Previously in profiling how 2020 NFL Draft wide receiver prospects fit with the Philadelphia Eagles — Jerry Jeudy | Henry Ruggs III | CeeDee Lamb | Tee Higgins | Justin Jefferson | Laviska Shenault. Today we’re looking at K.J. Hamler.
KJ Hamler is unarguably one of the most exciting players in the NFL draft. The 5’9” receiver is lighting in a bottle and can flip the field on any touch. For an Eagles team that desperately needs big plays, it is hard not to see the appeal of the speedy Penn State product. Hamler is no doubt an immediate offensive weapon who can add a spark to the Eagles. The concern is how his size and lack of immediate polish as a wide receiver impacts his transition to the NFL. There is not a lot of precedent for a 5’9”, sub-180 pound receiver thriving in the NFL and Hamler’s lack of physicality and inconsistent hands may hamper his growth into a “typical” offensive role.
The answer is simply that his NFL role does not have to be typical at all, at least not immediately. Hamler is instant-offense as soon as he touches the ball, so it is up to the offense to figure out ways to feed him. In Philadelphia, it’s easy to see Hamler taking on a Darren Sproles-type role for Doug Pederson. Hamler has experience catching the ball out of the backfield, taking handoffs, playing outside, in the slot and big playmaking as a returner. Hamler is an offensive weapon and can be utilized as such in the NFL. The question then becomes how worthy is that type of role player of a high pick. Some people have Hamler going in the first or second round, which is considerably rich for an unorthodox role player. So, either there has to be faith that Hamler can be an outlier and eventually develop into a full time receiver, or hope that his slashing offense role will become high impact enough to warrant taking him early on.
In the interest of optimism, it is actually quite easy to see Hamler thrive in the Eagles’ offense. Pederson’s creativity suits Hamler well and I believe the team would try to use him all over the place. Hamler would still need to predominantly function as a pass catcher, but the team could find ways to get him the ball on sweeps, swings, screens and underneath passes. If he can further develop his game, he could become a full time playmaker in the passing game.
Should the Eagles draft K.J. Hamler?
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