21. Philadelphia Eagles: Tee Higgins, WR, Clemson
I just like the fit with Higgins in Philadelphia, as he has great size (6-4) and elite ball skills, boxing out defenders to high-point the ball on sideline routes. We know all about the Eagles’ problems at receiver last season, so this fills a massive void. If Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson can stay healthy — and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside can take a leap in Year 2 — this position could go from a weakness to strength. Safety is another position to keep an eye on in Philly, with Malcolm Jenkins’ unhappiness (and age — 32) and Rodney McLeod potentially leaving in free agency.
This clearly wasn’t a super popular pick with Eagles fans last time:
But wait! It gets even worse. Look who comes off the board at No. 22!
22. Buffalo Bills: Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
John Brown and Cole Beasley each were targeted more than 100 times last season. Can you name the Bills pass-catcher who ranked third on the team in targets? That would be rookie tight end Dawson Knox, who came on at the end of the season, finishing with 28 catches on 50 targets. So let’s get Josh Allen another speedy target in Ruggs, who might be the fastest player in the entire 2020 class. I’ve been told to expect a time under 4.30 in the 40-yard dash at the combine. Ruggs is more than a speed guy who will catch deep balls; he improved as a route runner in 2019 and can break tackles after the catch.
Ruggs is the perfect prospect for the Eagles. Passing on him at all would be bad enough. Passing on him to draft Higgins instead would be an awful pill to swallow. The Eagles don’t need “great size” and “elite ball skills” at wide receiver. They need a dude who’s freaking fast.
Ruggs and Higgins are definitely the most common options for the Eagles at No. 21 at this point in the draft process. 10 out of 15 scenarios in our latest mock draft roundup have the Eagles taking one of the two.
The common thought is that Ruggs won’t make it to the Eagles’ pick. Watching him blow up the NFL Combine will only lend credence to that idea. But if he somehow does, well, the Eagles definitely shouldn’t be passing on him. I’m preemptively firing Kiper as the Eagles’ general manager.
Higgins scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
Long, angular frame with cheat-code body control and ball skills when attacking downfield. Higgins is leggy getting off of the press, but those same leggy strides are weapons of separation that help create big plays. He’s played all three receiver spots and can be moved around to match up against cornerbacks. His size and “above the rim” talent make him a uniquely dangerous playmaker deep and in the red zone. The transition to NFL press corners will be an early challenge that could take some time to solve, but he’s an instinctive ball-winner whose traits should win out and make him a very good NFL starter.
Ruggs scouting report via NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein:
Ruggs’ speed alone helps both the running and passing games because it forces safeties into more passive positioning. He can work all three levels and his ability to turn slants and crossing routes into big gainers could make him the favorite gift under the tree for a quarterback and offense in need of an explosive weapon. He has quick, sure hands to handle off-target throws, but learning to release, separate and catch against physical NFL cornerbacks could require an adjustment period. He won’t rack up the targets, but has explosive speed and talent to imprint on games with regularity.
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