Five Under-The-Radar Wide Outs the Eagles Should Consider
Eagles head coach Doug Pederson discussed the wide receiver position yesterday while speaking at the NFL combine.
"When it comes to the receiver position, this is a pass league," Pederson said. "We need guys that can get open, weather that's a 6-foot-3 guy or a 5-foot-10 guy. They all come in different shapes and sizes and how well they fit into your scheme offensively. I don't necessarily look at size, as much as I do how they fit into our scheme, are they play-makers and are they the best ones that help us win games."
ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports the Eagles have discussed a potential deal involving 5-foot-10 wide out Brandin Cooks. Meanwhile, ESPN's Josina Anderson reports the Eagles are one of a handful of teams that will be "potential suitors" for free agent Alshon Jeffery, who is 6-foot-3.
While there will be plenty of rumors starting to leak out between now and the start of NFL free agency on Thursday and the legal tapering period that begins on Tuesday.
Here are five under-the-radar wide receivers that I think the Eagles should take a look at to help improve the team.
1. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans - The 27-year old Wright is coming off a couple of down seasons with the run-first Titans, battling hamstring issues early in 2016, but has shown flashes during his five seasons with Tennessee. Wright had a break-out sophomore season, catching 94 passes for 1,079 yards, but the former first-round pick has struggled with consistency and injuries in the two years since.
He might have to settle for a prove-it deal, but Wright could end up being one of the bargains of free agency.
2. Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers - Wheaton has kind of fallen out-of-favor in the Steel City, as an under achiever, who is injury-prone, missing most of 2016 after surgery to repair a torn labrum. He finished strong in 2015, with 28 catches for 476 yards and four scores over the final six games. Wheaton was a deep threat coming out of college, but was used primaily in the slot for the Steelers during his four seasons. He did average 17.0 yards per catch in that 2015 season with five touchdowns and could provide an inexpensive, young deep-threat for Carson Wentz.
3. Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears - The Eagles need a deep-threat and Wilson provides that skill. At just 24, Wilson averaged 17.8 yards per catch in 2016 and 16.6 in 2015, but has struggled with a broken foot three times over the last two years, which has limited him to just 30 games in his four NFL seasons. He displayed what kind of impact he could have in a feature role on Nov. 27 against the Tennessee Titans, hauling in eight passes for 125 yards and a touchdown.
4. Cordarrelle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings - Patterson has been a special teams ace for the Vikings, but has some some play-making ability when given an opportunity in the offense. He showed that ability as a rookie in 2013, scoring nine touchdowns, three passing, four rushing and two on kick returns. and as led the league in kick return average three of the last four seasons.
He also was more incorporated in the passing game in 2016, catching 52 passes, a new season-high for him, for 453 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
5. Terrance Williams/Brice Butler, Dallas Cowboys - Williams kind of fell down the depth chart with Dez Bryant healthy, and the emergence of Cole Beasley in the slot. However, Williams is still a big-play guy, who averaged 16.7, 16.8 and 16.2 yards per catch during this first three season, that number dropped to 13.5 in 2016.
As for Butler, he might be the more talented guy of the two, averaging 21.5 yards per catch in 2015, but he has been buried on the Cowboys depth chart. A 6-foot-3, 214-pound speedster, he could be a deep threat for Carson Wentz, but the Cowboys could choose to let Williams walk and retain Butler for monetary reasons.