Lamar Jackson

Vegas odds support idea Eagles are in good spot at 32

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Vegas odds support idea Eagles are in good spot at 32

A couple weeks ago, on a lengthy conference call with reporters around the country, NFL Network's Mike Mayock said he thought the Eagles were in a good position with the 32nd pick in the draft (see story)

Mayock said the Eagles can either pick the best player on the board or there might be a chance to trade down and pick up some much-needed draft choices if another team wants to sneak back into the first round and get a quarterback. 

The bonus for a team that wants to do that would be to guarantee they get their guy and to also get the fifth-year option on that QB's rookie contract. 

The latest odds from Vegas seem to support Mayock's assertion that the Eagles have "prime real estate." According to Bovada, the over/under for Lamar Jackson's draft position is set at 32½. 

Jackson, the quarterback from Louisville, could very well be the key for the Eagles in this spring's draft. If he hasn't been selected by the time the Eagles are on the clock at 32, there's a good chance some phone calls might be coming in. And the Eagles will very likely be willing to answer. 

The best example of something like this happening recently came in 2014, when the Vikings moved up to draft Teddy Bridgewater with the last pick in the first round. The Seahawks moved down to pick No. 40 and added a fourth-rounder. 

The Eagles have six draft picks this year but none in the second or third rounds. And the first of their two fourth-round picks is the 30th pick of that round. That's a long time for the Birds to wait between selections. 

At the combine last week, Howie Roseman said the Eagles wouldn't hesitate to draft a player they like with the 32nd pick — but if there are a few players with similar grades or guys who they deem aren't worthy of the pick, they'd then look to move down. 

Of course, in order to move down, the Eagles will need a partner. If Jackson is still on the board, it could help them find one. 

Penn State's Saquon Barkley not among Heisman Trophy finalists

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Penn State's Saquon Barkley not among Heisman Trophy finalists

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield made Heisman Trophy history just by being selected as a finalist.

Mayfield, reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Stanford running back Bryce Love were chosen as finalists for the 83rd Heisman Trophy on Monday night.

The award for most outstanding college football player will be given out Saturday night in New York.

Mayfield and Jackson are finalists for the second straight year, and Jackson is trying to become the second player to win two Heismans, joining former Ohio State star Archie Griffin.

Mayfield, though, will come to Manhattan as the clear favorite. He finished fourth in the Heisman voting in 2015, but was not invited to New York. Last year, he was one of five finalists and finished third behind Jackson and Clemson's Deshaun Watson.

Mayfield is the seventh player to finish in the top five of Heisman voting three times , joining Glenn Davis and Doc Blanchard of Army, Doak Walker of SMU, Griffin, Herschel Walker of Georgia and Tim Tebow of Florida.

The Heisman has been naming finalists and bringing them to New York for the presentation since 1982. Mayfield is the ninth Oklahoma player to be selected as a finalist, matching Miami for the most from one school.

Mayfield is trying to become the sixth Heisman winner from Oklahoma and third Sooners quarterback (Jason White and Sam Bradford) to win since 2003.

This season, Mayfield has led the No. 2 Sooners (12-1) to the Big 12 championship and the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma plays Georgia (12-1) in the Rose Bowl semifinal on Jan. 1. Mayfield leads the nation in efficiency rating at 203.76 and has thrown for 4,340 yards and 41 touchdowns.

Jackson's numbers have been better than last season in some categories, but Louisville (8-4) has not had the big wins to go with it. With little fanfare, the quarterback is averaging 411 total yards -- up from 393 last season-- and accounted for 42 touchdowns.

"I'm honored to be chosen as a finalist with these two outstanding players," Jackson said in a statement. "They both had great seasons and deserve this tremendous honor. I want to thank all my teammates and coaches for achieving this honor together."

Griffin won back-to-back Heisman trophies for Ohio State in 1974 and '75.

Love is second in the nation in rushing at 164.42 yards per game and is averaging 8.32 yards per carry for the 15th-ranked Cardinal. An ankle injury slowed Love the last month of the season, but he still led the nation in rushes of at least 50 yards with 12. He also scored 17 touchdowns.

Not making that cut was a couple of talented running backs.

Penn State's Saquon Barkley is second in the nation in all-purpose yards (179.5) and is fifth with 21 touchdowns, including two kickoff return touchdowns for the No. 9 Nittany Lions. He was also 2 for 2 passing with a touchdown. He was considered the favorite heading into the final month of the season, but the Nittany Lions lost twice, and his production fell off until a late surge.

San Diego State's Rashaad Penny leads the nation in rushing (168.9) and all-purpose yards (224.8). Against Nevada three weeks ago, he scored on a rush, a kickoff return and a punt return. Penny had big games against Pac-12 teams Stanford and Arizona State early in the season but was held in check by San Diego State's top Mountain West rivals, Fresno State and Boise State.

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

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Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins Heisman Trophy

NEW YORK -- Lamar Jackson leapt over a loaded field of Heisman Trophy contenders early in the season and by the time he slowed down nobody could catch him.

The sensational sophomore quarterback became the first Louisville player to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night, beating out preseason favorite Deshaun Watson of Clemson despite some late-season struggles.

Baker Mayfield finished third and Oklahoma teammate and fellow finalist Dede Westbrook was fourth. Michigan's Jabrill Peppers was fifth.

Watson, who finished third in Heisman voting last year, led a stacked group of contenders entering this season that included five of the top seven vote-getters in 2015.

Jackson outdid them all in his first season as Louisville's full-time starter, accounting for 51 touchdowns and averaging 410 yards per game in total offense. He ultimately won going away, with 2,144 points to Watson's 1,524. By percentage of possible points received, Jackson's victory was the sixth largest in Heisman history, and he became the youngest winner at 19 years, 352 days.

Jackson is the first Heisman Trophy winner to play on a team that lost its last two games of the regular season since Tim Brown of Notre Dame in 1987. He's the first to enter the postseason without a chance to win the national title since Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M in 2012.

No matter. Jackson did so much before November it was difficult to deny him the award because of a couple of missteps at the end.

He provided a signature moment against Syracuse, hurdling a defender on his way into the end zone, and then played his best against Louisville's toughest competition.

In a romp over Florida State and a close loss at Clemson, Jackson threw for 511 yards, ran for 308 and accounted for eight touchdowns. After ripping apart Florida State in September, he earned the stamp of approval from his idol, former Virginia Tech and NFL star Mike Vick.

Jackson left that Oct. 1 game in Death Valley as a threat to run away with the Heisman, but losses to Houston and Kentucky, when he committed four turnovers, in late November provided an opportunity for others to sway voters.

Watson made the biggest surge, but ultimately fell short.

Jackson continues a recent trend of breakout stars winning the Heisman. He is the sixth player to win the award as either a redshirt freshman or sophomore, all since 2007, joining Manziel (redshirt freshman), Jameis Winston (redshirt freshman), Mark Ingram (sophomore), Sam Bradford (sophomore) and Tim Tebow (sophomore).

Jackson came to Louisville as a three-star recruit from Boynton Beach High School in Florida. Some colleges were not sold on him as a quarterback, but Jackson was such a dynamic talented Louisville coach Bobby Petrino altered his offense to accommodate Jackson's speed and elusiveness.

Jackson flashed brilliance as a freshman and showed what was to come in the Music City Bowl against Texas A&M. He had 453 total yards and led Louisville to a victory.

Still, with so many well-established stars from Watson and Mayfield to running backs Christian McCaffrey of Stanford, Dalvin Cook of Florida State and Leonard Fournette of LSU, Jackson entered the season without much fanfare.

Just the way he likes it.

Jackson spent this season adjusting to newfound fame, growing into the role of face of the team and trying to stay out of the spotlight. He said he cut down on trips to the mall to avoid the inevitable crowds he drew.

He is about to become even more popular. Especially back in Louisville, where he has another year before he can even consider his next big jump -- to the NFL.