Jerome Baker

8 NFL draft prospects to watch in bowl games Friday

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8 NFL draft prospects to watch in bowl games Friday

With three days of college football bowl games in the books this week, we turn our attention to Thursday's contests and 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 eight prospects in action today that could help the Eagles next season.

Wake Forest-Texas A&M
Belk Bowl (1 p.m./ESPN)

No. 53 - Duke Ejiofor, DE, Wake Forest, senior (6-4/275)
Ejiofor has been one of the most disruptive players in the ACC over the past two seasons. He's put up 17 ½ sacks and 32 tackles for a loss over the last two campaigns combined. He wins with excellent and violent hand usage. He has a lethal swim move on his inside rush and a pretty decent spin move. He's ultra aggressive — perhaps too much at times — so he would fit what the Eagles do defensively.

No. 3 - Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M, junior (5-11/200)
Kirk has seen a drop off in receiving yards in each of his three seasons at Texas A&M. But don't be fooled by the numbers. Kirk is one of the most electrifying receivers coming out this season. With his size, he's done most of his damage in the slot but has at times played on the outside. He's also returned six punts and one kickoff for TDs in his career. Nelson Agholor has had an outstanding year in the slot, but will be on the last year of his deal next season. Kirk could be an ideal replacement or perhaps get reps on the outside if Agholor is signed long term.

No 24. NC State-Arizona State
Hyundai Sun Bowl ( 3 p.m./CBS)

No. 1 - Jaylen Samuels, TE/WR/RB, NC State, senior (5-11/223)
You've heard of positionless basketball, but Samuels has introduced the college football world to the concept. Because of his size, Samuels lacked a true position when he got to Louisville. He's lined up as a halfback, H-back, tight end and wide receiver during his four-year career. He's also put his name in the record books, with a chance to pass Jerricho Cotchery's all-time receptions record for the Wolfpack. The Eagles will likely lose Trey Burton. Doug Pederson could probably think of some creative ways to deploy Samuels.

No. 7 - Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State, senior (6-3/230)
Ballage has been in a timeshare for all four of his years at Arizona State with Demario Richard (No. 4). Ballage is the back with more NFL potential. His numbers aren't overly impressive because of the shared backfield and the Sun Devils' struggles as a football team. Ballage does possess incredibly quick feet and good patience and burst in finding holes. For a bigger back, you'd like to see him finish runs and punish tacklers. On a similar note, he doesn't stand his ground in pass protection. He's an intriguing late-round option if running backs coach Duce Staley thinks he can get the most out of him.

Kentucky-No. 21 Northwestern
Music City Bowl (4:30 p.m./ESPN)

No. 7 - Mike Edwards, S, Kentucky, junior (6-0/200)
Edwards might be better served coming back for his senior season, but there's a lot to like about the junior safety. He's recorded 189 tackles and seven interceptions the last two seasons combined. He's versatile with the ability to cover and play up in the box. It's also worth keeping an eye on LB Josh Allen (No. 41). He's an undersized edge rusher at 235 pounds, but he's registered 14 ½ sacks in the last two seasons combined. 

No. 16 - Godwin Igwebuike, S, Northwestern, senior (6-0/212)
Igwebuike is a perfect example of a player increasing his value by staying in school for an extra year. The hard-hitting safety flies around the field like a heat-seeking missile. Off the field, he paints and is the vocalist in a band. He's been very outspoken about his desire to be more than a football player even after he reaches the NFL. That might scare some scouts off, but the Eagles' locker room can certainly handle that personality. As far as on the field, Igwebuike can add physicality to the team's back end and become a special teams maven.

No. 8 USC-No. 5 Ohio State
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (8:30 p.m./ESPN)

No. 25 - Ronald Jones, RB, USC, junior (6-0/200)
In another deep running back class, a guy like Jones could get lost in the shuffle. He shouldn't. He followed up a 1,082-yard, 12 touchdown sophomore campaign with 1,486 yards and 18 TDs in 2017. Jones is shifty and explosive, averaging 6.2 yards per carry for his college career. It's tough to know whether Jones will be an elite back at the next level because of his size. He sort of resembles Jamaal Charles, who's had a spectacular but oft-injured career. If he slips, the Eagles should certainly take a long look.

No. 13 - Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State, junior (6-1/225)
Baker came into this season with a ton of hype, but his stock has seemed to slip. Advantage, Eagles. Baker has the eyes and coverage ability of a safety with the willingness to mix it up in the box. He's racked up 154 tackles (16 for a loss), 6 ½ sacks and two interceptions during his college career. He's a difference-making 'backer that would look excellent playing alongside (a healthy) Jordan Hicks. With Nigel Bradham's status uncertain next season, it's certainly a position of need. 

2018 NFL draft prospect watch: ACC, Big Ten titles on the line

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2018 NFL draft prospect watch: ACC, Big Ten titles on the line

The stakes are high for tonight's ACC and Big Ten title games.

There will be plenty of NFL talent on the field that can help the 10-1 Eagles next season.

Here are eight prospects to watch.

No. 7 Miami at No. 1 Clemson - 8 p.m., ABC
No. 52 - Kc McDermott, OL, Miami, senior (6-7/300)
McDermott has spent a lot of time on the interior of the Hurricanes' line but has excelled this season as the team's left tackle. He was named to the All-ACC third team and has started 32 consecutive games. There's nothing flashy to McDermott, but he's long and aggressive and always seem to be under control and in the proper position.

No. 7 - Kendrick Norton, DT, Miami, junior (6-3/312)
Norton has been an extremely disruptive run defender for Miami. He had 10 tackles for a loss last season and has 6 1/2 more this season. He has just five career sacks, but his athleticism for his size leads you to believe there could be more pass rushing potential there. 

No. 34 - Kendall Joseph, LB, Clemson, junior (6-0/225)
Jim Schwartz loves him a thumper and Joseph certainly fits that bill. As a sophomore last season, Joseph had a 106 tackles (11 1/2 for a loss), four sacks and an interception. While the numbers may not stand out as much this season, Joseph is still making a huge impact on the Tigers' D.

No. 6 - Dorian O'Daniel, LB, Clemson, senior (6-1/220)
O'Daniel doesn't have the size of Joseph, but he's been just as disruptive. Playing on the outside, O'Daniel has 80 tackles this season (10 1/2 for a loss), five sacks and two interceptions. O'Daniel will likely excel as a weakside linebacker at the next level that is allowed to roam and attack the football, but he could stay on the strong side because of his coverage skills. 

No. 8 Ohio State at No. 4 Wisconsin - 8 p.m., FOX
No. 17 - Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State, junior (6-1/225)
As of right now, Baker is the cream of this linebacker crop. Baker is built like and has the aggressiveness of a 'backer, but has the eyes and coverage ability of a free safety. He'll likely test well and be out of the Eagles' range come draft time, but he'd look mighty good playing next to (a hopefully healthy) Jordan Hicks next season.

No. 25 - Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State, redshirt sophomore (5-10/214)
As a redshirt freshman last season, Weber ran for 1,096 yards. Impressively, he joined Robert Smith and Maurice Clarett as the only Buckeye freshmen to run for 1,000 yards. He's taken on less of a load this season but is still averaging 6.5 yards a carry and has 10 TDs. He also has 32 catches in his collegiate career. There's nothing flashy about Weber, but he's a solid back who could be worth a flyer in the middle rounds. 

No. 63 - Michael Deiter, OL, Wisconsin, junior (6-6/328)
Deiter's most impressive quality is his versatility. After redshirting his freshman season, Deiter has started at center, left guard and left tackle. Deiter has tremendous size but is also a pretty good athlete. He's likely getting looked at as a center and the experience will likely serve him at whatever position he plays at the next level.

No. 81 - Troy Fumagalli, TE, Wisconsin, senior (6-6/248)
Fumagalli doesn't have great numbers, but a big part of that is Wisconsin's run-heavy offense. Fumagalli is a big target with reliable hands. The Badgers' offense has also allowed him to show off his prowess as a run blocker. He may not have the flashy numbers or crazy measurables, but Fumagalli has the potential to be a real solid NFL tight end.

2018 NFL draft prospect watch: Now real matchups begin in college football

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2018 NFL draft prospect watch: Now real matchups begin in college football

Now that we're past a bunch of the cupcake games, a few interesting matchups will take place today in college football.

And inside those games, we'll get to see some interesting matchups featuring several 2018 NFL draft prospects.

Before watching any of the big games tonight, familiarize yourself with the names below. One of them could help the Eagles in 2018 and beyond.

No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 5 Oklahoma (7:30 p.m., ABC)

Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio State, junior (6-1/225)
Simply put, Baker is a stud. As a sophomore, Baker recorded 86 tackles (9 1/2 for a loss), 3 1/2 sacks and two interceptions. Baker's biggest strength is his athleticism. He's all over the field and excels in coverage. He's the ideal 'backer for today's pass-friendly game. Today should be a fun test against Baker Mayfield and the Sooners' explosive offense. 

Mark Andrews, TE, Oklahoma, junior (6-5/254)
Andrews' numbers from 2016 won't blow you away, but he showed in Oklahoma's blowout win over UTEP why he's getting serious draft buzz. Andrews hauled in seven catches for 134 yards for a ridiculous 19.1 yards per catch. Andrews has flashed seriously ability to create after the catch and should be one of the first tight ends off the board come April.

No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 13 Auburn (7 p.m., ESPN)

Deon Cain, WR, Clemson, junior (6-1/190)
Cain is arguably the best receiving prospect in the 2018 draft class. Playing second fiddle to first-round pick Mike Williams last season, Cain posted 38 catches for 724 yards and nine touchdowns. Cain lacks the size of his former teammate Williams, but he is much more explosive. He only made two catches in the Tigers' lopsided win over Kent State, but one of them was a 61-yard touchdown. Clemson lost some serious weapons to the NFL in 2017 and Cain appears to be well on his way.

Carlton Davis, CB, Auburn, junior (6-1/203)
After being selected to the All-SEC freshman team, Davis struggled in his sophomore season. It's also been revealed that he was dealing with a series of nagging injuries all season. Davis seems to fit the NFL prototype with his tall frame and long arms. He's shown an ability to be physical and jam receivers at the line. Now that he's healthy, it'll be interesting to see what happens when Cain forces him to turn and run.

No. 14 Stanford vs. No. 6 USC (8:30 p.m., FOX)

Bryce Love Jr., RB, Stanford, junior (5-10/196)
(OK, so I'm cheating a little bit with this "matchup," but it should be a lot of fun to watch these two try to match each other with big plays.)

With Love in the fold, the Cardinal won't feel the loss of first-round pick Christian McCaffrey quite as much. Love is similar in stature and explosiveness to the now Carolina Panther. Splitting time last season, Love ran for 779 yards on just 112 carries (seven yards a carry). He looked unstoppable in Stanford's 62-7 win over Rice. Love carried the ball 13 times for 180 yards and a touchdown (I'll save you the math: that's an absurd 13.8 yards a carry). 

Ronald Jones Jr., RB, USC, junior (6-0/200)
Speaking of explosive, Jones might be the most explosive back in the class. Jones has rushed for 900 yards in each of his two seasons for the Trojans. He seems well on his way to topping that mark once again after rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns in USC's opening win against Western Michigan. Like Love, Jones is a bit undersized but he's a dangerous player in space. I'd like to see both players do a little more damage in the passing game. They're both capable, the numbers just aren't there as of yet.