After an abysmal season on offense where the team desperately missed the type of deep threat it has had in some form for many years prior, the Eagles need to look to the draft to add that big play type of player. That need could be supplemented by adding a great running back, but it is easier to create that pre snap “fear” in a defense with a wide receiver who can threaten down the field. These are the top five wide receivers in this year’s draft class. Can they be that big time player for the Eagles?
- Corey Coleman, Baylor: One of my favorite players in the draft, Corey Coleman is a touchdown waiting to happen. The freaky athletic, 5-11, 194 pound receiver scored 20 touchdowns in his final season at Baylor and has the type of skill set to score many more once he hits the pros. He has excellent ball skills down the field and flashes the ability to go up and dominate the catch point. Better yet, Coleman has running back like instincts with the ball in his hands and that, combined with incredibly agility and burst, allow his to create massive yardage after the catch. He has some lapses where he will drop easy passes, but he is too explosive and dangerous at every level of the field to count out for that. He would be a perfect player in Philadelphia because his deep speed and ability to create after the catch would force defenses to stretch out or pay for it dearly.
- Laquon Treadwell, Ole Miss: A very different type of player from Coleman, Treadwell embodies more of the high end possession receiver type of player. Treadwell has a big body, long arms and plays with immense strength and violence. He loves to bully defensive backs before, during and after the catch, playing the mental game incredibly well. With the ball in the air, Treadwell uses his aggressiveness and strength to body cornerbacks and bring down the pass. God knows he had to catch a lot of bad passes with Bo Wallace and Chad Kelly thawing him passes during his career. I worry that Treadwell’s style might not be a perfect fit for the Eagles’ offense and quarterback. Pederson prefers receivers who can get open quickly and Bradford does a much better job throwing to space than being aggressive and trusting his receiver to make a play. While I think Treadwell will be an outstanding player, his fit in the Philly is a bit more of a projection.
- Leonte Carroo, Rutgers: Leonte Carroo has seemingly flown way too far under the radar both during his career at Rutgers and during this draft process. Carroo is built like a running back at 5-11 and nearly 220 pounds, but he moves like a much lighter player. He has incredibly quick feet and is a fantastic route runner. He plays the ball incredibly well in the air and can win in contested situations. As a plus, Carroo is a strong runner after the catch and will create yardage from any level of the field. He is one of the most complete players in the whole draft and while he is not a freak athlete, he is a very smooth mover. There are some concerns off the field, but people who are close to him vouch for him. His style of play is perfect for Doug Pederson’s offense and he could threaten at all levels of the field. There is a concern that he is not so explosive a player that he fully embodies what the Eagles need at wide receiver, but I think he could adequately fill the role as a deep threat while also being a top tier player at the more intermediate levels of the field.
- Josh Doctson, TCU: A hot name after a great final season at TCU and an outstanding combine, Josh Doctson is a very good player with some of the best ball skills I have seen coming out of college. Doctson has a tall, lanky frame with incredibly long arms and big hands. He does a great job boxing out receivers at the catch point and using his leaping skills to bring down passes in a consistently mind-blowing and acrobatic fashion. Doctson can also play the ball over his shoulder very well, which helps him win deep down the field. Doctson is not a burner, but he wins with incredible precision that includes a great release, explosive cuts and great head fakes. The concern with Doctson is that as he transitions to league speed, his ability to separate will be mitigated and he will more often be asked to rely on his ball skills and catch point prowess. This could work fine, but Doctson’s slighter frame could make it more difficult in the NFL to consistently work through traffic. No matter what, Doctson will find a role in the NFL and his technical ability as a receiver will allow him to produce. On the Eagles, he would be a bit superfluous dynamically, as Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz are likely being asked to do the same thing he can do in the NFL. Of course, having a bunch of big pass catchers with ball skills never hurt anybody.
- Will Fuller, Notre Dame: My irrational love for Will Fuller is just that; irrational. The Philadelphia native has some of the most easy speed I have seen from a wide receiver and it is intoxicating. People will get caught up in some frustrating drops, but every time time Fuller pops off a 40 yard touchdown my eyes light up. Fuller is an immensely gifted athlete who is explosive in a straight line, vertically and can make guys look silly in the open field. It is hard not to have Desean Jackson flashbacks with Fuller and while he is flawed and inconsistent, the dynamic he offers as a player cannot be understated. He is a perfect fit for what the Eagles need, so cross your fingers that a bunch of teams are stupid and over think him come the draft so he can fall right into Philly’s lap.
There are some big names missing from this top five, notably Oklahoma State’s Sterling Shepard and Ohio State’s Michael Thomas. This is no slight to them however, because this class has a lot of cream at the top. Both Shepard and Thomas are top forty talents, so that should speak to how good these other five could be in the NFL. Later in the draft, there are also players like Keyarris Garrett or Malcolm Mitchell who could bring dynamism to the Eagles offense, so Philly is in a good position to fill a big need and has lots of options to do so with.
This article was written by Ben Natan from SB Nation and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.