The Philadelphia Eagles’ offense had a fatal flaw in 2019. With DeSean Jackson missing almost the entire season and Nelson Agholor shrinking and transforming into a corn cob, there wasn’t nearly enough speed to threaten defenses.
That needs to change next year. With the Senior Bowl right around the corner, it’s time we take a look at two of the 2020 NFL Draft prospects that can help the Eagles create splash plays.
BRANDON AIYUK (Arizona State - 6’0”, 203)
With factors like ability after the catch and deep speed being on the top of the Eagles’ checklist for wide receiver prospects, and Brandon Aiyuk emphatically checks both boxes.
Posted that YAC stat for the Eagles before (they're terrible at it)... pop on the Brandon Aiyuk (Arizona State WR) film & he's got a couple after catch reps on there that have me interested - pic.twitter.com/1kWtJU2V72— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) December 9, 2019
When Aiyuk is able to open up in space, he’s pulling away from everybody, and he has a real feel for creating yards after the catch. In terms of route running, there’s not many others with the hip fluidity and an explosive lower body to match Aiyuk.
Brandon Aiyuk is a dynamic receiving prospect who possesses an exciting ceiling at the NFL level. Thriving in vertical routes and in run after catch scenarios, Aiyuk is a height/weight/speed mismatch who showcases splendid short area quickness, explosiveness and ability to stress coverage vertically. He’ll need to hone is releases versus physical press coverage but in the meantime Aiyuk could find immediate success in the slot while honing boundary skills.” - Kyle Crabbs, The Draft Network
Dane Brugler of The Athletic, ranks Aiyuk as the 38th overall player on his updated big board. In a sign of how top heavy wide receivers are in this draft, that means Aiyuk checked in as his 8th ranked receiver.
“The definition of a playmaker is a player who turns small plays into big plays and that is exactly what Aiyuk does with his dynamic athleticism. He is a “runway” style athlete – if given any type of runway, he has the explosive gears and top-end speed to stretch out plays.” - Dane Brugler, The Athletic
I’m hoping to see Aiyuk against as much press coverage as possible in Mobile, which will help teams understand how to project him into their lineup from day one. If he pasts that test, you’ve got a starting Z/Slot out of the gate.
DEVIN DUVERNAY (TEXAS - 5’11”, 209)
Back in December, Benjamin Solak wrote a piece where he chose the aforementioned Aiyuk over Devin Duvernay in a “would you rather” experiment.
“As an intermediate separator, Duvernay does not have much experience running complex routes. In the breaking routes he does run, he often takes too long to get into and doesn’t have the requisite snappiness. Duvernay is an upright player with some hip tightness. He does not sink into his breaks and explode out of angles, leaving more to be desired as a separator.” - Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network
From the film I’ve seen, he’s not wrong. Duvernay’s stiffness is a hard rain on what otherwise is an explosive parade. What makes Duvernay attractive is the speed. The former Texas high school 100-meter champion can straight boogie. That’s led to some big-time performances, including a 12-catch, 154-yard, 2 touchdown performance against eventual National Champions LSU early in the season.
Part of the reason for his outbreak this year has been Duvernay’s move to the slot. In 2018, he amassed a 41-546-4 stat line while primarily playing on the outside. Once Texas kicked him into the slot, he exploded with a 106-1,386-9 season. So you’ve got production, speed, and we haven’t talked about his thick build. Duvernay has a thick build and play strength shouldn’t be an issue in his transition from college to the pros.
Senior Bowl invite Devin Duvernay (Texas WR, 5'11", 210) looks like a primo slot option for the Eagles.— Michael Kist (@MichaelKistNFL) November 22, 2019
87-1,017-7 this year. Speed/strength w/YAC & route running skills. Through one game so far & it looks promising (graphics via @KlipDraw) pic.twitter.com/KJTLNpOHg2
Still, as outlined earlier, there are concerns about Duvernay ever becoming a complete player. A key to mitigating his stiffness will be technique, something we’ll get a close look at in Mobile.
These aren’t the only receivers I’ll have my eye on in Mobile, but with the pitchforks out for speed, these two fit the bill. We can have a conversation about Baylor’s Denzel Mims and others on another day.
I spoke with Solak about these prospects and more, including four on the defensive side of the ball, plus there’s a chat about Andrew Berry on The Kist & Solak Show #170! Listen on the media player below or click here if the players doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!
FRESH— BGN Radio (@BGN_Radio) January 17, 2020
The Kist & Solak Show #170 w/@MichaelKistNFL & @BenjaminSolak!
- The OC search continues
- James Urban, anyone?
- Why we (and the NFL) like Andrew Berry...
- Senior Bowl shortlist
- Shrine Game practice standoutshttps://t.co/tj5sk20VMJ