Philadelphia Eagles: Avoid Tee Higgins in the first round at all costs

(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /

After opting against participating at the 2020 NFL Draft Combine, the Philadelphia Eagles should avoid drafting Tee Higgins in the first round.

Do you remember who the Philadelphia Eagles started at wide receiver in their Wildcard showdown against the Seattle Seahawks?

I know you can just Google it, or *spoiler alert* scroll down to find out but bear with me, I’m trying to make a point.

Greg Ward and Robert Davis. Had the team opted to start three wide receivers instead of two tight ends, they would have had the enticing decision between practice squad elevatee Deontay Burnett and all-around second-round bummer JJ Arcega-Whiteside.

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Talk about a tough choice.

So naturally, the Eagles should not a team who should be particularly selective when it comes to adding wide receiving talent, as pretty much anyone is an upgrade over their 2019 corps, right?

Maybe so, with one glaring exception.

You see, with the football world trapped between two seasons, it’s only logical that pundits have started making mock drafts at a harrowing clip. These can be a ton of fun, and help fans familiarize themselves with certain prospects, but this go around, a name has started to pick up traction with laptop GMs (and Mel Kiper) that should give fans in the 215 pause: Tee Higgins.

No, no, a thousand times no.

Again, in theory, Higgins makes sense. The Eagles need wide receivers and Higgins is a good college wide receiver. He hauled in 135 passes from Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant over the last three years for 2,448 yards and a franchise-tying 27 touchdowns and has a tendency to body smaller cornerbacks thanks to his massive 6-foot-4, 216-pound frame.

Put him next to Ward, Davis, Burnette, JJAW, and even disgruntled number one Alshon Jeffery and it’s not hard to see an improvement of some sort. However, is that improvement worth the 21st overall pick?

No, no, no, no, no. Get that right out of here.

Now to some, the idea of adding a receiver who is being compared to A.J. Green in the early 20s is a borderline best-case scenario. If such a player existed, it would be a borderline best-case scenario, too bad he doesn’t.

You see, Higgins is slow. He looks slow on tape, he doesn’t separate amazingly well even at the college level and won’t be as consistently schemed open at the NFL level. In theory, Higgins would be able to use his size to force himself open, but as we saw last season with Arcega-Whiteside, that isn’t a guarantee.

Despite playing like a ‘power forward’ – an analogy Pro Football Focus made that I will never let go – JJAW played the game more like an ineffective possession receiver with bad hands, as opposed to the second coming of Trey Burton.

Higgins could have silenced some of the doubters with a fantastic showing at the combine, but opted against testing, citing a short turnaround between the National Championship game and the Combine. That didn’t seem to stop Justin Jefferson from showing up and showing out.

Talk about a major red flag.

No, Higgins’ decision is straight-up business and frankly, kind of smart. Is not running a bad look? Totally. Is running a 4.7 worse? You’d better believe it.

Higgins will now defer his testing to Clemson‘s pro day, where he will still only run a 4.5 or so thanks to some good old fashion home cooking, and hope that the number doesn’t drop his stock too far.

Now to be fair, if Higgins’ stock were to drop considerably, like into the second or even third round then my tune would change considerably, as that sort of value is just too good to pass up, but that probably isn’t going to happen. This year’s class is fairly small, so some team looking for elite size on the outside will surely fall in love with Higgins and gloss over his game’s flaws in favor of his All-Pro upside.

Hopefully, that team isn’t the Eagles.

Again, I get the thought concept of penciling in Higgins as the eventual heir to Jeffery’s spot on the outside. I even understand the belief that a Higgins, Ward, DeSean Jackson trifecta could be the best starting trifecta in the NFC East if Amari Cooper leaves Dallas, but I just don’t believe the value is right at 21.

There are 21 better players than Higgins in this year’s draft, and potentially 21 players I’d rather have when Howie Roseman and company take the clock on draft night.

Speaking of Howie Roseman, in a candid conversation with Mike Florio and Chris Simms of NBC Sports, he lamented that the Birds need to rejuvenate their roster with young playmakers, specifically ones who can help Carson Wentz moving forward. Higgins is 21, so he checks the young box, but he’s neither a true-blue playmaker or the right receiver to return Wentz to the MVP conversation.

Wentz needs a deep threat who can play all 16 games. If that player is Jackson, then the Eagles are in good shape, but at 33-years-old, that speed isn’t forever. If the Eagles want to lock that position up once and for all, they can trade up to take Henry Ruggs III. Similarly, they could pull an Eagles and draft Miles Sandersbest friend KJ Hamler as a potential project.

Really, there are a ton of options to bolster the receiving corps without investing another premium pick on another big-bodied possession receiver who benefited from being the best quarterback in the NCAA’s top target. That’s just not good asset allocation.

The Eagles should just start their WR corps from scratch. dark. Next

If the Philadelphia Eagles really want a Clemson wide receiver, sign Sammy Watkins. If they want to use a draft pick to procure a Clemson wide receiver, I’m sure the Los Angeles Chargers would listen to offers on the last Tigers’ wide receiver who garnered first-round hype only to mildly underwhelm at the NFL level, Mike Williams. Whatever the franchise opts to do, please don’t use the 21st overall pick on Tee Higgins. As a trade down target? Eh, maybe, but for my money, why not trade up for Ruggs and just be done with it? That dude is special.