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.

Nick Foles leads entire NFL in player sales merchandise this offseason

Nick Foles leads entire NFL in player sales merchandise this offseason

Everyone knows the plan is for Nick Foles to eventually head back to the bench in favor of Carson Wentz.

Apparently, Eagles fans just didn’t care.

Because when the NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales list for the first quarter of 2018 was released on Thursday, Foles was right at the top for all officially licensed merchandise from March 1-May 31.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Nick Foles
2. Tom Brady 
3. Carson Wentz
4. Saquon Barkley
5. Dak Prescott
6. Aaron Rodgers
7. Ezekiel Elliott
8. Jimmy Garoppolo
9. Odell Beckham Jr. 
10. Derek Carr

That means the NFC East took six of the top 10 spots, which is pretty wild.

But it’s even crazier to think that Foles went from starting last season as a backup to having more products with his likeness sold this offseason than any other player in the league, including the guy whose job he took and who is expected to take it back. He also beat that guy who didn’t catch a pass in the Super Bowl.

We definitely saw a Super Bowl spike in this list, starting with Foles, who led all players in photography products sold. I guess everyone wanted an image of him catching the football on the "Philly Special" or perhaps something with the now famous photo of Foles with his infant daughter. On the previous list from last year (from March 1, 2017-Feb. 28), Foles was at No. 22, so we should have seen this coming. Wentz held steady at No. 3, despite the injury and missing the Super Bowl.

Here’s every Eagle on the new list with their ranking on the last in parenthesis:

1. Nick Foles (22)
3. Carson Wentz (3) 
13. Zach Ertz (17)
33. Alshon Jeffery (43)
34. Brandon Graham (N/A)
46. Fletcher Cox (N/A)

The only Eagles player to drop out of the top 50 is Jay Ajayi (45), who is entering the final year of his current contract.

It’ll be interesting to see how long Foles can stay at or near the top of the list, especially if he starts the season on the bench. But based on the way most Eagles fans have celebrated the win in Super Bowl LII, Foles merchandise isn’t going out of fashion anytime soon.

More on the Eagles

Roob Knows: Reminding you how good Carson Wentz is

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Roob Knows: Reminding you how good Carson Wentz is

On the latest edition of Roob Knows, Reuben Frank reminds fans of how good Carson Wentz is; despite the magical run from Nick Foles, don't forget about Wentz. Alshon Jeffery's impact goes well beyond his statistics. An unbelievable stat on Zach Ertz. And why Brian Dawkins is a truly unique athlete in Philadelphia sports history.

2:00 - Don't forget how good Carson Wentz is.
4:30 - Alshon Jeffery's value.
9:30 - Unbelievable Zach Ertz stat.
13:00 - Brian Dawkins' route to the Hall of Fame.
18:00 - Dawkins is a unique Philly sports figure because everyone adores him.

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