Shelton Gibson can be the Philadelphia Eagles’ next electric playmaker.
The Philadelphia Eagles selected West Virginia wide receiver Shelton Gibson with the No. 166 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft. While the 22-year-old wideout probably fell a little further in the draft than he had hoped, there’s no denying his ability to make plays.
Gibson, 5’11”, 191 pounds, is a speedy wideout who can handily get behind opposing defenses and beat them deep for massive gains. While Gibson’s 40-yard dash time at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine was disappointing (he only ran 4.50), he made up for it by running a 4.39 at West Virginia’s pro day.
In Gibson’s last two seasons at West Virginia, he caught 80 balls for 1,838 yards and 17 touchdowns. Of all college wideouts with a minimum of 70 receptions, Gibson’s average of 22.6 yards per reception ranks second since 2000.
"He will end up being one of the three fastest players at the combine. He’s got ridiculous speed. He runs by people like they are standing still like DeSean Jackson used to do at Cal."
Eagles fans shouldn’t expect Gibson to have Jackson-like production. Jackson was far more rounded out at this stage. Gibson still needs work creating separation on short and intermediate routes, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be an impactful player at the next level.
On this play, Gibson has his man beat, but a poorly thrown ball causes him to adjust and make a spectacular catch in midair. Gibson is very good at tracking the ball and he shows that here.
While Gibson needs to improve his route running, he can still be an extremely useful player on screens. On this play, he catches a dump-off from his quarterback and shows off his superb agility as he generates extra yardage for the score. Gibson follows his blocks well and runs with patience and poise. Once he finds a seam, he hits a second gear and bursts in for the touchdown.
This is what the Eagles drafted Gibson for. Here, he uses his speed to blaze past two defenders and displays terrific focus as a pursuing defender makes a last-ditch effort on the ball. Despite the defender’s pursuit, Gibson is still able to lock in on the ball and bring it in for an impressive score.
The Eagles haven’t had a legitimate deep threat since DeSean Jackson’s unceremonious departure in 2014. It’s unreasonable to hold Gibson to Jackson’s standards, but Gibson has the potential to become a big-play threat in the NFL. If he’s anything close to half the receiver Jackson was, the Eagles will have gotten a steal in the fifth round.