April 11, 2018
Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be taking a look at each of the Philadelphia Eagles' positional groups. We'll determine if the Eagles are likely to select a player at that position with one of their six picks in the 2018 NFL Draft, as well as note some players who make sense.
The Eagles' top four receivers are set in 2018 -- Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith replacement Mike Wallace, Nelson Agholor, and Mack Hollins. That seems fairly clear.
Beyond the top four, the Eagles hope that Shelton Gibson can prove he belongs in the NFL, and as Doug Pederson noted at the NFL Owners Meetings, the Eagles' hope is that one of the no-name receivers (that's not how Doug described them, to be clear) can step up and force their way onto the field.
So do the Eagles have a need for a wide receiver? In 2018? No, not really.
In 2019 and beyond? Maybe. Wallace is on a one-year deal, so he may be a veteran Band-Aid, though something of a quality one. If Hollins can make strides in 2018, perhaps he can vault himself into the No. 2 wide receiver conversation in 2019 and beyond. Either way, adding a receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft is a possibility, as that is traditionally a position where many players take extra time to develop, so continuing to fill the pipeline makes sense.
With a 6'3 frame and a wingspan of 79 ¼", Sutton has a large catch radius, and impressive measurables to go along with his size.
At SMU, Sutton put up good numbers the last two years:
A highlight reel:
As you can see, Sutton is adept at winning 50-50 opportunities, like current Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. Having two bigger receivers would pose matchup problems for opposing defenses that lack a pair of bigger corners.
Round projection: 1-2
Kirk has been a productive receiver since he arrived at Texas A&M, where he put up over 1000 yards as a receiver his freshman year in a crowded wide receiver room that included players like Josh Reynolds (a fourth-round pick of the Rams), Ricky Seals-Jones (now playing for the Cardinals), and Speedy Noil (a former No. 21 overall recruit out of high school, via Rivals.com).
Kirk's numbers at Texas A&M:
At 5'11, 200 pounds, Kirk is built more like a running back. Think Josh Huff, but with actual receiving ability, as in, polished routes and good hands.
In addition to his receiving ability, Kirk is a star returner. Over his career, Kirk had 7 return touchdowns (6 punt returns, 1 kick return). You can see some of those returns here:
With Darren Sproles likely not returning to the Eagles in 2018 (though we'll see) and Donnel Pumphrey having shown next to nothing in the way of a viable return candidate last offseason, the Eagles could (and should) be looking to add one.
Additionally, Kirk could fill the role that the Eagles were perhaps trying to carve out for Pumphrey and Huff, as a versatile weapon in the passing game who could get occasional carries on end-arounds and in the backfield.
The difference would be that Kirk is a legitimate receiver and returner, with the ability to catch the football, break tackles, and get yards after the catch.
Round projection: 1-2
Pettis owns sole possession of the all-time NCAA record for career punt return touchdowns. A list of the NCAA career leaders for punt return TDs:
Here are all nine of them:
As with Kirk above, in Pettis the Eagles would be getting one of the best punt returners ever to come out of college, as well as a dangerous receiver.
As a receiver, Pettis' reception and yardage numbers aren't great, but he found the end zone 15 times in 2016.
It will be interesting to see how the NFL values Pettis as a receiver. A year ago, North Carolina's Ryan Switzer, an elite returner in college and 1000-yard receiver his senior year, lasted until the fourth round.
Round projection: 2-3
When the Eagles signed Torrey Smith last offseason, they were looking for a speed receiver who would keep opposing defenses honest by making safeties respect the possibility of the deep ball. Smith made some plays, but he was too inconsistent, as he struggled with drops and would go long stretches without making plays. A few weeks ago, they replaced him with another veteran speed receiver in Mike Wallace.
Cedrick Wilson doesn't have ideal deep speed, but he makes plays down the field. In just two seasons, he racked up over 2600 receiving yards, and averaged 19 yards per catch.
Unlike Shelton Gibson a year ago, Wilson runs the full route tree, makes guys miss after he has the ball in his hands, and I love his tenacity as a blocker.
Here's a highlight reel:
Wilson could be an immediate special-teams contributor and a guy who competes for meaningful reps in the offense, with No. 2 starter upside.
Round projection: 4
Callaway is a second- or third-round talent who won't even be on a number of draft boards at all, because of his off-field issues.
As a receiver, however, he is a flashy prospect with good athleticism and return ability. A highlight reel from 2015 and 2016:
As noted, Callaway comes with baggage galore. From NFL.com:
He faced a sexual assault trial between his freshman and sophomore year but was cleared of those charges before the 2016 season by admitting during the hearing he was "so stoned" he did not want to have sex with anyone. He was also cited for marijuana possession in May 2017 as a passenger in a car stopped because the driver wasn't wearing his seat belt; he pled no contest to possession of paraphernalia in July 2017. Calloway never played in 2017 because of his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with other teammates.
Yikes. Still, the Eagles have taken chances on players with off-field concerns in the past who have paid off. For example, Jalen Mills was thought of by many as a Day 2 talent, and he has quickly proven to be a legitimate NFL starting corner. The Eagles happily scooped him up in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and could strongly consider doing the same with a player of Callaway's ability if he's still available on Day 3.
Round projection: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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