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Eagles 2023 NFL Draft prospects: Group of 5 players to monitor

There are plenty of good prospects in the G5 ranks. Here are a few the Birds could target in the Draft.

NCAA Football: Tulane at Kansas State
Tulane’s Dorian Williams isn’t happy unless he’s tackling someone.
Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

I watch what many might consider an “unhealthy” amount of college football. When you combine that with all of the time I spend consuming college football content via other media you can see why my children already know that they won’t get to watch Bluey on Saturdays ever. I was hoping to turn this “problem” into something useful for Eagles fans, so I started compiling a list of players, one from every Power 5 team plus some Group of 5 and FCS prospects too, that I think the Birds should at least kick the tires on come draft weekend. (where available, measurements are from the NFL Combine)

PREVIOUSLY: B1G prospects | SEC prospects | ACC prospects | Big 12 prospects | PAC-12 prospects

Here are the next conferences of prospects to take a look at, the whole entire G5 (AAC, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt)!

Tulane: ILB Dorian Williams, 6-foot-1, 228 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 131 tackles (8.5 TFL), 5 sacks, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 2 forced fumbles
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-AAC (coaches); Cotton Bowl Defensive MVP (17 tackles in win over USC)
  • This dude is a tackling machine. Admittedly I only watched two of his better games (Cotton Bowl win over USC, 17 tackles; AAC Title Game win over UCF, 10 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) last year, but he was always popping up on screen. I’m not sure if he’s the right size to take on NFL offensive lines every play, but he could be a useful change of pace guy in the middle of the field because he can rush the passer a bit and is decent in coverage. He might not fall to the 7th round, but if he’s there I’d definitely take a look.

SMU: WR Rashee Rice, 6-foot-1, 204 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 96 catches, 1,355 yards (14.1 ypc), 10 touchdowns, long of 75
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-AAC (coaches, PFF, Phil Steele); 2nd Team All-American (AP, PFF)
  • To me, Rice seems like a total package at wideout. He is big, he is fast, he had great production in college…what else could you want? I have read that there are concerns about his consistency, which are valid if true, but if your team thinks you can get the most out of Rice he could give you first round value at the end of the second/beginning of the third round.

Central Michigan: RB Lew Nichols III, 5-foot-10, 220 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 177 carries, 601 rushing yards (3.4 ypc), 6 touchdowns, long of 31; 21 catches, 128 yards (6.1 ypc)
  • 2022 honors: 4th Team All-MAC (Phil Steele); preseason Maxwell Award watch list, preseason Doak Walker Award candidate
  • Nichols had a rough 2022 season that saw him miss a number of games in the middle of the season with various injuries, however he is an extremely talented back that deserves a look if he’s fully healthy. In 2021, he led the nation in rushing (1,848 yards, 16 TDs, 142.2 yards per game) and added 40 catches out of the backfield as he was named the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. The Chippewas lost two offensive linemen to the NFL after the ‘21 season and between their re-worked o-line and him not being 100% healthy all year, Nichols struggled. This could be a nice “buy low” option near the end of the draft if the Eagles want to add a young RB to the roster.

Louisiana Tech: CB Myles Brooks, 6-foot-1, 201 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 29 tackles (3 TFL), 3 interceptions, 12 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 touchdown
  • 2022 honors: 2nd Team All-Conference USA
  • I really like Brooks’ ball skills. During his three seasons at Stephen F. Austin he had 17 pass breakups and six interceptions and that level of production stayed the same when he transferred to La. Tech for his senior season. According to his bio on La. Tech’s website, “Opposing quarterbacks completed just 36 percent of passes when targeting Brooks, which was the eighth-lowest completion percentage against nationally during the regular season.” He has plus size too!

Boise State: S JL Skinner, 6-foot-4, 209 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 65 tackles (0.5 TFL), 4 interceptions, 4 passes defended
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-Mountain West
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FEB 01 Reese’s Senior Bowl Practice
JL Skinner participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl this year.
  • The Eagles are in the market for some new talent on the back end of their defense and Skinner brings a lot of interesting traits to the table out of Boise State. Another defensive back with good ball skills, Skinner could probably play multiple positions in Philadelphia’s secondary and has the size to match up with tight ends and help out in run support. He tore his pectoral last month, so any team that drafts him will want to make sure that is healing properly, but he could eventually be a solid starter in the NFL.

Utah State: S Hunter Reynolds, 6-foot-0, 200 pounds (7th round/UDFA)

  • 2022 stats: 93 tackles (2.5 TFL), 3 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 1 fumble recovery, 1 touchdown
  • 2022 honors: Honorable Mention All-Mountain West; Honorable Mention All-American (PFF)
  • Reynolds transferred to Utah State (after four years as a reserve at Michigan) for his final two seasons of eligibility and put up nice numbers for the Aggies in 2022. One of my pals, Patrick Mayhorn, covers Utah State football and basketball at his newsletter The Aggship and he said that Reynolds is “a good player, solid in everything he does and a good leader. I’m not sure that he’s an NFL athlete but he could be a run-stopping safety and a special teams guy, might have a future as a box safety. I wouldn’t want him in coverage more than he absolutely has to be because he’s just not fast enough.”

Appalachian State: RB Camerun Peoples, 6-foot-1, 217 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 101 carries, 593 yards (5.9 ypc), 5 touchdowns, long of 73; 6 catches, 43 yards (7.2 ypc)
  • 2022 honors: none that I could find
  • Peoples had a disappointing senior season, after rushing for 926 yards and 14 TDs in 2021 and 1,124 yards and 12 scores in 2020, in the App. State backfield. To be fair, the Mountaineers had a number of talented backs last year with four of them earning 75 or more carries. I love Peoples’ size and how hard he runs, but he is not valuable catching the ball and he probably isn’t fast enough to be getting carries on an NFL team unless there are a number of injuries. Still, I like him as a late-round flier.

Army: EDGE Andre Carter II, 6-foot-6.5, 256 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 41 tackles (7 TFL), 3.5 sacks, 2 passes defended
  • 2022 honors: none that I could find
Connecticut v Army
Andre Carter II is a menace to quarterbacks everywhere.
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images
  • Back in August of 2021 I was writing previews of all of Wisconsin’s opponents that season and when I got to Army, I fell in love with Andre Carter II. He has a massive frame that can, and will, add a bunch of good weight and he is incredible at getting after the quarterback. His ‘22 stats weren’t as impressive as his ‘21 numbers (44 tackles, 18.5 TFL, 15.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 block, 1 interception), but he missed a pair of games with an injury and was also at the top of every opposing team’s scouting report. He won’t be an instant impact guy, but if a team is willing to invest in him he could reward them with sacks aplenty from the edge.

Others: ILB Ivan Pace Jr. (5-foot-10.5, 231 pounds, Cincinnati); CB Nic Jones (6-foot-0, 189 pounds, Ball State); TE Zack Kuntz (6-foot-7, 255 pounds, Old Dominion); DL Jerrod Clark (6-foot-4, 334 pounds, Coastal Carolina)

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