The 2020 NFL draft is still more than two months away and the NFL Scouting Combine won’t even take place until next week, but it’s never too early for national college football experts to weigh in on whom they think the Eagles might select with the 21st overall pick.
Obviously, this early out, don’t expect much accuracy. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr.'s second mock draft ahead of the 2019 NFL draft, released in mid-February last year, ended up predicting only three picks correctly. At the time, Kiper thought the Eagles might select Clemson cornerback Trayvon Mullen. Instead, the Birds traded with the Baltimore Ravens to move up three picks to select offensive lineman Andre Dillard.
Regardless, it’s interesting to see which players the experts think the Eagles might be interested in. This year, there seems to be a unifying theme — the Birds’ need of a wide receiver. As of now, just about every national NFL draft expert is predicting the Eagles will strengthen their wide receiver corps in the first round of the draft, following a season in which injuries forced practice squad players onto the field.
Kiper thinks the Eagles might select Clemson’s Tee Higgins, while his ESPN colleague Todd McShay and NFL Network analyst (and ex-Eagles scout) Daniel Jeremiah are eyeing Alabama’s Henry Ruggs III. The Athletic’s Ben Standig, who according to one analysis had the most accurate final mock draft out of 22 draft analysts last year, thinks the Eagles could snag Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault with the No. 21 pick.
“Shenault has gadget abilities. You can use him in Wildcat, on end-arounds and jet sweeps," draft analyst Ben Fennell told my colleague Paul Domowitch as part of a breakdown of this year’s top wide receivers, comparing Shenault to Sammy Watkins of the Kansas City Chiefs. "Good after the catch. He has strong, confident hands. He can make tough grabs and can catch the ball in traffic. He has deceptive speed. He has excellent burst and acceleration as well as long speed. Biggest question is whether he can stay healthy. He has been sidelined with multiple injuries at Colorado.’’
Here is an early roundup of the players national media pundits think the Eagles could end up selecting in the 2020 NFL draft:
Mel Kiper, ESPN: Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Clemson
Todd McShay, ESPN: Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Alabama
Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network: Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Alabama
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Clemson
Bucky Brooks, NFL Network: Laviska Shenault, wide receiver, Colorado
Ben Standig, The Athletic: Laviska Shenault, wide receiver, Colorado
Danny Kelly, The Ringer: WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama
Mike Renner, Pro Football Focus: Henry Ruggs III, wide receiver, Alabama
Kevin Hanson, Sports Illustrated: Laviska Shenault, wide receiver, Colorado
Walter Cherepinsky, WalterFootball.com: CeeDee Lamb, wide receiver, Oklahoma