Brandon Lee Gowton
The Eagles should be aiming to leave the first round with one of the top four receivers: CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs III, or Justin Jefferson. I don’t view a major trade up as particularly likely or wise. A smaller trade up to prevent teams behind them from jumping ahead of their pick at No. 21 is more feasible. Such a deal should be struck to realistically acquire Ruggs or Jefferson if they fall within the Eagles’ range. It’s no secret that I’m a big proponent of Jefferson as Philly’s first round pick. Howie Roseman is overdue when it comes to providing Carson Wentz with adequate help. It’s time for him to get Wentz an actually good receiver that he can grow with.
Because they chose not to address the position in free agency or through a trade, the Eagles need to add a talented wide receiver early in the draft, preferably in the first round. But so much of this is going to depend on how the board falls. If the top four receivers, Lamb, Jeudy, Ruggs and Jefferson, are all long gone before the Eagles pick at 21, and if Roseman is not able to move up to grab one of them, Roseman is best served either by trading back and picking one of the second tier of receivers later in the first round, or to punt the position entirely and snag a guy like KJ Hamler in the second. But draft experts like Peter King and Mel Kiper have both mocked Ruggs to the Eagles at 21 (seems unlikely). The Eagles should try and move up to grab a player like Ruggs, even if it costs them one of their second round picks and something else because they can always get one or two of those picks back with another trade on Day 2. But one thing must happen... the Eagles must get a talented wide receiver who will do something crazy... GET OPEN, MAKE PLAYS AND CATCH THE FOOTBALL.
Go get one of the top WRs. If they to move up a few spots to make sure they get him, fine. Don’t worry about the ceiling here, worry about the floor. The Eagles need a WR that Carson Wentz can play with until they’re in their 30s. Of course it would be great if they turned out to be a truly elite #1, but there would be nothing to complain about if they turned into someone like a Julian Edelman. There are times when good is the enemy of great, and there are times when good is plenty. This is the latter.
If the top WRs are all gone... oh boy. I’d entertain dropping back a few spots then moving up in the 2nd to get a WR from the next tier. The back of the 1st round doesn’t look like it will match up well with the Eagles needs. I fear this could be 2014 all over again, which is why I think they’ll trade up.
The Eagles have clearly been prioritizing the defensive side of the ball this offseason by bringing in Darius Slay and Javon Hargrave. Unfortunately, these moves also meant the end of Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham in Philadelphia, two NFL vets that helped this team win the Super Bowl just a few short years ago. While I would love to see the Eagles trade up to get one of the big three wide receivers, assuming that is impossible or too expensive, the team SHOULD complete their defensive masterpiece and draft the 20-year-old Patrick Queen out of LSU and sure up the defense while committing to finding younger superstars. They should then follow this pick by trading up into the early second round and grabbing Jalen Reagor who will be everything Nelson Agholor was supposed to be out of the slot. Next stop? Super Bowl LV.
It’s no secret that the Eagles need a major upgrade at wide receiver. The Birds know it. The teams around the NFL know it. The fans know it. With their desires to land a wideout so telegraphed, it’s unlikely that any of the top-four receivers make it to 1-21. The Eagles need to make a splash and they’re going to have to pay to get do so. Carson Wentz deserves a true running mate. Packaging their first round pick, their third rounder at 3-103 and next year’s second rounder, Howie Roseman and the front office brass should move up to the 13th pick and make a deal with the San Francisco 49ers that brings them a complete stud in CeeDee Lamb.
The Eagles should exhaust every avenue within reason to trade up for one of the consensus top three receivers - Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb or Henry Ruggs. The failure to address WR thus far Isn’t a secret and as such the Eagles have largely dug themselves into a hole. They’ll need a player that can step in and give them something immediately on the outside and for the time being those three are the best bets to do so. If they fail at securing one, BPA isn’t a bad strategy. There’s uncertainty concerning Jason Kelce and how long he wants to play after kicking around the retirement talk last off-season. The Eagles have rarely bottomed our in the last 20 years and my belief is that’s largely due to the quality of offensive line play. There’s been a lot of talk of Cesar Ruiz who could keep that ball rolling.
I don’t think the Eagles should look to aggressively trade up in the first round for a wide receiver. It’s an extremely talented class at all levels, but the depth is more impressive than the top end talent, and accordingly there’s more value to be had by watching and waiting. That value could result in a trade-up: if any of the Top-3 WRs are available after 13, then you should start making calls, and a modest trade up could still make sense. But it is more likely to come on Day 2, whether as a result of trading back from 21 or using 53 to go get your guy. Given the way the receiver room is currently constructed, players like Baylor’s Denzel Mims, Colorado’s Laviska Shenault, and TCU’s Jalen Reagor are the most interesting to me as late Day 1/early Day 2 picks.
I think it’s most likely that the Eagles look to author a trade up for one of the Big 3, fail to do so, and either draft LSU WR Justin Jefferson at 21 or with a small trade-up. Jefferson’s a good player who succeeds on many of the routes that the Eagles run, but they should be wary of inundating the roster with players who win from the slot, and suddenly running out of talent among their outside receivers.
Let’s cut the crap. The Eagles shouldn’t play the value game at a position of need. There should be a certain urgency when considering bringing a top receiver into the Eagles offense. Even in a deep class, hoping the Birds get the fifth or sixth best guy is still taking a chance on their development. If they believe that Lamb or Jeudy has day one star potential, they should make a move for them. They have eight picks this year, plenty of firepower to make a trade. Everyone will see this draft as a failure if they don’t get a pass catcher who can turn this offense around sooner than later. Let’s get it done.
It seems like everyone knows the Eagles need to add talent at wide receiver... except Howie Roseman. Sure, he’s admitted that they need to add youth and speed to the team, but he’s also doubled-down that they are happy with the position as it is. I (begrudgingly) think the Eagles will wait to get a wide receiver in the second round and still somehow go defense in the first round. There’s not nearly as much depth at other positions like receiver, and they’d still be able to get a good value on Day 2. IF the Eagles decide/are able to trade up in the first, I think they take a wideout — but the price tag will be high with other GMs knowing what the Philly fanbase will do if Roseman comes up short with the much discussed positional need. So, if the Eagles end up staying put at No. 21, I think they look to add to their secondary or at linebacker.