WR Help Needed

Posted: April 16th, 2022 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on WR Help Needed

The Eagles had interest in several free agent receivers. For a variety of reasons, they weren’t able to sign any of the key guys. The Eagles did add Zach Pascal from the Colts, but he’s more of a complementary player. The Eagles must find receiver help in the upcoming draft.

Let’s start by talking about what the Eagles do have in place for now.

DeVonta Smith
Quez Watkins
Jalen Reagor
Zach Pascal
Greg Ward
JJ Arcega Whiteside
John Hightower
Devon Allen

The first group are the key players. The second group is less certain.

Nick Sirianni says Smith is a legit #1 NFL receiver. That’s the guy you feed the ball to. The coaches like Watkins, but he is more of a #3 type. Reagor is just trying to show he can be reliable in any type of role.

Pascal is a versatile veteran. He can play in the slot or outside. He’s a good run blocker who will help in the run game. Here is Franimal breaking down Pascal.

Pascal is the biggest of the key receivers at 6-2, 215. He won’t be mistaken for Plaxico Burress any time soon. Smith is only 170 pounds. Watkins is 190.

While size is an issue, speed isn’t. Watkins can absolutely fly. Smith is fast. Regaor has good vertical speed. Pascal is a 4.55 guy so that’s okay for his size.

Now let’s talk about some of the key draft prospects the Eagles could be targeting. The team has brought several receivers to Philly for visits.

Jameson Williams
Chris Olave
George Pickens

Williams is intriguing. He might be the most explosive receiver in the entire draft. The down side is that he’s coming off a torn ACL. Teams don’t seem to be concerned about that. He lacks ideal size at 6-2, 179. I’m sure the Eagles love the thought of adding another explosive player and Williams is really talented. There is the question of adding another smallish player, though. Would that be an issue? There is also the question of fit with Jalen Hurts. He doesn’t have an explosive arm so loading up on vertical receivers isn’t a perfect idea.

Williams does have good RAC ability so his speed comes into play on short and intermediate throws. I’m sure that would be a key selling point for the Eagles, who know they must get better after the catch.

Williams has huge potential.

Olave is 6-0, 187 and had a great career at Ohio State. He is a great route-runner who also has vertical speed (4.39). He has outstanding hands and feels like a player who would make a smooth transition to the NFL. So what’s the downside? He isn’t special after the catch. Olave isn’t going to make a bunch of dynamic moves and have defenders falling down. He’s not going to break many tackles. Olave also isn’t going to specialize in contested catches. He could be an excellent #2 receiver in the NFL.

Olave would play in the slot and outside for the Eagles. He would give Hurts another great route-runner to work with. Olave had 32 TD catches in his last 31 games for the Buckeyes. He would help the Eagles in the Red Zone. He doesn’t have as high a ceiling as others, but Olave has less of a bust factor because of his refined skills. He didn’t just dominate the college game with size or athleticism.

Pickens is a player I like quite a bit. He tore his ACL at midseason, but appears to be in good shape. He worked out at the Combine and his Pro Day. Pickens is 6-3, 195. He ran 4.47. Pickens has great hands. He can make some incredibly tough catches. He has outstanding body control, one of the most important qualities a receiver can have. Pickens has good size and can handle the physicality of the NFL. Most people expect him to go in the 25-45 range.

Pickens would be an ideal fit for the Eagles. Good size. Great hands. Outstanding blocker. Good RAC ability.

The Eagles have also gone to some Pro Days to check out wide receivers. WRs coach Aaron Moorehead went to two that we know of.

Treylon Burks
Christian Watson

Burks is 6-2, 225. He didn’t have a great workout at the Combine, but his game tape is legit. Burks had more catches of 48 or more yards than anyone else in college football over the past two years. He is good on contested catches, but his real specialty is yards after the catch. Burks is outstanding when the ball is in his hands. He would be a really interesting addition to the Eagles WR corps. Burks is considered to be a first round pick.

Watson is 6-4, 208. He was dominant at North Dakota State and then was terrific at the Senior Bowl and Combine. Drops are an issue with Watson. He had the highest drop percentage of the top receivers in this class. I’ve seen him make plenty of impressive grabs so maybe this is something that can be cleaned up. Due to a strong postseason showing, Watson is seen as a second round pick.

There is one more receiver to mention. Drake London had a great career at USC. He got hurt and missed the Combine, but just had a Pro Day on Friday. I haven’t seen the Eagles connected to London at all. He is 6-4, 219 and is a very physical player. He can play in the slot or outside. London would seem to make a lot of sense for the Eagles. Some think he could go in the Top 10 so maybe the Eagles just don’t expect to have a shot at him.

As the Eagles look at big receivers, it can’t help but make you think of the JJ Arcega-Whiteside fiasco. He was 6-2, 225 coming out of Stanford and everyone talked about his ability to make contested catches. I went back and re-watched some college highlights yesterday to compare that to the current receivers the Eagles are looking at.

JJAW did make contested catches, but usually by boxing out the DB. He won with positioning more than athleticism, strength or pure effort. He didn’t explode into the air to snatch the ball over the DB. He didn’t fight through tough contact to win. Burks, Watson and London are all very different. I can’t promise they’ll work out, but they do look better (and different) than JJAW.

I think the Eagles need to come away with a WR in the first or second round. There are good players beyond that, but the odds go down the longer you wait. Obviously the Eagles don’t control who will get picked in front of them, but I hope they are able to secure one of these talented wideouts to help the passing game become more consistent and more explosive in 2022.




Comments are closed.