Figuring Out Receiver

Posted: March 5th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Figuring Out Receiver

The Eagles need help at receiver. We all agree on that basic fact. The complicated part is finding the right players to improve the passing game and put the Eagles back among the top offenses in the league.

Most people focus on the need for speed. The Eagles WR corps in 2019 was arguably the slowest in the league after DeSean Jackson’s injury. Defenses simply didn’t fear anyone.

I certainly agree the team needs speed. That said, I think that can be a bit overstated. The Eagles need guys that can get open. They need guys that can catch the ball. If Nelson Agholor had better hands, the Eagles might have won two additional games last year.

Some mock drafts have had the Eagles taking LSU star Justin Jefferson. Not everyone is so keen on this. Jefferson played almost entirely in the slot last year. He wasn’t a field-stretcher and you don’t see explosive traits when you watch his game tape.

Jefferson was the leading receiver on one of the most explosive offenses in college football history. He caught 18 TD passes in 2019. He is a terrific route-runner and he’s got great hands. Jefferson knows how to get open and he catches everything near him.

The Eagles would definitely benefit from having Jefferson as part of the passing game. He could play in the slot or outside. He’s not going to stretch defenses like explosive players do, but he would be a valuable asset.

Is Jefferson worth pick 21? Should the Eagles take him in the first round?

Those are trickier questions. You have to look at the big picture. Alshon Jeffery won’t be back. He was the top outside receiver and big body. Nelson Agholor won’t be back. He was the slot guy. DeSean Jackson is older and coming off an injury. The Eagles need help in all three areas. Jefferson could be a very good slot receiver for them. He could also play some outside.

The Eagles likely know they need to draft a pair of receivers. If they took Jefferson in the first, they could go for a speedster like K.J. Hamler in the second. Or they could draft Chase Claypool, a big receiver who ran very well at the Combine. There will still be talented targets in the third round. Gabriel Davis isn’t a blazer, but he’s an excellent downfield target.

Or the Eagles could decide they need an explosive threat more than anything. Rather than moving up for Henry Ruggs, they could draft Jalen Raegor or Brandon Aiyuk. Neither player ran a great 40 time, but the game tape shows big time play speed. Those guys can take a short throw and turn it into a big play or they can run by CBs to get open deep.

The Eagles could then focus on adding a more polished route-runner type in the second or third round. They will have options.

Maybe the Eagles will decide speed is more important than anything else. They could take an explosive player in the first and then again in the second. A 1-2 punch of Aiyuk and Hamler would be interesting.

I have mixed feelings about going WR in the first and second rounds. The Eagles need DB help. They can always use a pass rusher. Would they dare take a LB that high? They can’t just obsess on receivers.

One player I have yet to mention and that is Denzel Mims. I had him pegged as a late 2nd/early 3rd coming out of Mobile. Mims then had a great showing at the Combine. He’s checking off all the boxes as they say.

Great season
Great Intangibles
Great Senior Bowl
Great Combine

I think Mims is a solid second round pick now. Could he slide into the first round?

I could see the Eagles loving him because of his size, speed and ability. They like bigger guys. They love bigger guys who can run.

There are a couple of key parts to this equation. First, the Eagles need to self-scout really well. What do they have?

Do you think Greg Ward can be your primary slot receiver for a top flight offense? We know he can eat up the bad secondaries of the NFC East, but can he make plays all year long?

What are your expectations for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside? You can’t count on him to start, but it would be premature to label him a bust right now.

What are your expectations for DeSean? Do you think he can stay healthy?

The team also has free agency to deal with. There aren’t great options at WR so they aren’t likely to be looking at major moves.

The Eagles also need to make sure they know what they want in free agency and the draft. They need players who fit the offense. They need receivers who will mesh well with Carson Wentz’s skill set. Maybe he is better with speedy guys than big guys. Maybe he needs precise route-runners. Maybe he needs guys that can generate RAC yards.

I think the Eagles need to have a pretty specific plan as they head into the offseason. They can add some really good weapons for Wentz, but they need to know what they need and which players to target.

It is imperative that the Eagles get the right receivers. Carson needs players he can grow with. You don’t want to be going through this process next year as well.

I’m still figuring out my preferences. I hope Howie already has a good idea of what the Eagles need to get this offense back to the top.


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