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The Philadelphia Eagles currently have a big need at wide receiver after losing Jeremy Maclin. Whilst the Eagles do have Zach Ertz and Darren Sproles to utilise in the passing game, they could still do with a better group of receivers. Looking at the Eagles draft needs, I ranked wide receiver as the teams second biggest need heading into the draft.
The Eagles are currently missing two key pieces to their receiving group.
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They are missing a prototypical number 1 receiver as well as a player who can get deep and take the top off a defense. Jeremy Maclin was a perfect fit here because he played both roles very well. There are a number of very good deep threats in this years draft class that I would be happy drafting in the second round – Devin Smith, Rashad Greene, Phillip Dorsett. However, I believe there are only three prototypical number 1 receivers and they will go early.
I think the prototypical number 1 receivers are Kevin White, Amari Cooper and Jaelen Strong. Whilst I would love to draft White or Cooper, they will almost certainly be drafted in the top 10. Strong however could fall to the Eagles at pick number 20.
I have Jaelen Strong graded as my number 3 wide receiver in this years class. I am not going to provide a scouting report on him but here is his scouting report per NFL.com:
I think this scouting report is actually harsh on Strong. It says that he won’t run fast but Strong actually ran a 4.44 40 yard dash at the combine so. The reason I grade Strong so highly as I think he is simply fantastic in contested situations. I grade receivers by a number of individual traits and I gave Strong the 2nd best ball skills in this years class (behind Kevin White).
There is one weakness that I agree with this scouting report, he has issues with separation and route running. This is the reason why he may fall to number 20 and not be a top 10 pick. However, this isn’t a huge problem in the Eagles offense.
Chip Kelly is very good at using his scheme to get his receivers open and get them in space even if they don’t create much separation themselves. Jordan Matthews isn’t great at beating man coverage as his route running isn’t his best asset but he still had a lot of success in this offense. Riley Cooper had a lot of success in 2013 and he struggles to separate.
Another note, Strong’s combine performance is most similar to a receiver the Eagles have just signed – Miles Austin. Using MockDraftable’s position independent scores, we can see that Strong is very similar to Miles Austin when he came into the NFL in the 2006 draft. Seeing as we now have proof that Chip likes receivers with Austin’s size, why would he not want a younger and better version?
I would not be opposed to trading up a couple of spots to get Strong but ideally he will fall to us at 20. Strong would provide the Eagles with a number 1 receiver who is also able to occasionally get behind the defense. I believe Chip Kelly would love to have a player like Strong and would use his strengths very effectively and he could turn into a very good wide receiver here.
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