After getting the quarterback to build around in Carson Wentz, the Eagles need to get him wide receiver to grow with. A lot can happen between now and the draft, but with the 14th or 15th pick in the draft (they have a coin flip with the Colts), there should be at least one of the four wide receivers who are currently considered first round talents available for the Eagles.
Pros: Arguably the best all around receiver in the draft is Western Michigan’s Corey Davis. At 6’3” and 215 pounds, Davis has very good size and strength, drawing comparisons to Terrell Owens, and he’s got very good speed for his size. In 2016 he led the FCS with 19 receiving touchdowns, and has 52 career touchdowns in 50 games. He completely dominated his conference, ending his four year career as the MAC’s all time leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and finished 1st in FCS history in receiving yards and 4th in receptions. Along with the exuberant PJ Fleck, Davis was the key to Western Michigan’s turnaround from 1 win in his freshman year to 1 loss in his senior year.
Cons: There are small school concerns, but he’s faced a Power 5 school nine times in his four years, catching 52 passes for 701 yards (13.5 yards per reception) and 5 TDs. Ther are concerns about Davis having too many “body catches” and about his ability to go and get contested catches.
Pros: The Eagles want a home run threat, and of the top prospects there is no one better at it than Washington’s John Ross. He has drawn apt comparisons to DeSean Jackson for his incredible speed and his ability to track balls in the air. And he’s got a great nose for the end zone with 17 touchdowns on 81 receptions. He is also an experienced kick returner, with 86 career returns for 24.1 yards per return and 4 touchdowns.
Cons: Listed at 5’11” and 190 pounds, Ross will run into problems with physical cornerbacks, and isn’t going to win a lot of balls contested in the middle of the field. But that’s not why you draft him, you draft him to be a top tier big play receiver who will scare any defense with his explosiveness. And he has a very small body of work to evaluate, he missed the 2015 season with a torn ACL, and caught just 34 passes in his first two years.
Pros: The 6’2” 220 pound Schuster will be just 20 when the season starts. Already he is aggressive before and after the catch, difficult to take down with the ball in his hands. He is perhaps the best possession receiver in the draft, running through and over defenders with ease. Nick Saban compared him to Dez Bryant (then, it must be noted, held him to one catch for 9 yards.) He is the kind of player who may test relatively poorly at the Combine and then in actual games go out and be an All-Pro.
Cons: Though his hands are not considered to be lacking, it is an area he could improve. And while his speed is good enough, he might be the slowest of the first round WRs, if you covet speed above all else, he’s not the guy for you. Worryingly, his production declined in 2016 on a USC team that improved. And receivers from the Pete Carroll coaching tree have struggled in the NFL, some may have a Pavlovian cringe upon hearing about another damn USC WR.
Pros: Like Davis, Williams has the total package at 6’3” and 225 pounds, and good speed. He’s fearless in traffic and is comfortable in all areas of the field, he excels short, intermediate and deep. Clemson has become a WR factory under Dabo Swinney, which is no surprise considering that Swinney was a WR coach, churning out DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins, and Martavis Bryant. USC this is not.
Cons: Clemson’s high volume of plays somewhat overstates his statistical contribution, his 98 catches for 1361 yards and 11 TDs is impressive on the surface, but it only accounts for one quarter of his team’s production, while Davis and Ross account for at least one third of theirs. Williams broke his neck in the first game of the 2015 season and missed the rest of the year. Though he had a tremendous 2016 season, it may have effected him, and it’s something to keep an eye on for the Combine as players get thorough and independent medical evaluations. And without him, Clemson still made the FBS Championship Game. Finally, at this point in the draft process, he’s considered the top WR, so there’s a very good chance he won’t be available for the Eagles if they stand pat in the draft. But with 100 days until the draft, nothing’s certain.