One of the biggest factors in the Eagles success this year is the receiving corps finally being dangerous after a few years of stagnation and drops. Alshon Jefferey was a revelation in the red zone and his size and dependable hands made him a perfect target for Carson Wentz. Nelson Agholor had his long awaited break out when the team moved him to the slot. His quickness and ability to make yards after the catch turned him into a weapon for the Eagles and he started playing a toughness that he hadn’t shown since college.
Jefferey’s play earned him a contract extension with the team and Nelson will likely be under contract for another two seasons if and when the Eagles pick up his fifth year option. However, behind the two of them the team lacks a lot of long term depth. When considering that Agholor is best in the slot, the team might have a huge need at their other outside receiver spot this offseason.
Torrey Smith was a nice veteran presence on the team and he did provide some deep plays through the season. Not to mention he was outstanding in the playoffs. Despite that, he was a bit all over the place with drops for most of the year and while the team may like his character in the locker room; they could benefit from trying to upgrade at that spot.
Mack Hollins had some very nice flashes in his rookie season, including an incredible 64 yard touchdown catch against Washington. The 6’4” receiver will be going into his second year and the team might be confident enough in him to hand the job over, but depending on guy who only had 16 catches in 2017 to break out into a big role is a bit risky.
Behind Hollins, there is not a not a ton to get excited about on the roster. Shelton Gibson had a promising career as a deep threat at WVU but almost got cut in preseason of his rookie year and barely saw the field. Marcus Johnson seems to have some favor with the team, but once again he was a fifth string player who caught five passes in 2017.
While someone could emerge from Philadelphia’s collection of young players; they have a chance in the draft to take the passing game to a new level. Imagine replacing Torrey Smith with a young deep threat who could really open up the downfield passing game on a consistent basis and create even more space in the middle of the field for Ertz and Agholor. Receiver might be somewhat of a luxury pick at 32, but here are few guys who the Eagles could target there and beyond:
- James Washington, Oklahoma State: James Washington has been the premier deep threat in college football for the last three years. He has hauled in passes for over four thousand yards over that time and averaged 20 yards per catch in the process. He has tremendous ball skills and runs tough after the catch. He would make this passing game absolutely deadly.
- Christian Kirk, Texas A&M: The NFL temperature on Kirk is hard to gauge at this point but he could be available when the Eagles pick on the first day of the draft. He is a quick twitch athlete who gets yards after the catch with speed and toughness. Not to mention he makes a big impact on special teams.
- Tre’Quan Smith, UCF: Tre’quan Smith played a huge part in UCF’s undefeated season. The 6’1” deep threat averaged almost 20 yards per catch on 59 receptions and scored 13 touchdowns in the process. He has immense speed and skill making plays downfield.
- Dante Pettis, Washington: One of the most prolific returners in the country, Dante Pettis makes big plays in multiple facets of the game. He is athletic, a polished receiver and plays a very tough brand of football. He might be a mid round steal in this class.
- DJ Moore, Maryland: DJ Moore is one of the younger prospects in this class, yet he was able to be a leader on Maryland’s offense last season. He has an unorthodox build at 5’11” and nearly 215 pounds, but he is a dynamic receiver whose best football is still ahead of him.
- Anthony Miller, Memphis: Miller is on the other side of the age scale, but teams will how how refined his game is and how tough he is. While his size may be preferable in the slot; he should be highly coveted this year.
Some players like Calvin Ridley and Courtland Sutton may be out of reach for the Eagles, but the draft has a lot of mid round prospects who could come in and compete for a big role right away.