PHILADELPHIA – Wide receiver remains a work of progress for the Philadelphia EaglesDespite heavy investment in this position in recent years, which included two first-round picks devoted to the position over two drafts.
This is a hot topic in City of Brotherly Love as it leads up to this week's celebrations. They will select a receiver for the third consecutive year in the first round. They will make a tough charge to pay for a difference-maker such as Deebo Samuel? What will they do? Jalen Reagor?
Here's what we know.
1. The Eagles believe that they have a No. 1 wideout DeVonta SmithFormer Heisman Trophy recipient, who led the team in receptions (64), receiving yardage (916) and receiving touchdowns (5 as a rookie).
From here, things start to get more complicated. They like Quez WatkinsThe third-year Southern Miss player, and an added Zach PascalA favorite of Nick Sirianni, a coach from their days together as the Indianapolis Colts• To increase the culture and to add grit and product to the group. Greg WardTo add depth and stability, was brought back to the team on a one year deal. J.J. Arcega-WhitesideAfter limited success as wideout, he was moved to receiver and then to tight end in an attempt to find a more suitable role. Watkins is a great player, but Watkins and his support cast around quarterback have downsides. Jalen HurtsFeels confused and needs some support.
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2. After two disappointing seasons, Reagor was selected with the 21st pick in 2020 draft. According to league sources the Eagles would consider any offers for Reagor. It feels like everyone would benefit from a change in scenery. The Eagles will not be counting on Reagor to return in 2022.
3. Although they have taken some moves on the free-agent and trade fronts this offseason, they haven't managed to land anyone other than Pascal. The Eagles were close to acquiring Calvin RidleyThe following are the Atlanta FalconsBefore he was suspended for the season. They made an offer to send a free agent Christian KirkHowever, Jacksonville JaguarsPhilly would not touch the numbers he sent into the stratosphere (4 year, $72 million).
They have been trying to upgrade actively, and this will likely continue throughout the week.
Deebo is a good alternative.
Samuel is the perfect fit for the Eagles offense. Imagine the stress defenses would feel in the ground game with Hurts at center and Samuel moving out of the backfield, across the line or on a jet sweep. Not to mention the yards after the catch Hurts could rack up on quick passes down the seam or over the middle.
But the chances of an Eagles/Samuel alliance don't seem very good. Samuel had just hours earlier told ESPN's Jeff Darlington that he wanted to trade from the Eagles. San Francisco 49ersHowie Roseman, the Eagles general manager, gave a quote that seemed to discredit the notion of Philly following him.
Roseman was asked about Roseman's views on selecting a receiver for this week's draft, given the recent boom in receiver contracts.
“I think every year a position kind of becomes — I like that word, ‘the boom,'” he said last week at his annual pre-draft gathering with the media. It's almost like a new mining town. You have pass-rushers, offensive linemen, now you have wide receivers.
“You need to decide what your priorities are in building your team. You have to decide whether you're going with the flow or if you're going for the best thing for your team. And if you feel there's value in being different, then you should be deciding what the next area is. … However, this doesn't necessarily mean there aren't correct decisions to be made in that situation. However, if everyone is doing the same thing, you are likely to be late.
Samuel would be costly to acquire, and he would not get the deal he wants.Tyreek HillAnd Davante AdamsThey both make about $30 million per year in their new deals. This amount of capital, even for a player such as Samuel, isn't consistent with where the Eagles currently are in their team-building process.
Roseman never said no, but it doesn't feel like this is the path they will choose.
What about the draft, though?
This is where the Eagles can add serious talent without allocating serious dollars to the position like other teams are, keeping with their bob-while-others-weave approach. The Eagles have no first-round picks. The idea of committing a first-round pick (the Eagles have Nos. 15 and 18) to a receiver in the third year is not appealing to the front desk. However, there are only so many blue-chip prospects projected to be available. Jameson WilliamsThey would have to take a player like Corey, who averaged 20 yards per catch and caught 15 touchdowns last year, after he tore his ACL in the College Football Playoff National Championship match.
Multiple executives said Williams was the best. Eagles' preference at No. 15According to ESPN senior draft analyst Todd McShay, it is.
There are still talent opportunities available in Day 1 and Day 2, including Penn State's. Jahan Dotson, Western Michigan's Skyy Moore, Christian WatsonOut of North Dakota State George PickensGeorgia.
Eagles consider themselves a young team still trying to climb. Therefore, they would want a receiver that can climb with them while still being in his prime when they are ready for competition for titles.
It could be a veteran at a good price and age (two of their targets, Ridley & Kirk, are 26 & 25 respectively), but it seems quite likely they'll upgrade this position with a high draft pick later in the week.