The Philadelphia Eagles are expected to be busy bees during this year’s NFL Draft. They have three picks in the first round and five picks in the top 100. They’re in a perfect position to add several key starters across both sides of the ball.
One position that most Eagles fans are anxious to see their team continue to invest in is wide receiver. Philadelphia did manage to bring in former Indianapolis Colts WR Zach Pascal on a team-friendly one-year deal. However, more work needs to be done on the position. The Eagles were in the mix for Calvin Ridley, Allen Robinson, and Robert Woods this offseason.
The front office is clearly interested in adding another playmaker on offense.
A first-round WR is unlikely
At first glance, the Eagles taking one of the draft’s top wide receivers in the first round makes the most sense. They could easily snag a starting-caliber pass-catcher with one of their three picks, leaving the other two to invest in the trenches.
However, such a strategy feels unlikely. Not only are the Eagles expected to punt at least one of their first-rounders off to 2023, but it would also be the third year in a row Howie Roseman has taken a first-round WR.
It would be the fourth year Roseman has taken a WR in the first two rounds (JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen Reagor, DeVonta Smith). As much sense as it would make to grab an elite running mate for DeVonta Smith, it’s far more likely the Eagles stave off their need for a WR to a later round.
The Eagles should have interest in Alabama WR Jameson Williams
With a first-round WR potentially out of the conversation altogether, the next best thing the Eagles could do at the position is targeting someone in the second or third round.
This is where Alabama speedster Jameson Williams enters the picture.
Williams very easily could have been the top receiver taken in this year’s draft. However, due to a nasty ACL injury he suffered late in his collegiate career, it’s feeling more and more likely he will slip out of the first round altogether.
This is where Howie Roseman is at his best. If Williams slips into the second round, the Eagles could quickly trade up a couple of spots to ensure they land him. It’s a risky pick to make, considering Williams’ ongoing rehab. However, his incredibly high ceiling makes the gamble worth it in Philadelphia’s case.
The Eagles are also well-positioned to survive several games without Williams should his rehab persist into the 2022 NFL season. Pascal is more than capable of holding down starting slot WR duties until Williams is ready to take the field.
The Eagles aren’t expected to go all-in (yet)
The other piece of information to consider when gauging Philadelphia’s interest in Williams is that he fits the team’s timeline.
Williams likely won’t be at his best until the 2023 season, once his knee is fully healthy. In the same breath, the Eagles aren’t expecting to seriously contend at the moment. Howie Roseman himself stated they are still in the building stages.
Adding Williams to a core containing several young playmakers like Smith, Dallas Goedert, and Quez Watkins could pay out serious dividends once he’s 100% healthy in 2023. Should he slip out of the first round, it’s a risk worth taking.