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NFL Draft Mailbag: Should the Eagles trade up? Is Tee Higgins the right fit? And more

Weekly Q&A

College Football Playoff National Championship - Clemson v LSU Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Welcome to the Weekly Draft Mailbag. Make sure if you have draft questions you send them along to!

First we have a great question from Matt:

“What do you think the Eagles will be doing through the draft to provide (offensive line) depth?”

The Eagles are set at tackle for a few years with Andre Dillard and Lane Johnson. The questions along their line pertain mostly to deepening the guard and center position. While Isaac Seumalo is a sure thing at one guard position, Brandon Brooks will be coming back from injury again and Jason Kelce might year-to-year at this point before he retires. Getting depth at guard and finding a center of the future could be a goal for the team this draft.

I think making any pick after the first round would be fair game if it meant getting future starters on the interior. I think Temple’s Matt Hennessy is a logical heir to Jason Kelce’s spot on the roster. He is highly experienced and athletic, albeit a bit small.

Another name to keep an eye on is Calvin Throckmorton out of Oregon. Throckmorton is experienced at multiple spots along the offensive line and has an ideal athletic profile to play guard or center for the Eagles. T

This class is relatively deep at offensive line and if the Eagles want to find future starters, they should have no problem dipping into this group for them.

Next, we have Jeff coming in hot with some criticism over Tee Higgins.

“I don’t get the hype over Higgins. His speed is pedestrian at best and he played against lesser defenses in the ACC.”

There generally seems to be some skepticism around Tee Higgins when it comes to Eagles fans. I get it. He is not a burner like some of his peers in the class and because the Eagles need speed on offense, he sucks.

Obviously this sort of reductionism is not super helpful and his lack of Henry Ruggs level speed didn’t keep him from being a big play threat at Clemson. Not only did he average almost 20 yards per catch and scored on over 22% of his catches (a rate only matched by CeeDee Lamb), but he accounted for a THIRD of Clemson’s receiving touchdowns in 2019. There is nothing that suggests Higgins was anything but a big playmaker.

Higgins is a 6’4”, 215 pound catch point specialist. He has great ball skills and is physical at the point of attack when it comes to bodying cornerbacks. He is not a burner, but he is an agile, smooth athlete with very good route running ability. He can separate from most cornerbacks and out jump the ones he can’t run away from.

Recency bias is everything in draft evaluation. Higgins last two games in college he faced up against Jeff Okudah and Derek Stingley Junior. Jeff Okudah will be a top five pick this year and Stingely is probably the best remaining cornerback in college football. Clemson decided to go to their other talented wide receiver, Justyn Ross, instead of test elite cornerbacks all game. Higgins’ lack of targets made people think he sucks, when in reality you should be wondering why he drew the other teams’ defensive attention instead of Justyn Ross. Just something to think about.

Is Higgins the perfect fit for the Eagles? Not necessarily if they really want a burner. However, Higgins in Philadelphia would make for a dynamic duo and give the Eagles another massive weapon in the red zone.

Another wide receiver question from James:

“I assume it would cost this year’s second round pick, if not more, to trade up and get one of the top three wide receivers. Considering the depth at the position this year, wouldn’t we be better off staying put and selecting two receivers with complementary skill sets?”

I would trade up for Lamb, Ruggs or Jeudy. The Eagles have eight picks this year, which gives them ammo to package picks to move up. Maybe they do not even need to give up their second round pick. A top tier wide receiver in this offense would do a lot more for this team than basically any other positional upgrade.

However, even if Philly trades up for one of the big three, they should still take a second receiver later in the draft. Why not when the class is this deep?

In a slight change of pace, Ryan has a cornerback question:

What are your thoughts on Jeff Gladney from TCU?

Gladney is a very good player who will probably be the third or fourth cornerback taken this year. While his size is not prototypical, he is a quick, smooth cover cornerback and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Teams will love his scrappy playing style and when you factor in his ball skills, it’s hard not to love him.

If somehow Gladney falls out of the first round, he is a logical trade up target for Philly on day two.

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