Remember all the excitement after the 2019 NFL Draft? The Eagles were locked and loaded at the skill positions.
The addition of 6-foot-2 possession receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was thought to be the final piece to a championship puzzle. While it’s way too early to call the rookie out of Stanford a bust, it is hard to fathom the big names the Eagles passed up to take him at 57th overall. More importantly, the number of speed receivers they whiffed on.
Head coach Doug Pederson mentioned that Arcega-Whiteside, along with third-year receiver Mack Hollins, were often the sixth or seventh reads in the quarterback’s progression. That was a polite way of saying they couldn’t get open.
“The ball is going to find, usually, the open guy, and find the completion that way, and we just have to continue to work,” Pederson told reporters.
Reviewing the Draft: Eagles Missed on Speed Receivers
GM Howie Roseman probably thought he had solved his lack of a speed threat when he inked DeSean Jackson. Well, that half-cooked recipe hasn’t panned out and there were no extra ingredients in the oven. Maybe the Eagles should have looked to the draft for another home-run hitter. They were definitely there for the taking.
D.K. Metcalf, Seahawks
The speedster out of Ole Miss went seven picks after the Eagles selected J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and he’s on pace for 1,050 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Metcalf is a physical specimen, measuring 6-foot-4 and clocking an unofficial 4.33 seconds in the 40 at the combine. He has quickly turned into the steal of the 2019 NFL Draft following last week’s 123-yard performance. The Eagles will get an up-close look at the guy they missed on Nov. 24 at Lincoln Financial Field. He’s averaging 18.1 yards per reception.
Andy Isabella, Cardinals
Isabella has slowly been coming around for the Cardinals, most notably he flashed his game-changing speed on an 88-yard touchdown romp against San Francisco. He hasn’t had the opportunities — 33 total offensive snaps — but the coaching staff loves him. Isabella, who was picked five slots after Arcega-Whiteside at 62nd overall, ran the 40 in 4.31 seconds at the combine. While he’s undersized at just 5-foot-9, his lightning quicks more than make up for it. Plus, he works out with Randy Moss.
Diontae Johnson, Steelers
Johnson was drawing comparisons to Pro-Bowl receiver Emmanuel Sanders coming out of college, yet many teams passed on him due to his size and lack of polished route-running. Johnson went 66th overall, or nine picks after Arcega-Whiteside. He struggled out of the gate in Pittsburgh but has since picked up the pace with six catches for 87 yards over the last two weeks. Johnson has 299 yards and three scores in eight games this season.
Terry McLaurin, Redskins
It’s unfair to blame the Eagles on missing on the burner from Ohio State because almost everyone in the NFL did the same thing. In fact, one of the reasons why the Redskins wound up drafting him so high was due to the fact he was all over the game tape of their first-round pick: quarterback Dwayne Haskins. Whatever the circumstance, the 6-foot-1 receiver has been registering a top speed of 21.2 miles-per-hour on the gun. Wow. The Eagles got a front-row seat for one of his five total touchdowns when Case Keenum hit him in stride on a 70-yard bomb in Week 1. He went 19 picks after Arcega-Whiteside.
Miles Boykin, Ravens
Boykin was the standout star at Ravens training camp and was a matchup nightmare at joint practices this summer with the Eagles in South Philadephia. Boykin, who was drafted 93rd overall in the third round, hasn’t quite lived up to the preseason hype but he’s finally finding his groove. The 6-foot-4 receiver out of Notre Dame has nine catches for 132 yards, including a 50-yard highlight-reel play two weeks against Seattle. He is averaging 14.6 yards per catch. Boykin is more bulk than burn, but a quality upgrade either way.
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