trout predicts Super Bowl pain for Tom Brady

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Mike Trout predicts Super Bowl pain for Tom Brady

Mike Trout hasn't decided if he will travel to Minneapolis to watch his beloved Eagles play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Trout said he enjoys staying at home and watching the game on television with his family. (There's something cool about that.) He also digs the commercials.

Wherever baseball's best — and highest paid — player decides to watch the game, he will have one important accessory with him: his dog mask. The same one he wore at Lincoln Financial Field during the Eagles' trouncing of the Minnesota Vikings in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

"I will definitely be wearing that dog mask," Trout said during a conference call with reporters on Tuesday. "Gotta ride with it."

Eagles tackle Lane Johnson gave Trout the dog mask that has come to symbolize the Eagles' place as an underdog in the playoffs and again in the Super Bowl. The Eagles have come to relish that status.

"A lot of people doubted them," Trout said. "They lost the majority of their captains and starters (to injury), but they're still fighting. Next-man-up mentality."

Even some of Trout's teammates with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim doubted the Eagles. But no more.

"They give me grief all the time," Trout said. "Now they're all rooting for them. Throughout the season, there were a lot of ups and downs. But now we're going to the Super Bowl."

Trout, of course, was raised and still lives in Millville, New Jersey, less than an hour's drive from Philadelphia. He grew up a fan of all the Philly teams and, in fact, was in the parking lot outside of Citizens Bank Park celebrating with friends the night the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

Trout, 26, is a season-ticket holder with the Eagles and a close friend and hunting buddy of Carson Wentz. Trout, who saw his first Eagles game back in the Veterans Stadium days, was able to visit with several Eagles players after Sunday's big win over the Vikings.

"I told them to go get it," he said. "Obviously, there hasn't been a Super Bowl champion in Philadelphia. I told them to go get it."

Trout recalled watching Super Bowl XXXIX more than a decade ago. The Patriots beat the Eagles, 24-21, in that one.

Trout sees a different Eagles team in the rematch.

"This team is just a little bit different," he said. "They want to win and it's not just one guy carrying them. Every guy has a part in it."

Trout's buddy, Wentz, won't be playing in the Super Bowl. He may have been on his way to the NFL's MVP award hadn't he been knocked out by a season-ending knee injury in December. Nick Foles has taken over and been at the helm for two playoff wins.

In six spectacular seasons in the majors, Trout has won two American League MVP awards and finished second three times. (That's why he will make $34 million in 2018.) He finished fourth in the voting in 2017 and would have finished higher if he hadn't missed significant time with a thumb injury that required surgery. He feels for Wentz, who has to watch from the sidelines.

"It's definitely difficult," Trout said. "I went through it last year. It's tough for him. I thought he was the MVP. It was hard to watch when he went down. But he's working hard. He's walking. I'm sure he'll be ready for next season.

"What he did on the field this season was amazing, and now Nick has stepped up."

Tuesday's conference call was set up by the Angels' media relations department because of the large demand to speak with Trout, who has emerged as the Eagles' most visible fan, woofing and pumping his fist in triumph with the rest of the fans at the Linc. Trout said he'd never heard the place louder than it was as Patrick Robinson ran back that game-turning pick-six in the first quarter Sunday night.

Philadelphia fans dream of a day when they will be cheering for Trout rounding the bases in a Phillies uniform. He is signed through 2020. His free agency is not that far away.

As always, Trout deflected a question about whether he could see himself playing in Philadelphia someday.

"I'm an Eagles fan," he said. "Obviously, I grew up a Philly sports fan. I love playing in Anaheim. I have a couple more years on my contract. I love Anaheim and the West Coast."

That wasn't exactly a no.

Trout was more direct when asked about what he expected in the Super Bowl.

"It's going to be tough," he said. "Anybody that goes against Tom Brady is going against the best and maybe greatest of all time.

"I still think the Eagles will pull it out and they're going to win, 31-24."

And the decisive play will be?

"An interception of Brady," Trout said.

Carson Wentz's greatest leadership feat

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Carson Wentz's greatest leadership feat

After the Eagles celebrated their win in the NFC Championship Game, Carson Wentz limped off the field at Lincoln Financial Field with the help of a cane. He wore an Eagles NFC champions hat, t-shirt and a giant smile.  

Wentz didn't get to play on Sunday night, but he still played a huge role in the Eagles' getting to the Super Bowl. 

That was the message offensive coordinator Frank Reich tried to get across to Wentz when he had a brief chat with him during the fourth quarter of the blowout win. Wentz was one of the main reasons the Eagles got a chance to play the championship game at the Linc. 

Wentz wasn't just happy for the Eagles on Sunday. He was happy for Nick Foles, the guy who took over for him. 

"To me, one of the greatest things about a person that you can say, is when you see him celebrating somebody else's success," Reich said. "Even when you know it's at the same position. I don't care; human nature tells you that's hard to do. And it's been fun to see those two do that. It's fun to see Carson truly have the maturity to celebrate Nick's success and understanding how he's helping this team, also with the frustration knowing that he wants to be in there." 

For the last couple of games, Wentz has progressed enough in his ACL rehab to be allowed on the sideline during games and that's meant a lot to the Eagles, especially Foles and Nate Sudfeld. The three have spent all year together so it feels more natural to be together during games. 

During Sunday's NFC Championship Game, Wentz was on the sideline but part of him was on the field. The second touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery came on a play Wentz brought with him from North Dakota State. A FOX camera caught his reaction after the score: 

"Every time we score on his play," Reich said, "the smile's gonna light up."

Reich has some experience with watching big moments. Spending most of his career as a backup quarterback, he had to watch Jim Kelly play in big moments and he knows how hard that can be. 

"It's absolutely human to wish you were in there," Reich said. "But the whole key, it's a very fine line. That fine line to me is that you can still not just be happy for the team winning, but to be happy for Nick, who could potentially be stealing another person's thunder. That's the pretty cool thing. Of all the great things he's done this year, (this) even more exemplifies the leader he is."