NFL Mock Drafts are becoming a lot like the episode of Spongbob where the characters get ‘hooked”. That was actually an analogy for drugs, so I guess mock drafts have become like drugs. You grow tired of them, but then, you want that one last high. That’s the point I’ve reached with the mocks, just days before the NFL Draft. But, then Peter King dropped his and it included very interesting Eagles tid bits. I was hooked once again.
21. Philadelphia—Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Alabama
Maybe Eagles GM Howie Roseman will find a taker for Alshon Jeffery and his hefty salary (maybe by paying a good chunk of it), or maybe the Eagles have to play with Jeffery and his injury bug for one more season; when he’s on the field he’s effective if not a star. But the thing I heard about the Eagles in the last few days is, Henry Ruggs will not get past 21. So here we are. Ruggs and his 4.27 40-speed are obviously tempting, and 24 touchdowns on only 98 career catches is explosive stuff. But a couple of things make me wonder. Three years, 41 games, 2.4 catches per game, 41.9 receiving yards per game. The most dangerous weapon in your offense gets 42 yards a game? The other side of that is some very smart offensive minds—Sean Payton, Andy Reid—love Ruggs. He’s competitive, and he doesn’t drop many. If he goes to Philadelphia, he’ll be the deep weapon Carson Wentz has imagined with Desean Jackson.
Peter King shares similar thoughts as I do on Ruggs, but not necessarily on Alshon.
First, with the breakdown of Ruggs and the almost surefire guarantee that if he is there at 21, he will be an Eagle. Those are strong words and a huge endorsement of Ruggs. Stating he won’t make it past 21 means not only are the Eagles are high on him, but a few teams in front of them must be too. There is a lot to like about Ruggs, including his ridiculous basketball highlight tape. He has gotten the Tyreek Hill comp a lot and it;s more than just because he flies past people on a go route. He turns quick passes into home runs. It takes one man missing a tackle on him and he’s gone. He also has some great highlights of him winning 1v1 jump balls that you wouldn’t expect from someone his size.
But Peter King raises the exact concern that everyone ignores. Ruggs wasn’t the #1 option on Alabama’s roster, and he really wasn’t even #2 either. The 4.29 40 time is great but does it translate to route running and beating coverage? Is this just a guy who hits pinch hit home run once in awhile when you need it? Because the Eagles are extremely desperate and they need a consistent .300 hitter.
As for Alshon Jeffery, Peter King lists him as one of the likely candidates to get traded during the draft (he also lists Yannick Ngakoue). Can’t say I agree with Peter King here (on Alshon I mean, please send us Yannick #FREEYAN). The Eagles quest to move Alshon Jeffery is nearly impossible as long as he isn’t healthy. In one of the deepest receiver drafts ever, it wouldn’t make much sense to trade for a veteran receiver due $15 million and might begin the season on the PUP. When Alshon was healthy, he was the bonafide WR1 in terms of production. But it was beyond evident that once the regular receivers were out, including Alshon, the entire morale surrounding the team changed. Given how it all played out coupled with the contract situation, it will be interesting to see how other front offices value Alshon Jeffery. My guess, or at least my thought: Henry Ruggs, Desean Jackson and (a healthy) Alshon Jeffery is a pretty solid corps on paper.