Once it became clear that the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t going to be a competitive football team in 2020, the fanbase’s attention quickly shifted towards the NFL Draft. Towards one player in particular:
The enigmatic LSU wideout who took the SEC by storm in 2019, Chase has been regarded as “WR1” when it comes to the 2021 draft class for as long as I can remember. Even after he decided to opt out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, the general consensus was that he wouldn’t be making it out of the top-ten. Based on how the draft order is currently lining up, I’d be surprised to see him make it out of the top-six.
Initially set to select at sixth overall, Chase was the obvious mock for the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite the additions of multiple wideouts in back-to-back drafts (Reagor, Arcega-Whiteside, Hightower, Watkins), the Eagles have been operating rather directionless when it comes to the position. They haven’t had a true “#1 wide receiver” since back during the Andy Reid days, and they’ve repeatedly missed on elite prospects during the draft.
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Names like Justin Jefferson and D.K. Metcalf are just two of many elite wideouts who the Eagles have specifically chosen not to draft in recent history.
Despite all of the logic and reasoning behind staying put at sixth overall in hopes that Chase makes it past the Cincinnati Bengals (the Dolphins’ current strategy), Howie Roseman and the Eagles decided to trade back to 12th overall, essentially ruling themselves out of the Ja’Marr Chase sweepstakes altogether.
While they could still end up landing someone like Jaylen Waddle or DeVonta Smith at pick 12, the general consensus is that the front office has shifted their attention towards cornerback and offensive/defensive line now.
With that said, it doesn’t sound like you should rule out the idea of Philly landing a highly-rated LSU receiver just yet.
The Philadelphia Eagles reportedly have their eye on LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr.
According to Kyle Brandt on Good Morning Football, the Philadelphia Eagles have had extensive conversation with the likes of Terrace Marshall Jr., LSU’s best overall receiving prospect behind the before mentioned Chase.
Marshall Jr. was overshadowed by the likes of Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase during LSU’s record-breaking 2019 campaign, but still ended up finishing the year with an impressive 46 catches, 671 yards, and 13 TDs (as a true sophomore).
With Jefferson and Chase no longer in the picture this past season in 2020, Marshall Jr. was well on his way to put up a 1,000 yard season. He had 48 catches for 731 yards and 13 touchdowns through just seven games, prior to his own respective opt out.
Marshall Jr. is a very similar mold to the likes of Jefferson and Chase. He’s 6-3, 200lbs and has a route tree that’s become somewhat expected of LSU receiving products these days. Marshall is an extremely versatile wideout, one who should be able to stretch the field, contest for jump balls, and be a threat over the middle of the field. All things teams typically ask of their #1 wide receivers at the professional level.
Marshall Jr. – similar to Justin Jefferson in 2020 – is being a tad overlooked this offseason compared to some of the other WR prospects, albeit I can’t seem to find a real reason why. He ticks off every single box an NFL team could ask for in an outside receiver, and his experience at LSU is going to have him more “NFL ready” than most.
Throw in the fact that Marshall Jr. doesn’t turn 21 until June, and he looks like a prospect oozing with longterm potential.
Currently speaking, most mocks I’ve seen have Marshall Jr. as either a late first-round pick or an early second-rounder. The Philadelphia Eagles are set to pick at the top of the second round with the 37th overall pick – right in the range for the electrifying LSU product.
If the Eagles really like Marshall Jr., I wouldn’t even rule out a trade-up for him. The Eagles got burned once overlooking a LSU WR late in the first-round, one can only assume they’d like to not make that mistake again.