clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Eagles 2023 NFL Draft prospects: ACC players to monitor

Yes, I included Notre Dame with the ACC teams, please don’t yell at me!

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 12 Pitt at Virginia
Pitt’s Calijah Kancey is flying up draft boards after the Draft Combine.
Photo by Lee Coleman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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

Here is the next conference of prospects to take a look at, the ACC!

Boston College: WR Zay Flowers, 5-foot-10, 172 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 78 catches, 1077 yards (13.8 ypc), 12 touchdowns, long of 69; 12 rushes, 40 yards (3.3 ypc); 7 punt returns for 43 yards (6.1 ypr)
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-ACC; 3rd Team All-American (AP); semifinalist for Biletnifkoff Award (best WR in nation)
  • Flowers is an incredibly productive receiver who makes plays with the ball in his hands. The main knock against him is his size, which may limit him to only ever being a slot receiver…but he could be a really damn good slot receiver! Multiple draft profiles I read noted that Flowers also suffers from a bad case of the Dropsies. He also showed the ability to make contested catches against larger defensive backs, so if he can show that drops are no longer a problem he should be a valuable weapon for an NFL offense.

Clemson: DL Bryan Bresee, 6-foot-5, 300 pounds (early 1st round)

  • 2022 stats: 15 tackles (5.5 TFL), 3.5 sacks, 2 passes defended
  • 2022 honors: 2nd Team All-ACC; 4th Team All-ACC (Phil Steele); Lott IMPACT Trophy quarterfinalist
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Capital One Orange Bowl
Bryan Bresee has some of the highest potential of any player in the draft.
Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • For the sickos among you that follow college football recruiting, Bryan Bresee is a name you’ve known for a long time. He was the No. 1 rated player in the nation, regardless of position, by the 247 Composite (which compiles the rankings from all of the major recruiting services into one ranking) for the 2020 class. He was a Freshman All-American, 1st Team All-ACC, and the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020. He tore his ACL in 2021 and only played four games while in 2022 he suffered through the incredible heartbreak of losing his younger sister to cancer. Breese is an extremely talented and resilient player who would be able to replace one of the DL veterans the Birds are sure to lose in free agency.

FSU: S Jammie Robinson, 5-foot-11, 191 pounds (3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 99 tackles (5 TFL), 1 sack, 6 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-ACC; 2nd Team All-American (The Athletic); FSU Defensive MVP
  • While Robinson isn’t built like an athletic freak, he is one of those players that you always notice on defense because he either made the tackle or was the next guy in line to make the tackle. In fact, he led FSU in tackles last season and has the positional versatility to play safety or nickelback in the NFL. Could be a good value pick in the third round on a guy who should have a lengthy, if rarely remarkable, career.

Georgia Tech: DL Keion White, 6-foot-5, 285 pounds (3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 54 tackles (14 TFL), 7.5 sacks, 1 pass defended
  • 2022 honors: 3rd Team All-ACC
  • White started his college career all the way back in 2017…at Old Dominion…as a tight end and now here he is six years later, graduating from Georgia Tech as an NFL-caliber defensive lineman! Given that he didn’t play DE full-time until 2019, there is still some projection going on with him. He has got all of the measurables that an NFL team would want though, he just probably needs a year or two of NFL coaching before his full potential will be realized.

Louisville: EDGE YaYa Diaby, 6-foot-3, 263 pounds (3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 37 tackles (14 TFL), 9 sacks, 2 passes defended, 2 fumble recoveries
  • 2022 honors: 3rd Team All-ACC
  • Diaby is both quick and fast and ranked as the second most athletic defensive end at the recent NFL Combine, according to the NFL Next Gen Stats. He might not be the most technically sound EDGE prospect in the draft, but the production is there and he seems like the kind of guy who you pick and then worry about molding him into your scheme later.

Miami: CB Tyrique Stevenson, 6-foot-0, 198 pounds (3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 25 tackles (1.5 TFL), 9 passes defended, 2 interceptions
Miami v Texas A&M
Not in Tyrique’s house!
Photo by Jack Gorman/Getty Images
  • 2022 honors: 3rd Team All-ACC
  •’s Lance Zierlein compares him to James Bradberry, a player that Eagles fans know well. Like many Miami defensive backs before him, Stevenson is strong and athletic. He isn’t great in run support but definitely has the physicality to be more of a factor there. Could be a cheap option to replace Bradberry himself!

NC State: LB Drake Thomas, 6-foot-0, 230 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 101 tackles (19 TFL), 7.5 sacks, 4 passes defended
  • 2022 honors: 2nd Team All-ACC
  • Thomas does not have the measurables that most NFL linebackers have, hell he doesn’t have the measurables that most ACC linebackers have, but he is a guy who made plays all through his career despite that. His tackling numbers improved all four seasons he played at NC State and he even added four career interceptions. He isn’t a guy who will crack the two-deep as a rookie, or maybe even at all, but he could make a really nice special teams option with a late round pick.
  • UNC: LB Cedric Gray, 6-foot-2, 230 pounds (3rd round, or trade into 4th/5th if he falls)
  • 2022 stats: 137 tackles (10 TFL), 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 7 passes defended, 3 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-ACC; 2nd Team All-American (Sporting News and PFF); UNC Defensive MVP
  • Watching as much college football as I do, Gray was a guy I was familiar with but…there is very little on him out there right now and it seems like he might slip through the cracks during this cycle. He has good size, is smart, and tackles well. I don’t know, maybe I’m crazy but this seems like a solid prospect that some team is going to get great value on. Why not the Eagles?
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 30 Duke’s Mayo Bowl - North Carolina v South Carolina
Nice hit!
Photo by Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Notre Dame: S Brandon Joseph, 6-foot-0, 202 pounds (3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 30 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 passes defended, 1 interception, 1 TD
  • 2022 honors: none
  • Look, I know Notre Dame isn’t in the ACC for real, but this is the easiest place to put them, ok? Joseph transferred to Notre Dame from Northwestern, where he was an All-American as a redshirt freshman, and had a disappointing season for the Fighting Irish. Joseph isn’t an incredible athlete, and his Combine testing would bear that out, but he was always able to make plays at Northwestern and seemed to have an effortlessness around him while doing so. His ball skills and instincts are high, but he isn’t a great tackler. He is a player that you pick with the hopes of him returning to his freshman year production, and not the underwhelming, injury-plagued junior year one.

Pitt: DL Calijah Kancey, 6-foot-1, 281 pounds (late 1st round)

  • 2022 stats: 31 tackles (14.5 TFL), 7.5 sacks
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-ACC; ACC Defensive Player of the Year; 1st Team All-American (AFCA, AP, FWAA, Sporting News, Walter Camp, CBS, ESPN, PFF)
  • I made all of these lists weeks ago and originally had Kancey as a 2nd round option for the Eagles. Well, after his showing at the NFL Combine I upped it to late 1st round and even that might be wishful thinking. Kancey was the second best defensive tackle at the combine, according to Next Gen Stats, and has had some outlets comparing him to another former Pitt great, Aaron Donald. While Kancey’s size isn’t ideal, he is supremely talented and terrorized ACC quarterbacks all season. He is also quicker than most offensive linemen and uses that to his advantage when rushing the passer too. I’d be ecstatic if Philadelphia got him at the end of the first round.

Syracuse: CB Garrett Williams, 5-foot-10, 192 pounds (2nd round)

  • 2022 stats: 36 tackles (1.5 TFL), 1 sack, 2 interceptions, 3 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery
  • 2022 honors: All-ACC honorable mention
  • Williams only played seven games before suffering a season-ending ACL injury, but he led the ACC in pass breakups in the 2020 and 2021 seasons and was named to an All-ACC team in all three years he played. He has great ball skills and even showed an ability to stick his face in there on rushing plays, which not all cornerbacks do. If he has fully recovered from his injury he could be another value pick, although I know that may have just brought bad visions of Sidney Jones to your head.

Virginia: CB Anthony Johnson, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds (3rd round)

  • 2022 stats: 51 tackles (3 TFL), 14 passes defended, 2 interceptions
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-ACC; UVA Defensive MVP
  • Johnson has tremendous size for a corner and showed great ball skills at Virginia. However, he is not a plus, or even average, athlete and any team that drafts him will have to be confident that they can use him properly. His length is super-intriguing but of all the players I’ve listed here, he is the one I’d like the Eagles to draft the least if that makes sense.

Virginia Tech: S Chamarri Conner, 6-foot-0, 202 pounds (7th round)

  • 2022 stats: 67 tackles (2 TFL), 2 passes defended
  • 2022 honors: Senior Bowl participant
  • I like taking a flier on a guy like Conner in the final round. He played multiple positions in Va. Tech’s defensive backfield, he was a four-year starter and two-time team captain, and he was honorable mention All-ACC in 2020 and 2021. He is the epitome of a “no risk, potentially some reward” pick and I really think he could stick around as a special teams dynamo.

Wake Forest: WR A.T. Perry, 6-foot-3.5, 198 pounds (3rd round, trade into 4th round if he falls)

  • 2022 stats: 81 catches, 1096 yards (13.5 ypc), 11 touchdowns, long of 68 yards
  • 2022 honors: 1st Team All-ACC
  • As a sophomore in 2021, he set the Wake single-season record with 15 receiving scores. He has long arms and good height and is able to box defenders out to make catches. He had a TON of drops in his career but still had exemplary stats soooo maybe his hands are just weird? I’m a sucker for big bodied wideouts, but I think Perry also brings more to the table than just his size, and he would be a great complement to DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown.

Others: DT Robert Cooper (6-foot-2, 335 pounds, Florida State); RB Sean Tucker (5-foot-10, 209 pounds, Syracuse); OT Asim Richards (6-foot-4, 315 pounds, UNC, Philadelphia native); ILB Shaka Heyward (6-foot-3, 240 pounds, Duke)

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bleeding Green Nation Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Philadelphia Eagles news from Bleeding Green Nation