2020 NFL draft positional breakdown: Options at wide receiver

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Every day leading up to the 2020 NFL draft, we’ll be taking a look at this draft class by position. We’ll highlight a few players who will fit the Eagles and separate them into three categories based on where they’re likely to get drafted. 

We already looked at tight ends. Up today: Receivers: 

At No. 21 

Justin Jefferson, LSU, 6-1, 202

For the sake of this exercise, we’ll assume that the top three receivers (CeeDee Lamb, Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III) are off the board. That leaves us with Jefferson, who has been a very popular pick for the Eagles in mock drafts and for good reason. Jefferson is coming off a monster 2019 season: 111 catches, 1,540 yards, 18 touchdowns. Jefferson is a polished player and route runner who probably best fits at the next level as a slot receiver; although he might have potential to play outside as well. He had an impressive showing at the combine running a 4.43 time in the 40. 

Denzel Mims, Baylor, 6-3, 207

Mims put up solid numbers for the Bears as an outside receiver in the last three seasons. And he put on a show at the combine, running a 4.38 and putting up impressive jumps and 3-cone time. He has explosion but needs to refine his route-running and drops were an issue in college. 

Jalen Reagor, TCU, 5-11, 206 

One of the more exciting prospects in this year’s draft, there’s a certain boom-bust factor with him. Because there’s no denying that Reagor is an explosive playmaker with speed who can be utilized in a variety of ways. But he’s also far from a sure-thing and his floor is probably lower than other guys. The Eagles would have to ask themselves if they’re confident enough to take him, especially if there are other options. 

Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State, 6-0, 205 

Aiyuk just had sports hernia surgery so I’m not sure how that will affect his draft status. And he had just one season as a starter at Arizona State and just two years at ASU overall after transferring from JUCO. But Aiyuk had an impressive 2019 season and is way faster than his 4.5 time in the 40 from the combine. He’s known for his YAC ability and is a fun player to watch with the ball in his hands. He also has a huge wingspan and is a dynamic playmaker. He’s a fringe first-round pick. 

In the middle 

Laviska Shenault, Colorado, 6-0, 227

If it weren’t for injury concerns, Shenault would be a first-round pick and he’d probably be a great fit for the Eagles. But even before a core muscle surgery in February, Shenault had a pretty extensive injury history. He could end up being a great value to some team in the second round, but it’s hard to imagine the Eagles overlooking all that; Howie Roseman said after the season that they couldn’t bring in injury-prone players and just expect them to stay healthy. 

KJ Hamler, Penn State, 5-9, 178

A likely second-round pick, Hamler has the one thing the Eagles have been trying to find this offseason: speed. He didn’t run at the combine but there’s no question that Hamler is a straight-line burner from the slot and outside. He’s a home run hitter who averaged 16.9 yards per catch in his two seasons in college. 

Gabriel Davis, UCF, 6-2, 216

A little later in the draft, the Eagles could snag Davis, who is coming off strong 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2019, he caught 73 passes for 1,241 yards and 12 touchdowns. An option as an X receiver, Davis also ran a 4.54 at the combine and has enough speed to get downfield and the ability to win 50-50 balls. 

Late-round sleeper(s)

Quartney Davis, Texas A&M, 6-1, 201

Davis tore his ACL in 2016 and didn’t play until 2018, when he became a starter for the Aggies. In his two seasons, he had 99 catches for 1,201 yards and 11 touchdowns and also showed some versatility, lining up outside and in the slot. Might project best as a slot receiver. The Eagles have shown some reported interest in him. 

Quez Watkins, Southern Miss, 6-0, 185 

The Eagles need speed and Watkins has it. The incredibly lean Watkins ran a 4.35 at the combine; that was the second-fastest time among receivers and the third-fastest time among all participants. In 2019, he caught 64 passes for 1,178 yards (18.4) and six touchdowns but there are obvious questions about the competition level. But as a late-round option, there’s something to work with here.

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