Whether DeSean Jackson is on the roster or not, chances are the Eagles will be tempted to pull the trigger on a number of quality wideouts throughout the draft.
“I think we’re going to be sitting there in every round and there’s going to be a receiver we like,” said Howie Roseman at the combine. “It’s just going to happen that way…Guys will be pushed back because of the quality and the depth of the class.”
Add NFL Films Senior Producer Greg Cosell to the long list of analysts and executives that are calling this the best receiver crop in recent memory. Out of this group, which are the best fits for Chip Kelly and the Eagles offense? We asked Cosell for his take, and he offered four names to consider.
Odell Beckham, LSU (6-0, 187)
CBS Sports projected draft round: 1
"In an ideal world, you've got a guy like Odell Beckham who could easily fit that role. Beckham is terrific. He really is a smooth, fluid athlete with quickness, with speed, really good run after catch, he has really good hands. He knows how to run routes at this point, which is usually rare for a college wide receiver.
"He can do a lot of things in a Chip Kelly offense. He was also willing to block. He blew up Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley this year; last year he blew up another Alabama linebacker. He is willing to block. Overall, he is a quick, polished, dynamic, versatile wideout with explosive traits both as a route-runner and run after catch. He would absolutely fit a Chip Kelly offense."
Brandin Cooks, Oregon State (5-10, 186)
CBS Sports projected draft round: 1-2
"He is arguably similar (to Beckham). He is smaller but I don't think Chip thinks that way. I don't think he is beholden to the way things have been done in the past. For most people he might be seen as a slot receiver but I think he has the ability to be a movement wide receiver in a multiple-formation pass game just like that of Chip's. This kid is an instant accelerator. He goes from zero-to-sixty in a heartbeat, he's got start and stop explosion, he's got deceptive speed on vertical routes, he's got make-you-miss quickness and change of direction. He's another guy that fits what Chip wants to do. And Chip would be familiar with him because he's from Oregon State."
Robert Herron, Wyoming (5-9, 193)
CBS Sports projected draft round: 3-4
"Another smaller kid. You can probably get him in the third or fourth round. At Wyoming he played both outside and in the slot. He's another guy that has great short-area quickness and burst. Great balance, great body control. Run after the catch ability. I made the note that he's a tightly built, compact, multi-dimensional receiver with the ability to align anywhere in the formation. Didn't run many routes in Wyoming's offense because of the offense they ran, but that's not uncommon for wideouts for shotgun spread systems in college.
"I actually typed when I was watching him, 'Can he become a Percy Harvin-type player in the NFL -- play 30 snaps a game and provide an explosive element?' Chip may want a guy who can play more than 30 snaps per game, but in this offense, this guy might be able to play 50 snaps or 60 snaps because Chip's offense is a little different."
Tevin Reese, Baylor (5-10, 163)
CBS Sports projected draft round: 7-FA
"A kid I even compared to DeSean Jackson. He's got the same size with similar movement and explosion. I mean this kid can run. He's certainly not going to be a first-round pick. His issue is he only weighed 163 at the combine. That's his issue. How do teams feel about that? But he's another guy with a lot of options as a move receiver in a multi-dimensional offense. He's explosive. You might be able to get this kid in the fourth round."
Interesting that Cosell wasn't afraid to project smaller receivers as fits for Kelly's offense. While that goes against the "big people" mantra we have become familiar with, his argument that the scheme calls for "move receivers" that can line up all over the field certainly rings true.
Still, we couldn't help but ask about Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, who weighs in at 6-5, 240.
"I don't know if he's a Chip guy. I like the Benjamin kid a lot -- I actually like him more than Mike Evans from Texas A&M, but just a little bit, they're close in what they d0 -- but I don't know if he fits Chip's offense. Theoretically Riley Cooper is the same guy. You can argue that Benjamin will become a better player than Cooper, but they would fill the same role for Chip -- big, physical guy to catch the ball at intermediate levels and can run vertically based on scheme. That's what Riley Cooper is."