At the beginning of the 2017 free agency period, the Philadelphia Eagles signed WR’s Alshon Jefferey and Torrey Smith. The Eagles need for an upgrade at the wideout position had been well documented, so the additions of Jefferey and Smith made sense.
Despite these two being brought in, the Eagles still have a need for depth and could use a boost to the WR core. Enter this weeks Small School Sleeper, Denzel Keyes.
The former North Carolina A&T wideout is exactly what any NFL scout would dream up when talking receiver prospects.
Blessed with great size (6’4, 215 lbs’), and speed (4.54 40) to completely dominate defensive backs. Keyes has been a constant headache for defensive coordinators throughout his college career. He had a career year in 2016, receiving for 461 yards and 10 touchdowns.
We sat down with Denzel, (Via Phone) and asked him abut his time at school, who he is outside of football, and his fit in the NFL.
“First and foremost, I give all glory to God. Without him and my faith, the faith my mother instilled in me, I wouldn’t have any of this. Outside of football?, I am a God fearing man, a man who is always looking to better himself, on and off the field. My Mother put it in me at a young age to push yourself, to always give it up to the Lord first, to always do your best. So in life, outside of football, I am always trying to better my whole being.
I loved playing at North Carolina A&T, I understand the small school stigma, our competition isn’t as good, but football is football at the end of the day. So I don’t regret my time there, I learned a lot, learned what it took to be successful in life. My brother Angelo, whom also plays at A&T, is there, he sold me on going. It became a family affair, I loved my time there. “
He continued on, talking about his potential fit in the NFL.
“As far as my fit in the NFL, I know the answer we all say, is wherever the coach tells us too. Honestly, I will do whatever it takes to help my team. Special teams, inside, outside, it doesn’t matter to me. I think with my size, I can be a matchup problem, if they put me inside at the slot, safety or a Linebacker, will struggle to cover me.
Not to come out arrogant, or sound cocky, I am the furthest from it. I just mean, I am confident in my skill set, so I know I can be a real match up problem. I can block well, I catch well, I am very coachable.”
Obviously every player has certain areas they want to work on..and Denzel is no exception. The physical receiver who only had three games without registering a touchdown in 2016, is aware of where he wants to improve.
“I will say, I think I need work on my route running. I am always learning the position, so I am always trying to perfect my routes. I want to be the best me, so I need to work on that I believe.”
A two sport star (Basketball), Denzel, has the athleticism to be a dominant force in the NFL. With strong hands and a stronger body to take shots while catching over the middle.
In 43 games, he totaled 111 receptions for 1,333 yards and 25 touchdowns. Averaging over 12 yards per catch.
There is no doubt that Keyes would fill a need..all while adding a real developmental talent to the WR Core. QB Carson Wentz needs all the young playmakers to grow with around him and with Keyes talent level, he could be a steal for the Birds, and a player whom they could lean on for years to come.
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports