It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The sound of pens hitting whiteboards to mock up draft boards.
Two of the leading prognosticators in the game recently put out their mock drafts, and they have the same position of need pegged at No. 21 for the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s right. ESPN’s Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have talented young wide receivers landing in the nest.
The first name to remember is Tee Higgins. He skipped his senior year of eligibility at Clemson after exploding for 1,167 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior. He doesn’t have blow-away speed, not at all — 4.75 in the 40 in high school — but he possesses incredible size at 6-foot-4 and huge hands that come with a sterling reputation of not dropping the ball.
Kiper loosely compared Higgins to current Eagles wideout Alshon Jeffery while praising his skills as a “jump-ball specialist” and “touchdown machine.” In three years at Clemson, Higgins racked up 135 receptions for 2,448 yards and 27 touchdowns. His 19.78 yards per receptions were good enough for 13th best in the country. Here’s what Kiper wrote about him:
At 6-foot-4, Higgins is the biggest wideout of the first-round talents, a jump-ball specialist and a touchdown machine (25 the past two seasons). He’s not super explosive like Lamb, Jeudy or Ruggs, but he’ll box out cornerbacks in the red zone and pick up first downs, not unlike Alshon Jeffery, who struggled to stay on the field this season. The Eagles would have liked more from second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Year 1, and I still like his upside, but Higgins has No. 1 receiver talent.
McShay Likes Eagles to Grab Alabama WR at No. 21
Mel Kiper’s colleague at ESPN had a slightly different take on which rookie receiver Philadelphia would take. While Kiper targeted the bigger-bodied, sure-handed receiver for the Eagles, Todd McShay landed on the fastest guy on the board, the human blur known as Henry Ruggs III.
The Alabama receiver only recorded 98 receptions for 1,716 receiving yards in parts of three seasons but stats don’t tell the whole story. The speedster accumulated 3,507 yards from scrimmage, thanks to his speed in the run game on reverses. He has reportedly run the 40-yard dash in 4.25 seconds. That’s an insane amount of burst.
The NFL Combine record for the 40-yard dash remains John Ross’ 4.22 seconds in 2017, a mark many scouts and experts feel Ruggs can break this year. Here’s what McShay wrote about him:
Carson Wentz likes to air it out, but he didn’t have the right personnel to do so. Coach Doug Pederson thought he had an answer in the vertical game with DeSean Jackson, but an abdominal injury limited the veteran speedster to 62 snaps. Ruggs, though, is a human torch — he could run in the 4.2s at the combine — and immediately gives Wentz a weapon in the passing game outside of Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Miles Sanders.
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