How the Eagles can have the perfect 2020 NFL Draft, starting by upgrading the wide receiver position


The Philadelphia Eagles refused to address the wide receiver position in free agency, which was hard to blame general manager Howie Roseman and the front office given the weakness of the free agent class at the position. Philadelphia decided instead to place all its chips at the center of the table in the draft, the deepest wide receiver class in years. Roseman’s way of thinking is clear. Draft young receivers to grow and develop with franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who threw for 4,039 yards and 21 touchdowns to seven interceptions (93.3 rating) with three wide receivers that started a playoff game who were on the team’s practice squad earlier in the season. Any influx of talent from this draft class will make Wentz better.

Attacking the wide receiver position is imperative for the Eagles, but it’s not the only area of the roster that needs to be addressed. The Eagles have other positions they need to address in this draft and have to continue their process of getting younger and quicker. What helps the Eagles is having eight picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, as the franchise has had 10 picks combined the past two years. Hard to add youth to a roster when there aren’t many picks at your disposal. 

Below, we’ll break down what the front office needs to do to earn that A-plus grade at the conclusion of the draft. This is the biggest draft of Roseman’s career, as the franchise’s shot at winning multiple Super Bowls with Wentz depends on the front office getting those picks right. Here’s how the Eagles can accomplish the task.

1. Find that No. 1 WR!

This receiver class is loaded with talent, but the Eagles have to come away with that game-changing wideout in this draft. Philadelphia has failed horribly at drafting wide receivers in the first round over the past 20 years, as Freddie Mitchell and Nelson Agholor haunted the franchise for years with subpar play. Outside of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin, the Eagles haven’t done a good job of selecting wide receivers in any round.

There are a few ways for the Eagles to change the narrative.

Trade up: Work a deal to get into the top 13 and select one of the “big three” wide receivers. Here’s what the Eagles would need to trade to get into the top 13.

  • Their 2020 first-round pick (No. 21), a 2021 second-round pick, and a player (Rasul Douglas). They could use this package to at least get to No. 13, where the San Francisco 49ers pick.  The receiver Philadelphia should have on its mind is CeeDee Lamb, but Henry Ruggs isn’t a bad consolation prize either. 

Stay at No. 21: Roseman has stayed at his selection only once in his career as general manager, but this receiver class is good enough for the Eagles to stay at No. 21 and get their player. If the Eagles choose this option, Denzel Mims is the player to target if he’s on the board. Justin Jefferson and Jalen Reagor should also be considered here. 

Trade down: The Eagles don’t have a good history of trading down, but they can still find their No. 1 wide receiver and acquire more picks. Getting another second-round pick would certainly help the second step for the Eagles’ perfect draft — and it allows them to select Reagor while having more picks in the first three rounds. Here’s the trade the Eagles should make if they trade down from No. 21. 

  • Their 2020 first-round pick (No. 21) and 2020 third-round pick (No. 103) to the Ravens for their first-round pick (No. 28), and two third-round picks (No. 93, No. 106). 

The best of the three options is to trade up and draft Lamb. Get that No. 1 wide receiver (which the franchise never trades up for) and part ways with Douglas. Throw in an extra 2020 draft pick if you have to. Lamb is the receiver that will provide an instant impact in the Eagles offense. 

2. Double-dip at WR

Since we established the Eagles can’t trade this year’s second-round pick to trade up, they’ll have No. 53 after their blockbuster deal to move up a minimum of eight spots. Even though the Eagles landed their No. 1 wide receiver in the first round, they should double-dip and select another wide receiver at No. 53 if certain players are on the board. 

There is one condition for the Eagles when selecting this wide receiver — that player has to be a “burner.” The Eagles need a wide receiver that is a home run threat, someone who can stretch the field and take the top off a secondary. K.J. Hamler is the most intriguing prospect if he’s on the board at No. 53, but Brandon Aiyuk is the ideal selection if he somehow falls into the second round after undergoing core muscle surgery. 

The Eagles may have to move up a few spots in the second round to get Hamler or Aiyuk, which could be hard if they traded up in the first round to get their No. 1 wide receiver. If Philadelphia stays put at No. 21, the play is simple — move up a few spots in Round 2 and get another wideout. Their second-round pick and one of the three fourth-round picks should be enough for the Eagles to move up five-to-seven spots in Round 2. 

Of course, double-dipping doesn’t have to resort toward selecting a wide receiver in Round 2 — but speed is the name of the game in today’s NFL. The Eagles addressed most of their secondary needs in free agency, along with the interior of the defensive line. They can take a wideout in the later rounds, but getting the most playmakers as possible can be done in the first two rounds. 

3. Don’t forget LB

The Eagles haven’t drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1980, in case someone hasn’t told you before. Even though Patrick Queen and Kenneth Murray are expected to be first-round picks, don’t expect the Eagles to shock the world and draft one of them. Philadelphia just doesn’t value linebackers with Jim Schwartz as the defensive coordinator, only using two on the field and five defensive backs on approximately 75% of the snaps the past several years. 

That still doesn’t mean the Eagles should ignore the linebacker position, especially with the departure of Nigel Bradham. Drafting one in the first two rounds doesn’t appear to be in the cards, but there are some players worthy of being picked at No. 53. Malik Harrison is an ideal linebacker if the Eagles don’t double-dip at wide receiver in Round 2, but chances are they use their third-round pick (No. 103) or one of their three fourth-round picks (No. 127, No. 145, No. 146) to address the position. 

Logan Wilson, Jordan Brooks or Troy Dye are also worth taking a flyer on. 

4. Don’t neglect the pass rushers

The Eagles don’t have a pressing need to add talent at defensive end, but Brandon Graham is 32 this year and heading toward the back nine of his career. Derek Barnett showed strides last season, but it’s hard to figure out what Philadelphia’s long-term plans are for him. A big season from Barnett would eliminate the need for Graham’s replacement — that shouldn’t stop the Eagles from adding some depth at the position. 

Josh Sweat is (at the very worst) a solid rotational piece and the Eagles did part ways with a 2021 fourth-round pick for Genard Avery, so he’ll be getting a shot to contribute in 2020. Shareef Miller, the Eagles’ 2019 fourth-round pick, also had a year to develop after a “redshirt” rookie campaign. 

Philadelphia could easily use one of those fourth-round picks on a defensive end. Tulsa’s Trevis Gipson is the type of edge rusher the Eagles may take a flyer on. 

5. Find depth on the offensive line 

The Eagles handed the reins at left tackle to Andre Dillard after allowing Jason Peters to depart in free agency. Halapoulivaati Vaitai also signed a five-year deal with the Detroit Lions, leaving a gaping hole at the backup tackle position. The Eagles took a flyer on Jordan Mailata two years ago, but back problems have stunted his development. That’s a problem if Dillard or Lane Johnson get injured during the course of the year. 

Having three fourth-round picks, a fifth (No. 168) and a sixth (No. 190) is a prime position for the Eagles to address the depth issues on the offensive line. Philadelphia can find a swing tackle in this draft who can start in this league (similar to Vaitai, who was a fifth-round pick) and another guard in the later rounds. Remember, the Eagles can move Isaac Seumalo to center when Jason Kelce decides to retire (or find a center in the later rounds to groom as Kelce’s heir apparent). 

The Eagles know how to develop offensive linemen with Jeff Stoutland as their offensive line coach. If they draft an offensive lineman, it’s typically a good pick. 

6. Another running back can’t hurt 

The Eagles have Miles Sanders and Boston Scott as their 1-2 punch for the foreseeable future. Wouldn’t hurt for Philadelphia to add another running back to the mix, particularly a bruiser that excels in short-yardage situations. There are certainly options for the Eagles in the later rounds unless they are truly intent on giving Elijah Holyfield a shot. Adding a  power back is vital toward a championship team, as the Eagles used LeGarrette Blount in that role during their Super Bowl title run. Boston College’s A.J. Dillion is that ideal back for the Eagles, one who should be available on Day 3. 

If the Eagles want to add more speed, Maryland’s Anthony McFarland and Appalachian State’s Darrynton Evans are two backs that will be intriguing names to watch. 





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