The Philadelphia Eagles have a major need at wide receiver, and general manager Howie Roseman seems ready to fully turn toward the draft.
By the time the playoffs came last year, with Alshon Jeffery (foot), DeSean Jackson (core muscle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) out, the Philadelphia Eagles had Greg Ward and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside as the top two wide receivers for Carson Wentz. So the position was a big need entering free agency.
Amari Cooper went back to the Dallas Cowboys, as expected, and the last week or so has brought a run of wide receiver signings (Robby Anderson, Emmanuel Sanders, Breshad Perriman, Devin Funchess, Phillip Dorsett, Travis Benjamin). The Eagles have sat out of the proceedings, and general manager Howie Roseman has shed some light on why.
“As we look at our receiving group, I think it’s important that we note that it’s, one, we have a lot of time before we play our first game, “I think, two, also we have some players coming back that we do think highly of and that we do think that can contribute to our football team and have done that and been good players….we also have some guys that are in that rotation that are on our roster that we do think highly of and that we do think will be huge additions and help our team next year.”
So, Roseman is counting on some internal improvement from Ward and Arcega-Whiteside, and in particular better health from Jeffery and Jackson. Jeffery may want to be traded, but big cap hits over the next two years means he will likely remain with the Eagles. As a side note, Agholor signed with the Las Vegas Raiders this week amid the run of wide receiver signings.
Luckily for the Eagles, and any team with a need a wide receiver, this year’s draft class at the position is deep. As many as seven guys could go in the first round, so the Eagles can just sit at No. 21 and get a good player.
There’s a strong case for the Eagles to trade up for a wide receiver, and in a mock draft late last month Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports had them trading to No. 11 for Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb. If they were to look to trade up that far, and he were available, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy (the No. 1 wide receiver on my personal “draft board”) should be a prime trade up target for the Eagles.
If they just stay put at 21, LSU’s Justin Jefferson, Baylor’s Denzel Mims and Clemson’s Tee Higgins are possible targets. In his new mock draft, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports has the Eagles taking Mims at No. 21. Somewhere in between trading into the top-12 or so and standing where they are, Alabama’s Henry Ruggs is also a possible target for the Eagles.
Roseman’s history of aggressiveness puts a trade up in the first round firmly in the crosshairs. It’s also pretty likely he comes out of the proceedings late next month with more than one wide receiver, as the focus clearly shifts from the bottom of the barrel free agents who remain to the plethora of options in the draft.