Justin Jefferson can remedy the Eagles’ obvious weakness
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This is a deep wide receiver draft. The Eagles badly need a wide receiver.
After winning Super Bowl 52, the Philadelphia Eagles have gone 9-7 in consecutive seasons. The team was bounced out of the playoffs in the Wild Card Round last season in a game where quarterback Carson Wentz played in just nine snaps before suffering a concussion.
But there has been underlying issues with the Eagles besides Wentz’s health. The defense has lacked playmakers in the secondary. That was remedied with the addition of Darius Slay this offseason. The team has also lacked a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver. DeSean Jackson is still a good player when healthy, but he’s not a No. 1. Alshon Jeffery’s best years are behind him. 2019 second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside was a complete non-factor as a rookie.
The Eagles badly need help at the position. Fortunately in the SB Nation NFL writers’ mock draft, Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation is here.
Gowton: The Eagles did … literally nothing … to address their dire wide receiver situation through free agency, so the team MUST address the position early in the draft.
Jefferson isn’t the most ideal fit in that he isn’t the explosive burner that Philly could really afford to add. But the Eagles don’t *just* need to add speed; they need good receivers, period, and there’s a lot to like about Jefferson’s profile.
He only turned 21 in January, he boasts an elite relative athletic score, he produced at a high level for a national champion in 2019, he has experience playing both the slot and outside, and he has a revered work ethic. Jefferson checks a lot of boxes and that’s important for an Eagles team that’s regularly failed to draft and develop receiver talent since Howie Roseman first came to power in 2010.
There are rarely sure things in the draft, but Jefferson feels like an especially reasonable bet. He could be a reliable weapon for Wentz for years to come.
Analysis: Purely from a value standpoint, this pick is a home run. I think Jefferson is the fourth-best wide receiver in the draft, and the 14th-best player overall. It obviously fill a big need too. This pick really satisfies all the requirements for the Eagles, in my opinion.
Jefferson has been a little miscast in the lead up to the draft. He played in the slot a lot at LSU, but that was more to do with the receiving talent in Baton Rouge. But just about every write-up on Jefferson is about how great of a weapon he can be in the slot. While it’s true he could be very good there, he fits fine in the NFL as an outside receiver.
Also consider that Wentz’s leading receiver every year of his career has been tight end Zach Ertz. He’s good, certainly, but Wentz has needed a receiver like Jefferson.