NFL Draft: Receiver Options for the Eagles Outside of the Top Four Prospects

Photo Credit: USA Today Sports

We talked Monday about Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, CeeDee Lamb, and Justin Jefferson, all of whom are in play for the Eagles on Thursday night.

The first three would require trading up, but Jefferson might be available if the Birds stand pat at 21.

What, then, if they don’t select a receiver at 21? Could they trade back for one of the pass catchers outside of the top four? Here’s a look at the crop of receivers that are rounding out the top ten and being projected as late first round or early/middle second round selections:

Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State

Some mock drafts have Aiyuk, the Juco transfer, going in the 25-32 range. Green Bay might be interested at #30 overall.

He’s 6’1″, 205 pounds, and really excels in the YAC department. His film is stuffed with plays where he catches the ball in stride and just takes off without hesitation, like it’s one big natural motion. Aiyuk also excelled in college as a punt and kick returner and could easily slide into those roles with the Eagles.

Thing about him is that he was sort of a late bloomer and only started showing NFL skill during his senior season, when he caught 65 passes for 1,192 yards and eight touchdowns. Compare that to 33 receptions for 474 yards and three scores as a junior. Common thought is that he still needs to add polish to his game. He also had core muscle surgery in the offseason, which shouldn’t be too much of an issue when he hits the NFL.

Tee Higgins, Clemson

6’4, 217 pounds, a bigger guy who caught 27 touchdown passes at Clemson, which ties the all-time receiving TD mark set by DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins. He played in national championship games and high-stakes playoff and conference title games. There’s no shortage of experience for Higgins, who comes from a winning culture.

He’s not a fast receiver, only running a 4.58 40-yard dash, but he’s really leggy and has an impressive downfield stride. Higgins played every receiver spot in college, and he’s a flexible guy who attacks the ball relatively well downfield, which is something the Eagles didn’t do a very good job of last year.

I could see him maybe having some trouble with NFL press corners, since the ACC wasn’t exactly murderer’s row during his time with Clemson. Scouting reports say he needs to get more physical and diversify his route running, but all of the tools seem to be there.

Jalen Reagor, TCU

A dynamic slot receiver, either #1 or #2 in the draft depending on how you rate Justin Jefferson, who also has the speed and explosiveness to excel on the outside.

I saw more of him last year than these other receivers, and the thing about Reagor is that nothing in particular jumps out at you. He’s 5’11”, 200 pounds, and ran an okay 40-yard dash. He only caught 43 balls for 611 yards and five touchdowns last year. His best season actually was the prior year, as a sophomore, when he hit the 1,000 yard mark with nine touchdowns. TCU has dropped off a bit and didn’t have fantastic quarterback play in 2019, which is probably the prime reason for the drop off in raw numbers.

But Reagor is a really versatile player and great route-runner. I’d describe him more like a “playmaker” and less like a receiver, if that makes sense. The philosophy is more of, ‘let’s get the ball in his hands and let him work,’ which I think is why you’re seeing some Curtis Samuel comparisons in the draft stories you’re reading. Good vertical receiver, does drop some passes, but pretty smooth and silky otherwise.

Denzel Mims, Baylor

Of the top ten receivers in the draft, he’s probably the best at snaring the ball.

He’s 6’3″, 215 pounds, and really has a crazy catch radius. If you throw a pass anywhere near him, he’s going to make a legitimate play on the ball.

One of the things you’ll notice in his tape is that he snags a ton of sideline stuff. Back shoulder throws, red zone fades, verticals, etc – that’s probably where he does better than most receivers. I don’t know if his skill set overlaps a bit with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, since JJAW came out of college with a similar profile, but if you’re looking for a receiver with good hands who can box out and use his frame, Mims is your guy.

These types of receivers are typically a little slower and don’t have great separation ability at the next level, but Mims has long legs and big strides, similar to Higgins.

Laviska Shenault Jr., Colorado

He took a step back from his sophomore year, but still went for 925 yards and six touchdowns. Shenault had surgeries on his toe and labrum and is a physical player, which makes some people wonder if durability might be a concern in the NFL.

He’s 6’2, 220 pounds, and plays all three receiver spots. Shenault looks like a running back with the ball in his hands, and there really is a ton of raw athleticism here, which makes for an interesting ceiling. He was a do-it-all player for Colorado and NFL coordinators will have to figure out how to best use him at the next level.

K.J. Hamler, Penn State

The Eagles talked to Hamler, as they do with pretty much every prospect, but the DeSean Jackson comparisons seem to have drawn a lot of interest from the Birds’ fan base, which overlaps with Penn State a bit.

He’s small, just 5’9″ and 176 pounds, but a super speedy guy who can “take the top off.” Hamler had drop issues in college, but still caught 56 passes this past season for 904 yards and eight touchdowns. He has the potential to be a big downfield playmaker and open things up for other receivers, which the Eagles direly needed in 2018 and 2019 after the injuries to Jackson and Mike Wallace.

Experts seem to think that Hamler’s speed and downfield threat is good enough to land him a second round selection. I don’t know if he’ll be there at 53 when the Eagles come back on the clock, but he’s certainly an option if Howie Roseman wants to wheel and deal and move around the board on Friday night.


5 Responses

  1. any posts on things Angelo tweeted?

  2. Of all these receivers, which one’s first name is your favorite? CeeDee, Tee, Denzel or Laviska?

  3. This appears to be a cowardice, childlike attempt at raclsm.

    The more more shameful part is that the idiot fake plumber thinks he asked multiple questions.

    Imagine – he claims to be a grown man.

    I am sure raclsm is not encouraged at Crossing Broad.

  4. You guys really have faith in a Howie Roseman who drafted JJ Arcega Scrubside over DK Metcalf and Terry McLauren?

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