Instant analysis: Eagles trade back and pick up WR Shelton Gibson in fifth round of NFL Draft

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In what was a crazy fifth round, the Eagles ended up picking with the 166th pick in the NFL Draft, taking West Virginia wideout, Shelton Gibson. How did this come to be? Here’s a quick recap:

So after moving back twice, the Eagles settled on a wide receiver that has been linked with the team for quite some time.

When you think of West Virginia football, you think speed and big plays. No one arguably embodies that sentiment more than WR Shelton Gibson. This rapid wideout is in a simple word “Scary”. The talent he possess definitely keeps coaches up at night. With great hands and break away speed, literally from anywhere on the field, Gibson has been compared to Desean Jackson and for good reason…speed!

Despite running a 4.5 (which is great in itself), it is his area quickness that makes him so dangerous, yet intriguing for the right offense. In 32 games, he had 1,898 yards, averaging 22.6 yards a catch..and for good measures, 17 trips to the end zone. Needless to say, Gibson could help boost the passing game, and have QB Carson Wentz going long.

In a Draft filled with offensive talent, there are always going to be potential stars who slip through the cracks. Gibson fits that bill perfectly. The 5’11. 191 lbs, wideout caught 43 passes for 951 yards last season..but interestingly, he was targeted on deep looks 29 times. Of the 17 that were labelled “Catchable”, he hauled in each and every one for 726 yards and a score. In the last two seasons alone, 36% of his receptions went for 25 yards or more.

A sure pair of hands could be a welcome addition to the Eagles receiving corps, and Gibson brings that trait along with some stunning athleticism and effort. Although he’s a little less effective on shorter routes, Gibson would bring the “Chris Hogan” quality to the Eagles receiving group, becoming the overlooked home-run hitter who can deliver time and time again as attention continues to be focused on Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

The Eagles don’t have a lot of sustainability on the outside at the moment and even though Torrey Smith may be the deep threat that Pederson covets and tried to find one year ago, Gibson could be the perfect low-cost alternative to develop for the future. So, what does this mean for the Eagles?

 

Continuity:
With Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, and Jordan Matthews all entering such a crucial year in their career, and one where the Eagles may not be able to retain all three, adding more than one wideout as an insurance policy seemed like the best option. After drafting Mack Hollins earlier in the draft, the Eagles stayed with the WR skill position and added a true deep threat..something we already know that Doug Pederson has craved for a long time. In the event that the Eagles have to part ways with at least one of their starting wideouts after 2017, drafting a receiver who has the prototypical “Tavon Austin” skill set, could prove to be a very smart choice.

 

Competition:
Well, if there weren’t doubts over Dorial Green-Beckham’s long-term future before the draft, there certainly will be once it’s over. Two new wideouts who take the best from DGB’s game and miss out some of the character weaknesses, training camp is going to be a very tense time in the battle for the depth WR spots. Nelson Agholor’s contract may force the team to keep him this year, but now the pressure will really mount on the USC product as if he underwhelms once again..the Eagles now have a flurry of options to choose from.

 

Creating optionality:
It’s a word that has been constantly spoken about by the Eagles this offseason, and it’s easy to see why. With so many weapons now surrounding Carson Wentz, they want to keep things unpredictable. It was all too easy for Defenses to account for Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz last season, as there was no other realistic threat on a regular basis. This season, with such a versatile rotation and corps of differing skill sets, the Eagles have a couple of hidden “Chris Hogan” type aces to throw at unsuspecting defenses.

 

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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