By Connor Thomas

 

Last night, two SEC juggernauts in Alabama and Georgia squared off in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game. While Georgia ended up winning, and the final score of 33-18 indicates that there was some strong offense at points in the game, much of the contest was a defensive slugfest. Well, good news Eagles fans! The birds are certainly going to be searching for defensive studs come late April in the draft, and you can make a short list of their possible targets just from the rosters of the two teams that played last night. With 3 first round picks in the fold, you could see multiple players on this list in midnight green next year. Here’s a look at some of the top Eagles prospective picks that played in last night’s Natty:

  • Jordan Davis, DL - Georgia

    Davis is an absolute monster of a man at 6’6”, 340lbs, and he played like the monster he is last night in the National Championship. Against Heisman winning Bryce Young, Davis was a huge part of the pressure that Georgia got that allowed them to take home their first championship in 40 years. Even though he didn’t show up much on the stat sheet thanks to Young’s escapability, Davis was a disruptor, similar to what Fletcher Cox has done for the birds over the past decade in Philly, and it seems like he could be a perfect next generation replacement for the aging Cox. Davis’ size is elite, and his power matches his frame. If the Eagles decide to continue to build through the trenches (as they constantly seem to be doing), Davis could be the perfect fit.

  • Derion Kendrick, LB – Georgia

    Kendrick is an intriguing prospect at a position that always seems to be a need of the Eagles. While it’s rare to see the birds pick a linebacker in the 1st round, this kid is a rare prospect that may pique their interest. Kendrick was originally a five-star WR recruit to Clemson, and converted to defense before transferring to Georgia after his Sophomore year. His background as an elite WR shows a unique knowledge of opposing pass offenses, as well as freakish athleticism for a LB. At 6’0”, 190lbs he’s undersized for an NFL linebacker, but he is lengthy and rangy, letting his athleticism make up for his lack of size. His versatility could allow him to be more of a hybrid safety in the NFL, but regardless of where he plays, he was an uber-talented part of that Georgia defense this year.

  • Jameson Williams, WR – Alabama

    I know what you’re thinking: ANOTHER WIDE RECEIVER??? Well, prior to last night I would’ve said absolutely not. With a strong free agent class at WR, I believe the birds would be better served adding a veteran to that room. Williams, though, was a standout WR this year at Bama, notching 15 receiving TDs (good for 3rd in the nation); a type of prospect that would intrigue all 32 NFL teams. The Eagles probably would have been lower on that list seeing as they drafted wide outs in one of the top 2 rounds for 3 drafts straight, but unfortunately, Williams suffered what looked to be a serious knee injury last night during the National Championship Game. There hasn’t been an official report yet, but the fear is that it could be an ACL injury that has potential to impact his draft stock come April. If he falls far enough down the board that the birds could get him at a bargain, he’s talented enough to deserve a look, and maybe even a selection.

  • Jordan Battle, S – Alabama

    Well, we covered linebacker, defensive line, even a wide receiver prospect, but the Eagles are looking to fill holes at every level of their defense. Maybe the best defensive back prospect in last night’s game was Jordan Battle, the Alabama safety who has shown impressive growth over the course of his collegiate career under Nick Saban. This year, Battle has a strong stat line of 81 tackles (good for 3rd on the Crimson Tide this season), 3 picks, and 2 touchdowns. Rodney McLeod is not getting any younger, and the other safety position for the Eagles has been a revolving door since Malcolm Jenkins left Philly. It will probably be more of a 2nd round selection, but Battle might be the answer to stability in the center of the birds’ defensive backfield for years to come.

  • Nakobe Dean, LB – Georgia

    Here he is. The white whale. If you follow college football even a little bit, you’ve known about Nakobe Dean for a long time now. Dean is the best linebacker available in this year’s draft, and because of the awesome talent at other positions that should be available, falls right into the range of the Eagles higher tier first round picks. He took home the 2021 Butkus Award, given to the best LB in the country, and has earned that honor by being the leader of this year’s vaunted Georgia defense. Dean had a relatively quiet game last night, but it should mean little to his draft position when late April rolls around. He has great size at 6’0”, 225lbs, and used that elite stature to put up 68 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 interceptions this season. The Eagles often avoid drafting linebackers in the first round for whatever reason, but maybe this year is the year. If Howie Roseman has a desire to break that trend, Dean looks to be the perfect prospect to do so with. Here’s hoping Dean is in Philly next season.