Mike Mulhern

2020 NFL draft profile: Trevon Diggs could become a star corner in the NFL

2020 NFL draft profile: Trevon Diggs could become a star corner in the NFL

Alabama cornerback Trevon Diggs certainly has the profile of someone who figures to be a star at the next level. He’s an elite athlete with the bloodlines and college production to match. Diggs hopes to follow in the footsteps of his older brother Stefon, a Pro Bowl wide receiver now on the Bills. In fact, the younger Diggs started his career with the Crimson Tide as a wideout, before making the switch to defense full-time as a sophomore. 

A former five-star recruit coming out of high school, Diggs earned second-team All-SEC honors in his senior season. He picked off three passes on the season, but was picked on by LSU and presumptive first overall pick Joe Burrow in Bama’s loss to the eventual national champions.

Diggs did not do any testing at the combine in Indy but likely would have been among the most athletic. While Nick Saban’s football factory has produced endless first-round picks, the unknown measurables could cause Diggs to drop to Day 2.

Current roster at CB: Entering the offseason, you could argue corner was a bigger need for the Eagles than any position on the roster, receiver included. They’ve upgraded big time with the trade and subsequent contract extension for Darius Slay. Swapping a third and fifth rounder for the Pro Bowler reunites Slay with Jim Schwartz and finally gives the Birds’ defensive coordinator a No. 1 corner. As for who else starts outside, it appears it’s Avonte Maddox’s job to lose, but he’ll have competition from Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas. That’s assuming both are still on the roster come the season opener. Nickell Robey-Coleman was added in free agency to bolster the nickel position and figures to have the inside track over Cre’Von LeBlanc.

How he would fit: The hope would be that Diggs would come in Day 1 and start opposite Slay, finally giving the Eagles elite, athletic cornerback play. However, having already added a pair of veteran corners this offseason, it’s possible Howie Roseman thinks his work at the position is done. It doesn’t seem likely the Eagles would simply pull the trigger on Diggs at 21 without at least exploring the possibility of moving down to recoup some picks first. 

Eagles history at drafting CB: Not coincidentally, the Eagles have a need at the position because of their struggles in finding corners every April. They’ve spent a plethora of premium picks trying to address their issues. Eric Rowe (second round in 2015), Jones (second round in 2017) and Douglas (third round in 2017) all failed to fill the void. The only capable starter they’ve found via the draft at the position, Jalen Mills (seventh round in 2016), will make the move to safety this season.

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2020 NFL draft profile: WR Jalen Reagor comes with an intriguing set of skills

2020 NFL draft profile: WR Jalen Reagor comes with an intriguing set of skills

For the next few weeks before the NFL Draft on April 23-25, we’ll be looking at some viable options for the Eagles and the No. 21 pick. 

By the time Howie Roseman phones in the 21st pick from the confines of his own home on April 23, there’s a good chance the top four receivers will have already come off the board.

So who offers the most potential after Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III and Justin Jefferson? Enter TCU’s Jalen Reagor. His electric, yet erratic tape matches up with the explosion (42-inch vertical, 138-inch broad jump) he displayed at the combine. But the speed you see on the field runs counter to his disappointing 4.47 in the 40-yard dash, especially after he boasted that he would be the fastest man in Indy. Still, he has a knack for making big plays with the ball in his hands, although securing the catch has been his bugaboo (9 drops in 2019). Reagor is a force in the open field, and offers added value in the return game, running back a pair of punts last season.

The big question is if his massive upside can outweigh the inconsistency. Reagor (5-foot-11, 206 pounds) was held to 15 or fewer yards in four games last season, though his stat line no doubt suffered because of poor quarterback play. He saw a precipitous drop in production overall in 2019, managing just 43 catches for 611 yards and 5 scores, nearly half of his output from the previous season (72/1,061/9).

He has NFL bloodlines and familiarity with the organization, as the son of former Eagles defensive tackle Montae Reagor.

Current roster at WR: Plain and simple, the Eagles need weapons to grow with Carson Wentz. While JJ Arcega-Whiteside shouldn’t be written off entirely, they can’t afford to come away empty-handed in back-to-back drafts this flush with talent at receiver. What’s worse, they’re devoting $24 million in cap space to a pair of wideouts in DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery who are on the downside of their careers and couldn’t stay on the field in 2019. An infusion of youth and big-play potential is a necessity.

How he would fit: Pairing Reagor with a healthy (fingers crossed) Jackson on the outside would put opposing defenses in a bind. But the chances of Reagor being a plug-and-play starter from the jump seem slim, especially considering the condensed offseason he’ll likely be facing. There is no grace period anymore for a rookie wideout, especially on a team retooling (not rebuilding) in the hopes of getting its hands on another Lombardi Trophy. Reagor is a project who profiles more as a gadget guy than a player who could serve as the focal point of your passing attack. That should give the Eagles plenty of pause with the 21st pick. If he manages to still be on the board in Round 2, that’s a different story.

Eagles history at WR in draft: Their struggles drafting wideouts of late are well documented. As is the recent and sordid past of receivers coming out of the pass-happy Big 12. Guys like Justin Blackmon, Tavon Austin, Josh Doctson, Kendall Wright and Corey Coleman were picked based on measurables and potential but turned into first-round flameouts. However, the last time the Eagles turned to the Big 12 for a wideout in the opening round they nabbed Jeremy Maclin out of Missouri with the 19th pick in 2009. I think they’d sign up for that level of success this time around.

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More draft profiles 

2020 NFL draft profile: Speedy Ruggs III could be perfect for the Eagles

2020 NFL draft profile: Justin Jefferson at 21 for Eagles?

The complete timeline of Carson Wentz vs. Dak Prescott

The complete timeline of Carson Wentz vs. Dak Prescott

Dak or Wentz? Ask that question in these parts and It’ll be near-unanimous for the big kid from North Dakota, Carson Wentz. But down in Dallas? You’d simply get Dakota, as in Rayne Dakota “Dak” Prescott. Sunday marks the seventh time the two quarterbacks from the class of 2016 will square off against one another. Here’s a look back at each matchup. 

Oct. 30, 2016: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

Two rookie quarterbacks taking the league by storm squared off for the first time under the bright lights of Sunday Night Football. Carson and company led 23-13 early in the fourth quarter when Doug Pederson called on another rookie, Wendell Smallwood, to get his first (and only) carry of the game. Smallwood promptly fumbled and Dallas recovered, igniting the Cowboys' comeback. Dak threw a game-tying touchdown to Dez Bryant, then took the ball in overtime and marched Dallas down the field, finding Jason Witten for a 5-yard score to end it. The loss sent the Eagles’ season into a tailspin, as they lost six of their next seven games. 

Jan. 1, 2017: Eagles 27, Cowboys 13

The two teams closed out the regular season and rang in the New Year in South Philly. Wentz secured his first win over Dallas but Dak played just two series as the 13-win Cowboys rested their starters ahead of the playoffs. Dak was relieved by Tony Romo, who was then relieved by Mark Sanchez. Meanwhile, we got a look at just how special the Wentz-to-Zach Ertz connection would become, as the tight end hauled in 13 grabs for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Bonus points to anyone not named Reuben Frank who can name the Eagle that scored the final touchdown that day (answer later).

Nov. 19, 2017: Eagles 37, Cowboys 9

Judging by the final score, you wouldn’t know the Eagles actually trailed 9-7 at halftime before scoring 30 unanswered points in the second half. Without the suspended Ezekiel Elliott, Dak posted a 30.4 passer rating and turned the ball over three times in one of his worst career performances. The “Wentz Wagon” got rolling in the second half, leading touchdown drives on the Eagles' first three possessions. It moved the Birds to 9-1 on the season en route to a Super Bowl LII title.

Wentz, of course, missed the week 17 matchup, which the Cowboys won 7-0 in a game that deserves no further words. 

Nov. 11, 2018: Cowboys 27, Eagles 20

The Cowboys came to the Linc just about left for dead at 3-5 on the season. But the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles were unable to bury their rivals. An early interception by Wentz put the Birds in a hole before they rallied in the second half. Trailing by seven with under 5:00 to play, Wentz moved the ball into Dallas territory twice, but couldn’t come up with the tying score, turning the ball over on downs once and then seeing the game clock expire as they failed to lateral their way into the endzone.

Dak threw a pair of TDs, including one to Elliott, who totaled 187 yards from scrimmage and a pair of scores. It was just the second game Amari Cooper (75 yards receiving) played for the Cowboys and it was the Eagles debut of Golden Tate (19 yards receiving).

Dec. 9, 2018: Cowboys 29, Eagles 23 (OT)

The same exact score and the same exact overtime script as the first ever meeting between the two QBs. Wentz watched helplessly from the sidelines once again as Dallas won the coin toss (Dak knew to say “receive” back then) and drove down the field for the win in OT. Rasul Douglas nearly broke up the game-winning TD, but the ball deflected perfectly to Cooper, who walked into the endzone for his third score of the day. Dak racked up 455 yards through the air with 217 of those going to Cooper. As has become the norm for the Eagles of late, Wentz weathered a miserable first half to rally the Birds. His final pass of the game was a touchdown to Darren Sproles that tied the score at 23 with under two minutes to play. Wentz never touched the ball again that day or that season. He was shut down with a back fracture the following week. 

Oct. 20, 2019: Cowboys 37, Eagles 10

One of the most lopsided losses of Carson’s career. The Eagles did themselves no favors, fumbling on their first two possessions and falling behind 14-0 down in Big D. Wentz turned the ball over three times in total as the 'Boys took sole possession of first place. This game might be most remembered for Nelson Agholor’s effort on a deep ball in the second half. Wentz said afterwards he thought it was a touchdown when it left his hands, but Agholor never extended his arms to haul it in. Dak accounted for one touchdown through the air and one on the ground. Elliott once again ran roughshod over the Eagles' D, racking up 111 yards and a TD. That game is the reason the Cowboys currently hold the tiebreaker over the Eagles. 

Dak holds a 4-2 series edge, but a win Sunday would put Wentz in the driver’s seat for the division crown. 

By the way, it was Terrell Watson who scored the final TD on January 1, 2017 for the Eagles. It was the only game he ever played in midnight green.

Mike Mulhern is the producer of Eagles Pregame and Postgame Live.

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