Eagles

NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3

NFL Draft 2020: Some WRs Eagles could target on Day 3

The odds of finding a difference maker at wide receiver on Day 3 aren’t great. 

But it can happen.

And this draft is unique because it’s so deep up top. That’ll push guys who would normally be 1st- rounders into the 2nd round, which will push 2nd rounders until the 3rd and so on. 

So there is a chance of finding good value on Day 3, when the fourth through seventh rounds will be held.

The Eagles haven’t found many functional receivers after the third round, but Jason Avant was a fourth-rounder in 2006, Calvin Williams a 5th-rounder in 1990 and of course Harold Carmichael was a 7th-rounder in 1971 and goes into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this fall.

Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown, Marques Colston, Pierre Garcon and Julian Edelman were all drafted in the fourth round or later.

And several Hall of Famer wideouts – Steve Largent, Charlie Joiner, Don Maynard and Kutztown’s Andre Reed – were taken in the fourth round or later.

So were Harold Jackson, Drew Hill and John Stallworth.

The Eagles currently have three picks in the fourth round – No. 127, 145 and 146 overall – along with one each in the fifth (168) and sixth (190) rounds.

The odds aren’t great. But the Eagles will have some intriguing options at wide receiver prospects when Day 3 of the draft rolls around.

Here are some of them:

Collin Johnson, Texas

Another prospect whose father was in the NFL. His dad, Johnnie, spent 10 years as a cornerback with the Rams and had 22 interceptions. Collin Johnson has crazy size at 6-6, 220, and good hands but has below-average speed. He may be strictly a jump-ball guy or short-yardage zone guy in the NFL.

Devin Duvernay, Texas

After three lackluster seasons, exploded for 106 catches, nearly 1,400 yards and 9 TDs as a senior. Only 5-11, 200 but terrific hands and speed and physical after the catch. Needs work on route running and his breaks and might take some time to develop but has the tools.

Isaiah Hodgins, Oregon State

Another son of an NFL player - fullback James Hodgins - the younger Hodgins entered the draft after a breakthrough junior year with 86-for-1,171 and 13 TDs. Has very good size at 6-4, 210 and is a technically sound and polished player, just doesn’t have the speed to match. Only six WRs ran slower than Hodgins’ 4.61 at the Combine.

John Hightower, Boise State

The All-American intermediate hurdler certainly has the wheels. Ran 4.43 at the Combine, so speed isn’t an issue. His size and strength are an issue. Hightower doesn’t project as a starting NFL receiver but could be an interesting guy as a returner, third or fourth receiver and gadget guy.

Bryan Edwards, South Carolina

Four-year starter whose production was unspectacular but steady - between 590 and 846 yards all four years. Looks the part at 6-3, 210 but prone to drops and a below average route runner. 

Antonio Gibson, Memphis

After playing two years of JUCO, had only one season as a full-time player at Memphis and caught just 38 passes, although he did average a legit 19.3 yards per catch and added 369 yards on 33 rushing attempts, highest in college football last year with a minimum of 30 carries. Had 12 TDs on just 71 touches. Intriguing long-range prospect who may have only begun scratching the surface of his ability.

Quartney Davis, Texas A&M

Sure-handed but inexperienced and unpolished prospect who turned pro after his junior year despite never having more than 616 yards in a season. Davis's position coach during his 2017 red-shirt freshman year at A&M was current Eagles receivers coach Aaron Moorehead.

Jauan Jennings, Tennessee

Big, strong slot receiver at 6-3, 215 who's able to use savvy and toughness to make some plays but is also one of the slowest receivers to test at the Combine. His 4.72 was second-slowest of the 45 WR prospects in Indy.

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Eagles' coaches to continue working at home despite NFL policy change

Eagles' coaches to continue working at home despite NFL policy change

In a bit of a surprising move, the Eagles have decided to keep their coaching staff sequestered at home, despite an NFL policy that would allow them to return to work at the NovaCare Complex on Friday.

The NFL is allowing coaches — but not players — to work at team facilities starting Friday, as long as local and state guidelines allow it.

But Doug Pederson is apparently so happy with the way virtual sessions between the coaches and players have gone over the past several weeks that he doesn't see a reason to bring his coaches into the building yet.

"The virtual collaboration over the past three months has proven that the contributions and value of our employees is not dependent upon their physical presence at the facility," the team said in a statement.

Many Eagles assistants don't live in Philadelphia year-round and the new coaches on Pederson's staff haven't had the chance to look for homes yet.

Because players aren't allowed into the complex — other than injured or rehabbing players — it wouldn't really change the way the Eagles are holding virtual OTA sessions.

The current set of offseason workouts is scheduled to end on June 25, and training camp is scheduled to begin about a month later.

The Eagles will be opening the NovaCare Complex and the Linc to a limited number of employees next week.  

"Over the last 12 weeks, our organization has remained connected, united and focused on our preparations for the upcoming season," the Eagles said in an unattributed statement. 

"We have been planning for and will begin a phased approach of gradually returning a limited number of employees to the NovaCare Complex and Lincoln Financial Field beginning Monday in compliance with the state and local guidelines, NFL policies and in consultation with medical experts."

The Eagles closed the NovaCare Complex on March 13 and players and coaches have been meeting virtually since. 

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Drew Brees fumble highlights how much Carson Wentz nailed it

Drew Brees fumble highlights how much Carson Wentz nailed it

As we watch Drew Brees backpedal, apologize and now try to smooth things over with his teammates and his city, one thing is becoming clear. 

Carson Wentz nailed it. The first time. 

Wentz last Friday became one of the first high-profile white athletes in America to speak out about the killing of George Floyd. He stopped short of specifically calling out police brutality but he condemned “institutional racism” and his approach was one of understanding and empathy. It was honest, it was refreshing and it was unifying. 

Then there’s what Brees said. 

Brees in an interview on Wednesday reiterated his response from 2016 about the peaceful protests against police brutality and racial injustice once held by NFL players during the national anthem. Brees said he will “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” 

For Brees’s black teammates who have been fighting for racial equality, and for those affected by racial injustice, those words hurt. Not just because Brees completely missed the point of those protests but because of his complete lack of awareness. It hurt more because it came from someone they thought was an ally. 

Malcolm Jenkins on Thursday said he had spoken to Brees but he still posted his emotional responses to those comments. A strained Jenkins choked back tears as he talked about how much the words from Brees pained him. 

One of the big problems for Jenkins was the loss of trust. In an emotionally charged week, during which Jenkins has been trying to effect real change, someone he considered to be an ally, a friend, a brother, completely discounted the cause. 

To Brees’s credit, he did apologize on Thursday morning. While many will argue that his apology fell short in many areas, it’s at least a start to his rebuilding trust in the locker room and in New Orleans, where crowds of protesters on Wednesday chanted “F— Drew Brees!” Some will accept his apology, some will want to see more and some never will. 

For his sake and for the sake of his teammates, I hope the apology wasn’t hollow. I hope Brees learns why his words hurt so many. 

It’s hard to imagine Brees watching those videos of Jenkins and not wanting to rectify the situation. Imagine causing so much pain to someone you’re supposed to care about. 

While plenty of Saints players have spoken out against their quarterback’s words this week, many Eagles players have gained even more respect for their quarterback. DeSean Jackson earlier this week said his white teammates like Wentz, Zach Ertz and Jason Kelce stepped up. In that moment, Wentz wasn’t just a leader of a football team; he was a leader of the community. 

This isn’t about football right now. But eventually, there will be NFL games and it’s fair to wonder how these parallel situations will play out short-term and long-term in their respective cities. One team seems to be weaker because of this and one team seems to be stronger. 

While Brees caused what might be irreparable damage to the brotherhood of his football team and to his legacy in New Orleans, Wentz took a huge step forward as a leader of his locker room and the community. 

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