With the addition of DeSean Jackson to the existing duo of Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, the Eagles are poised to have a dangerous wide receiver corps in 2019. But despite short-term depth, there is still speculation that the Eagles could still pursue a big-time pass catcher in this draft. Lucky for Philadelphia, if that’s truly their intention, this class is chock full of impressive pass catchers. While there is no “elite” type of prospect; there are quite a few first-round hopefuls and tons of players who will be value picks on day two and three. Here’s how the top of the class shakes out.
10. Anthony Johnson, Buffalo: Anthony Johnson has had a quiet offseason but his career at Buffalo was anything but. In two years with the Bulls, Johnson caught 133 passes for 2367 yards (17.8 YPC) and 25 touchdowns. That’s staggering production for the 6’2” receiver. Johnson is a solid but unspectacular athlete but makes his money has a physical technician. Teams will love his clean route running and his dependability to make tough catches. Johnson’s hype may have dwindled, but a team will be getting a great player late in the draft this year.
9. Andy Isabella, UMass: A former running back, Andy Isabella answered a switch to wide receiver with three years of top notch production for the Minutemen. Isabella totaled 30 receiving touchdowns in the last three years in losing a phenomenal 2018 season where he caught 102 passes at 16.6 yards per reception and scored 13 times. Isabella is a smaller receiver but is pure speed and technique. He is a former star track athlete and has married dynamic athleticism to ruthless efficiency as a route runner. Teams might be scared away by his lack of size, but the team that bets on him will have one hell of a player.
8. Deebo Samuel, South Carolina: Deebo Samuel never got to produce highly relative to his talent at South Carolina because of a middling passing game, but he always impressed when given the chance. Samuel has a running back build which makes sense given his play style. He is a tough, competitor player after the catch and that, paired with great route-running, makes him a fantastic slot prospect for the NFL.
7. Marquise Brown, Oklahoma: Marquise Brown was arguably 2018’s most exciting playmaker in college football. “Hollywood” followed up an fantastic season catching passes from Baker Mayfield to an even better season linking with Kyler Murray. Lucky life to catch passes from two Heisman Winners and (likely) first overall picks in successive seasons, but someone has to do it. Brown is pure speed. Teams might be scared off by a 168 pound listing and injury history, but Brown could be a huge pay-off if he stays healthy in the NFL.
6. Parris Campbell, Ohio State: Parris Campbell might be the best receiver in Ohio State’s recent history. Campbell benefited from Ohio State’s pass heavy offense in 2018 where he caught 90 passes and scored 12 TDs. He is a refined route runner with incredible speed before and after the catch. He is a multi-faceted offensive weapon who could make plays on the outside, in the slot and from the backfield. [Campbell reportedly visited the Eagles]
5. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Stanford: The Cardinal is not known for producing top tier receiver prospects but JJ Arcega-Whiteside’s impact in the Pac 12 this year canto be ignored. The 6’3”, 225 pound senior scored 14 times on only 63 catches and averaged almost 17 yards on each catch. Arcega-Whiteside is not only a big, physical receiver but is a phenomenal athlete. Exciting to think about what he’d do in a more pass heavy offense.
4. AJ Brown, Ole Miss: AJ Brown is one of the more fun receivers to watch in this class. He’s not the pure speed player that some of his peers are, but he is a bully at the wide receiver position. Brown went over 1,300 yards receiving this season in the SEC, which is no easy feat, and he did so with a non-stop physicality and gritty playing style. Brown is a great athlete to boot and should be a instant impact player in the NFL. [Brown reportedly visited the Eagles.]
3. Hakeem Butler, Iowa State: Hakeem Butler averaged 22 yards per catch in 2018… What?! The redshirt junior is the closest thing in this class to a power forward playing wide receiver. Standing nearly 6’6” and over 225 pounds, Butler astounded with a sub-4.5 40 at the combine. Butler is a dominant athlete with the skill to be a dangerous red zone threat in the NFL. He’s not a “sudden” player but makes up for it with pure size, strength and long speed.
2. N’Keal Harry, ASU: Admittedly, I am higher on N’Keal Harry than most. The 6’2”, 230 pound receiver reminds me of prime Demaryius Thomas with a blend of size, strength and uncanny ability to make yards happen with the ball in his hands. Harry is also great in contested catch situations. Factor in Harry’s coach, Herm Edwards’ extremely high praise for his competitive spirit, work ethic and leadership and is hard not to love Harry’s potential in the NFL. [Harry reportedly visited the Eagles.]
1. DK Metcalf, Ole Miss: DK Metcalf is all but guaranteed to be the first receiver off the board this spring. Metcalf spent his whole career at Ole Miss bitten by the injury bug, playing only one full season; but it’s obvious how special he is when he’s on the field. Metcalf is a one of a kind athlete,standing at 6’3”, 230 pounds, and he eviscerated the Combine. Metcalf doesn’t really have holes in his game on the field, which is why is so crucial he stay healthy in the NFL. If he can… whew boy.