The Right Receiver?

Posted: April 8th, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on The Right Receiver?

We’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out which receiver the Eagles should take in the first round. It is possible the team has already made up its mind.

Brandon Lee Gowton wrote a piece that shows a lot of rumors and nuggets point toward the Eagles going for Justin Jefferson with pick 21.

Some like the thought of adding Jefferson there. Others don’t.

We can debate plenty of things about Jefferson, but the bottom line is that he’s an outstanding receiver prospect and would give an instant boost to the Eagles passing attack.

The “knocks” on Jefferson are that he is primarily a slot receiver and that he’s not an explosive playmaker. Let’s talk about those.

There are plenty of teams who put their best receiver in the slot and build the passing game around that player. DeAndre Hopkins was in the slot a lot for Houston. Michael Thomas spends plenty of time in the slot for the Saints. Cooper Kupp is an outstanding slot receiver for the Rams. Jarvis Landry made a name for himself as a slot receiver.

If the Eagles want Jefferson and see him in the slot, they obviously have a plan for how to make that work. DeSean Jackson has the speed to stretch defenses in 2020. J.J. Arecega-Whiteside could be the big body to play outside and help in the Red Zone. There are TEs and RBs to create mismatches with.

Nelson Agholor spent a lot of time in the slot in the past three years and caught 165 passes. The Eagles can feed the ball to that spot.

While Jefferson ran well at the Combine, he is not an explosive speedster. He’s not a dynamic playmaker. He is big and fast enough to play on the outside and have some success. Jefferson is a terrific route-runner and has excellent hands. Just think about how much a receiver with good hands would have helped the team last fall.

The Eagles can look to other spots to find a young receiver who is more of a playmaker. K.J. Hamler could still be on the board in the second round. John Hightower could be a mid-round speedster. Quez Watkins ran 4.35 and has big play ability. Small school star Isaiah Coulter ran 4.45

The Eagles don’t have to focus on speed. They could look for receiver with dynamic RAC ability and good overall athleticism. Donovan Peoples-Jones has big time potential, but didn’t live up to it at Michigan. Lynn Bowden is a former QB who could be a heck of a playmaker.

Carson Wentz loves throwing the ball deep, but the team could also benefit from having someone who could catch short passes and turn them into big plays.

Too often we obsess on speed. The Eagles need better receivers. They need playmakers. You can have guys who run 4.5 and punish defenses.

I know Howie Roseman talked about the need to add speed. That is still very true, but the Eagles were one of the slowest offenses in the league last year. Just adding some 4.5 guys would help. This doesn’t have to be track guys. Find receivers who play fast and make plays.


Alshon Jeffery has been in the news.

Jeff McLane wrote a good piece on the embattled receiver. Apparently the Eagles tried to trade him last season, realizing the mistake they had made with his contract. No takers.

I found this interesting.

Doug Pederson and Jeffery maintained a close bond even though the receiver’s mounting health woes – he would miss nearly four of the first 11 games last season with calf and ankle injuries – and lost step hindered the Eagles coach’s offense.

Pederson continued to feature Jeffery prominently and he would catch 9 of 16 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins on Dec. 1. But his season would end a week later.

Pederson has excellent people skills. Can he possibly salvage the relationship with Jeffery? Is there a chance Jeffery plays in Philly in 2020?

It still does feel like Jeffery goes elsewhere.

Howie is taking his time with this one. He either has no offers or very bad offers right now. Rather than jump at the first one, Howie is biding his time to see what happens and if the Eagles can somehow find a reasonable situation.

That may not happen, but Howie must feel the risk is worth it.


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