After a historic week in America, two states won’t be leaving the headlines any time soon as we have one of the most tantalizing college matchups of the season between Florida and Georgia.
Florida is currently 3-1 on the season and their offense has been arguably the best in college, scoring on 64% of drives, whilst Georgia currently stands at 4-1 for the season with their defense being among the elite, allowing a score on just 24% of drives. With two rosters as talented as these, many eyes will be watching the game. Let’s take a look at 5 prospects the Eagles may have an interest in heading into the matchup.
Kyle Pitts – TE – Florida
Everyone who follows the Eagles will know how uncertain the future of Zach Ertz really is. After messy contract talks ended abruptly, Ertz put up a dismal start to the season before getting injured. Tight end may not seem the biggest need for the Eagles, however, they love playing 2 TE sets and Florida’s star tight end Kyle Pitts becomes an interesting outsider grab for the Eagles.
Born in Philadelphia, Pitts has put his name down as one of the best tight ends to enter the draft in quite some time. Standing at 6 foot 6 and weighing in at 246 pounds, Pitts has the perfect size and build to play the position. Pitts is incredibly athletic and when he’s on the field. He moves around like a wide receiver, has unbelievable suddenness that allows him to get great separation on any type of defender and his change of direction skills are off the charts.
Pitts has phenomenal toughness, will happily go up and contest catches and usually comes away with the ball given his wingspan and flexibility.
The one thing Eagles personnel will fall in love with, if they’re monitoring Pitts, is his redzone ability. Due to his size, strength, wingspan and overall athletic ability, Pitts can make plays in the redzone and get the team easy touchdowns, something Wentz has loved over the years with Ertz. Pitts isn’t the best blocker for his position and that’s something he needs to learn when moving up to the NFL, however, that shouldn’t hurt him in the Eagles’ eyes because we know Dallas Goedert is a great blocker. To me, if you can add Pitts to the team in the 2nd round, just like they did with Dallas, and have him for 5 years on a cheap rookie deal, it makes perfect sense.
Kadarius Toney – WR – Florida
While the Eagles brought in a young receiving core during last year’s draft, the probable outgoings of DJax, Alshon and Goodwin leave a gaping hole once again so it makes sense that they’ll look at another receiver to bring in.
Toney has arguably been the most improved player this season in the entirety of college football with his stat line for the season standing at 22 receptions for 297 yards and 6 touchdowns. He’s a former quarterback who made the transition to wide receiver, which will sound familiar to Eagles fans…and this years’ performances have shown he’s made the transition well.
Toney is an electrifying part of the Florida offense. We know with the additions of Jalen Hurts and offensive coaches this offseason that the Eagles are looking to change their offense and add fun options to it. Toney is just that. In 8 rushing attempts, Toney has 83 yards and a touchdown and has also been a returner in parts for the team on both kickoff and punt returns.
Toney isn’t the biggest when it comes to his size and build, standing at 6 foot tall and weighing in at 193 pounds but he does have a great ability of making defenders miss – just go and watch his touchdown off a screen against Missouri. His size and build will mean he may struggle to make catches if asked to go up for the ball in the NFL and his frame is definitely maxed out, but he’s not a guy who will struggle to make catches in traffic and when the ball is in his hands, he looks certain to score every time.
Kaiir Elam – CB – Florida
For some unknown reason, the Eagles are dead set on filling their roster with slot corners and then forcing one or more to play on the outside which just doesn’t work. What they need is an outside corner to partner Darius Slay, who’s so far been the shutdown corner fans have been begging for. This is where Kaiir Elam steps in.
Elam has been a standout for the Florida defense over the past two seasons. As a true freshman last year, Elam has 3 interceptions, 3 pass breakups and only allowed five first downs in just over 300 snaps. This year, his snap count has stepped up and he’s been playing pretty well.
One issue that has come to the forefront surrounding Elam this year is that he’s been exposed a handful of times during zone coverage, but that’s down to the fact his skillset is focussed on man-to-man situations. Elam has forced an incompletion on all of his seven contested targets this season, which is the best ranked in the entirety of college football.
He has great length for the position, standing at 6 foot 2, and it allows him to contest any catch that is thrown his way. He has the speed and footwork to keep up with most receivers, which is exactly what the Eagles need in their next outside corner.
Trey Hill – C – Georgia
The day that every Eagles fan is dreading is getting closer and closer – the day Jason Kelce decides to hang them up. The Eagles will be looking for Kelce’s replacement and that’s where Trey Hill enters the conversation.
Trey Hill shocked a lot of people when he announced he was coming back to Georgia for his senior year this year, but it’s obvious the center piece of the Georgia offensive line has something more to prove to scouts and fans everywhere. Hill has been extremely impressive during his time at Georgia, mainly last season though, when many NFL scouts have gone on record and said it was hard to ignore him when scouting top defensive lineman like Derrick Brown, Andrew Thomas, Isaiah Wilson, and Solomon Kindley for the 2020 draft.
Hill stands at 6 foot 4 and weighs in at 330 pounds, so he goes down as quite a big center, especially when you compare that to centers who have gone early in the previous year’s drafts. However, his size doesn’t limit him as a mobile blocker and Hill is one of the best pass blockers in college football, only allowing 2 QB pressures in 433 pass-blocking snaps last season according to PFF. He is a great commander in the line and would be a great leader in the field in the NFL.
Hill doesn’t struggle at all in the run blocking game either, constantly making gaps for his running back to run through down the middle. With his size and power, he could easily move to the guard position at the next level, something the Eagles will love and all he has to improve on is his snapping accuracy as he can snap a few bad balls here and there. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Howie and the Eagles invest a high round pick into Kelce’s replacement, especially with the current situation this season with the offensive line.
Tyrique Stevenson – DB – Georgia
We all know the Eagles love their hybrid players on the defensive side of the ball and with the likes of Will Parks and others on a 1-year deal, it’s likely the Eagles lose a few.
Tyrique Stevenson is such a fun player to watch for Georgia’s defense because you never know what position he’ll be playing. Technically, he’s in the STAR position and he plays it fantastically. On one play he could be in man coverage covering a wide receiver and then the next he could be in the same starting position but rushing the QB, the possibilities are endless and you can tell both Kirby Smart and Dan Lenning have a fun time scheming with Stevenson.
Stevenson has shown great ability in a bunch of positions over the past two seasons for the Georgia Bulldogs and he’ll be a fun addition to any NFL defense.
Standing at 6 foot tall and weighing in a 202 pounds, his size and frame gives him every chance to make his specific play work and it’s helped on both sides of it. He had 1 sack last season but he also had 5 passes defended and this year he already has one pass defended and 15 total tackles. Stevenson won’t be a guy whose stats will do him justice, he won’t be a guy with close to 10 sacks, 60+ total tackles and over 10 passes defended, but what he does in his unique position is elevate the entire defense because he’s a constant thought in a QB’s and offense’s mind.
Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire