Eagles Positional Needs: Wide Receiver
The next position in my “positional needs” series that I think the Eagles should address is wide receiver.
The Eagles have put in a good amount of resources into finding their deep threat to compliment the offense, but none have yielded as much success as I am sure they would have hoped for.
The Eagles could go into the 2019 season with only Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson as their potential deep threat WRs. Hollins is coming off an injury and Gibson has been only a special teams player, another player should be added to the mix. Nelson Agholor has made some splash plays downfield, but his presence was not felt as much as a deep threat in 2018 was it was in 2017.
With their biggest deep threat coming off injury, Agholor not being able to produce in that role, the Eagles seem primed to once again look for answers in the off season for their deep threat.
Here are some Free Agents and draft prospects that the Eagles should target.
Free Agent Targets:
John Brown- 5’10 179
2018 Stats: 42 receptions 715 yards 5 touchdowns & 17 yards per reception
John “Smokey” Brown has been a consistent deep threat in the NFL for the past 5 years. Brown sits in a very good position to be counted on as a solid-good number two WR and good deep threat. Brown would fill the veteran presence, while still being able to contribute for a few more years as the primary deep threat. For what it is worth, Spotrac currently has his market value at around $6 million dollars. This is probably a very manageable price for Howie to work with. I would be in favor of the Eagles signing him.
JJ Nelson- 5’10 160
2018 Stats: 7 receptions 64 yards 0 touchdowns and 9 yards per reception.
2018 was a down year for Nelson and the entire Cardinals offense. Nelson has the speed to get down the field and threaten defenses, with the previous two seasons he averaged 17.5 and 16.7 per reception respectively.
After speaking with Jess Scott, Editor of the Cards Wire, he expressed the main concern was that he struggled this season with catching the ball consistently. Though this is cause for some concern, perhaps a change of scenery, new coaches and a scheme where his talents will be highlighted can help his consistency.
Breshad Perriman- 6’2 210
2018 Stats: 16 receptions 340 yards 2 touchdowns (10 game sample)
Perriman has seemingly been a first round bust after being drafted 26th overall in 2015. Though he didn’t do much during his time with the Ravens, his 10 games with the Browns showed a lot more than he had in the past. I think he could have the ability to be a viable deep threat in this offense. He wouldn’t be asked to come in and be the first or second option. He would be able to come into a good system with a good QB where he can continue to grow.
It should be noted, the Eagles have had some interest in Perriman in the past. In 2015 they brought him for a pre draft visit and this past season he was brought in for a workout. It seems their past interest and the Joe Douglas connection could be set up Perriman as a bargain deep threat with some potential.
Emmanuel Hall- 6’3 200
2018 Stats: 37 receptions 828 6 touchdowns & average of 22.4 yards per reception
Hall put up good numbers picking up chunk plays in the Missouri offense. When you turn on the film you can see why he should interest the Eagles. He eats up a lot of space in the first ten yards and tends to run by corners. He also does a good job tracking the ball while in the air, something a deep threat must do well to be effective. Not to mention, Hall catches the ball well and looks to be comfortable doing so. I haven’t seen him fight or double clutch the ball in any games I watched. Hall also has solid releases off the line, using his quick feet and burst to threaten corners. However, I feel like he can still improve in that area as most young WRs do.
My biggest worry is the system he played in at Missouri. He was not required to run many routes doing most of his damage on “go” routes and slants, he will need to be coached up in that area. However, he shows the needed skills and traits to be a viable deep threat early on in his career.
Terry McLaurin- 6’1 200
College- Ohio St
2018 Stats: 35 receptions 701 yards 11 touchdowns and averaged 20 yards per reception.
McLaurin is easily one of my favorite WRs in this draft. At OSU, he lined up primarily on the outside and ran a lot of different routes for them. When you watch him, he catches the ball naturally, has good releases, runs good routes and is a threat down the field. After receiving some good coaching from Brian Hartline, he’s refined enough to come in and be able to contribute soon and if need be can contribute on special teams. McLaurin should interest the Eagles front office and Eagles fans alike.
Diontae Johnson- 5’11 180
2018 Stats: 49 receptions 761 yards 8 touchdowns and an average of 15.5 yards per reception.
This past season was a bit of a down year for Johnson, but he still had a solid season statistically. Which may be the reason why he has been slept on by many in the draft community. Johnson displays good footwork, solid hand usage mixed with good burst off the line that make good releases. Shows the ability to separate downfield while continuing to use his hands to keep defender off of him. Johnson also runs good routes and gets in and out of brakes quickly. He can track the ball over his shoulder and make the catch naturally.
Johnson will need to gain more strength to help him in run blocking and help him win in contested catch situations. Overall, I think with further development Johnson is a solid deep threat with some potential to be good.