The Eagles put themselves in this position. And there’s only one way out.
The cupboard is essentially bare. The Eagles go into the draft with four receivers with more than a game or two of NFL experience under contract:
1.) DeSean Jackson, who is 33 years old, was limited to one healthy game last year and has reached 800 yards once in the last five years.
2.) Alshon Jeffery, who is 30 years old, out with a foot injury until late October at the earliest, coming off the worst season of his career and doesn’t seem to particularly like the quarterback.
3.) J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, a second-year pro who had a miserable rookie season.
4.) Greg Ward, showed late-season promise as a slot with 28 catches in the last six games.
And that’s it.
Maybe the Eagles can coax one more electrifying season out of DeSean. Maybe Alshon can recall his 2017 form with a big second half. Maybe JJAW will surprise us all.
But like Howie Roseman said in January, “Hope is not a strategy.”
The Eagles did the right thing by cutting ties with Nelson Agholor, who needed a change of scenery if he’s going to have any chance of reviving his career.
But by going through the first 3 ½ months of the offseason without picking so much as a practice squad receiver, the Eagles have put themselves in the position where they can’t afford to draft the best available player.
They need to go into the draft with two goals in mind:
1) Draft the best receiver available.
2) Draft the next-best receiver available.
The Eagles pick at No. 21, 53 and 103 next week, and they would be making a grave mistake if they don’t come out of the first three rounds with two wide receivers.
The one thing we can all agree on about Roseman is that he's always aggressive, and he has to be, since it’s unlikely an elite game-changing receiver will be sitting there at 21.
If the first round starts out like we expect, Roseman owes it to Carson Wentz and the entire franchise to do everything he can to get out of 21 and move up to land Justin Jefferson or another top WR if he starts slipping.
If he can’t, then he’s got to try and trade down out of 21 and get himself a pick and land two receivers out of that next group – potentially guys like Tee Higgins, Jalen Reagor, K.J. Hamler, Laviska Shenault Jr. and Brandon Aiyuk.
If Howie gets stuck at 21 – which is possible, because there’s not a lot of motivation for teams to get from the mid 20s to early 30s down to 21 – then go best available with someone like Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, Alabama safety Xavier McKinney or Penn State edge rusher Yetur Gross-Matos.
Then hit WR at 53 and 103.
Best-available is a sound philosophy under normal circumstances. But these aren’t normal circumstances.
The Eagles invested a ton of money and draft picks on a quarterback who when healthy has shown signs of being a generational player.
If that’s going to happen, he needs a generational player or two to throw the football to.
And next week will be the Eagles’ best chance ever to get them.
They have no choice.
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