Every week here at Bleeding Green Nation we are doing an NFL Draft mailbag (send your questions to BGDMailbag@Gmail.com). If you have questions about prospects, strategies and needs; feel free to send them along!
Starting with a few good questions from Steve.
Q: Assuming we keep Alshon Jeffery, would we still like to go wide receiver in round 1?
Even in the scenario where Alshon Jeffery is on the team, wide receiver should still be considered a need for this team. Alshon has been banged up for the majority of his time in Philadelphia (played through injury in 2017, missed nine combined games in 2018 and 2019) and 33-year-old DeSean Jackson is in the twilight of his career. If one of the top wide receivers is available for Philly, it would be silly to pass on them because of Jackson or Jeffery being on the team.
Q: Would the Eagles take a linebacker in round one despite not taking one there since the 1970’s?
Would they? Probably not given their history. “Should they?” Is a different question. The Eagles certainly have a need at the position. In a situation where Patrick Queen, Kenneth Murray or even Zack Baun is around at the back half of the first, I certainly wouldn’t be against drafting one of those guys. Otherwise you’re depending on a mid round rookie to link up with Nate Gerry and TJ Edwards. Not ideal, but also wouldn’t be surprising if that was the route they took.
Q: Who are some corners and or edge players that could make it to the 20’s?
I have been running weekly draft simulations and AJ Epenesa is consistently finding his way into the twenties. That would be an ideal pick for Philly and one of the few non-receivers I think the team should be targeting. As for cornerback, there is no way Jeff Okudah falls out of the top ten, but any of the other first round cornerbacks have a good shot at falling into the Eagles’ range. CJ Henderson, Kristian Fulton and Trevon Diggs could all be there at 21 and all be great picks to boost the secondary.
Although I am curious how interested the Eagles are in a first round cornerback now with Slay and Robey-Coleman in the fold with Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc (assuming Rasul Douglas gets traded). I don’t think the current cornerback situation should be prohibitive of bringing in new players, but I could definitely see the team thinking so.
Q: It seems like the Birds are locked into a wide receiver with their first draft pick. Likely, at least two of the following will be available:
Of these, I like Reagor only because he seems like a direct replacement for DJax. There are lot of more traditional big bodied receivers available than speed guys available in later rounds.
Tee Higgins is the best receiver of these players, in my opinion. I know that is a contentious opinion, but he is proven with great size and consistent production as an outside receiver. Reagor is extremely exciting as a spark plug for any offense, even if he needs some polish. I certainly would understand the Eagles taking Reagor over Higgins, even if Higgins is the better player. Jefferson is a very good player but I don’t know if he is what the Eagles need, especially in the first round. Jefferson is a high level slot receiver, which is valuable, but the Eagles desperately need an outside pass catcher.
Q: What are your thoughts on Colin Johnson and Devin Duvernay from Texas? Who do you like better for the Eagles? When would you draft them?”
Johnson and Duvernay were a dynamic duo for the Longhorns over the last few years but got it done in vastly different ways. Johnson is a 6’6” matchup nightmare who dominated the Big 12 cornerbacks with his size. Meanwhile Duvernay is a 5’10” speedster who is built more like a running back than a receiver. Duvernay has great YAC ability, but doesn’t have great route running skills. Duvernay could be developed into an offensive weapon, which would be especially attractive for the Eagles. Johnson is more of a typical wide receiver, but not exactly a burner.
I would prefer Duvernay for the Eagles, just because adding that speed to the offense is needed. However I think either one is an early day three talent.