It would be somewhat shocking to see the Philadelphia Eagles take a receiver in the first round. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith are already one of the best young pass-catching tandems in the NFL. Throw Dallas Goedert into the mix, and there aren’t that many targets left to go around for the Eagles.
Quez Watkins appears to be locked into the slot role if head coach Nick Sirianni is to be taken at this word. While his numbers were down significantly in 2022, Watkins remains an intriguing vertical threat as a guy who can stretch the field with his speed. He’s also under contract for another year at a cheap $2.7 million cap charge. It’s clearly his job to lose.
However, if the Eagles wanted to infuse the offense and upgrade the position then they will have plenty of options in the 2023 NFL draft. Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njiba should be on the board when they pick at No. 10, although it seems highly unlikely that general manager Howie Roseman would take a receiver that high. They could wait and see what happens with USC’s Jordan Addison who has been projected to go as high as No. 20. The Eagles own two first-round picks: No. 10 and No. 30. No one knows exactly what Roseman is scheming, with increasing rumors of the Eagles trading up or down gaining plausible traction.
Eagles GM Howie Roseman explained his thought process on Jason Kelce’s “New Heights” podcast: “I said this yesterday, I try to zig a little bit when people are zagging, you know? You gotta take a chance and say if I’m doing the same thing everybody’s going to do, then I’m probably losing any competitive advantage.”
Eagles Could Target WR: 5 Sleeper Picks to Watch
1. Tyler Scott, Cincinnati: Pro Football Focus thinks he could be the most underrated receiver in the draft, especially after wowing at the NFL Scouting Combine. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder possesses track speed (high school sprinter), including sports car acceleration off the line, and projects as a plug-and-play starter in the slot. He put up eye-popping numbers during his senior season: 54 receptions for 899 yards and 9 touchdowns. Plus, don’t rule out the NFL’s growing Cincinnati pipeline which produced Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce. Projection: Round 3.
2. Parker Washington, Penn State: The powerful receiver’s biggest asset might be his bruising ability to break tackles and come away with contested catches. The 5-foot-10, 204-pounder led the NCAA with a 26.1% broken tackle rate while posting one of the best YAC numbers in college football. Washington isn’t going to necessarily beat you with his speed but his lower-body strength — imagine squat contests between him and Jalen Hurts — has some ambitious scouts putting his highest ceiling at Deebo Samuel. Projection: Round 4.
3. Demario Douglas, Liberty: Another guy who translates more as a possession receiver than a field stretcher might be an ideal fit for Philadelphia. He has strong, reliable hands and runs crisp, pristine routes which should allow teams to gladly overlook his undersized frame (5-foot-8, 179 pounds). He had 79 catches for 993 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2022, plus holds additional value as a punt and kick returner. Projection: Round 5.
4. Taye Barber, Texas Christian: Let’s address the elephant in the room: would the Eagles go back to the TCU well after getting burned by the Jalen Reagor pick? They probably would tread with great caution. However, the fifth-year senior was a force in the slot last season and averaged 17.4 yards per catch while tying for third in the nation for scrimmage plays of 70-plus yards. He’s fast and tracks the ball well. Projection: Round 6.
5. Jacob Copeland, Maryland: His tape doesn’t jump out. His stats don’t wow. And transferring from Florida to Maryland won’t do him any favors. That’s the bad. The good? Well, Copeland is a physical specimen who raised his stock with a strong showing at the East-West Shrine Bowl before running the 40 in 4.42 seconds at the Combine. He’s the walking, breathing definition of a late-round flier. Projection: Round 7.
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