The Philadelphia Eagles are in a good spot in terms of roster talent. They are neither in a rebuilding mode nor in a closing Super-Bowl window. Luckily, they don’t have a lot of impending free agents or glaring needs and they can use their draft picks to add the best prospect available, regardless of position.
Davante Adams is one of those potential draft picks that present great value while covering a team need. Even though safety and defense is the most pressing issue for the Eagles, the acquisition of a wide receiver is high on the priority list. Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper might not return for the 2014 NFL season and Jason Avant is in the wrong side of 30.
Adams is 21 years old and played college football from 2011 to 2013 with the Fresno State Bulldogs. He was the number one target of quarterback Derek Carr, who is considered a top-10 pick in the upcoming draft. After redshirting in 2011, Adams amassed an amazing 3,030 yards and 38 touchdowns in two seasons.
In the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine, Adams was measured at 6′ 1″ and 215 pounds. His 9-inch hands rank below the average size for wide receivers, but his arms extend more than 32.5 inches from his body (for measurements, check here).
Before the scouting combine, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report ranked Adams the ninth overall receiver in the 2014 NFL Draft:
There will be questions about whether Adams is a system wide receiver, or if quarterback Derek Carr made him look better than he is. But the film doesn’t lie, and it shows Adams as being a high-talent player with NFL readiness. In a draft class with less top-end talent, he’d rank much higher than this.
Patrick Karraker of RantSports wrote in his scouting report:
He’s big and physical and can make tough catches both near the sideline and in the end zone. He’s already a very disciplined route runner and knows how to use his leverage and manage his feet so that he stays in bounds on quick plays near the sideline. And he’s exceptionally athletic with superior jumping ability.
And Peter Smith of With The First Pick described Adams as:
…an intriguing prospect because of his strength and ability to go up and catch the football. He is also able to work underneath and create yards after the catch, but he is still a work in progress when it comes to the technical aspects of the game. His raw ability to make plays down the field could allow him to make an early impact in the NFL as he develops.
Most mock drafts had Adams as a late second- to third-round pick. However, after a strong showing at the scouting combine, the stock of the young receiver might go up. Here are Adams’ workout numbers:
– 40-Yard Dash: 4.56 seconds
– Bench Press: 14 reps
– Vertical Jump: 39.5″
– Broad Jump: 123″
– Three-Cone Drill: 6.82 seconds
– 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.30 seconds
Adams was among the best in the jumps and in the three-cone drill. He had a decent but not impressive 40-yard dash and showed average upper-body strength with his bench press. He wasn’t fast in the shuttle, but was faster than Sammy Watkins, who is considered the best wideout prospect of the 2014 NFL Draft.
How does Adams fit in the Philadelphia Eagles? With a decent combination of size and speed, he is the kind of balanced receiver the Eagles miss. He provides a big red-zone target, but he can create separation too when given space.
Most impressively, Adams goes up for the ball like few receivers do – his 39.5-inch jump is a proof of that. He is also a great route runner, despite his young age. Additionally, he does a very good job as a blocker and that can be very helpful to a team like the Eagles.
Where Adams struggles is catching the ball. Hand size has probably something to do with this, but it seems more like a concentration problem. On the other hand, this is something that he can improve with the right coaching. He is only 21, so he can further refine his catching technique and improve his game.
If the Eagles manage to address the safety and the outside linebacker position in free agency and the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft, then adding a wide receiver will be next. It’s a deep wide receiver class and Adams will probably be available for Philadelphia’s 2nd-round pick. Even if both Maclin and Cooper are re-signed, Adams can still become an asset for the Birds with his great athletic skills.