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January 26, 2017

Eagles more likely to find wide receiver help in free agency than the draft

Eagles NFL

In the 2014 NFL Draft, there were a whole slew of receivers who had immediate success in the NFL and have quickly become star players. Some of the more noteworthy ones (with varying degrees of success) were Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson, and Jarvis Landry.

The immediate impact of the 2014 wide receiver class, however, is more of the exception than the rule, according to Howie Roseman, speaking at the Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Alabama.

"I think if you take out the 2014 wide receiver class, and you look at this, it's really been historically a tough position to acclimate in the National Football League," said Roseman. "It hasn't been a plug-and-play position. I think that class changed everyone's thoughts a little bit, but the reality is we have years of data that say that it's a hard position to come into the National Football League and contribute at, that it's a developmental position and you have to look at it when you're drafting guys in that perspective."

The numbers do indeed back up Roseman's claim. Below are the number of receivers over the last 10 years who had at least 600 receiving yards (a modest accomplishment) and 1000 receiving yards (a more serious accomplishment) in their rookie seasons:

Year 600 receiving yard seasons 1000 receiving yard seasons 

If you take out the absurdly talented 2014 wide receiver class, there have been just four wide receivers who have eclipsed the 1000-yard mark in their rookie seasons over the last 10 years.

The Eagles cannot have wide receiver play in 2017 like they had in 2016 or 2015. Here's a cruel reminder of what the Eagles' receivers looked like in 2015:

And in 2016 (this video only includes the first half of the season):

The Eagles need better wide receivers now. While they could certainly draft a wide receiver, they cannot count on one contributing from Day 1. It is absolutely imperative that they help out Carson Wentz by finding a competent receiver (or two) in free agency, or their wide receiver play in 2017 is probably going to look a lot like it has over the last two seasons.

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