On Monday, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay wrote about some of the major rumors surrounding the top prospects entering this year’s draft.
When speaking specifically on the Eagles, he revealed that, based on his sources, Howie Roseman and Co.’s top choice at 15th overall is Alabama wideout Jameson Williams, writing, “Multiple execs I spoke with think Alabama wideout Jameson Williams is the Philadelphia Eagles’ preference at No. 15.”
This revelation isn’t totally surprising. Despite drafting a wide receiver in the first-round of the past two drafts, the position remains a glaring need for the Eagles. Outside of DeVonta Smith, they don’t have a whole lot to work with and would be banking on the development of Quez Watkins and Jalen Reagor if they opted to stay out of the receiver market come draft night.
With two first-round picks at their disposal, drafting another wideout this year is certainly in the cards for Philly. The closer we get to draft night, the more it begins to feel like a foregone conclusion than off-hand speculation. This latest report from McShay further cements that.
Earlier in the draft process, it was safe to assume Williams would be available at 15th overall. Coming of a torn ACL in the National Championship game, it appeared most teams were comfortable targeting the safer options at the position like Drake London, Treylon Burks, Chris Olave, and Garrett Wilson. As we officially enter Draft Week, that sentiment is starting to flip.
There still isn’t a consensus No. 1 wide receiver in this year’s class, but prior to his injury, Williams was expected to be that. According to multiple reports, Williams is ahead of schedule in his recovery and should be ready to go within the first few weeks of the regular season. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that he expects Williams to go pretty high on Thursday and added, “I would not be surprised if he’s a top-15 pick, ACL or not.”
With all that being said, are the Eagles prepared to trade up a few spots to snag Williams if the opportunity presents itself? Possibly. They did it last year to get DeVonta Smith and that’s worked out pretty well thus far.
Trading up to get an injured player, regardless of the fact that he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery, still presents some pause. As is the case nearly every draft, this year’s wide receiving group is loaded and the Eagles could likely find a starting caliber pass catcher within their first 3-4 picks. And there’s still a chance that Williams is the first receiver off the board, which means he’d land within the 5-10 range. Trading up that far would cost some serious capital from Howie’s standpoint and I’m not sure he’s willing to trade up two years in a row to snag a wideout.
At the end of the day, who knows if this report from McShay is even accurate. Of course the Eagles would love to get their hands on Williams, and so would every other wide receiver needy team. It would be completely out of character for Howie to telegraph his desires heading into the first-round of the draft, let alone tell other executives around the league who he wants.
Regardless, it’s not hard to envision the Eagles falling in love with Williams. If he does end up falling into the Eagles range, I’m expecting Howie to pull the trigger on him.