At 6’4 and 190 pounds, Tee Higgins is one of the most talented draft prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. How does Tee Higgins fit with the Philadelphia Eagles? Let’s take a look.
A Look at Tee Higgins’ College Performance at Clemson
In recent memory, the NFL Draft has seen a fair share of first round talent at the wide receiver position. DeAndre Hopkins (2013), Sammy Watkins (2014) and Mike Williams (2017) were all recent first round picks. If there is a school that consistently pumps out major wide receiver talent, look no further than Clemson University.
Tee Higgins was a 5-star recruit and, according to Rivals, the 15th best in the country. Tee Higgins signed with Clemson after being a standout in football and basketball. In fact, Tee Higgins was a finalist for Mr. Basketball in Tennessee his junior season in high school. Tee Higgins chose Clemson in July 2016 and received offers from Tennessee, Ohio State and Alabama.
A big-play threat on the outside…
While only playing sparingly, Tee Higgins flashed signs of things to come his freshman season by averaging 20.3 yards per reception. Tee Higgins became a household name his sophomore season when he was named Second-Team ALL-ACC and started all 15 games. He had several standout moments in 2018, including multiple ACC Receiver of the Week awards and a touchdown reception in the National Championship game vs Alabama.
Tee Higgins arguably had his biggest moment during a 3-touchdown performance vs #22 Virginia in the ACC Championship Game his junior season. Higgins finished his sophomore and junior seasons in the top 10 in the nation in receiving yards and yards per reception. He finished #1 in the ACC and #7 in the NCAA in receiving touchdowns. He was a winner through and through, losing only 3 games in 3 years. In those three years, Higgins totaled 2,448 yards 135 receptions, 3 college playoff games, 1 national championship and 27 touchdowns, a school record.
Tee Higgins struggled getting separation vs Ohio State…
This is an Eagles draft preview so we have to be honest: Tee Higgins got his lunch taken from Jeff Okudah in the Fiesta Bowl vs Ohio State. Okudah limited Higgins to 4 receptions and just 8.2 yards per reception. Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah is widely considered a top 5 pick and the most talented defensive back in the 2020 NFL Draft. Tee Higgins had 3 catches for 52 yards in the 2019 National Championship game against one of the best secondary’s in the country. Higgins did have an impressive touchdown run in that game.
Tee Higgins’ Current Draft Projection
- 19th – The Athletic
- 23rd – Sports Illustrated
- 22nd – Bleacher Report
- 17th – CBS Sports
- 33rd – NFL.com
- 21st – Sporting News
A Look at the Eagles Wide Receiver Position
First and foremost, the Eagles inability to make plays down field on offense was severely limited following the injury to DeSean Jackson. Saying the Eagles receivers underperformed in 2019 would be an understatement. Whether you blame Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson’s play calling or the lack of development in youth, the biggest issue with the Eagles offense was their ability to stretch the field and keep defenses honest.
More specifically, the Eagles also lacked ball skills at the wide receiver position. This is by no means disrespect to Greg Ward, but the fact that his performance during the latter part of 2019 looked like such an upgrade compared to his peers says everything. It wasn’t until late in the season when receivers finally began making plays. Making a play on the ball is something Tee Higgins would bring to the Eagles and then some.
How does Tee Higgins fit with the Philadelphia Eagles?
With such incredible talent at wide receiver in this draft (Henry Ruggs III, CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy), Tee Higgins has kind of been under the radar of late. The first thing that stands out about Tee Higgins is his size. At 6’4, Tee Higgins is one of the biggest wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. That size paired with smooth athleticism and soft hands allows him to be one of the better prospects at catching contested balls. Higgins thrives at the 50-50 ball due to his incredible length.
It would criminal to not bring up his catch radius and athleticism. Tee Higgins had some jaw dropping catches this season, showing excellent extension and footwork that should allow him to excel immediately in the NFL. All of this should allow Tee Higgins to develop into one of the better red zone wide receivers in the league someday. He possesses elite ability to grab the ball out of the air with his top notch athleticism, length and size.
In addition, Tee Higgins has shown to be an effective run blocker on the outside. This should allow Higgins to earn some street cred with Doug Pederson and quickly become a 3-down wide receiver for the Eagles. Higgins’ big play ability combined with his physicality on the line of scrimmage should make him an easy fit next to Carson Wentz and Miles Sanders.
What are some areas Tee Higgins needs to strengthen?
Pure speed. At 6’4 with incredible length, Tee Higgins has all the tools you look for in a wide receiver, minus elite speed. This is not a burner that will torch defenders. If you’re looking for a versatile wide receiver that you can line up anywhere on the field, then this isn’t it. Tee Higgins is a pure outside receiver. Tee Higgins ran a 4.75 in the 40-yard dash in High School and is likely to test in the 4.6 range at the NFL Draft Combine.
Muscle. Whichever team that drafts Tee Higgins will very likely throw a muscle building program at him the second he puts on an NFL jersey. A ton of teams will be watching Tee Higgins during the NFL Draft Combine. If he wants to be a first round pick, Higgins needs to show a sub 4.6 40-yard dash as well as room to grow with muscle.
The Ghost of JJAW: If you quiver in fear when you hear the words, “master of the 50/50 ball,” I hear you. Whether or not you still believe in his development, JJ Arcega-Whiteside made minimal impact his rookie season. Tee Higgins is a much better overall prospect than JJAW, as he possesses the ability to get off the snap and get separation from his defender on the line of scrimmage. Fear not Eagles fans, Tee Higgins simply has quicker feet and better hands than JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
My Expectations for 2020
As it stands, I think we can assume that Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb are locks to be drafted in the top 15 of the 2020 NFL Draft. If Henry Ruggs III runs a sub 4.3 40-yard dash as expected at the NFL Draft Combine, it is also likely that Ruggs gets drafted in the top half of the first round. With wide receiver being such a high need, it is looking highly likely that Tee Higgins will be available when the Eagles make their selection at 21.
Personally, Tee Higgins is a guy that I would love to trade back, get a pick in the top of the second round and select. For a team with so many holes to fill with youth and speed, drafting Tee Higgins at the top of the second round would be a home run draft pick. Tee Higgins has a steep hill to climb this Spring with so many talented wide receivers in this draft class. Make no mistake, Higgins has all the tools to become a true #1 wide receiver in the NFL. However, this entire dream sequence would quickly be squashed if Tee Higgins runs a 4.5 in the 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Draft Combine.
It truly comes down to what you want.…
Do you want a “50/50 guy” or speed at wide receiver? It would be foolish to pass on Tee Higgins because the Eagles already have a similar prospect in JJ Arcega-Whiteside. A slight trade back for Tee Higgins while also adding a speedster like KJ Hamler with another pick in the second round would be very interesting package for the Philadelphia Eagles in this year’s draft.