Eagles’ top options at receiver

Exploring Eagles’ options at WR throughout the 2022 draft originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

as the 2022 NFL Draft nears, we’re taking a look at every position on both sides of the ball to find some options for the Eagles throughout the three-day event. We started with QBs and RBs. Up today: WRs.

The Eagles added Zach Pascal in free agency to join with DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins in the receiver room.

But that’s probably not enough.

If the Eagles draft another first-round receiver, it’ll be for the third consecutive year. Even if they don’t draft one in the first, they will likely add another receiver at some point.

Even after the Eagles’ trade with the Saints, they still have two first-round picks and 10 total:

1-15 (from Miami)
1-18 (from New Orleans)
2-51
3-83
3-101 (from New Orleans)
4-124
5-154 (from Washington)
5-162
5-166 (from Arizona)
7-237 (from New Orleans)

Here are some receiver options throughout the draft:

In first round

Garrett Wilson, Ohio State (6-0, 183): Considered by many to be the top receiver in this class, Wilson had a big season in 2021 with 70/1,058/12 and then went to the combine and ran a 4.38. Wilson had inside/outside flexibility and while he lacks polish, has great potential.

Jameson Williams, Alabama (6-1, 179): The former Ohio State receiver transferred to Alabama in 2021 and had a monster season with 79 catches, 1,572 yards and 15 touchdowns. While he tore his ACL in the National Championship Game, Williams is still a first-round pick and is the best deep threat in this class. He averaged 19.9 yards per catch in 2021.

Drake London, USC (6-4, 219): If the Eagles want a big-bodied complement to Smith, London could be the answer in the first round. It might scare you if the Eagles draft a big 50-50 ball guy from the Pac 12, but London is a legit first-round option.

Chris Olave, Ohio State (6-0, 187): Slight in frame, Olave is the smoothest receiver in this draft class and averaged 15.4 yards per catch in his college career. He ran a 4.39 at the combine and will likely be the second OSU receiver off the board.

Treylon Burks, Arkansas (6-2, 225): Burks would be another big receiver but he’s more of a utility weapon. The Razorbacks used him in a variety of ways all with the design to get the ball into his hands to let him create after the catch. He compares himself to Deebo Samuel.

In the middle rounds

Christian Watson, North Dakota State (6-4, 208): A big-bodied option in the second round who really began to shine at the Senior Bowl when he got the chance to face top competition. At NDSU, he averaged 20.4 yards per catch and had 7 touchdowns as a senior.

Jalen Tolbert, South Alabama (6-1, 194): Another small school guy who got to show off his stuff at the Senior Bowl, Tolbert has good speed (4.49) and is very smooth and polished in his routes. There will be some questions about the jump in talent from South Alabama to the NFL, but Tolbert is a solid prospect.

George Pickens, Georgia (6-3, 195): Georgia will have as many as four or five first-round picks from the defensive side of the ball but Pickens holds it down for their offensive prospects. The long and slender receiver played just four games in 2021 because of a torn ACL but that injury might make him a steal.

Justyn Ross, Clemson (6-4, 205): Speaking of steals, Ross was once thought to be a future first-round pick before missing the 2020 season with a serious spinal injury/surgery. He returned in 2021 but missed the last few games with a foot fracture and surgery. If his medicals check out, Ross could bend up being a steal in a mid round but there’s no guarantee he’ll ever get back to what he was before the injuries.

Calvin Austin III, Memphis (5-8, 170): He’s smaller but Austin crushed the combine with a 4.32. He’s a track athlete who is undersized but can be a decent slot prospect and offers good ability as a return man.

Bo Melton, Rutgers (5-11, 189): The local product (Cedar Creek) has really crushed the pre-draft process from the Senior Bowl to the combine to his pro day. He ran a 4.34 at the combine. His production wasn’t great at Rutgers but his upside has been on display the last few months.

Tyquan Thornton, Baylor (6-2, 181): Anytime someone runs a 4.28, it’ll turn some heads. Thornton is also coming off a 62/948/10 season at Baylor. He’s long and lean and might not have an NFL body type yet but that speed and ability to separate makes him worth a mid-round pick.

Late round sleeper(s)

Velus Jones Jr., Tennessee (6-0, 204): Jones is still a work in progress as a receiver but has speed (4.31) and offers a lot of ability as a special teamer and returner who can make a team on those strengths.

Josh Johnson, Tulsa (5-10, 183): After starting his career at Iowa State, Johnson transferred to Tulsa and ended up having a huge season in 2021 with 83/1,114/6, mostly out of the slot. Had some issues with drops in college but as a late-round pick, he’s worth a shot.

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