When you get some time, hang around a few circles where conversations about what the Philadelphia Eagles might do in the approaching NFL Draft occur. It’s hard to find better ways for sports fans to spend their time.
Stop us if you’ve already done so and the following statement sounds familiar. “This is one of the weaker classes we’ve seen in a while”.
There isn’t much of a buzz surrounding the current crop of quarterback prospects. We aren’t seeing the same level of excitement in terms of what we’ve seen in the past whenever the wide receivers are mentioned, but you had to notice two things without them being highlighted if you didn’t notice anything else.
First, we’ve all asked the questions, whether early on or later, about whether or not Philadelphia would draft a quarterback in Round 1 if they found one that they liked. Second, we’ve all probably checked out 20 mock drafts by now, and if you have, you’ve probably noticed that, even though the Birds have drafted a wide receiver in the first round of each of the past two NFL Drafts, some of these draft gurus aren’t sold on the fact that Philly might take another.
If they’re right, there’s one that makes perfect sense, but strangely it’s the guy that no one’s connecting the Eagles with Treylon Burks. Gather around friends. We have much to discuss.
Treylon Burks is the only receiver worth one of the Eagles’ first-round picks.
We’ve identified the top five wide receivers in this draft class. Here they are in order: Drake London (USC), Garrett Wilson (Ohio State), Treylon Burks (Arkansas), Chris Olave (Ohio State), Jameson Williams (Alabama).
Now, the last time the Eagles invested in an Alabama receiver, they wound up with one that they seem to like. No one would enjoy seeing Philly use one of the top 20 picks on the 2022 class’s fifth-best wide receiver though.
London has been mocked to the Eagles so many times that we’ve lost count, but after Nelson Agholor and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, no one’s pumped about another Pac-12 receiver in a midnight green jersey.
Chris Olave has been mocked to the Eagles on more than one occasion as well. It’s happened as far back as a month ago. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. agrees as he sent Olave to the City of Brotherly Love in his most recent mock, one released on March 22nd.
While most would rather see the Birds address their needs on defense (linebacker, outside corner, safety, another edge rusher), they can’t throw out any theories of taking a wide receiver. Heaven knows they need one.
Olave and Burks should both be available when the Eagles are on the clock at 15 and 16. Heck, they may be on the board when Philadelphia selects again at 19. If that’s the case, as tempting as Olave is, it’s Burks that seems to be graded higher by scouts and execs. If both men are on the board, and taking a wide receiver is in play. It should be Burks, not Olave, that winds up being the selection for this Eagles team
Both are talented. Olave hauled in 65 receptions for 936 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021 en route to a second consecutive First-Team All-Big Ten nod and a Second-Team All-American designation. Burks snagged 66 passes for 1,104 yards, and 11 scores. In the end, we give the slight edge in this comparison to Burks for several reasons.
He’s got the bigger body. He’s six-foot-three and 225 pounds compared to Olave who stands at six-foot-one and tips the scales at 189 pounds. He isn’t as fast as Olave, but he gives Jalen Hurts a better target on third down when it’s time to move the chains and in the red zone. Those smaller corners are going to hate to see him.
Last but not least there’s this. Though nothing can be taken away from Olave’s accomplishments in the Big Ten, the best teams in college football play in the Southeastern Conference. Burks did what he did with less help on offense than Olave had, and he did it as a junior (Olave was a senior). Treylon gets an added bonus for that one.
To do what he did versus the gauntlet in the SEC West and claw his way to a First-team All-SEC nod gives us the confidence to say that, while Philadelphia should address other needs in Round 1, if they are thinking of adding another weapon to the passing game, they wouldn’t go wrong with either guy.
Still, for all intents and purposes, it’s Treylon Burks that figures to be most ready to step in and be the guy from day one. He and DeVonta Smith would be a formidable duo for the next ten years if they stay healthy.