After two weeks of, frankly, depressing Eagles football, I am sure some of you are starting to think more and more about potential NFL draft picks currently playing in college. Luckily, this weekend's college football games have a nice collection of challenges for some of the top prospects in the country. These are 10 players to watch who might garner interest from the Eagles.
Jeremy Cash, Defensive Back, Duke: Standing at 6-2, 210 pounds, Cash has the ideal size that the Eagles would look for in a defender. He is incredibly versatile, spending a lot of time close to the line of scrimmage as a nickel cornerback and functioning as a linebacker on passing downs. He has great eyes when it comes to finding the ball and attacking the play. He displays great range in coverage and has no issues making splash plays against the run. He needs to improve his ability to work through blocks, but he has the mentality to become a good run defender. This weekend, Cash faces one of the most difficult to defend offenses in the country in Georgia Tech (Saturday, 12 on ESPN2). Cash's ability to diagnose and attack the running game will be pushed to the limit against the Yellow Jacket's Triple Option offense. In addition to defending the run, Tech can challenge downfield on occasion in the passing game, so Cash will be able to display his full skill set.
Joshua Dobbs, Quarterback, Tennessee: It may be time to start talking about drafting a quarterback high come the draft. Dobbs is the smartest quarterback in the class, possessing great ability to read and anticipate defenses and pick them apart in the passing game. In addition, Dobbs has impressive athletic ability that adds a dangerous dimension to his game. His last display on national television against Oklahoma was a bit of a disappointment, but he has a great chance to showcase his ability against Florida (Saturday, 3:30 on CBS). Florida is loaded with defensive players, including star cornerback, Vernon Hargreaves III. Dobbs will need to be on the top of his game for the Volunteers to pull out a win and if he is, expect draft chatter to pick up about him.
Jared Goff, Quarterback, Cal: More Quarterbacks! Goff has all the hype in the world swirling around him, but, to be honest, I am much lower on him than those anointing him the next Aaron Rodgers. Goff is a decently smart quarterback who is very accurate, especially in the intermediate passing game. He is athletic enough to move well in the pocket and possesses good presence. However, the offense he is running is incredibly simple and I question how strong his arm is and whether he can function at a high level with it in the NFL. Goff faces a Washington (Saturday, 5, Pac12 Network) defense that has allowed 10 points per game this season. Goff will need to continue to be productive and will need to show how good he is when the passing windows get tighter and he needs to make harder reads.
Pat Elflein, Guard, Ohio State: It is not a secret that the Eagles offensive line needs an infusion of young talent, especially at the guard position. Luckily, there Eagles will not have to look far for potential fits at the college level. The 6-3, 300 pound lineman has quick feet and is a nasty, high motor run blocker. He plays with a great physicality that the Eagles are lacking on offense and, while he needs to clean up his hand placement, I think he would be a tremendous addition to this team. This weekend, Elflein and the Buckeyes face off against Western Michigan (Saturday, 3:30, ABC). While this is no world beating opponent, it will be intriguing to track Elflein's play throughout the season because I really like his fit in Philly.
Von Bell, Safety, Ohio State: Another Buckeye! The 5-11, 205 pound safety may be on the borderline for the size threshold the Eagles want on defense, but he plays much, much bigger. Bell is a very versatile safety who can cover over the top or work near the line of scrimmage as a nickel defender or to attack the running game. He is a very smart, disciplined player and will rarely let plays get behind him. He has NFL range and ball skills and can be a difference maker on any defense and would be perfect for an Eagles defense that loves to use its safeties all over the place. Bell has a test this weekend in the WMU offense (Saturday, 3:30, ABC). Wide receivers, Daniel Braverman and Corey Davis are both very talented and explosive players while running back, Jarvion Franklin is a dangerous presence with the ball in his hand. Bell will be called on to limit the Broncos talented passing game and running game. I would call this a can't miss match up.
Isaac Seumalo, Center, Oregon State: At 6-5, 300 pounds, Seumalo has a huge frame for a center. Despite his height, Seumalo plays with excellent leverage and his long arms make him a stalwart blocker. He is incredibly physical and strong while possessing quick feet and great awareness in the running game. His biggest weakness is that he is sometimes *too* aggressive with blocks and can end up missing defenders because of overshooting positioning. On the whole, he is hugely talented and polished. Seumalo has a great test this weekend in the Stanford Cardinal (Friday, 10, FS1). Stanford, historically, has very stout defensive fronts, and it will be up to Seumalo to pave the way for the Beavers offense if they want any shot at winning.
Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana: A former tight end, the 6-6, 300 pound Jason Spriggs has the ideal movement skills for the Philadelphia offense. He also plays with a physical brand of football that would be greatly appreciated on the Eagles. He has superb arm length and every other physical tool in the book. His biggest issue comes from general rawness and things like his hand placement and timing should improve with more experience. Spriggs and the Hoosiers take on a Wake Forrest defense (Saturday, 12:30, ESPN3) that has only allowed about 15 points per game to this point in the season. This is Spriggs' biggest test, so far, of the year.
Ben McCord, TE, CMU: "Who!?" Cries the mock draft reading crowd who has never heard this name before. Well, get to know it. The 6-4, 240 pound tight end has ideal size, long arms and strong hands for the position. He plays well at the catch point and is very strong with the ball in his hands. With Brent Celek starting to really show his age, the Eagles should be in the market for another tight end next offseason and McCord would be a great fit. McCord is on a streak of productive games, but faces the Michigan State Spartan defense (Saturday, 12, BTN) next. The Spartans always have a great defense and it will be up to McCord to play bigger than them and provide a target in the middle of the field for the passing game. McCord is really putting up nice numbers and if he can continue against a strong Spartan defense, it will be imperative to keep an eye on him.
Carl Nassib, DE, Penn State: Standing at 6-7, 272 pounds, it would be hard to miss Nassib standing in a crowd. The former walk on has been an absolute terror for the Nittany Lions this season. He may not be the best athlete, but Nassib plays a physical brand of football and has a relentless drive when attacking the play. He is best suited to play the five technique defensive end at the NFL where his physicality can be maximized and his lesser athletic ability won't be too much of an issue. I could see the Eagles falling in love with his size and playing style. Nassib will face off against the SDSU Spartans (Saturday, 3:30, BTN) and while SDSU has not been prolific this season, it will still be a fun story to watch as a former walk on builds on leading the country in sacks.
Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Notre Dame: After drafting a wide receiver in the first, second and third round the last two drafts, it would not seem like a necessity to key in on another wideout. Well, with Riley Cooper likely on the outs after this season and Josh Huff not yet taking off, it certainly couldn't hurt to pay attention to one of the most explosive players in college football. The 6-0, 185 pound Fuller is maybe the best deep threat in the country. His ability to track the ball down the field and explode in the air to high point the ball is reminiscent of former Notre Dame star, Golden Tate. Fuller needs to improve his hands, but he has the acceleration, high pointing ability and mindset to be a playmaker in the NFL. While facing UMass (Saturday, 3:30, NBC) may not be a stark opponent, watching the Philadelphia native continue to tear up college football will be very fun and picturing him back in Philly is an awesome prospect.
Like always, have a great weekend watching college football and be sure to keep a look out for these players, as they could come of even more interest when draft season really picks up.