NFL DRAFT

Are Eagles in play for late-rising WR in first round?

NFL DRAFT

The top dozen or so players in this month's NFL Draft have remained relatively solid, with a little reshuffling, for the past couple months.

But as we near April 29 and more noise about teams' preferences starts to trickle out, we can see some late-rising prospects and some unexpected falls. Nothing is more intriguing than a late riser.

Could the Eagles be interested in one very unexpected late-rising playmaker? Never say never

On the 2 for 1 Draft podcast this week, NFL Network insider Peter Schrager was discussing what he's heard from people around the league with regards to wide receivers when he brought up a couple of very interesting nuggets about the position.

Here's one:

"I don't think it's a slam dunk that [Jaylen] Waddle or [Devonta] Smith get picked in the Top 10."

That's not totally crazy, but it would be surprising - and great for the Eagles - if both Alabama wideouts lasted through the Top 10. That would guarantee the Birds a shot at one, if general manager Howie Roseman wants to try and support Jalen Hurts with talent on the outside.

But here's a super interesting nugget that basically no one has seen coming:

"Kadarius Toney, I think that guy might go Top 15. I think he might even go before [Devonta] Smith. I mean, the stuff you're hearing about him out of Florida, he's so tough after the tackle, and you can use him in that Deebo Samuel way."

Well then! Top 15 is officially Eagles range, so we need to pay attention here. 

 

Toney has long been considered a late first round pick, because his college production isn't crazy and his size (5-11, 194) is a little bit of a question mark. He caught 70 passes for 984 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2020, far and away his most productive season in college.

If the Eagles don't like the way the draft falls in the Top 10 and consider trading back again, would they think about dropping a few spots and picking a guy like Toney? Say, maybe down to 15 with the Patriots if Trey Lance is still on the board? Toney would be such a fascinating - and likely polarizing - pick: the upside is huge, but there are definite unknowns about his translation in the NFL.

However, you know who else wasn't expected to go as high as he did? Jalen Reagor, just one year ago. And, for whatever it's worth, Roseman went to school at Florida, where Toney played his college ball.

Now, as Crossing Broad's Kevin Kinkead noted this week, in the last five seasons, the Eagles have taken just one SEC player with their top three picks. So in that sense it would take a bit of a deviation from the norm.

But in terms of trying to outsmart conventional wisdom and zig when the rest of the league's draft boards zag? It would be right in line with Roseman's history.

I'm not saying it's anything approaching likely, but don't rule it out, either. With Roseman and the Eagles, you simply never know.

Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast:

Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube