INDIANAPOLIS — The Eagles’ biggest need this offseason happens to line up with the biggest area of strength in the NFL Draft.
It seems too easy, right?
There’s a reason why just about every mock draft has the Eagles taking a receiver with the 21st pick and while there’s no guarantee they go that way, the thought process checks out.
And as the Eagles are in Indianapolis for the annual scouting combine, they are doing their homework on the top receivers in this class. As of Tuesday, players like Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson had already met with the Eagles and guys like Tee Higgins and KJ Hamler were expecting their meetings with the Birds the following day.
The Eagles will have plenty of options at receiver in April when it comes to the draft. NFL Network analyst and former Eagles scout Daniel Jeremiah raved about this class of receivers last week, saying he thinks there are 27 receivers worthy of grades in the top three rounds.
While it seems like everyone throughout the league is raving about how great this receiver class is, Howie Roseman on Tuesday played coy.
“We don’t have all the information,” Roseman said. “I think we look at all these positions as we go here, the medical’s a big part of it, the interviews are a big part of it. How they learn. The testing is a part of it, so you throw that all together.
“We’ve been in a position where there’s a bunch of guys we like and maybe they’re a medical reject or something happens off the field as we dig as we go through the process. And then all of a sudden, we think we have 12 guys that we like and we’re at 8. Let’s see where all the information comes in and we’ll see where we’re at.”
Maybe Roseman is downplaying how good this class is because he’s been burned before by statements about the greatness of a position class. Remember in 2017, when he called the running back class “historic” and then the Eagles ended up with Donnel Pumphrey in the fourth round?
That’s not the only time the Eagles have gone into a draft heavy at a certain position and not come out with a top guy. And Roseman even cautioned against going into a draft preoccupied with the idea of needing to get a player at a position just because of how good the class is supposed to be.
“I don’t think it’s a mistake not taking guys early in the strength of that draft, because what happens is, guys at other positions fall to you, because of that, and that gives you an opportunity to still get value,” he said.
Fair enough, but the Eagles need a receiver and this class is full of them … maybe don’t overthink it.
The Eagles’ recent history picking receivers won’t exactly instill a lot of confidence. After all, the reason they need to find receivers this offseason is in part because they’ve struggled to draft them.
But the Eagles shouldn’t be thinking about their past failures drafting receivers. Learn from those mistakes? Sure. But they have a real opportunity to find a playmaker in April.
Before testing, it seems like the top three receivers in the class are Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb and Henry Ruggs III. Then there might be a bit of a drop-off to guys like Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Brandon Aiyuk. And Laviska Shenault is talented but has significant injury concerns, which might scare the Eagles off. And then there’s another drop-off to players in the second round.
Here’s how NFL Network’s Bucky Brooks ranks the top five at the position:
1. Jerry Jeudy
2. CeeDee Lamb
3. Henry Ruggs III
4. Laviska Shenault
5. Tee Higgins
The player most Eagles fans seem to be enthralled with is Ruggs and for good reason. Despite his smaller stature (5-11, 188), Ruggs is an absolute burner. The Eagles need speed and Ruggs has it.
His goal for the 40-yard dash is a lofty one.
“I’m trying to hit the lowest ever,” Ruggs said. “So 4.22 or lower.”
If Ruggs runs a 4.22, you can kiss any hope of him being available at 21 good-bye. Heck, that’s probably a pipe dream already.
But after having just five draft picks in 2018 and 2019, the Eagles expect to have 10 picks in April. Plenty of ammunition to trade up for a player they deem worthy.
“So if there is a guy that we thought was an incredibly highly valued, and we could go up and go get him,” Roseman said, “we couldn’t take that off the table.”
In April, the Eagles will have their opportunity to draft a big-time receiver to give Carson Wentz a much-needed weapon for the next several years. Now, they just have to figure out which one.
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