Even before they released DeSean Jackson, it was clear the Eagles were likely to select a wide receiver in the upcoming draft. Now it is a necessity, although the Eagles won't have to stray from their promise to select the best available player because - as general manager Howie Roseman said in February at the NFL combine - there will be a receiver the team covets in every round. The Jackson jettison just made it more probable the Eagles will expend an early-round selection on the position. There are as many as a dozen receivers they could draft in the first two rounds, but with so much depth, a few could drop into the middle rounds and the patient Eagles' laps. But in which of those prospects will Chip Kelly take a keen interest? At last month's owners meetings, the Eagles coach revealed the No. 1 characteristic he'll be looking for. " 'What's your ability to get open in one-on-one coverage, because we see a ton of it,' " Kelly said. There are many ways to create separation, but when Kelly spoke about the NFL's elite receivers, he said they have a combination of speed and size. There are a handful of prospects that meet those requirements. The Eagles have seemingly done their due diligence on the top talents. Texas A&M's Mike Evans, Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, and Southern California's Marqise Lee have reportedly been to the NovaCare Complex for three of the team's 30 permitted predraft visits. Evans has size (6-foot-5, 231 pounds) and speed (4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash), but the Eagles may need to trade up from the No. 22 pick in the first round if they want him. With only six choices in the draft, and more than a handful of holes to address, moving up appears unlikely. Benjamin isn't as quick (4.61), but he's as big (6-5, 240) and should be around at 22. Lee (6-0, 192), Oregon State's Brandin Cooks (5-10, 189), and Louisiana State's Odell Beckham (5-11, 198) are smaller but have first-round skills. Kelly saw all three up close in college games vs. Oregon. There could be several receivers in the second round that have the size-speed paradigm, and perhaps greater upside, but those qualities didn't transfer as much on the collegiate field as they did for others.
If Eagles draft a receiver, they'll want size and speed
Philly.com | Apr 12