Philadelphia loves characters almost as much as winners. One of the Eagles’ newest weapons let his grandmother introduce him to his new city.
The Eagles invested a fifth-round pick in Boise State receiver John Hightower, a speed demon who clocked 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash. He joins a revamped receiving corps that may give Kansas City’s “Legion of Zoom” a run for its money.
The Eagles now have seven pass-catchers that have posted at least 4.59, including Marquise Goodwin’s blazing 4.27. The team selected Hightower with the 168th overall pick. As the pick was coming across his TV screen, the Maryland native whispered in his grandmother’s ear and let her do the talking. She didn’t disappoint.
She screamed at the top of her lungs: “We going to f—ing Philly!”
“I had a long journey to get here, and I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Hightower told reporters. “Everybody is excited. I’m excited. Just ready to get to Philly.”
Hightower led Boise State in receiving yards (943) and touchdowns (8) while finishing second on the team in receptions (51). He averaged nearly 18.5 yards-per-catch and another 24.6 yards as a kick returner. Explosive? Yes, you could say that. His high school coach called him “unguardable.”
Boise State WR Brings Incredible Speed to Eagles
John Hightower has been called a work in progress by scouts due to his limited route tree and struggles with contested catches. Those are the negatives.
But the positives — his track-star speed and 6-foot-1 frame — may far outweigh any concerns. The Eagles hired Aaron Moorehead in the offseason to be their new receivers coach and he’ll look to get the most out of his shiny new weapon.
Put on his game tape and you cannot ignore the “juice” he brings on every play. He has been compared to Robby Anderson and Devin Smith. Pro Football Focus raved about his deep threat ability and suggested he consider bulking up.
Hightower is yet another wideout with some speed to burn as he clocked in with a 4.43 at the Combine in Indianapolis. That showed up repeatedly on tape as he averaged 18.5 yards per catch this past season. The Boise State wideout is exceptionally fluid and he isn’t simply winning by striding straight past slower defensive backs on go balls. He sells post-corners and other downfield double moves exceptionally well. We’d love to see him continue to add muscle to his frame, though, as he still only checked in at the Combine weighing 189 pounds — and his ability to fight through contact was inhibited because of it.
Lance Zierlein of NFL.com also called out his “lack of size and strength” but quickly applauded his run-after-catch skills.
Tall, spindly deep threat with a good feel for speed variance to bolster effectiveness of separation speed. While Hightower can get down the field, he needs to be led to water and in the clear, as his ball tracking and 50/50 attack skills leave much to be desired. The lack of size and strength could be a continuing issue against press and with contested catches. His run-after-catch and kick-return ability are nice, but may not be enough to balance out the aforementioned concerns.
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