Not sure if you’ve heard about this but there’s a good chance the Philadelphia Eagles select a wide receiver with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. 36 of the 45 scenarios in this week’s mock draft roundup have the Birds going in that direction.
And so while we wait for free agency to start, I thought it’d be interesting to take a look at some more wide receiver rankings. BGN’s Ben Natan posted his (controversial?) top 10 last week. Now let’s take a look at rankings done by former Eagles scout and current NFL Network personality Daniel Jeremiah. DJ posted his updated list of top 50 prospects in this year’s draft and eight receivers made the cut. An overview:
1) No. 9 - CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
2) No. 10 - Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
3) No. 11 - Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
4) No. 14 - Justin Jefferson, LSU
5) No. 27 - Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State
6) No. 28 - Tee Higgins, Clemson
7) No. 36 - Laviska Shenault, Colorado
8) No. 44 - Denzel Mims, Baylor
Ruggs and Jefferson are the two most popular picks for the Eagles in these mock draft streets.
Ruggs was previously listed at No. 11 in DJ’s rankings, so, no movement for him.
Ruggs has an unbelievable blend of speed and toughness. He lines up outside and in the slot. He ran a lot of slants and take-off routes in Alabama’s offense — and he was special on both. Ruggs boasts world-class speed — he truly explodes off the line and after the catch. He needs to continue to refine his releases against press (he gives up his chest too often), but not many defenses will want to take that chance against his speed. His hands are good not great and he does allow too many balls into his chest. After the catch, he runs away from most defenders while occasionally running through them. He is outstanding on jet sweeps and also has kick-return value. Overall, Ruggs has Tyreek Hill-type ability. He will be a matchup nightmare every week.
Jefferson, meanwhile, jumped up three spots after previously being ranked at No. 17. He tested better than expected at the NFL Combine.
Jefferson is a tall, slender wideout with off-the-charts production. He lines up in the slot and out wide. He is an outstanding route runner. He does a nice job getting on the toes of cornerbacks and then creating separation out of the break point. He does a lot of work in traffic and will extend and finish before taking hard contact. He can play above the rim down the field and can contort his body to make special catches. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he’s plenty fast enough. After the catch, he has some wiggle and will fight for extra yards. Overall, Jefferson is a polished receiver and should make an immediate impact at the next level.
I think the Eagles would love for Ruggs to fall to them but I think Jefferson is the more realistic bet at No. 21. DJ’s ranking indicate Philly should be pretty happy if the LSU product falls to them.
Aiyuk, Higgins, Shenault, and Mims are also getting mocked to the Eagles in the first round, albeit at a lower frequency. Aiyuk dropped seven spots in DJ’s rankings while Shenault dropped 12. Mims made his top 50 debut this time around, which reflects how he’s been viewed as a riser through the draft process thus far.
Mims is a tall, rangy wideout with exceptional burst and body control. He uses his quickness and burst to escape press coverage, excelling on vertical routes down the field. He tracks the ball naturally and wins a bunch of 50/50 balls. He will need some time to develop as a complete route runner. He simply wasn’t asked to run a large variety of routes in Baylor’s offense. After the catch, he is slippery and elusive, but he isn’t going to break many tackles. Overall, Mims is a big-play generator on the outside and has all of the tools to develop into a complete receiver.
Penn State’s KJ Hamler was previously at No. 43 in the ranking but fell out of the top 50. TCU’s Jalen Reagor is notably absent from the top 50. Remember that the Eagles pick at No. 53 in the second round.
Which one (or two?) of these players do you think the Eagles will end up adding to their receiving corps?