Now that NFL Draft week is here, the rumor mill is really heating up. Does a rumor mill actually heat up? Or should I have said churning? Does that turn of phase even make?
Really, who cares. The point is that we’re hearing more and more buzz about what could happen on Thursday night.
The latest information comes from an ESPN article by Todd McShay titled “NFL draft buzz 2022: Everything Todd McShay is hearing on top prospects, QBs, early picks and team strategies.”
Here’s what McShay specifically had to say about the Philadelphia Eagles.
Multiple execs I spoke with think Alabama wideout Jameson Williams is the Philadelphia Eagles’ preference at No. 15. And if not Philly, then the New Orleans Saints could be his floor at No. 16. If another team wants Williams, it will probably have to move up to at least the Baltimore Ravens’ No. 14 slot. Baltimore — which already has eight picks in Rounds 2 to 4 — is always willing to move back.
I really hope this isn’t a smokescreen because Williams would be a very good pick for the Eagles to make at No. 15. We made the case for him when it was revealed that he had a pre-draft visit in Philadelphia:
Coming off a season where he logged 79 receptions for 1,572 yards (19.9 average!) and 15 touchdowns, Williams is a pretty intriguing prospect. He also demonstrated value as a kick returner with 10 tries for 352 yards and two scores. The 21-year-old is clearly a super explosive game-breaker.
Two things working against Williams: 1) he only had 15 combined receptions in 10 games over two years with Ohio State before transferring to Alabama and 2) he’s coming off an ACL injury that he suffered in the national championship game on January 10.
On the former point, Williams was stuck behind some top-notch receiving talent — such as fellow first-round WR prospects Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson — on the Buckeyes’ roster. On the latter point, Williams is said to be “ahead of schedule” in his recovery. Of course, every player in the history of the NFL has always been described that way. But all indications point to Williams suffering a “normal” ACL tear as opposed to a more complicated one like Carson Wentz dealt with in 2017. Or a devastating Achilles injury like Sidney Jones experienced at his pro day.
The Eagles will have an opportunity to better evaluate Williams’ medical situation by bringing him to the NovaCare Complex. Assuming there are no major red flags, they should strongly consider taking him with one of their two first-round picks. That is, assuming he’s even still available to them.
Williams and DeVonta Smith in the same receiver room is an exciting prospect Hard to go wrong loading up on Alabama pass-catchers. In theory, at least, Williams’ vertical threat should open up more room for Smith. Not to mention lessening the boxes that the Eagles’ running game could face.
It wouldn’t be the end of the world by any means but it would be fairly annoying if the Eagles got sniped out of landing Williams with another team trading up to No. 14. The Eagles might be tempted to move up two or three spots to ensure that scenario doesn’t happen. It’s an approach they took last year to ensure they got a fellow Alabama receiver in Smith.
The feeling here is that Williams could be gone before the Eagles have a real chance to get him. The New York Jets seem like real threats to take him at No. 10. The Washington Commanders are another potential landing spot at No. 11. If he clears that range, though? The Birds might really have a shot at an impact player.
An impact player who seems to be recovering well and might return to game action a bit sooner than some expect.
Some other noteworthy tidbits from McShay’s column:
- Popular Eagles first-round target Jordan Davis might be in play for the Seattle Seahawks at No. 9. McShay added: “Everyone I’ve talked to says they’d be shocked if the 340-pounder fell past Baltimore at No. 14.” So, if that info is accurate, he might not make it to the Birds. Or the Eagles might be tempted to move up for him 1) instead of Jamo or 2) if Jamo is no longer on the board. Getting both Davis and Williams might be a pipe dream. But it’s one I want to believe in until we see it isn’t possible.
- McShay says Washington is definitely interested in a wide receiver. He mentioned Chris Olave, who also met with the Eagles for a pre-draft visit, and Drake London as the targets to watch there. No mention of Jamo.
- This bit will be of interest to Eagles fans: “Three prospects I’ve heard who could fall out of Round 1: Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean, Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. Dean is the most likely of the trio to still be a first-rounder.” The Birds might look to trade up from No. 51 on Day 2 if those guys are still on the board early in the second round.