If football doesn’t work out, at least the Eagles will have one helluva 4x100 team.
As if their offseason plan to acquire more speed wasn’t clear before the draft, it became clearer in the mid rounds when they selected a cheetah, a road runner and a McLaren Speedtail.
“We want to be fast,” Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. “Now, we don't want to sacrifice going for speed by giving up talent, but at the same time, this is a speed league.”
Roseman, after the draft concluded on Saturday, revealed a three-part offseason checklist for any player the Eagles were going to bring in. Guess what the first criterion on the list was.
Can he run?
During the three-day draft, the Eagles used most of their 10 selections on guys who can run and they also traded for one. We’ll find out soon enough if they can play, but there’s no questioning their speed. The Eagles have infused the roster with some of the fastest players in the league and a bulk of that will power what they hope will be an explosive offense.
Take a look at the 40 times we have for every player the Eagles acquired in the last three days and how their times stack up against others at their respective positions (via Mockdraftable):
*WR Jalen Reagor: 4.28 (98th percentile)
QB Jalen Hurts: 4.59 (91st)
LB Davion Taylor: 4.49 (95th)
S K’Von Wallace: 4.53 (65th)
OL Jack Driscoll: 5.02 (91st)
WR John Hightower: 4.43 (76th)
LB Shaun Bradley: 4.51 (93rd)
WR Quez Watkins: 4.35 (92nd)
DE Casey Toohill: 4.62 (90th)
WR Marquise Goodwin: 4.27 (98th)
*Reagor ran a disappointing 4.47 at the combine but most people agree he’s significantly faster than that and put up times of 4.22 and 4.28 at a virtual pro day.
It’s also worth pointing out that Goodwin’s 40 time comes from the 2013 combine, so seven years ago. And he played in just nine games last season because of what has been called a “chronic knee” injury. But even if he isn’t running a 4.2 anymore, he’s still fast. This is a former Olympic athlete we’re talking about and the Eagles got him for next to nothing.
“Marquise is one of the fastest men in the world,” Roseman said. “And I mean that when I say that.”
While the Eagles added a few of speedy players on defense, they did a bulk of their work on offense with those four receivers. Adding Reagor, Hightower, Watkins and Goodwin to an offense that already had DeSean Jackson and Miles Sanders is a fun thought. That’s six guys with 4.4 speed or better. Now, expectations for Hightower and Watkins probably need to be tempered because they’re 5th and 6th round picks … but this offense could be fun to watch.
It’s pretty clear that Doug Pederson didn’t want to have a slow and plodding offensive attack anymore. If there was one element the Eagles missed last season after DeSean went down, it was speed.
Look, I mean, we play a ton of teams this past couple of seasons where it was hard to push the ball down the field, whether it was injury or whatever it was,” Pederson said. “This just allows us to, I think, open some things up.
Like everyone else, the Eagles watched the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. But Roseman said they laid out their three-part plan topped with speed the day after the loss to the Seahawks. They knew they needed to get faster.
Of course, speed isn’t the only element that matters. Having a receiver who runs a 4.3 and can’t catch certainly doesn’t help, same goes for a 4.4 linebacker who can’t tackle.
If nothing else, it’ll be fun to watch.
“It would be a great race,” Hightower said. “Only time will be able to tell with that.”
And only time will tell if this infusion of speed will translate to wins. But the Eagles had a goal to get faster and there’s no question they’ve don’t that.
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