2020 NFL draft grades: John Hightower has the tools everybody wants in a wide receiver

Andrew Kulp
NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Eagles said they wanted to get faster, and say what you want about this draft, they've done that. John Hightower in the fifth round is just another example.

From a pure measurable standpoint, Hightower has the tools everybody wants in a wide receiver. The Boise State product is fast, with 4.4 speed. He's got a large catch radius at 6-foot-1 with 31.5-inch arms. And he produced his senior year, racking up 51 catches for 943 yards and eight touchdowns. He even returns kicks.

What's a guy like that doing in the middle of the fifth round?

For all his size and quickness, Hightower is not as polished as many of the receivers from his class. He's lean, at 189 pounds, and can struggle against press coverage. He's not necessarily great at tracking the deep ball or making the contested grab. And the level of competition in the Mountain West is far from the greatest.

So what we have here in Hightower is a raw talent the Eagles will need to develop if he's ever going to become a weapon in the passing attack, much less see the field.

That's also more or less the type of prospects you expect at this stage of the draft.

I look at the Eagles adding Jalen Reagor in the first round, another 4.4 guy (who purports to be faster than his time) and swapping picks for Goodwin, a true burner, and I see a team that's taking cues from the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Put fast players around your quarterback, ask questions later.

That's probably the best that can be said for Hightower, who tied for the eighth-best 40-yard dash by a receiver at this year's combine. He can run. He's got length. Just putting him on the field for a few snaps per game will intimidate defenses.

But let's not pretend the Eagles didn't draft a receiver who had a similar profile in Shelton Gibson at almost the exact same point in the draft three years.

Clearly, there's no guarantee the investment in Hightower is going to pay off. Nonetheless, he's the type of athlete you want your GM taking chances on with these later picks.

Grade: B+

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2020 NFL draft grades: John Hightower has the tools everybody wants in a wide receiver originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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