The Eagles are rumored to be interested in selecting a wide receiver in the first round, but taking one would be a terrible decision for the organization.
The Philadelphia Eagles‘ receiving core was awful last season. Nelson Agholor seemed to have butter for hands. Dorial Green-Beckham always seemed to be giving minimal effort. Jordan Matthews was underwhelming. It was a bad year for the position group, but it led to some learning opportunities.
Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman and company certainly learned the current players on the roster simply aren’t good enough. With that thought in mind, they went out and gave contracts to both Alshon Jeffery and the speedy Torrey Smith. With the draft being days away, the Eagles are still being linked to several potential first-round receivers.
Once the 14th pick rolls around, John Ross, Corey Davis, and Mike Williams may all still be available. They all have also been linked to the Eagles in various mock drafts, but if the Eagles were to select any one of them, it would affect more than just the team roster. Adding a wide receiver that early could very easily send the Eagles into a downward spiral.
The impact on taking a receiver too early:
Let’s start with Jeffery. He’s expected to be the go to guy next season. He signed a one-year deal, and his entire 2017 season will serve as an audition. Drafting a receiver creates questions about whether or not keeping him in Philly is part of the thought process for the long-term. The Eagles definitely believe he’s the number one. Yes, they want to create competition, but what they don’t want to do is create a distraction.
Jeffery and Smith could both leave next off-season, but at the same time, if they perform at a high level, there’s a great chance the Eagles retain them. Teams, typically, don’t sign free agents with the expectation that they’ll leave the following year. It’s fair to say the Eagles’ brass wants them around for quite some time. With that being said, is it necessary to take a receiver early?
Then, there’s the question about what to do with Matthews. He’s been a great receiver for the Eagles. In his worst season, he had 67 catches, 804 yards and 3 touchdowns. Last season, quarterback Carson Wentz developed a great relationship with him. There were even reports of the two getting a cabin to work together in the off-season.
Speaking of Wentz, it has to be mentioned that keeping him in an environment that’s consistent is important. Constant changes to the depth chart could be damaging for his development. Each decision that’s made about improving the offense has to be made with that thought in mind.
The Bottom Line:
It’s becoming a very likely scenario that the Eagles may take a wide receiver early, but why take that risk? Why not take care of other needs and slow your franchise quarterback’s growth process? We, as fans, can get real excited about skill players, but at pick 14, Philadelphia has to many other needs, especially on defense, to take a receiver early. It’s simply not worth it
Following the upgrade during free agency, the receiving core is solid right now. There’s no need to explore a receiver early. All the Eagles need to do is focus on depth, and that isn’t typically isn’t something teams use a first round pick for.
We should all hope the Eagles go with another option at pick 14. The 2017 NFL Draft is days away.