Will the Philadelphia Eagles hit on a Pac-12 receiver?
Eagles fans are still haunted by the last Pac-12 wide receiver they selected. However, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was not supposed to be a Day 2 pick.
USC receivers have generally been more successful. Amon Ra St. Brown, Michael Pittman Jr., Juju Smith-Schuster, and Robert Woods are just a few names who donned the cardinal and gold in college. Nelson Agholor may have had his fair share of mistakes in Philadelphia but he was also a crucial part of the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
Drake London feels like the best bet at the position in this draft. There’s a good chance he goes before pick 15 but a lot of teams may have different guys at ‘WR1’. If you’re worried about the competition level, one of his best games of the 2021 season came against Notre Dame (15 catches, 171 yards, four touchdowns).
His football IQ was on full display with his initial stem into routes, recognition of voids in zone coverage, ability to sink his hips at the top of the route, and ability to come back to the football. The separation downfield has been a concern but we aren’t too worried.
For a guy of his stature (six-foot-three, 220 pounds), he can separate enough at the top of the route and position his body to win the back-shoulder fade. Separation isn’t just speed but also technique and London has it.
Analysts voiced the same concerns about DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans, Mike Williams, and more. Those guys were expected to just be contested-catch wideouts due to their lack of separation. They turned out just fine and can be relied upon to get free on vertical routes. Speaking of contested catches, London led the country in that category in 2021 despite playing just eight games.
His ability to fight for position with the correct fundamentals standouts both downfield and in the quick game on slants when a third-down conversion is needed. One aspect of his game that shouldn’t be overlooked is his YAC ability as he refuses to go down. London is the boundary X that Philadelphia needs with DeVonta Smith free to play more at the Z.