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Eagles News: Analytics peg Philadelphia as the best fit for Justin Jefferson

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/10/20.

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2020 NFL Draft: Best analytics-based team fits for top five WRs -
4. Justin Jefferson + Eagles = +0.65 wins. My model rates Jefferson with the highest floor among the top receivers in 2020. The primary reason for this? Well, when I tracked the percentage of passes that each wideout caught when at least one defender was within a 3-foot halo (to approximate close coverage), he caught the highest rate of passes (51.3 percent; think of 40 percent as really good). His ability in college to increase his team’s probability to earn first downs and touchdowns on catches between the numbers was also the highest of the top 15 receivers. I’m not pigeonholing Jefferson as a slot guy, and I don’t think Doug Pederson would either based on his play-calling past, but the LSU wideout reaches his optimal value early on serving as a target for Carson Wentz out of that alignment.

Matt Waldman’s RSP Twitter Vids: WR Justin Jefferson’s Feel for the Game (Starry Night) - The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Justin Jefferson has feel for the game. This sentence is the out-dated way of describing one of the underlying traits of a football player’s work because ‘feel’ is seen as an intangible and intangibles are undefinable, untrackable information. [...] Jefferson’s ability to put himself and teammates in positions to make positive plays with or without the ball is a valuable asset. When developing an evaluation process, the more you can define these artful details, the easier it becomes to spot players with what we used to call ‘intangibles.’

NFL Draft 2020: Can LSU’s Justin Jefferson handle role outside of slot? Eagles’ potential linebacker options? Ask the expert Q&A -
Sikkema: “Yes, I believe Justin Jefferson is talented enough to play on the outside. With offensive formations so fluid nowadays, there are roles as an outside receiver where he can thrive. The reason why I believe in this is due to how smooth and savvy of a route-runner he is. In the slot, you have more two-way options, and Jefferson has proved to be effective in executing those. I don’t believe that would stop if he were running those at the sideline instead. I wouldn’t put him as an X receiver at the line of scrimmage, at least not to start. But as a Z off the line, I think he would still have plenty of success due to his quickness and precision of movements, as well as his reliable catching through contact.”

Why the wide receiver position is hard to draft and how the Eagles can try to get it right - BGN
Why does the NFL suck at drafting wide receivers? That was a question posed to me on Twitter the other day and it’s not something I had really considered in recent years. After doing a bit of digging, I came across an article by Arrowhead Pride posted in 2015, that concluded only 58% of first round receivers are a ‘success’ and 42% are ‘busts’. This would make it the joint worst position overall in terms of ‘busts’ in the first round. The rate of ‘success’ drops slightly to 49% in the second round too. This is pretty scary stuff to see as an Eagles fan considering the Eagles are going to need instant production from at least one rookie wide receiver this year. Luckily, this receiver class is excellent and there are a ton of talented receivers available. Despite this, the odds are that there are almost certainly going to be a few busts in the first two rounds of this years draft. So I decided to look at why the NFL struggles with drafting wide receivers and what the Eagles could do this year to help them solve this issue.

From the Bleachers #19: Paying Tribute to Brian Dawkins - BGN Radio
Shamus Clancy pays his respects to Eagles’ legend Brian Dawkins, the winner of the all-time Eagles fan favorite bracket PLUS thoughts on Friday Night Lights and what else he’s binging during the quarantine... Sign up for Shamus’ newsletter right here: Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

Best-case scenarios for all 32 NFL teams at the 2020 NFL Draft - PFF
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – FILLING THE OBVIOUS NEED OF WIDE RECEIVER IN THE FIRST ROUND. There wasn’t a bigger disappointment of the 2019 season than the Eagles’ wide receivers. DeSean Jackson got hurt, Alshon Jeffery had his worst season as an Eagle in terms of PFF grade, Nelson Agholor posted one of the lowest grades at the position at 54.4 overall and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside generated a poor 53.3 receiving grade on his limited reps. The good news is they can fix this problem in this loaded draft class. Justin Jefferson is an intriguing option for Philadelphia at the 21st overall pick. While we aren’t as high on Jefferson as some, he is a solid route-runner with tremendous ball skills and can create after the catch.

NFL offseason reset: One thing we’ve learned so far about all 32 teams - The Athletic
Philadelphia Eagles: They still need to get Carson Wentz help. If the season started tomorrow, the Eagles would line up 33-year-old DeSean Jackson, JJ Arcega-Whiteside (169 yards in 16 games last season) and Greg Ward (28 career catches) at wide receiver. Unless there’s another shoe to drop, they’re taking the risk of needing to find WR help in the draft. Defensively, the Eagles traded a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to the Lions for corner Darius Slay. Fitzgerald said he liked the deal they gave Slay, in part because he is still playing 2020 on his prior deal and the big money is on the back end of the contract. “I thought the Slay deal was pretty good,” he said. “I like the contract that they did there. They basically found a way to hit the money number that was gonna make him happy. They were getting that one year built into the deal from Detroit. So from their perspective, the annual value on that is lower than what Slay is gonna look at that as.”

Eagles 2020 NFL Draft preview: Quarterback - PhillyVoice
James Morgan, FIU (6’4, 229). Like Stanley and Montez above, Morgan has a live arm, but some accuracy issues. He loves to fire it, but if you’re looking for pretty touch throws, forget it. Morgan is my favorite quarterback in this group, because I think he probably has the best arm, and has displayed impressive toughness, playing through injuries in 2019. You either have that, or you don’t, and I think the touch throw issues are somewhat fixable.

NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3 - NBCSP
Bryan Edwards, South Carolina — Four-year starter whose production was unspectacular but steady - between 590 and 846 yards all four years. Looks the part at 6-3, 210 but prone to drops and a below average route runner. Antonio Gibson, Memphis — After playing two years of JUCO, had only one season as a full-time player at Memphis and caught just 38 passes, although he did average a legit 19.3 yards per catch and added 369 yards on 33 rushing attempts, highest in college football last year with a minimum of 30 carries. Had 12 TDs on just 71 touches. Intriguing long-range prospect who may have only begun scratching the surface of his ability.

One-on-One: Carson Wentz | April 7, 2020 -
Carson Wentz sits down with Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro to discuss what he is doing to help during the pandemic, and more.

Breaking down 2020 NFC East odds to make playoffs - DraftKings Nation
The Eagles upgraded their pass defense, acquiring Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman, but lost Malcolm Jenkins. They lost Jordan Howard but have Miles Sanders, who should be able to continue improving. They do have a weakness at wide receiver, but make up for it with two strong tight ends and they also will get DeSean Jackson back this year. They’ve gotten better while the Cowboys lost some key defensive players, giving the Eagles the advantage going into the 2020 season.

2020 NFL draft prospects who are perfect for today’s game, plus their pro comps - ESPN+
Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama. Why he fits today’s NFL: In addition to playing in a pro-ready scheme under Nick Saban at Alabama, McKinney showcased his versatility as a multifaceted safety with coverage traits, range and the physicality to mix it up on the run front. That will allow pro teams to use McKinney as slot defender in “big nickel” packages or to drop him down as a dime back, where the first-round prospect can check tight ends, blitz or prowl the underneath zones. Plus, with McKinney’s ability to play in the post, he gives defensive coordinators plenty of flexibility in the game plan. NFL comp: Malcolm Jenkins, New Orleans Saints

Would the New York Giants trade up for a wide receiver? - Big Blue View
Two names to watch? Justin Jefferson of LSU and Denzel Mims of Baylor. During an appearance on Thursday’s ‘Valentine Views’ podcast, I mentioned this scenario to Matt Waldman of The Rookie Scouting Portfolio, one of the foremost skill position analysts in the business.“Those are two of my favorite players in this class,” Waldman said. “I think they’re very good picks if Gettleman is going to trade up and parlay some of those assets for a player of impact. [...] Waldman called the 6-foot-1, 202-pound Jefferson “a terrific player” and “probably my favorite receiver in this class.” Waldman also said Jefferson is a “wonderfully versatile player” who is best in the slot but has also shown the requisite skills to succeed on the outside.

Brandon Aiyuk would make Terry McLaurin better - Hogs Haven
Current projections have Aiyuk climbing up the draft board, and possibly off of it before the Redskins have their second pick, in the beginning of the third round. It’s impossible to say whether his recent surgery will help or hurt his draft stock, but I tend to look at it as a positive - if he had those senior year numbers and solid Combine results running injured, what is this guy’s ceiling when he’s healthy? With only 2 years at the FBS level, Aiyuk still seems to be a wide receiver under development, with a ceiling that he’s yet to approach. His vision and experience in the return game shines through brightly in his run-after-the-catch ability as well. If the Redskins are looking for a speed burner to pair opposite Terry McLaurin for years to come, Aiyuk could absolutely be their guy.

BREAKING NEWS: Texans Trade 2020 Second Round Draft Pick For Brandin Cooks - Battle Red Blog
Cooks slides into the WR2 spot in Houston, I think, even though we already have Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, and Keke Coutee with similar skill sets. There’s also Randall Cobb, no matter how hard I try to forget him. [...] Strategically, we would have been far better off drafting a WR from this fantastic class with the 57th pick rather than using it to grab a player out of his prime and on the way down. I would not at all be surprised to see the 40th overall pick get traded as well. Bill O’Brien delenda est.

A brief history of Bill O’Brien’s worst decisions as head coach and GM of the Texans - SB Nation
Houston was willing to take on the remainder of that contract, and give away a second-round pick to get the deal done. That looks especially bad when the Texans gave away Hopkins earlier in the offseason for only a second-round pick in return. It’s even worse when you consider Cooks’ recent concussion problems. He was brutally knocked out of Super Bowl 52 in February 2018 and missed he two games during the 2019 season due to another concussion. Yet another reason to question the trade is the $18 million guaranteed that the Texans gave Randall Cobb in free agency. That’s pricy for a receiver who’s now fourth on the depth chart.


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