Good morning, everyone. Well, what did you think of the first week of the XFL? Will you watch it again this week? Did you see anybody you’d like to see in an Eagles uniform? Does it have a beat you can dance to? (American Bandstand reference. May need to Google it if you’re under 50.)

The first major offseason event on the NFL calendar is less than two weeks away. More than 320 draft prospects will descend on Indianapolis for the NFL scouting combine, which will run from February 23 to March 2. For the first time ever this year, the combine is going prime time. All of the testing will be done at night, which isn’t going over well with the coaches, who prefer to spend their combine evenings at St. Elmo’s Steakhouse and/or the hotel bar.

The Eagles are going to be looking closely at several position groups at the combine, including wide receiver. They need to add speed, particularly if they wave bye-bye to DeSean Jackson. So those combine 40 times will carry more significance than usual. More on that in a moment. One other important aspect of the combine: Eagles general manager Howie Roseman and head coach Doug Pederson will address the media on Tuesday, Feb. 25 in Indy, for the first time since the team revamped its coaching, training and personnel staffs.

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— Paul Domowitch (earlybirds@inquirer.com)

TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor, shown catching a TD pass against Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley, will be a guy the Eagles will be watching closely at the NFL scouting combine in two weeks.
Brandon Wade / AP
TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor, shown catching a TD pass against Oklahoma cornerback Parnell Motley, will be a guy the Eagles will be watching closely at the NFL scouting combine in two weeks.

Big Ben breaks down the wideouts

The Eagles currently have the 21st pick in the first round of the April draft. The popular sentiment right now is that they’ll use that first-round selection on a wide receiver. That’s hardly a sure thing, but they definitely need to add at least one wideout early in the draft. This is one of the deepest wide receiver groups in years. Draft analyst Ben Fennell, an Emmy award-winning producer, editor and researcher for several media outlets, including the NFL Network and ESPN college football, breaks down the wide receiver position for us:

Jerry Jeudy

6-1, 192 | Alabama

Fennell: “Jeudy is a dangerous combination of explosiveness and suddenness. He’s a route-running technician with deliberate movements. He could make a defender miss in a phone booth.” His negatives: “Doesn’t have great play strength. Has a slight frame.”

NFL comp: Antonio Brown

Ceedee Lamb

6-2, 192 | Oklahoma

Fennell: “Lamb has great body control that allows him to adjust to passes. He’s a returner once he has the ball in his hands. Has lightning-fast feet that allow him to get in and out of his breaks quickly. Playing in the Big 12, he doesn’t see a lot of press coverage. So that’s kind of an unknown at this point.’’ His negatives: “He hasn’t seen much press coverage, so that’s still a bit of an unknown with him.’’

NFL comp: Chad Johnson

Jalen Reagor

5-10, 196 | Texas Christian

Fennell: “Reagor is a crafty, twitchy, explosive athlete. His numbers were down this season (43 catches, 611 yards, 5 TDs) over last season (72-1,061-9), but he’s a terrific receiver. He’s competitive at the catch point despite a lack of size. Has good body control. He’s a speed demon who is a playmaker with the ball in his hands.’’ His negatives: “Lack of concentration leads to drops at times. He wasn’t used very creatively in TCU’s offense.’’

Comp: Brandin Cooks

Henry Ruggs III

5-11, 192 | Alabama

Fennell: “Ruggs has sprinter’s speed. He reportedly ran a sub-4.3 forty this past summer. He’s a high-effort, competitive player who can block and play on special teams. Ruggs is an exceptional yards-after-the-catch receiver. The biggest question about him is his positional fit in the NFL. Can he play in the slot or is he a gadget wide receiver?’ His negatives: “Questions about his positional fit in the NFL. Can he play in the slot or is he a gadget wide receiver?’’

NFL comp: Santana Moss

Laviska Shenault

6-2, 224 | Colorado

Fennell: “Shenault has gadget abilities. You can use him in Wildcat, on end-arounds and jet sweeps. 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.’’ His negatives: “He’s had multiple injuries, so there are questions about his ability to handle a heavy workload and stay healthy at the next level.’’

NFL comp: Sammy Watkins

Ben’s Watch List

Other wide receivers to keep an eye on:

  • Tee Higgins, 6-3, 205, Clemson (comp: Braylon Edwards)
  • KJ Hill, 6-0, 198, Ohio State (comp: Stefan Diggs)
  • Brandon Aiyuk, 5-11, 203, Arizona St. (comp: Kendall Wright)
  • Denzel Mims, 6-2, 211, Baylor (comp: AJ Green)
  • Tyler Johnson, 6-2, 198, Minnesota (comp: Davante Adams)
  • Justin Jefferson, 6-3, 195, LSU (comp: Keenan Allen)
  • Bryan Edwards, 6-3, 218, South Carolina (comp: Allen Robinson)
Ohio State's K.J. Hill is another wideout that the Eagles will be keeping an eye on at the scouting combine in Indy.
Justin Casterline / MCT
Ohio State's K.J. Hill is another wideout that the Eagles will be keeping an eye on at the scouting combine in Indy.

What you need to know about the Eagles

From the mailbag

Explain Carson Wentz’s inconsistencies this season .. were they perhaps receiver driven? — @donaldc58 via Twitter

Donald: As with anything else in a team game like football, there’s no one reason for Wentz’s inconsistent play this season. The injuries to his three top wideouts — DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor — obviously hurt. They missed a combined 24 games. Jackson’s absence was particularly devastating, since he was the team’s main vertical threat. So did the inordinate number of drops by his receivers. But Wentz’s mechanics were really messed up this season, and nobody on the coaching staff seemed to notice or have a clue what to do about it. That needs to get fixed in the offseason. As I pointed out in a story last week, given the large number of screens and short-to-intermediate throws the Eagles used this season, his completion percentage needs to be better than it was. Doug Pederson waited too long to start moving Wentz out of the pocket. And he and his staff need to do a better job of scheming to get the wideouts open.