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Mock Draft: Eagles pick up a true burner in the first round

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Speed and tons of it...

Southern Miss v Alabama Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If you watched the Philadelphia Eagles fold against the Miami Dolphins, you might be more receptive to a mock draft than you were a week ago. Granted, the Eagles are “still alive” in the NFC East and the 2020 NFL Draft is just under five months away, but at 5-7 it’s hard not to take a peek ahead.

The Eagles need answers in a lot of places. The defense is going to need new life at cornerback, as evidenced by DeVante Parker looking like an All-Pro on Sunday. Beyond that, the position everybody will be talking about is wide receiver. It’s no secret that Nelson Agholor will play his last down in Philadelphia very soon and overall the team needs an injection of speed.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has the remedy for the Eagles’ woes. In his most recent mock draft, he selected one of the fastest men in college football to inject new life into the offense. Of course I’m talking about Alabama product Henry Ruggs III, who Brugler selected for the Eagles at 12th overall.

“The No. 1 team need for the Eagles this offseason? Speed. We could see an overhaul at the receiver position in Philadelphia, and Ruggs would be a great place to start restocking that depth chart. His speed and competitive makeup are both elite, giving Carson Wentz a versatile weapon at all levels.” - Dane Brugler

Just how fast is he? Back in the summer Ruggs blazed a 4.25 40-yard dash at the Alabama junior Pro Day. Watch him on Saturdays and you don’t need a stop watch to know the guy has a serious case of the juice.

How would Ruggs fit the Eagles? It’s really simple. The 6-foot, 190-pound Ruggs has plenty of slot experience at Alabama, runs like a cheetah, and is a yards after catch factory. Over three years in an absurdly loaded ‘Bama wide receiver room, Ruggs has accumulated 96 catches, 1,689 yards, and 24 touchdowns with an eye-popping 17.6 yards per catch.

There’s no doubt that the Eagles will be interested in his services. Forget the lazy “Roseman likes them big and slow” nonsense you might see on social media; selecting an x-receiver with an x-receiver body has nothing to do with what they like in their slot or z-receiver. The signings of Torrey Smith, Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, and the interest in Robby Anderson all point to the Eagles interest in adding speed. They also brought in speedsters Mecole Hardman, Parris Campbell, and Emanuel Hall in for official visits before the 2019 NFL Draft. The question is, will he be there when the Eagles are on the clock?

Ruggs is going to leave a trail of flames behind him at the NFL Combine and teams will fall in love with his uber-competitive nature. The only factor that could play a role in him sleeping to the teens could be that this is a loaded wide receiver class. That’s also good news for the Eagles, because if it’s not Ruggs there are plenty of other viable options to talk about.