Draft Daily: WR Dorsett Brings Elite Speed
Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.
THE BACK STORY
In Chip Kelly’s first season as an NFL head coach, the Eagles led the league with 80 pass plays of 20+ yards. In Year 2, that number went down, but the offense still produced 63 big pass plays, good enough for third.
A couple big-play threats in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are playing for other teams, so Kelly will now count on guys like Jordan Matthews, Josh Huff and Zach Ertz to make plays downfield. He very well could look for a vertical threat in the draft also.
And one of the guys who fits that description is Miami’s Phillip Dorsett.
Dorsett is a flat-out burner. He has experience outside and in the slot, having caught 36 balls for 871 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. He averaged 24.19 yards per reception, which was second in the country.
Dorsett can make plays with the ball in his hands and blow the top off the defense with his vertical speed. It seems unlikely that he’ll go in the first round, but Dorsett could be an intriguing Day 2 option.
Dorsett is not the biggest guy (5-10, 185), but he’s an explosive athlete.
Remember, Kelly has gone on record as saying it’s not necessarily height that he’s focused on. Weight and strength matter just as much. Last year, for example, the team was interested in Brandin Cooks, who was 5-10, 189.
Dorsett is pretty rocked up and does not play with a soft demeanor. He’s willing to take on contact and mix it up.
There are two things I love about Dorsett’s game. The first is that he’s explosive with the ball in his hands. He ran a lot of shallow crossers in Miami’s offense and made defenders look silly at times.
Here’s an example against Georgia Tech where he makes the grab in the middle of the field and takes off (1:28 mark):
And a similar play against Cincinnati (26-second mark):
As I mentioned above, Dorsett is not afraid of contact. Here’s another example of his YAC ability against Florida State, and look at the way he finishes the play (57-second mark):
Dorsett would bring a dangerous element to the Eagles’ play-action passing game. Some analysts compare him to Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton, and others have mentioned Arizona Cardinals WR John Brown.
Here he is against Florida State. Dorsett takes one step to the outside, gets the defender to flip his hips and then runs the post for the touchdown (17-second mark):
In that same game, he lined up in the slot, took off down the seam and showed good hands with defenders closing in (7-second mark):
THE BOTTOM LINE
One of the key questions for the Eagles will be whether they view Dorsett as an outside receiver or strictly a slot guy. In the games I watched, he didn’t face a lot of press coverage. Against certain big corners, maybe he’d struggle getting off the line of scrimmage. But I think he could do some damage out there on most weeks.
Overall, there’s a lot to like. Dorsett is explosive with the ball in his hands and can take the top off of defenses with his elite vertical speed. He has good hands, and even though Dorsett’s not the biggest guy, he plays with toughness.
The Eagles reportedly brought him in for an official visit and apparently have some level of interest.
Dorsett at No. 52 would be a very nice option, or f the Eagles make a trade and end up with a pick earlier in the second round, he could be a guy on their radar.