2020 NFL Draft: Ranking the wide receivers the Eagles should target in the draft

Wide receiver is clearly the position of need for the Philadelphia Eagles as the 2020 NFL Draft approaches, as the front office decided to ignore the position heading into free agency. Hard the blame the Eagles for taking that approach, though, considering the free agent crop of wide receivers didn’t have any difference makers once Amari Cooper returned to the Dallas Cowboys and the 2020 draft class is one of the deepest at the position in years. 

Philadelphia currently has eight picks heading into the draft: one in each of the first three rounds (No. 21, No. 53, No. 103), three in the fourth round (No. 127, No. 145, No. 146), one in the fifth (No. 168), and one in the sixth (No. 190). It’s a good bet the Eagles will select at least one wide receiver in this draft, a position where they need to inject some youth after the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson — who are owed a combined $24,055,000 this season. 

The cupboard isn’t bare for Philadelphia at wide receiver. The Eagles did draft J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in the second round of last year’s draft and Greg Ward emerged as a contributor in the slot, but Philadelphia does not have an downfield threat outside of Jackson. Speed is the name of the game in today’s NFL and the Eagles have made a commitment to getting faster at multiple positions this offseason.

The next step for Philadelphia is to embrace this philosophy at wide receiver and there are plenty of field-stretching wide receivers for the Eagles to select in this draft. Below are speed wide receiver options for the Eagles, ranking the players they can take by round in the draft. 

Philadelphia can easily select two of these wideouts in this draft and immensely improve at the position, giving Carson Wentz the receivers he needs to develop with over the next several years. 

The draft’s almost here, so who are the top TE and OL prospects? Pete Prisco joins Will Brinson to break it all down on the Pick Six Podcast; listen below and be sure to subscribe for daily NFL goodness.

Round 1

Henry Ruggs (Alabama)

2019 stats: 40 catches, 746 yards (18.7 YPC), 7 TD

If the Eagles are targeting a downfield receiver in this draft, Ruggs is the best of the bunch. His ability to turn a slant into a big gain is what any quarterback covets, which is exactly what the Eagles offense needs to add: more explosiveness. The Eagles won’t need to give Ruggs a lot of targets as he will make an impact with his filed-stretching capabilities — he’s the cream of the crop. 

Ruggs is projected to be a top 12 pick, so the Eagles would have to give up at least three picks (a first, third, and one of their fourths) and a player to move up to No. 10 from No. 21 to put themselves in position to draft him. Trading up to No. 12 may not help Philadelphia grab Ruggs either, unless it gives up a 2021 second-round pick in any deal to move into the top 12. 

CeeDee Lamb (Oklahoma)

2019 stats: 62 catches, 1,327 yards (21.4 YPC), 14 TD

Lamb, the second of the “big three” wideouts, averaged 21.4 yards per catch at Oklahoma last season. He uses his speed to create separation from the defender on all routes, even though he needs work in that area. Lamb has excellent awareness in working back to throws and is a natural glider, an ideal fit in the Eagles offense. 

Whether Lamb has the body type to be a No. 1 wideout is the biggest question as he transitions to the next level. The Eagles will have to trade into the top 12 to draft him as well. That’s a steep price. 

Tee Higgins (Clemson)

2019 stats: 59 catches, 1,167 yards (19.8 YPC), 13 TD

Good news for the Eagles: They won’t have to trade up to select Higgins, who should comfortably be on the board at No. 21. Philadelphia doesn’t need to actually select Higgins at No. 21 either, as it can afford to trade down and acquire more picks. 

Higgins would be an nice fit as an “above the rim” wideout, but the Eagles have that in Jeffery and Arcega-Whiteside. Where Higgins distances himself is using his long strides to create separation on deep post and fly routes, using his body frame to win against  defensive backs. 

Drafting Higgins immediately makes the Eagles better, even if he isn’t the ideal downfield threat like they have with Jackson. 

Rounds 1-2

Jalen Reagor (TCU)

2019 stats: 43 catches, 611 yards (14.2 YPC), 5 TD

Reagor gets the edge over Brandan Aiyuk because of Aiyuk having core muscle surgery prior to the draft. There’s a chance Reagor goes at the tail end of Round 1, but also can be selected toward the beginning of Round 2. If the Eagles trade down, Reagor would be the best selection as a downfield receiver. 

Getting Reagor a quarterback who can throw him the ball downfield will be huge, as Reagor can use his blazing speed to make an impact as a “Y” receiver. Fortunately, Philadelphia has a top 10 quarterback in Wentz who can allow Reagor to stretch the field, and he can learn from one of the game’s best in Jackson. 

Reagor needs work on his ball skills, but the home-run potential is hard to ignore. Trading down from No. 21 to the back of the first round and getting an extra third-round pick puts the Eagles in prime position to get him. 

Round 2

Brandan Aiyuk (Arizona State)

2019 stats: 65 catches, 1,192 yards (18.3 YPC), 8 TD

Aiyuk, who was called the YAK (Yards After King) at Arizona State, was considered a first-round talent before core muscle surgery caused him to slip on the draft board. Aiyuk is a natural for the slot with his ability to run fast routes and possessing the instincts of a running back after the catch. He also has the quickness to gain separation from a defender early, even if his downfield speed is lacking. 

Aiyuk would be an excellent get at No. 53 for the Eagles, but they may have to trade up in the second round to get him. Their second-round pick (No. 53) and one of the three fourth-round picks should be enough to move up five to seven spots to select Aiyuk. 

K.J. Hamler (Penn State)

2019 stats: 56 catches, 904 yards (16.1 YPC), 8 TD

Hamler has the blazing speed the Eagles need. Philadelphia can line him up in the slot and use his ability to stretch the field or deploy him as a burner on the outside. The small body type (5-9, 178) is a deterrent, but there’s no denying his game-breaking ability and knack for electrifying plays.

Hamler may be a steal for the Eagles at No. 53. They have taken a long look at Hamler in the pre-draft process. 

Round 3-5
Isaiah Hodgins (Oregon State)

2019 stats: 86 catches, 1,171 yards (13.6 YPC), 13 TD

Hodgins doesn’t have the speed that scares cornerbacks, but he plays fast — a trait that doesn’t show when running in shorts. His ball skills and body control make Hodgins a worthwhile commodity, despite his limitations to stretch the field. The Eagles can afford to take a shot on Hodgins in the middle rounds, getting bang for their buck for a wideout who is capable of starting in the league. 

Hodgins’ excellent hands make him reliable, which is also what the Eagles desperately need. 

John Hightower (Boise State)

2019 stats: 51 catches, 943 yards (18.5 YPC), 8 TD

Hightower is the epitome of “blazing speed” in this draft, having incredible ability to stretch the field and create nightmares for cornerbacks. Hightower’s speed is good enough to make him a Day 2 pick, but he needs work on his ball tracking and competitive catching on those vertical routes. 

The Eagles will have to coach Hightower up to get the most out of deep-threat ability. He also needs to be more competitive play-to-play. Hightower is worth taking a shot on with one of those fourth-round picks. 

Gabriel Davis (UCF)

2019 stats: 72 catches, 1,241 yards (17.2 YPC), 12 TD

A downfield talent, Davis has breakaway speed and excellent ball tracking that can help a quarterback have a better win rate on deep balls. Davis has a strong catch radius, even if he can be predictable on his routes. 

Davis isn’t great after the catch, but he has good enough hands to make an impact. Don’t be fooled by the 4.54 40-yard dash time, as Davis plays faster when the pads are on. 

The Eagles should definitely take a shot on Davis in the fifth round if they can. He ran almost exclusively go routes in college, which benefits the Eagles, who need more depth at the “Y” receiver behind Jackson. 

Round 6-7

Darnell Mooney (Tulane)

2019 stats: 48 catches, 713 yards (14.9 YPC), 5 TD

Mooney ran a 4.38 at the combine, proving he has the breakaway speed to create problems. A natural fit for the slot, Mooney has the quickness to turn a slant into a long gain and can separate from the break point on the short routes. 

Mooney needs to be better at catching passes and his thick frame (5-10, 176) could create problems, but he’s a burner who can play inside and outside. He’s worth a flyer on Day 3. 

Marquez Callaway (Tennessee)

2019 stats: 30 catches, 635 yards (121.2 YPC), 6 TD

The definition of a one-trick pony, Callaway has blazing speed and can stretch the field with the best of them in this draft class. Callaway can catch passes with ease, but doesn’t play up to his ability. That’s a concern for plenty of teams who are trying to take a flyer on him. 

The Eagles would like to find a diamond in the rough at wide receiver on Day 3. This can easily be Callaway, who is also a dangerous punt returner. 

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