The Philadelphia Eagles need help at wide receiver (duh). The 2020 NFL Draft class has plenty of top and mid-tier wide receiver talent (double duh). Hopefully the latter is the remedy for the former (thank you, Captain Obvious).
That’s why we made wide receivers a main topic of discussion on The Kist & Solak Show #172! Just today my co-host Benjamin Solak released his top five wide receivers in the class so we used that as the framework for the conversation. The consensus seems to be that there’s a gap between the top three prospects and the rest, but Solak sees it a bit differently.
An important note here is that all five of these receivers were given a grade that landed them in the first round by Solak, and here’s they shake out...
1. CeeDee Lamb - Oklahoma
“Lamb’s a better bet to win early in the NFL than any receiver in this class, especially if you’re willing to move him around beyond the X-alignment.” - Benjamin Solak
I haven’t watched enough of Lamb’s film to slap a grade on him, but having followed him closely over the past couple years, I have a hard time believing I’d depart too far from Solak or the consensus. Lamb is a complete wide receiver that can separate with route running, win at the catchpoint, and has a knack for making unbelievable plays after the catch.
2. Laviska Shenault Jr. - Colorado
This is where things break from the consensus and I don’t necessarily disagree. The first qualifier being that Shenault’s medicals at the NFL Combine will be important, but he could also drop some jaws in he runs sub-4.4 in the forty-yard dash like it’s been rumored. Furthermore, Shenault’s strength is legendary at Colorado, perhaps due to the fact that he has to work out with the offensive linemen because it involves less plate changing.
At 220 pounds, Shenault plays grown man football with startling play speed and is a devil to bring down as a ball-carrier. I have difficulty finding an exact comparison for “Viksa”, but you can essentially copy and paste how the Tennessee Titans utilized AJ Brown during his fantastic rookie campaign and you have yourself an immediate contributor that’ll rack up big plays down the field and after the catch.
3. Jerry Jeudy - Alabama
Jeudy is the most polished route runner in this class, hands down. He has a keen understanding of how to set defenders up throughout the stem and at the breakpoint to hit his landmark on time and with ample separation. He won’t physically dominate with play strength like some of the others in this class, but Jeudy represents a high floor starter that comes with a refined game.
“Jeudy enters the NFL as one of the most electric and polished route runners I have ever scouted at the college level. He projects as a true No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL that a passing game can be funneled through.” - Joe Marino, The Draft Network
4. Henry Ruggs III - Alabama
The darling of the fan base, we all know Ruggs’ trump card. His sub-4.3 speed hides the fact that he also has a fairly complete game. From 2018 to 2019 Ruggs showed improved route running and releases while already possessing excellent body control, tracking skills and hands. His high floor comes from the fact that he alters the way defenses have to gameplan, but he’s not just a one-trick pony as Solak points out.
“Without a single target in a game, Ruggs still matters on offense, the same way DeSean Jackson or Will Fuller does. Ruggs pulls safeties into the half field and accordingly wrenches defenders out of boxes. He makes the whole team better just by suiting up.
On top of all that, Ruggs is a polished route runner with highly trustworthy hands. We’re not getting John Ross’ed or Breshad Perriman’ed here. It’s nearly impossible to imagine him busting.”
Per PFF, Ruggs averaged 9.0 yards after catch, which is slightly more than Lamb and only less than Arizona State’s Brandon Aiyuk. The Eagles have sorely lacked YAC threats and thankfully this class has plenty of creators.
5. Jalen Reagor - TCU
In my opinion, this is where we get into the debate about the 21st overall selection. I’m on board with selecting any of the first four players mentioned, but Solak and I are in disagreement here.
Don’t get me wrong, Reagor is a dangerous and explosive player that definitely has the juice to help an offense. But when I did my tentative grade on Reagor, he landed around the 30th overall if he were compared to last years’ big board, just above Darnell Savage Jr. and Deebo Samuel. Those are good players that I liked a lot, but there are likely to be at least a dozen players I’ll have higher in front of Reagor when the time comes. His game just isn’t as complete as the others on this list and some of his film shows questionable effort/toughness.
Solak is higher on Reagor despite not being totally in love with the idea of using the 21st overall pick on him...
“Reagor is a devastating short-area player with quality route stems and elite quickness to win in the RPO game and can take constraint plays for chunk gains. Reagor up the seam is also really fun. He’s going to kill off coverage using multiple gears of burst and quality ball tracking ability in the air... His ceiling is certainly that of a Round 1 player, and it’s his youth and diverse deployment that allow for that lofty projection.” - Benjamin Solak
We discuss these five prospects further on The Kist & Solak Show #172! Listen on the media player below or click here if the player doesn’t load. New to podcasts?! Check out our guide on how to listen and subscribe to BGN! FLY EAGLES FLY!