We’ve done the wide receiver thing to death. The Philadelphia Eagles should be targeting one high in the 2020 NFL Draft and there’s a chance that they could double dip later on.
Let’s say they still need to add some speed in the later rounds. There’s still some uncharted territory concerning the less talked about prospects as the focus has mainly been at 21st and 53rd overall. Beyond that range, here are some players that the Eagles could target late in round three or sometime in Day 3.
DARNELL MOONEY – Tulane (5’10”, 176)
Undersized but bursty, flash yet inconsistent; Mooney is a frustrating and fun evaluation. He’s an unpolished stick of a prospect that keeps you coming back with his ability to eat cushion, track the deep ball, and turn short throws into big gains.
As with any smaller school prospect, you want to see them against the best competition possible. That came against Auburn in Week 2 as Mooney consistently lined up against likely Day 2 cornerback Noah Igbinoghene (#4). It was a relatively quiet day for Mooney, but he did flash with some impressive wins.
Mooney’s 4.38 speed makes him an attractive Day 3 option. As with any late round prospect, development is needed and he needs more consistency in his game. Three big questions I have: Can he hold up against physicality, become more of a salesman with tempo in his stem and deception in his breaks, and eliminate the frustrating drops that plague his tape?
Notable Testing: 4.38 40-yard dash (90th percentile), 10’4” broad jump (74th percentile)
QUEZ WATKINS – Southern Miss (6’0”, 185)
Check out his game log and you’ll see Watkins dominating some games against lesser opponents, like his 7-209-2 output against Troy, or 8-198-1 day against North Texas. Watkin’s has a solid production profile over the past two years, posting a combined 135 catches, 2,034 yards and 15 touchdowns in that span.
Once again you run into a problem where all that goes quiet against tougher competition. For example, his 3-24-0 outing against Alabama. All that speed (4.35) was nullified by Trevon Diggs and others, who pretty much bullied him at the line and never let him get to full stride.
If Watkins is protected with slot and reduced splits, there’s reason to be excited about his ability to work in the vertical third. He’s an explosive mover that can be a real threat down the seam and working deep over routes. Still, he’s got to be tougher over the middle and eventually develop some sort of a release game if he’s going to stick around.
Watkins will probably have to prove he has special teams returner value to land on a roster. He has some experience in this area, including a punt return touchdown back in 2018, so it’s not out of the question.
Notable Testing: 4.35 40-yard dash (92nd percentile), 10’5” broad Jump (78th percentile)
ANTONIO GIBSON – Memphis (6’3”, 228)
I stretched the parameters of this article just so I could write about Gibson. He should probably go sometime in round three, but he’s a heck of a value if he gets into the early portion of round four. Perhaps a selection at 103rd overall would be a good place to stop this hypothetical slide?
The Laviska Shenault Jr. consolation prize, Gibson is more weapon than receiver. In fact, he may even be a running back in the NFL, but no matter what you call him, Gibson should make his biggest contribution in the passing game.
We’ve been down this road with Memphis before, as Gibson essentially inherited the Tony Pollard role. Gibson only had 33 carries and broke an insane 16 tackles on those attempts, per PFF. As a receiver, he broke 17 tackles on 38 catches, another bonkers tally.
You shouldn’t ask Gibson to line up wide and run a full route tree. You shouldn’t ask Gibson to pound the rock between the tackles 20-25 times a game. You SHOULD get the ball in his hands in a variety of ways and let the man work.
With his 14 career touchdowns on just 77 touches, he’s one of the best play-makers you’ll find in this class and boasts the ideal size and athletic profile. I stretched the parameters for Gibson here, as he should see his name called on late Day 2.
Notable Testing: 1.51 10-yard split (96th percentile), 4.39 40-yard dash (97th percentile)
JOHN HIGHTOWER – Boise State (6’1”, 189)
“…exceptionally fluid and he isn’t simply winning by striding straight past slower defensive backs on go balls. He sells post-corners and other downfield double moves exceptionally well. We’d love to see him continue to add muscle to his frame, though, as he still only checked in at the Combine weighing 189 pounds — and his ability to fight through contact was inhibited because of it.” – Mike Renner, PFF
It took me a while to get to Hightower’s film, probably because my first exposure to him was underwhelming. I came to Shrine Game practices with an eye towards Hightower, which quickly shifted elsewhere after I witnessed him drop his first three passes. Perhaps it was just a bad day or a glitch in the matrix, as his 6.9% drop rate is right around average for the class.
Once I got past that first impression, I felt better about Hightower. His 18.5 yards per catch was 5th best among receivers with at least 50 catches, highlighting his big-play ability. When targeted 20+ yards down the field, he had 5 touchdowns with a 124.1 passer rating. His superb get off, which showed up in his elite 1.49 10-yard split, allows him to get on top of opposing cornerbacks super quick.
There are plenty of questions about his play strength, release game, and limited sample of production, but Hightower’s movement skills are unquestionable.
Notable Testing: 1.49 10-yard split (98th percentile), 4.43 40-yard dash (87th), 38.5” vertical jump (86th)
DEVIN DUVERNAY - Texas (5’10”, 200)
Another prospect that saw his production blossom with a move to the slot, Duvernay is a tricky evaluation. You love the rock-solid frame, after the catch ability, and linear speed, but it’s tough project him beyond a niche role in the NFL.
Duvernay’s severe hip tightness limits his potential from the slot and he hasn’t proven to be effective outside. Perhaps that’s because he only faced 45 snaps total against press last year, so it might be an issue of “what can they do” vs. “what were they asked to do”.
The best use for Duvernay is manufacturing touches behind the line. He’s a bit like the aforementioned Gibson in this regard, as his 23 missed tackles forced rank 5th among wide receivers in the class. Texas fully understood this, targeting him on 42 screens, 2nd most in the country.
Duvernay wasn’t as consistently threatening down the field as his speed would suggest, but he was still fairly productive on throws beyond 20 yards, hauling in 12 receptions for 432 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Notable Testing: 1.51 10-yard split (96th percentile), 4.39 40-yard dash (94th)