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Spadaro: From size to speed, this WR corps has it all

The wide receivers go through a workout during the offseason program.
The wide receivers go through a workout during the offseason program.

The idea is to create the most favorable matchups in the passing game, and when you have a wide receiving corps that features A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, defenses are in trouble from the snap of the football. But it also helps when the depth chart features players with different dimensions, and as the Eagles kick into the midway point of their offseason program, it's worth noting that this wide receiver roster is chock full of players of all different sizes.

On the top-end side, there is rookie Johnny Wilson, all stretched out at 6-6 and 228 pounds. On the, uh, more compact side, there is Britain Covey at 5-8 and 173 pounds along with rookie draft pick Ainias Smith at 5-9 and 176 pounds.

In between, the Eagles could field a basketball team with Smith running the point guard position at 6-feet, 170 pounds and Brown the off guard at 6-1 and a burly 226 pounds. DeVante Parker is a small forward candidate at 6-2, 215 pounds. Jacob Harris (6-5, 211) and Shaquan Davis (6-5, 215) are young receivers hoping to make an impact in Training Camp.

There is a lot of everything in this group – size, speed, shiftiness, and the ability to win 50/50 balls, whether it's Brown muscling his way open against tight coverage, Smith contorting his body to make a sensational catch, or Parker going up high make a grab.

"If the ball is in the air, it's my job to go catch it," Parker said when he signed a deal with the Eagles in free agency. "That's what I've been doing my whole career."

Wilson noted in his introductory press conference on Friday the success Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Eagle Harold Carmichael, one of the tallest to ever play the position at 6-foot-8, had in his career, and he mentioned others who have helped pave the way for men his size to play the position: Alshon Jeffery and Mike Evans among them.

Having that kind of size, Wilson said, is a blessing and an advantage.

"I think being this size and being able to do some of the things that I can do with my body and getting in and out of breaks and having super-long arms is at times an advantage, especially when I'm going against smaller corners and smaller defenders," Wilson said. "Over the years I've done a lot of training to use my body to my advantage."

On the other end of the spectrum, Smith brings a jack-of-all-trades kind of skillset. At Texas A&M, Smith mixed in 72 rushing attempts with his 180 receptions and finished his career as the only 2,000-yard receiver in SEC history to also rack up at least 250 rushing, punt return, and kickoff return yards.

Versatility is key in the NFL. Striking fear into defensive coordinators, that's the goal for this group of wide receivers, which will certainly have competitive situations through the spring, Training Camp, and the preseason as the Eagles narrow the roster. They know that the passing game will involve heavy amounts of Brown and Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert, but depth always comes into play in a 17-game regular season.

With 12 receivers on the 90-man roster, the heat is on to win a job and add a certain, invaluable dimension to this wide receiver room.

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