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Senior Bowl 2017 Preview: Offensive Skill Players

There's skill for miles in Mobile this year, which is good because the Eagles need all the skill they can grab.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Senior Bowl practices kick off this week and gives the Eagles staff a great opportunity to look at some of the top senior prospects in the country in a practice situation and in interviews. This draft class is loaded with lots of exciting names at the skill positions, so here are some to keep an eye on throughout this week.

Wide Receivers

Taywan Taylor, WKU, 6-1, 195: 98 Receptions, 1730 Yards, 17 Touchdowns

I have already waxed poetic on Taywan Taylor being among the best receivers in this year's class. Taylor is not a huge pass catcher, but his create athletic ability and route running make him a very dangerous presence in an offense. The Eagles desperation for a player who can stretch the field could pique their interest in Taylor throughout the week.

Fred Ross, Mississippi State, 6-2, 205: 72 Receptions, 917 Yards, 12 Touchdowns

Fred Ross saw a drop off this season with a new quarterback taking over for the Bulldogs, but the passing offense still ran through him. Ross is not a great athlete, but he is a good technician at the position and a dependable target who is physical before and after the catch. Ross may not be a high priority target in the draft, but he could be a later round guy who turns into a solid contributor in the NFL.

Josh Reynolds, Texas A&M, 6-4, 190: 61 Receptions, 1039 Yards, 12 Touchdowns

Josh Reynolds is a guy who could boost his stock majorly this week. The big bodied receiver has had a nice career for the Aggies, scoring 30 touchdowns in the last three years and never averaging below 16.2 yards per catch over a season. Reynolds does a great job using his body downfield to catch contested passes and he might put on a show this week for NFL scouts.

Ryan Switzer, UNC, 5-10, 185: 96 Receptions, 1112 Yards, 6 Touchdowns

Ryan Switzer has been one of the most exciting players in the country since his freshman year at UNC. Switzer is an outstanding punt returner and grew into a very dependable target int he passing game during his career. Switzer does a great job running routes, has solid hands and is dynamic after the catch. While he may not be a huge target or a great deep threat, Switzer's ability to work the middle of the field should have the Eagles intrigued.

Trent Taylor, LA Tech, 5-8, 175: 136 Receptions, 1803 Yards, 12 Touchdowns

The diminutive Bulldog receiver may not wow anyone with physical measurements, but he is a pesky player who kills defenses with his route running and ability to make tough catches. I do not expect Taylor to be anything more than a day three pick, but a strong week in Mobile could definitely convince some teams to overlook his height for the playmaker that he is.

Zay Jones, ECU, 6-1, 197: 158 Receptions, 1746 Yards, 8 Touchdowns

Zay Jones set the NCAA record for receptions this season and is sure to turn heads this week with his great hands and physicality. Jones is not a great athlete, nor does he have the best size, but dependability is an asset in its own right. Jones needs to show he is more than just a volume player and this is a good environment to disprove that.

Amba Etta Tawo, Syracuse, 6-2, 200: 92 Receptions, 1482 Yards, 14 Touchdowns

Amba Etta Tawo had a great season after transferring from Maryland last spring. Etta Tawo is an older prospect, but he is also a very polished, physical player who does a great job plucking the ball in the air and getting yards after the catch. While he may be maxed out, I bet teams fall in love with the player he is right now and he could work himself into being a high day two pick.

Jalen Robinette, Air Force, 6-4, 215: 35 Receptions, 959 Yards, 6 Touchdowns

On a team that barely throws the ball, it should say something that Robinette was able to post nearly 1000 yards this season. The big bodied receiver is an outstanding downfield threat, but comes from a very simplistic passing game. Robinette has a great chance this week to show he is more than  project receiver and he can thrive in a more nuanced passing setting.

Cooper Kupp, EWU, 6-2, 215: 117 Receptions, 1700 Yards, 17 Touchdowns

There is all the buzz in the world about Cooper Kupp heading into the Senior Bowl and it is not hard to see why. Kupp has good size and his production at Eastern Washington has been nothing short of insane. In his four years, he has scored SEVENTY THREE (!!!) receiving touchdowns, has accounted for three more as a returner, and, in a full year, he has never averaged fewer than 110 yards per game. Kupp's insane production comes from his savvy at the position and just general being a better athlete than most of his competition. Kupp going up against top level prospects this week will be huge for him coming from the FCS level, and he needs to dominate in order to make scouts feel comfortable with him transitioning from the FCS to the NFL. Also, with Kupp turning 24 before his rookie year even starts, he will need to show that the prospect he is now is one who can produce immediately.

Running Backs


Kareem Hunt, Toledo, 6-0, 225: 262 Carries, 1475 Yards, 10 Touchdowns

Kareem Hunt is a well built back who has great vision and agility as a runner. He does not have great athletic ability, but the nuance to his game makes him a consistent runner who can carry an offense. As a plus, Hunt is also a very viable third down option in the passing game.

Corey Clement, Wisconsin, 5-11, 230: 314 Carries, 1375 Yards, 15 Touchdowns

Corey Clement had a tumultuous career at the University of Wisconsin. Clement's career looked bright backing up Melvin Gordon a few years ago, but injuries slowed his development. This season he still did not look like his pre injury form, but he flashed the ability that made him so promising early in his career. Clement is a bigger back with a lot of power and some wiggle for his size. A healthy week of practice in Mobile could be a nice sign after a productive senior year.

Jamaal Williams, BYU, 6-2, 220: 234 Carries, 1375 Yards, 12 Touchdowns

Jamaal Williams' career was slowed by injuries, but he turned into one of the best backs in the country this year. The fifth year senior lost his entire 2015 season to injury but rebounded big time. Williams is an incredibly hard running, powerful back with wiggle. He is bound to have a strong week of practices and the Eagles will defientely be watching.

Matt Dayes, NC State, 5-10, 203: 249 Carries, 1166 Yards, 10 Touchdowns

Despite having relatively underwhelming numbers, Matt Dayes packs a nice punch in a deep running back class. Dayes is shifty, powerful and hard running. Not to mention, he was a contributor on third down for the Wolf Pack. Dayes may not have the look of a lead back, but he was the main cog on the NC State offense. Dayes will need to stand out when there are bigger names around him this week, but he should surprise.

Donnel Pumphrey, SDSU, 5-9, 180: 349 Carries, 2133 Yards, 17 Touchdowns

He may not be the biggest back, or the fastest, but Donnel Pumphrey did not stumble into being the most productive back in NCAA history. Pumphrey has been a stud his whole career for the Aztecs. He gets it done with great quickness, vision and a tough running size despite his size. While Pumphrey may not be built for the same success at the next level, he has the makings of a great change up back.