Corey Davis is arguably the best wide receiver in the 2017 NFL Draft and, if he is available, the Philadelphia Eagles would be crazy not to take him.
The Philadelphia Eagles still have a lot of holes that need to be filled this offseason. Not only do they lack viable starters at cornerback, but they also need to find a running back and add depth to the defensive line.
The wide receiver position, however, has been greatly improved. Quarterback Carson Wentz was forced to suffer with Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham as his best wideouts in 2016. Luckily the Eagles managed to sign Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency—both of whom are major upgrades at receiver. But does this mean the Eagles should be content with the current state of their receiving corps? Not by a long shot.
While the signings of Jeffery and Smith are great short-term solutions for the Eagles, it is not guaranteed either one of them will remain in Philadelphia beyond the 2017 season. Jeffery is signed to a one-year deal and Smith is essentially signed to a string of one-year deals through the 2019 season. If one (or both) of the receivers flounder next season, the Eagles will be right back at square one.
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With this in mind, it’s hard to imagine the Eagles have eliminated the possibility of drafting a receiver with their No. 14 overall selection. Western Michigan’s Corey Davis, arguably the best receiver prospect available in the draft, has reportedly met with the Eagles for a pre-draft visit and could still be on the board during the team’s selection. Philadelphia is obviously intrigued by Davis and if he is available when the Eagles are on the clock, they would be out of their minds not to pull the trigger.
Davis is one of the most prolific receivers in FBS history. In four seasons at Western Michigan, he caught 332 balls for 5,285 yards (an FBS record) and 52 touchdowns. He also leaves college as the only receiver in FBS history with over 300 receptions, 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in his career.
Here is a scouting report on Davis, courtesy of NFL.com.
"STRENGHTS: Outstanding four-year production. Alpha attitude on the field and not afraid to take on the challenge of heavy target load. Excellent competitiveness. Focuses like a laser when ball is in the air. Tracks the deep ball as well as anyone in college and understands how to stack cornerbacks and keep them on his hip. Has second gear to run under the long ball. Excels in intermediate and deep parts of the field. Route running showed improvement in 2016. Variable route speed creates indecision for defenders. Vertical routes are crisp and create tilt in off-corners and safeties that he is quick to take advantage of. Play speed features access to functional burst. Can defeat inside leverage. A quarterback’s friend who works aggressively back to the ball. Dominates in red zone. High-point catcher who uses well-timed leaps and long arms to win the 50-50 throws. Increases physicality and acceleration out of routes when operating near paydirt.WEAKNESSES: Doesn’t always sell his vertical routes aggressively enough to make cornerbacks open their hips. Drifts, at times, on in-breaking routes, allowing defenders to squeeze the route. Needs to improve quickness into and out of his breaks underneath. Elongated into breaks when working from slot. Has had some issues with focus drops on throws outside of his frame. Had 16 drops over last three years at Western. Free releases into his routes in college will turn into stern press challenges in the pros. Wasn’t asked to do much meaningful blocking."
For a more visual representation of Davis’ skill set, here are some of his top highlights from 2016.
By drafting Corey Davis, the Eagles will have found a long-term answer at wide receiver. While adding the 6’3″, 209-pound wideout would seemingly defeat the purpose of signing Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, it would give the Eagles more stability at receiver (at a cheaper price) down the road. At the moment, that isn’t something Jeffery or Smith can provide.