Infusing the Eagles’ roster with youth has been the buzz word for GM Howie Roseman. The team needs to get younger and faster. Right now.
Philadelphia is projected to have 10 picks in April’s draft, including a first-rounder, a second-rounder and two third-rounders. The Eagles need to select as many speedy wide receivers as they can.
This isn’t a luxury item anymore. It’s a necessity. Carson Wentz will be entering his fifth season as the franchise quarterback — and he needs weapons.
“You’re always looking to get faster and you’re always looking to get more explosive,” Roseman told reporters on Jan. 8. “I think that’s always been something that’s been fun for us to try to do. Obviously, Carson has the ability to make all of the throws, and we don’t want to take that out of our arsenal, so without kind of going through the answers to the test, it’s something that has always been important to us in building the team.”
Top 7 Receivers for Eagles to Target in NFL Draft
The Eagles are locked into the 21st pick when the draft begins on April 23 in Las Vegas. If the Eagles don’t use their first-round pick on a wide receiver, then they are wasting the prime years of Carson Wentz’s career.
This year’s draft has been called “historically good” for pass-catchers. They need to get better, quicker and more explosive down the field. These are the guys they should be targeting.
Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
The 6-foot-1 burner from Alabama will most likely be the first receiver off the board. Jeudy’s insane combination of speed, size, hands and route-running have drawn lofty comparison to Odell Beckham Jr. and make him primed to start in Week 1 as a rookie.
He finished his collegiate career with 2,742 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns, plus a whopping six catches for 204 yards in the Citrus Bowl. He’s likely to go in the Top 10 so if the Eagles really want him, then they will have to trade up in the draft to get him. He’s worth it.
Tee Higgins, Clemson
Anyone who watched the College Football Playoff national championship earlier this week knows how explosive Higgins can be. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver is a beast, built in the A.J. Green mold, and has the quickness to match. He took a pitch on a reverse in the national championship game and ran 36 yards, untouched, to pay dirt.
Higgins leaves Clemson after recording 135 receptions for 2,448 yards and 27 touchdowns in three years, including 1,167 receiving yards in 2019. The best part? He’s projected to be on the board at pick No. 21.
Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado
Shenault is another guy who should be on the board when the Eagles select in the first round. In fact, some mock drafts have him slipping into the second round. He has been favorably compared to a “bigger” version of the Falcons’ Julio Jones. High praise.
His critics will point to a dip in numbers in 2019 — 56 catches for 764 yards, versus the 86 receptions for 1,011 he put up in 2018 — but he was dealing with a core-muscle injury early in the year. Shenault is a big play waiting to happen as evidenced by his 10.9 scrimmage yards per play in 2018.
Justin Jefferson, LSU
The LSU product saw his stock soar after he posted nine catches for 106 yards in last Monday’s College Football Playoff national championship game. That cut-on-a-dime juke move he made down the sideline not only broke a few ankles, it also left an impression on former NFL star Reggie Bush.
Jefferson finished his collegiate career with 165 catches for 2,415 yards and 24 touchdowns in three years (well, technically two since he only played in two games as a freshman). He’s not the speedster the other guys on this list are but he has incredible size at 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds.
Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
This guy will make DeSean Jackson look slow. For real. Ruggs was clocked at 4.25 at his junior pro day at Alabama. To put that in perspective, Jackson runs a 4.35 and the NFL Combine record belongs to the Bengals’ John Ross who did it in 4.22. What differentiates the 6-footer from the other burners in football is his polished route-running ability.
He can create separation on his own accord while making defenders miss in space. He’s generational (think: Tyreek Hill). Problem is, Ruggs is likely to go in the Top 15 so trading up would be necessary. He recorded 98 receptions for 1,716 yards and 24 touchdowns in three years at Alabama.
Michael Pittman Jr., USC
There is a good chance the Eagles will use their first-round pick on either a cornerback or edge rusher. If they decide to go that route, then Pittman would be a sneaky choice to consider in the second round. He is the son of former NFL running back Michael Pittman, a player who helped the Buccaneers beat the Eagles in the 2001 NFC Championship Game.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, he is a jacked-up bully ready to throw NFL cornerbacks around like rag dolls — a little bit like DK Metcalf. He doesn’t have blazing speed but no one can stop him. He racked up 101 receptions for 1,275 yards as a senior at USC.
CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Lamb is projected to go in the Top 15, maybe even the Top 10, so the Eagles would have to move up to nab him. However, he could drop into their laps. Especially if there is a run on offensive linemen early in the first round. Lamb would be an ideal candidate to take over the No. 1 receiving role in Philadelphia, thanks to his rare mix of elusiveness, hands, size and speed.
In three years at Oklahoma, the 6-foot-2 wideout made 173 catches for 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns. Per Dynasty Nerds, 26-percent of the plays he was involved in were considered “big plays” — Lamb had 24 plays over 20 yards, nine of which resulted in touchdowns.
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