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Mel Kiper’s first mock draft has the Eagles taking a “jump-ball specialist” who is “not super explosive”

It’s only January and I’m already tired of writing about this possibility.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

You know it’s NFL Draft season when Mel Kiper is back. The ESPN analyst published Version 1.0 of his 2020 NFL mock draft on Friday and here’s who he had the Philadelphia Eagles taking with the No. 21 overall pick:

Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson

Philadelphia has to upgrade at wide receiver — its two top pass-catchers in 2019 were tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert — and the depth and talent in this class could set up perfectly for the Eagles to have several options here. At 6-foot-4, Higgins is the biggest wideout of the first-round talents, a jump-ball specialist and touchdown machine (25 the past two seasons). He’s not super explosive like Lamb, Jeudy or Ruggs, but he’ll box out cornerbacks in the red zone and pick up first downs, not unlike Alshon Jeffery, who struggled to stay on the field this season. The Eagles would have liked more from second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in Year 1, and I still like his upside, but Higgins has No. 1 receiver talent. As is always the case for Philadelphia, this is another spot to watch for an edge rusher.


No more labels like “not super explosive” and “jump-ball specialist” associated with a potential Eagles player. Enough of watching what feels like the slowest offense in the league. This team desperately needs to add SPEED; they’ve devalued it for too long now.

The two teams playing in the Super Bowl this year were the fastest teams in the NFL. To their credit, both the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers put an emphasis on acquiring players who are actually fast.

I know Higgins accounted for a lot of big plays at Clemson but I just don’t think he’s the right fit for the Eagles. They need to add a legitimate burner and he isn’t that.

On that note, it’s too bad Eagles fan favorite Henry Ruggs III goes off the board at No. 15 in Kiper’s simulation. CeeDee Lamb at No. 12 and Jerry Jeudy at No. 13 are the other two wide receivers off the board before Philly’s selection. Unless they can trade up, the Eagles might have to settle for someone like KJ Hamler (No. 30 in this mock) or Jalen Reagor.

The Eagles don’t necessarily have to draft a wide receiver at No. 21 but they can’t wait around too long and get cute. Howie Roseman talked about how historically great the running back class was in 2017 and ended up with Donnel Pumphrey. Same deal with 2019’s defensive line class and ended up with Shareef Miller.

They’ve got to get this receiver pick right.

Grade the pick:


Grade Mel Kiper’s selection of Tee Higgins for the Eagles at No. 21

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