Now that the Eagles sit at the 12th overall selection in this year’s draft, many suspect the team to target one of the top cornerback prospects: Patrick Surtain II, Caleb Farley, or Jaycee Horn. Rather than going with a wideout, which is what nearly every fan expected when the team had the 6th overall pick.
It’s still unclear if that’s in the cards, but it would make sense if Howie decided to go that route. Corner is arguably a bigger need than wide receiver, and at 12, they may still have their pick of all three of the top-3 prospects at the position.
But, that doesn’t mean Howie won’t target a wideout in this draft. If I had to guess, he’ll likely look to add one with his 37th overall pick in the second round.
There should still be a handful of solid wideout prospects available at 37. Here are three wideouts to keep an eye on as potential second round picks for the Eagles.
Rashod Bateman, Minnesota
There are a small portion of football fans who will claim Rashod Bateman is actually the third best receiver in this year’s class, behind Ja’Marr Chase and Jaylen Waddle. I’d still take DeVonta Smith over Bateman every chance I got, but that’s not to say Bateman isn’t a fine prospect in his own right.
Although Bateman posted a 4.39 unofficial 40 time at his pro day, his speed and quickness is not his calling card. He’s a very technical receiver who understands the art of route running. As evidenced by the video below.
Bateman’s timing when making cuts on his routes is a thing of beauty. He routinely uses the corners leverage against them.
Standing at 6’2”, Bateman is also able to go up and make contested catches, and he uses his large frame to shield defenders from the ball when making catches in traffic. A strong set of hands, paired with his big frame and savvy route running, Bateman should make an immediate impact at the next level.
While he primarily played in the slot last season, Bateman is effective lining up at any wide receiver position. Minnesota’s offense utilized Bateman on in-breaking routes as the first or second option on RPO plays, something the Eagles may get back to with Nick Sirianni calling the offense.
The one nock on Bateman’s game is that he’s not truly elite at anything — he just does a lot of things well. Some may say that’s not even a slight against him, but it does lower his ceiling just a bit at the next level.
He’ll certainly be a serviceable receiver in the NFL, and a respectable selection if the Eagles take this Minnesota product at 37.
Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
While Elijah Moore has spent time in both the slot and out wide during his collegiate career, his skill set translates best as the primary slot receiver in an NFL offense. He has elite quickness and agility, making him a big play threat every time he touches the ball.
At 5’9” and 185 pounds, Moore is a bit undersized. But, he was one of the best receivers in the SEC during his collegiate career, and he never missed time for injury.
Moore’s opening field running ability is likely his biggest strength, as he’s broken 35 tackles on 153 catches over the past two years. For as small as he is, Moore is a very tough runner and he’s not afraid to put his body on the line for contested catches — He caught 22 of his 39 contested targets during his career at Ole Miss, according to Pro Football Focus.
Like Bateman, Moore’s ceiling isn’t super high, which is why he’ll likely be a day two pick. But also like Bateman, he should have an immediate impact on any team he’s drafted by.
With Greg Ward back to man the slot position for the Eagles, it would be intriguing to see this team select a receiver like Moore at 37th overall. But it’s safe to say Moore’s potential as a long-term slot receiver for this team is higher than Ward’s, so taking him at 37 isn’t out of the question.
Rondale Moore, Purdue
Purdue’s Rondale Moore got a lot of hype after his electric pro day workout. He ran a 4.29 40-yard-dash (98th percentile among wide receivers entering the draft), he posted a 42.5 inch vertical (99th percentile), and he was recorded benching 225 pounds 24 times (99th percentile), although that was outside of his pro day. Oh, and by the way, he’s only 5’7” and weighs 180 pounds.
Moore is one of the most polarizing athletes entering this year’s draft. After is dominant freshman campaign, where he caught 114 balls for 1,258 yards and scored 14 total touchdowns, his production did taper off a bit. He dealt with injuries the following season, and his 2020 campaign was shortened due to COVID-19.
It’s hard to get a true read on what Moore’s potential is in the NFL, but if he’s used correctly, his ceiling is Tyreek Hill. That’s not an exaggeration.
Moore became a household name in the Big Ten after his game against No. 2 Ohio State during his freshman year. He single handedly beat the best team in the conference, catching 12 balls for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
If you’re more of a visual learner and stats don’t really sell you on a player, just watch this.
Despite some outstanding highlights during his freshman year, that’s really all the tape scouts have on Moore. He had significant durability issues over the next two seasons, only suiting up for seven games.
Out of any prospect in this year’s class, Moore is the biggest wildcard of them all. If he can remain healthy and he finds himself in an offense that’s conducive to his rare talent, he’ll be a Pro Bowl player in the NFL. But that’s a big “if.”
I’m not sure if Howie wants to take such a flier on a guy like Moore in arguably his most pivotal year as the Eagles general manager. I’d venture to say Howie will stay away from Moore, but it’s hard not to get tantalized by this guy’s absurd upside.
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