Peter King is one of the most-read columnists in America, and his “ Football Morning in America “ column on NBC Sports (it was formerly “Monday Morning Quarterback” over on SI.com) is one that many readers, reporters, and other writers set alarms for. He’s also one of the more plugged in NFL insiders and regular talks to team sources. In short: when he has takes, people who follow football want to hear them.
King’s FMIA posts are usually massive. Monday’s article was about 13,000 words by his own count. So, there’s a lot to digest. I usually skip ahead to Eagles-specific notes or try a few keyword searches before going back and reading the rest. I’m writing this at 10:30pm ET and just finished today’s column.
This week, King dropped his mock draft, and it included a few interesting Philadelphia Eagles nuggets. For starters, King has Henry Ruggs III falling to the Eagles at the 21st overall pick. Prior to the NFL combine, Ruggs was a popular player in Eagles mock drafts. But once he showed out at the NFL combine, he started to shoot up the board. Some analysts even started to put him ahead of Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb in their rankings. It’s impossible to know where he is going to go on Thursday, but he is a lock to go somewhere in the first round.
Chiefs may try to trade up for Henry Ruggs https://t.co/loh7MfcNuU
- ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) April 20, 2020
If King has him falling to the Eagles at 21, then he must be hearing things that lead him to believe that he will make it there. Here is the excerpt from the article where King talks about Ruggs to Philly:
“Maybe Eagles GM Howie Roseman will find a taker for Alshon Jeffery and his hefty salary (maybe by paying a good chunk of it), or maybe the Eagles have to play with Jeffery and his injury bug for one more season; when he’s on the field he’s effective if not a star. But the thing I heard about the Eagles in the last few days is, Henry Ruggs will not get past 21. So here we are. Ruggs and his 4.27 40-speed are obviously tempting, and 24 touchdowns on only 98 career catches is explosive stuff. But a couple of things make me wonder. Three years, 41 games, 2.4 catches per game, 41.9 receiving yards per game. The most dangerous weapon in your offense gets 42 yards a game? The other side of that is some very smart offensive minds-Sean Payton, Andy Reid-love Ruggs. He’s competitive, and he doesn’t drop many. If he goes to Philadelphia, he’ll be the deep weapon Carson Wentz has imagined with DeSean Jackson.”
Interestingly enough, King has LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson, another player who has been mocked to the Eagles a ton, at 20th overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars. As for the other top two wideouts, he has CeeDee Lamb going to the Las Vegas Raiders at 12 and Jerry Jeudy being drafted by the Denver Broncos at 15. Jefferson going ahead of Ruggs would come as a bit of a shock, but I don’t think many Eagles fans would complain.
King does not have Denzel Mims, a scout darling who the Eagles have spent a lot of time speaking with, in his first round. He does, however, have Tee Higgins going to the Vikings at 25 and Michael Pittman Jr. being selected by the Packers at 30. Higgins is the nightmare scenario for many Eagles fans as he is considered a tall wideout who excels at 50–50 balls but is not fast. Pittman is seen as a professional route runner but is unspectacular. Other wideouts who fell outside of the first round in King’s draft are Jalen Reagor, Brandon Aiyuk, and Laviska Shenault Jr.
As for Alshon Jeffery, King included him on his list of players likely to get traded during the NFL Draft, saying:
“Players likely to get traded during the draft, in order: Washington T Trent Williams, Jacksonville DE Yannick Ngakoue, New England G Joe Thuney, Cincinnati QB Andy Dalton, Jacksonville RB Leonard Fournette, Philadelphia WR Alshon Jeffery.”
If the Eagles can get ANYTHING for Jeffery, they should take it and go with a fresh start at the position. Despite needing help at the position, he was reportedly the anonymous source who criticized quarterback Carson Wentz to reporter Josina Anderson each of the last two years. If that is the case and the team knows it, it’s hard to see him returning to the locker room in 2020. However, his injury and contract situation make moving him difficult, if not impossible. One thing is certain, Henry Ruggs III being drafted by the Eagles in the first round would make saying goodbye to Jeffery that much easier.
Originally published at https://thebirdsblitz.com on April 21, 2020.