Philadelphia Eagles: Is Christian Kirk worth a first round pick?

(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

With the 2018 NFL Draft mere days away, could the Philadelphia Eagles use their first-round pick on Texas A&M receiver/return man Christian Kirk?

If the Philadelphia Eagles stay put at 32 and want to draft a dynamic playmaker, they could do a whole lot worse than selecting Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk.

A four-star recruit from Scottsdale, Arizona, Kirk was in incredibly high demand coming out of high school, receiving over 35 college scholarship, before spurning his local Arizona State for a chance to be the focal point of Kevin Sumlin’s offense under the bright light of College Station.

And boy did he make an impact.

During his freshman season on campus, Kirk quickly established himself as the Aggies’ premier receiving threat by hauling in 80 passes for 1009 yards and seven touchdowns, while also logging 726 yards and two touchdowns as the team’s primary return man.

This 2015 performances quickly vaulted Kirk’s name to the top of many ‘freshmen to watch’ lists from around the nation and he followed it up with two more seasons with at least 70 catches for 900 yards and nine touchdowns to ice out his Texas A&M career on top.

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One of the top wide receiving talents in the 2018 NFL Draft, few players have had as much on the field success as Kirk and that could translate to hearing his name called in the first round.

With almost 5,000 all-purpose yards in only three seasons in College Station, Kirk’s commitment to his craft, when coupled with having to remain productive while catching passes from five different starting quarterbacks, makes him an intriguing plug-and-play prospect at three different positions, and will likely allow him to continue the long and storied tradition of Texas A&M wide receivers succeeding in the NFL.

Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles /

Why he’s a fit with the Philadelphia Eagles

While many mock drafts have routinely predicted that the Eagles will spend their first round pick on a playmaker like LSU running back Derrius Guice, Kirk could fill a very similar role and will almost surely be available at the 32nd pick.

Much like Guice, Kirk has starter traits and could come in and contribute from the jump both on offense and as a return man, but unlike his LSU compatriot, Kirk brings a skill set that the team doesn’t currently possess.

With a pair of power backs already on the roster in fourth year lead back Jay Ajayi and undrafted free agent turned Super Bowl hero Corey Clement, adding Guice to Duce Staley‘s ruing backs room would essentially ensure the team has a running back of the future, but as the roster is currently constructed, the Eagles don’t have a player with Kirk’s unique skill set.

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In his three seasons at Texas A&M, Kirk established himself as arguably the most electric return man in the entire SEC, recording 1800 yards and seven touchdowns on 85 returns for the Aggies, in a role that may be the Eagles biggest need going into draft day. With no clear successor to Darren Sproles as a punt returner, and no threat to take a kick off to the house since…Brian Westbrook? Kirk could find plenty of action on Dave Fipps‘ special teams unit immediately.

Oh yeah, and he’s also a fantastic prospect at his natural position, wide receiver.

A disciplined route runner, Kirk wins his battles at the line of scrimmage not only with his 4.47 speed, and lightning-fast reflexes, but also with his expert execution as a route runner.

With only Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, and Alshon Jeffrey under contract past the 2019 NFL season, and none of these players being particularly infamous for their ability to run crisp, ankle-breaking routes, adding a player like Kirk to the Eagles receiver stable could serve as a nice complement to Nelson Agholor if he were to re-sign with the team moving forward, or as a perfect replacement should he leave.

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Much like with Guice, Kirk wouldn’t have to step in and immediately start from Day 1 as the Eagles pairing of Jeffrey, Agholor, and Mike Wallace should supply plenty of offensive firepower for Carson Wentz and Nick Foles on the field in 2018, but after recording over 3000 yards and 40 touchdowns in his three seasons of college ball, don’t discount him becoming a starter sooner rather than later on whatever team selects him.

With no clear, immediate needs going into the NFL Draft, if the Philadelphia Eagles do decide to select a player at 32, or trade back for a high second-round pick, the team could do a whole lot worse than selecting Christian Kirk to be their return man of the present, and starting receiver of the not-to-distant future.

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