Eagles Added Much Needed Competition at Wideout in Draft
Eagles Executive Vice President of Football Operations Howie Roseman acknowledged that one of the goals during the draft was to add more competition to the wide receiver position.
After adding free agent wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith, Roseman and Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas added a pair of receivers in round four and five of this year's draft with North Carolina's Mack Hollins and West Virginia's Shelton Gibson.
"That's going to make everyone better, "Roseman explained. "We're not looking at numbers. We're not worried about what's going to happen in August. A lot is going to happen between now and August. The best situation we could have is have a lot of good players at a particular position."
The Eagles obviously see something in both players, otherwise, they would not have used their picks on them. But they are also here to try to bring out the best in the other receivers on the roster, especially guys like former first-round pick Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham.
Yet, what the Eagles see in these two wideouts, is two guys who can step in and provide help to an Eagles offense that lacked weapons last season, right away.
"He's [Hollins] 6'4", he can run, [he’s a] physical receiver, can go up and get the football, and then he brings a lot to the table other than that, as well," Roseman said about the fourth-round selection.
"Shelton Gibson is a guy who right when he came out and we did work on him, he can take the top off," Roseman continued. "You can see he gets separation. He can get vertical, and for us he was the best player on the board. We sat there, and it's a great example of what Joe and his staff have brought, where it didn't matter that we drafted a receiver. He was the best player on the board, and we took him."
That Hollins was available in the fourth-round likely has something to do with his injury, not because his production. Hollins missed most of his senior season with a broken collarbone, suffered last October. He was still productive with 81 catches, 1,667 yards and 20 TDs in 41 career games - but he might be a special team standout as well.
“I don’t think there is anybody who is a better deep threat than me in adjusting to deep balls and catching deep passes," Hollins said. "Also, with my speed, I think people underestimate my ability to run routes.”
However, there is also a red flags with the injuries, including hamstring problems at the combine, but his combination of size and speed is not necessarily easy to find, especially in the fourth round.
As for Gibson, a pure vertical threat, big plays were a constant during this three years at West Virginia, averaging 22.6 yards per play and 23.5 yards on kickoff returns.
Gibson, who has been compared to guys like Tavon Austin, Percy Harvin and Desean Jackson, said if he was a free agent, Philly would be the first place he would have chosen to come.
But he acknowledged that even though Philly is where he wanted to be, he knows what he can bring to the table.
“A lot of competition. I play with a lot of effort and a lot of passion. That’s the biggest thing I play with. Of course, my speed is the first thing on the field, but that can’t be the only thing that I have. I have to have way more than that. That’s why I play with a lot of passion."
Adding these two players to the mix only adds more competition and that's a good thing for the Eagles offense.