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Are Eagles eyeing the next Deebo Samuel in the draft?


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Are Eagles eyeing the next Deebo Samuel in the draft?


INDIANAPOLIS — The NFL is a copycat league and everyone saw what Deebo Samuel did in 2021.

The former second-round pick had over 1,400 receiving yards and another 365 rushing yards with 14 total touchdowns for the 49ers this past season on his way to an All-Pro nod.

So when one of the draft’s top receiver prospects with a similar build and skills says he’s watched a lot of Samuel, it’s going to get everyone’s attention.

"I’ve watched a lot of Deebo Samuel, just the way he plays RB, inside, outside,” Arkansas receiver Treylon Burks said. "That’s who I try to mimic game after.”

Burks (6-2, 225) has drawn comparisons to Titans receiver A.J. Brown but there are definitely plenty of similarities with Samuel, especially given how Burks was used at Arkansas. They lined him up everywhere with one key goal in mind: Get him the ball.

The Eagles have three first-round picks (Nos. 15, 16 and 19) and although they’ve drafted a receiver in the first round in back-to-back drafts, they still have a need at the position. And at the combine this week, the Eagles did meet with Burks.

You’d understand if the Eagles and other teams become enamored with what he can do.

In 2021, Burks caught 66 passes for 1,104 yards with 11 touchdowns and also rushed for 112 yards with another score. But what was more impressive than his stats was the way he accumulated them.

According to ProFootballFocus, Burks took 529 snaps in the slot, 132 out wide, 19 inline and 36 in the backfield.

That versatility was Burks’ answer when asked why he thinks he’s the best receiver in this draft class.

"I would say just my physicality, able to be used at multiple positions,” he said. "I can play outside receiver, inside receiver and running back. It doesn’t matter. That sets me apart from everybody else.”

While he played the majority of his snaps inside at Arkansas, Burks said he actually thinks he’s more effective when he lines up outside. If Burks ends up with the right team and offensive scheme, he could end up being very dangerous in the NFL.

The Eagles in 2021 drafted DeVonta Smith with the No. 10 overall pick and the Heisman Trophy winner had a very good rookie season, breaking the Eagles rookie receiving record. And then the Eagles also got good production from second-year sixth-round pick Quez Watkins; and the Eagles remain very bullish on Watkins’ potential as a No. 2 receiver in the NFL.

The problem is Jalen Reagor, their first-round pick from 2020. Not only has Reagor been a disappointment but he actually regressed following a rough rookie season. The Eagles tried to use Reagor in ways to get him the ball to create but most of those plays flopped. If the Eagles were to draft Burks, they’d probably hope those same plays would work with a better player.

According to NFLMockDraftDatabase.com, Burks is a first-round pick in 83% of mock drafts with the 14th spot as his average. So there’s a chance he won’t even be on the board when the Eagles are on the clock at 15. If the Eagles can’t draft Burks and they still want another receiver, there will be other options like Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Jameson Williams and Jahan Dotson.

But there’s just something about Burks’ unique skillset that is hard to get over.

"Really, the coach at Arkansas just wanted to get the ball in my hands any way they could,” Burks said. "I told them from Day 1 I’m here to do what’s best for the team.”

If the Eagles end up drafting him, it would be really fun to see how they use him.


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