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Eagles News: Former NFL coach says Justin Jefferson is “one of the best receivers that I’ve ever studied in 40-plus years”

Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 4/21/20.

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College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl - LSU v Oklahoma Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Let’s get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

Team fits for Jameis Winston; Panthers smart to pay McCaffrey? -
If you’re looking for a fast riser up draft boards heading into the 2020 draft, you might want to put an asterisk by Justin Jefferson’s name. Although the former LSU standout has been viewed as a first-round talent for most of the pre-draft process, the buzz is building that he might be the third receiver taken in Round 1 on Thursday. While Henry Ruggs III has been widely penciled in as the presumptive WR3 in this draft class, Jefferson has been vaulting up the charts as more evaluators have gained an appreciation of his versatile game. The 6-foot-1, 202-pound pass catcher checks off all of the boxes as a premier receiver: Speed (4.43 40), production (111 catches, 1,540 yards, 17 TDs in 2019), ball skills and spectacular route-running ability. In addition, Jefferson is a dynamic runner after the catch who’s capable of lining up anywhere on the field. ”He’s one of the best receivers that I’ve ever studied in 40-plus years,” said a former long-time NFL offensive coordinator/receivers coach. “He can do it all and has no fear and can play slot or outside. ... He’s a baller who is much better than he’s been credited. Trust me. The kid is a baller.”

The top 50 players in the 2020 NFL draft class - TouchdownWire
Conclusion: Justin Jefferson has two seasons of solid production and tape where he was used in completely different roles. That should work in his favor, but instead many seem willing to view him as purely a slot receiver. Again, he has shown the ability to operate along the boundary and as such, teams should view him as a versatile receiver who can fill multiple spots in a passing game. Sure, he can operate from the slot and has he displayed in 2019, be very effective. But if put along the outside as a Z receiver, Jefferson can also beat press coverage and create separation on his own, without relying on scheme or design. Consider this: Great teams like the New England Patriots often ask the right question when it comes to evaluating pro or college prospects. That question is “What can he do?” Other teams tend to dwell on the negative, and wonder “What can’t he do?” Teams that take the more negative approach with Jefferson and isolate him as purely a slot receiver, are going to regret passing on him.

Peter King reveals his Eagles mock draft pick, suggests Alshon Jeffery could be traded - BGN
Could the Eagles be that team in the twenties calculating a trade up to get Jefferson? Such a move would not be popular with those who don’t even want the LSU receiver at No. 21. But I could see the Eagles having a desire for Jefferson based on their rumored interest and his high floor profile. Philly needs to add instant impact at receiver through the NFL Draft after neglecting to address the position in free agency. Jefferson fits the bill in that regard. The 21-year-old also has considerable upside.

At the Podium: Roseman & Weidl Pre-Draft Presser - BGN Radio
Howie Roseman and Andy Weidl field questions from the media headed into the 2020 NFL Draft! Powered by SB Nation and Bleeding Green Nation.

The Eagles’ top 10 options with their first round pick - PhillyVoice
1) Modest trade up for a receiver. I think the most likely scenario is that the Eagles find a trade partner within five or six draft slots of their pick at 21, whether that be for Jefferson, or an unexpected slide by Lamb/Jeudy/Ruggs. The sweet spot to me would be Oakland at pick 19, if the Raiders take a receiver with their first of their two first-round picks at 12th overall, and they think they’d still get whatever player they want at 19, two spots later at 21. In that case, maybe the cost to move up is only something like the third round comp pick (103 overall)? That would be a reasonable cost to ensure the Eagles get a top receiver that they actually want, as opposed to one they feel like they’d have to “settle for.”

A Pleasant Surprise - Iggles Blitz
Ruggs is the fastest receiver in the draft after running a 4.27 in the 40. And that speed shows up on tape. He is electric. He is explosive. But if you ranked the top four receivers in all key categories, Ruggs would probably finish last outside of speed. This doesn’t mean he’s a bad player. We’re talking about where he ranks in the top four guys. Some might see that speed as so important that he should go in the Top 20. Others might prefer Lamb’s elusiveness, Jeudy’s route-running or Jefferson’s overall game. Ruggs is a terrific prospect, but it can be easy to fall for the siren song of his speed and overlook the others. Ruggs caught 98 passes in his career. Jefferson caught 111 this season.

Best fantasy football fits for top NFL Draft prospects - Fake Teams
WR Henry Ruggs III - San Francisco 49ers/Philadelphia Eagles. I’ve seen Ruggs taken as the first receiver off the board at 12, I’ve seen him last all the way until the 20’s. So I’m giving you two answers. If he goes in the 10-15 range, he would be a menace in Kyle Shanahan’s play action offense playing along side Deebo Samuel. If he falls, say hello to Carson Wentz throwing him bomb after bomb. Honestly, Ruggs to Philly might be my favorite pairing of the entire draft. If that happens, you can bet I’m over-drafting him everywhere in fantasy. Dream spot: Eagles, Kansas City Chiefs (don’t laugh).

Les Bowen’s NFL mock draft sees Eagles taking WR Brandon Aiyuk in the first, if they don’t move up - Inquirer
20. Jaguars - Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU. I had the Jags bypassing WR with the ninth overall pick, but they won’t do it again. Can the Eagles maybe move up one spot, without giving up much? [...] 21. Eagles - Brandon Aiyuk, WR, Arizona State. Welp. I’ve given away the top four WRs in the first 20 picks, which is why I think the Eagles might move up. If they don’t, then I would bet they move back. They might take Aiyuk, but I don’t think it will be at 21. He has elite traits, and also some learning to do. Not a terrible reach, but not a knock-your-socks-off pick, either. At least, not right out of the box. DeAndre Hopkins was a 27th overall pick in 2013, so who knows?

2020 NFL mock draft: Eagles move up to get their receiver - NBCSP
For a long time, I thought the Eagles could sit at 21 and get Justin Jefferson, but I’m not convinced anymore. I think there’s a good chance they’ll have to move up a little bit to take one of the top four receivers in this class and I think it’s worth it. If not, then I’m not sure there’s a receiver really worth the 21st pick. It’s not that I dislike Denzel Mims, but I want more of a sure thing and Jefferson fits. There has been some smoke around the Falcons’ wanting to move up but if they’re unable to, why wouldn’t they trade out? If they’re willing to move up it’s probably because they don’t love the value at No. 16. And with just six picks, they could pick up another fourth-rounder. So here’s the trade: Eagles get: 16, 229 — Falcons get: 21, 127, Rasul Douglas. So this is basically a swap of a fourth-round pick for a seventh-rounder and the Eagles throw in Douglas for a team that needs more depth at cornerback. Douglas has reportedly been available in a trade and his long frame might be a better fit for Atlanta’s Cover 3 scheme.

What to watch for: 8 musings on the Eagles before a crucial draft - The Athletic
“For me, if you had the pick of the litter, it would be CeeDee Lamb, if you can get him. I think he’s the best,” said NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah, a former Eagles scout who has worked with Roseman and vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl. “He can do everything. He can give you the big-play ability down the field, but he can also do a lot of dirty work on third down and in the red zone, and he would give Carson (Wentz) a lot of free yards after the catch. That would be my choice. “But when I look at the top four guys, between CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson, I think Carson Wentz would make a star out of any of those four players.”

Using the OTC Valuation Metric to Assess Draft Needs - Over The Cap
Wide Receiver. The Eagles, Vikings, and Ravens are the three teams under $10 million. Minnesota will chalk that up to the injuries to Thielen but they need more depth. Philly should be desperate for a receiver that can start immediately and the Ravens should be adding. Just behind this group are the Colts, 49ers, Steelers, Packers, and Jets. The Jets have been linked to receivers but the Steelers could be interesting to watch if they want some protection for Smith-Schuster who had a forgettable season. This is a position with almost no free agent options. Ted Ginn would be the best available followed by Demaryius Thomas.

Former Eagles DB Zac Henderson dies at 64 - PFT
Former Eagles defensive back Zac Henderson died overnight at his home in Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman reports. Henderson was 64. Henderson is the namesake of Bengals head coach Zac Taylor, whose father, Sherwood, played in the secondary with Henderson at Oklahoma in the 1970s. [BLG Note: Henderson is the fourth former Eagles player to pass away within the past couple weeks.]

NFL Draft 2020 first-round locks: 20 prospects sure to hear their names called on Day 1 - CBS Sports
WR: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Justin Jefferson. Look, maybe there are eight of these cats drafted in the first 32. It wouldn’t shock me …. but I also can’t bank on it and a lot of smart teams are giving me the feeling they will be content to wait for Day 2 to address their receiver needs. So many options abound and such a variety, as well, that I think it works against them. These four are the top tier, as best I have been able to tell. I could list, literally, at least six other kids who at least some teams believe are a first-round talent. But I couldn’t make all of them locks, depending on what else was left on the board.

Lynch is confident Staley will be back; confirms trade talks with Goodwin - Niners Nation
San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch just spoke to the media for over 45 minutes and was candid about everything from trading DeForest Buckner, to some players on the roster. One of the biggest takeaways was Lynch confirming the team is actively discussing trades for wide receiver Marquise Goodwin. Here was his full quote: “Marquise is the one guy out of that group that you mentioned where there are active discussions going on. The other guys, we love and are really looking forward to playing with moving forward.”

Report: Jaguars to release veteran WR Marqise Lee - Big Cat Country
Lee, 28, has missed 26 games over the past two seasons after signing a four-year $34 million contract with $16.5 million guaranteed at signing. Lee missed the entirety of the 2018 season after suffering a catastrophic knee injury during the preseason of that year, and missed the majority of last season due to a shoulder injury which required surgery. Since being drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, Lee has accounted for 174 receptions for 2,184 yards, and eight touchdowns. However, over the past two years combined Lee has only been able to net three receptions for 18 yards — unable to remain healthy. [BLG Note: Lee also turns 29 this season. Not really that interested.]

NFL Draft rumors: Giants “researching” QB Justin Herbert — What does that mean? - Big Blue View
What should we make of the report that the New Giants “have spent a lot of time” researching and holding FaceTime conversations with Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert in the run-up to the 2020 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday? While GM Dave Gettleman always says he is not afraid to drafting over an incumbent starter at any position It seems highly unlikely that the Giants, a year after taking Daniel Jones No. 6 overall, would take Herbert at No. 4. There is this, though, to consider. There was some thought a year ago that Herbert was Gettleman’s QB1 before he returned to Oregon. Gettleman has said it was former coach Pat Shurmur who was first to really fall for Jones.

Can NFL Quarterbacks Really Be Too Tall? - The Ringer
Some QB experts think how tall a player is matters less than when his growth spurt happened. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is 6-foot-5, but tested in the 84th percentile or better in the broad jump, three-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle at the 2016 combine. Wentz also happened to be 5-foot-8 as a high school freshman, which gave him time to grow into his body. Ryan Mallett, on the other hand, was 6-foot-1 by the time he was in sixth grade. “I think if they grew fast early, they end up being a little bit more stiff,” says Will Hewlett, a private coach with the QB Collective. “[Mallett] had a terribly slow 40 time, but he could throw the ball 90 yards.”

SackSEER 2020 - Football Outsiders
It would have been interesting to see if K’Lavon Chaisson had the athleticism to shine at the combine, which would be some evidence that Chaisson’s 6.5-sack season was just the beginning of what he could do rather than the limit. Scouts have given Chaisson high marks for athleticism, and it is entirely possible that Chaisson would have recorded excellent workout numbers that would have made up for the weaknesses in his projection. However, Chaisson chose not to do any of the agility drills at the combine and LSU’s pro day was cancelled, so SackSEER has no numbers. Instead, SackSEER assumes that Chaisson would have performed as well as players drafted in the second half of the first round. Overall, Chaisson certainly has a chance to succeed in the NFL, but he has more unknowns than the typical first-round pick at the position — and his knowns are not particularly spectacular. A smart team should scrutinize his limited game tape very closely before selecting him in the first round.

The NFL’s virtual mock draft was a mess. The real one should be fun - SB Nation
The first virtual NFL Draft kicks off this week and things ... aren’t going well. A dry run in the form of a mock draft already fell apart when the Cincinnati Bengals’ pick was met with technical difficulties. Yes, that’s the first pick of the draft. Yes, this is going exceptionally poorly. And, yes, this is probably going to result in at least one glorious disaster. Sources inside the NFL told ESPN’s Dianna Russini they were having “many communication problems,” with bandwidth issues being cited as the primary challenge.


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