Nick Chubb

8 NFL draft prospects to watch in CFP National Championship

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8 NFL draft prospects to watch in CFP National Championship

It’s time to crown the college football national champion.

It’s also our last chance to get a look at some NFL prospects before postseason All-Star games and the combine.

Here are eight prospects to watch in tonight’s CFP National Championship.

Alabama vs. Clemson
Mercedes Benz Stadium
8 p.m., ESPN

Georgia

No. 27 - Nick Chubb, RB, senior (5-10/225)

Chubb fits the mold of a bell cow back. He had a ridiculous freshman season filling in for an injured Todd Gurley in which he ran for 1,547 yards on 7.1 per carry. Chubb then suffered a gruesome knee injury of his own the following season. Chubb could’ve come out after a so-so junior campaign in 2016 but opted to return for his senior year. And boy, did that move work. Chubb rushed for 1,320 yards this season and 15 TDs while sharing time with the player listed below. If not for the injury history, Chubb would easily be considered the second-best back in the draft behind Penn State’s Saquon Barkley. The Eagles’ biggest need certainly isn’t at running back, but with a loaded class and questions about Jay Ajayi’s chronic knee issues going forward, it’s certainly worth looking into.

No. 1 - Sony Michel, RB, senior (5-11/215)
The other half of Georgia’s dynamic rushing attack has seen his stock rise, especially after his 181-yard, three-TD performance against Oklahoma. For the season, Michel has also gone over the 1,000-yard mark while averaging eight yards a carry with 16 TDs. Despite a couple productive seasons in 2015 and 2016, this season has really gotten Michel on to the NFL draft radar. A strong combine could only boost his stock.

No. 7 - Lorenzo Carter, EDGE, senior (6-6/243)
I would love to profile stud LB Roquan Smith, but with how he’s played recently, it’s hard to imagine him falling out of the top 15, let alone to wherever the Eagles pick. Carter fits the mold of former Bulldog and first-round pick Leonard Floyd (Bears). Much like Floyd, Carter never reached his full potential as a pass rusher in college (14 career sacks) because of his role. But as was the case with Floyd, someone will fall in love with his measurables. Could that team be the Eagles? Carter would be an intriguing rotational pass rush piece.

No. 6 - Javon Wims, WR, senior (6-4/215)
Wims has quietly had a solid season for Georgia and provided true freshman QB Jake Fromm with a reliable target. Wims led the Bulldogs in receptions (44), receiving yards (704) and TDs (7). While the numbers aren't mind blowing, Wims has one distinguishable NFL trait: size. That size helps him beat press coverage and make contested catches, two important things at the next level. Wims also has sneaky quickness, which was evident against Oklahoma. He ran several hitches where he stopped on a dime and hauled in a couple easy completions.

Alabama

No. 9 - Bo Scarbrough, RB, junior (6-2/235)

The bruising back gained a ton of hype after monster performances in the CFP last season. After beating up Washington's highly-touted defense (180 yards, two TDs), Scarbrough was having a similar performance against Clemson in the title game (93 yards, two TDs) before breaking his leg in the third quarter. Whether it's lingering effects from the injury or other factors, Scarbrough just hasn't had the same impact this season. He's rushed for just 573 yards on 4.8 yards a carry. His freakish physique and physical running style will intrigue somebody in the middle rounds. If the Eagles want a smash-mouth heir apparent to LeGarrette Blount, Scarbrough could be that guy.

No. 34 - Damien Harris, RB, junior (5-11/221)
Part of the reason for Scarbrough's lack of production is the emergence of Harris. With 17 yards tonight, Harris will have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. That's impressive considering his timeshare at the position and playing with a run-heavy QB in Jalen Hurts. Harris may have come into the season less heralded than Scarbrough, but he'll end it being the better NFL prospect. He's a complete back and could be a steal in this deep class.  

No. 3 - Calvin Ridley, WR, junior (6-1/190)
Serious question: how does a program with a consistently inept passing game snag all these stud receivers? Following in the footsteps of Julio Jones and Amari Cooper, Ridley will likely be the next 'Bama wideout to be a first-round pick. After an impressive 1,045-yard, seven-touchdown freshman season, Ridley hasn't reached the 1,000-yard plateau in either of the last two campaigns (65 yards would get him there tonight, however). But the numbers don't tell the whole story. Ridley is lightning quick and an outstanding route runner. He has decent size and can take the top off a defense (his ability to track deep balls is also exceptional) . Most consider him to be the draft's second-best receiver behind SMU's Courtland Sutton. That's probably fair, but neither receiver is expected to go in the top 15. If Ridley somehow falls to the Eagles in the 20s, they should take a long, hard look. He'd be an outstanding complement to Alshon Jeffery and give Carson Wentz another dangerous weapon.

No. 32 - Rashaan Evans, LB, senior (6-3/234)
Evans is at the heart of Alabama's stellar defense. The senior 'backer recorded 66 tackles (11 1/2 for a loss) and six sacks. He's not the easiest player to evaluate because of the run-heavy SEC and how clean the Crimson Tide's stout front keeps him. But what Evans does show is solid instincts and great burst. He trusts his eyes and doesn't over commit on fakes. He's a strong blitzer (he was recruited as an edge rusher) and plays a violent brand of football. In the small sample size of coverage snaps he has, he's looked solid. His time at MLB will serve him well, but he might be best served as a weak side linebacker at the next level. One that might look pretty good next to a (hopefully) healthy Jordan Hicks.

2018 NFL draft prospect watch: RB Bryce Love, DE Bradley Chubb dominate

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2018 NFL draft prospect watch: RB Bryce Love, DE Bradley Chubb dominate

The Eagles are sitting pretty atop the NFC East at 3-1, but it's not too early to take a peek at the 2018 NFL draft class. 

The team has shown decent depth at several positions so we'll just look at players that could fit the Eagles schematically.

Here are five players to keep your eye on this week.

No. 20 - Bryce Love, RB, Stanford, junior (5-10/196)
Love has been mentioned on this space more than once, but now he's on the national radar. The nation's leading rusher, Love has reached the 1,000-yard mark in five (5!) games. Coming off a 301-yard, three-TD performance against Arizona State, Love is averaging a ridiculous 11.1 yards per carry this season. He's not really featured in the passing game (two catches for five yards this season), but with his size, shiftiness and speed, he could be an extremely versatile weapon at the next level.

Stanford at No. 20 Utah, Saturday, 10:15 p.m. (FS1)

No. 8 - Dante Pettis, WR, Washington, senior (6-1/195)
Pettis had his breakout game of the season, hauling in 12 passes for 105 yards and three TDs in a win over Oregon State. But don't let that yards per catch fool you. Pettis is a big play receiver and punt returner. He already has three punt return scores this season. In fact, he's the first player in NCAA history to record a punt return TD in three straight games.

No. 6 Washington vs. Cal, Saturday, 10:45 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 9 - Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State, senior (6-4/275)
Simply put, Chubb is a beast. He recorded two sacks in a win over Syracuse a week after recording two sacks in a win over Florida State (he also didn't show much respect for the Seminoles' home turf). For the season Chubb has 5 1/2 sacks. Chubb is a disruptive force for the Wolfpack and should hear his name called in the first round come April.

No. 24 NC State vs. No. 17 Louisville, Thursday, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

No. 8 - Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana, senior (6-0/230)
The play that most will remember Scales being involved in Saturday is the ridiculous one-handed catch and run by Penn State RB Saquon Barkley. But in Scales' defense, I'm not sure Barkley is human. What you might not realize is that Scales recorded 11 tackles and three sacks in a losing effort. Scales is sort of reminiscent of Temple product Hasson Reddick. He's undersized for a pass rusher but has the instincts necessary to play a traditional linebacker at the next level that can cause problems blitzing.

Indiana vs. Charleston Southern, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (BTN)

No. 27 - Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia, senior (5-10/225)
Almost two years removed from a horrific knee injury, Chubb is starting to resemble the player that was brilliant in a 1,500-yard freshman season back in 2014. He carried the ball 16 times for 109 yards. He's had his load lessened with teammate Sony Michel — who's worth keeping an eye on as well — sharing some of the carries. The tandem have combined for 736 yards and nine touchdowns this season while both averaging over 5.4 yards per carry.

No. 5 Georgia at Vanderbilt, Saturday, 12 p.m. (ESPN)

2018 NFL draft prospect watch: More weapons for Carson Wentz?

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2018 NFL draft prospect watch: More weapons for Carson Wentz?

College football came back in a big way over the weekend.

While a couple of the top quarterback prospects struggled, a bunch of skill players showed off their NFL potential. With the Eagles' running back situation a bit muddled and Alshon Jeffery being on a one-year deal, it's worth taking a look at a few weapons that could help Carson Wentz next season.

Here's a look at how some of the best running backs and receivers fared:

Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State, junior (5-11/230)
Barkley got his Heisman campaign off to a booming start. The junior back ran the ball just 14 times but went for 172 yards and two touchdowns in No. 6 Penn State's 52-0 shellacking of Akron. Barkley displayed magnificent balance, tip toeing the sideline on multiple big gains. He also added two catches for 29 yards, including one ridiculous play after the catch. This kid is the real deal and will likely be the first running back off the board next April.

Derrius Guice, RB, LSU, junior (5-11/212)
Barkley's competition to be the first back taken is Guice. Waiting for his turn behind star back Leonard Fournette, Guice is now in the spotlight. The junior rushed for 1,387 yards in Fournette's absence last season with a ridiculous 7.6 yards a carry. In his 2017 debut, Guice ran for 122 yards and two scores in No. 13 LSU's 27-0 win over BYU. Guice doesn't have the insane size and speed combo of Fournette, but he's a more complete back.

Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia, senior (5-10/225)
Chubb's path to this point has been less than ideal. After a sensational freshman year (1,547 yards, 7.1 per carry), Chubb seemed destined to leave Athens early and be on his way to NFL stardom. But after a stellar start to his sophomore campaign, Chubb suffered a significant knee injury that cut his season short. Chubb had a decent junior year, but opted to come back for his senior season and raise his stock. So far so good: Chubb ran for 96 yards on just 15 carries and two scores in No. 15 Georgia's 31-10 win over Appalachian State. Chubb will face a stiff test this coming week against Notre Dame.

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State, senior (6-1/205)
Washington is another player that could've left school after two straight 1,000-yard seasons. Instead he teamed back up with quarterback Mason Rudolph, another NFL prospect, to lead No. 10 Oklahoma State in 2017. And the duo got off to a strong start, leading the Cowboys to a 59-24 win over Tulsa. Washington was up to his old tricks, hauling in six catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Washington is built more like a running back — don't let his "listed" size fool you — but outmuscles smaller corners and tracks the ball very well. The proof is in the 19.4 yards per catch he's averaged in his college career. 

Simmie Cobbs Jr., WR, Indiana, redshirt junior (6-4/220)
Cobbs got a national audience last Thursday when the Hoosiers put a scare in No. 2 Ohio State. The Buckeyes had an extremely difficult time containing Cobbs who caught 11 balls for 149 yards and a score. What the redshirt junior receiver showed is that if he's got single coverage, he's open. Even against Ohio State's impressive secondary, Cobbs wasn't slowed down until the Buckeyes gave their corners help. Coming off a 1,000-yard season in 2015, Cobbs faced a one-game suspension in 2016 and then suffered a season-ending injury. He looks poised to be a big threat — literally and figuratively — in the Big Ten this season.

Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State, senior (6-1/200)
Gallup is a bit of sleeper. At least for now. A four-sport athlete in high school, Gallup struggled academically and was unable to sign with a major college despite having offers from several. He spent two years at a community college before joining the Rams. In his first season at the D-1 level, Gallup showed off his big play ability with 76 catches for 1,272 and 14 TDs. He picked up right where he left off in Colorado's opening win over Oregon State. Gallup hauled in 11 passes for 134 yards in the Rams' 58-27 win. Coming off a short week, Colorado stumbled in a 17-3 loss to Colorado. Gallup had five catches for 67 yards but also had a 33-yard catch called back for a questionable offensive pass interference.