By Tom Ignudo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The NFL draft is on Thursday night in Las Vegas, and the Eagles will look to add two impact players in the first round with picks 15 and 18. ESPN’s Todd McShay reported earlier this week the Eagles might go right back to where they found success in the first round last year. 

“Multiple execs I spoke with think Alabama wideout Jameson Williams is the Philadelphia Eagles’ preference at No. 15,” McShay wrote.

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If the Eagles do select Williams, it would be the third straight year the Eagles picked a wide receiver in the first round. There’s still a huge need at the position, despite the number of resources they’ve invested over the past few years. 

Last year, the Eagles took DeVonta Smith, who went on to set the franchise record for most receiving yards as a rookie in a single season. 

Before that, they took Jalen Reagor out of TCU over LSU’s Justin Jefferson, which was a huge miscalculation by the Eagles. Reagor hasn’t shown much over the past two years, and ESPN’s Tim McManus recently reported they’re open to listening to trade offers for Reagor. 

Williams and Smith would give the Eagles a promising, young pairing at the wide receiver position to help out Jalen Hurts. 

In his lone season at Alabama, Williams had 79 receptions, 1,572 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns. He also averaged 19.9 yards per catch.

Williams transferred to Alabama from Ohio State due to his role in the Buckeyes’ offense. 

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NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote that Williams’ game is similar to Will Fuller’s:

“Linear route-runner with electric long speed to impact a game as a home-run hitter or decoy drawing defenders away from other elements of the offense. Williams ruins man coverage but faces some limitations. He has issues getting off press cleanly and might require some scheming to help get off the mark cleanly against certain corners. Catch toughness can be inconsistent when contested or in heavily trafficked areas. He has all the juice to find consistent separation on vertical, over and post/corner routes and could see monstrous production if paired with a high-end talent at quarterback. The ACL tear could play a role in determining his ultimate draft destination, but it’s unlikely to change his game.”

But, as Zierlein noted, there’s some risk in taking Williams. He tore his ACL in the National Championship game against Georgia in January. 

Williams told reporters last month that he’s ahead of schedule, and a video recently released of him training might indicate that. 

Due to the injury, Williams probably wouldn’t be available to start the season, but the Eagles haven’t been afraid to take risks on players who dropped in the draft due to their injury history. 

Last season, the Eagles selected Landon Dickerson out of Alabama after he suffered several injuries, including tearing his ACL in the SEC championship game in 2020.

During the offseason, the Eagles signed Zach Pascal to a 1-year deal. Pascal will be the team’s third or fourth wideout, but he’s not a game-breaker at wide receiver. Williams could be that guy if he’s healthy. 

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The Eagles were unsuccessful at landing wideouts like Calvin Ridley due to his suspension, and Christian Kirk due to an insane contract from the Jacksonville Jaguars, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them take another stab at the position with one of their first-round picks.