More WR Talk

Posted: March 31st, 2020 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on More WR Talk

When it comes to the Eagles and wide receivers, all we can do is guess. Howie Roseman has talked to the media. He’s offered some thoughts on the situation from a variety of different angles. But the offseason isn’t over yet. Howie can’t be completely honest. He can’t give away his gameplan for fixing the receiver position.

Let’s talk about a few things.

Sheil Kapadia wrote a piece on the Eagles and covered a few subjects, but hit on WR a lot. He had an interesting note toward the end of the piece.

With Wentz, Pederson and Schwartz, the Eagles have a high floor and will be in the mix for the NFC East title. But my big-picture outlook is that they will not be legit Super Bowl contenders next season unless they upgrade at wide receiver beyond the guys on the roster and whomever they draft. It’s possible that Jackson stays healthy for 16 games and doesn’t lose a step or that the light comes on for Arcega-Whiteside or that the Eagles draft the next Michael Thomas. But those are all gambles — and strange ones to take given how last season played out.

How last season played out…

I thought about that for a bit. Rewind to last August. More than a few NFL analysts thought the Eagles had the best WR corps in the entire league. Alshon Jeffery was the big physical receiver and outstanding red zone threat. DeSean gave the team an explosive element. Nelson Agholor was the slot receiver with some playmaking ability. Rookie J.J. Arcega-Whiteside gave the team another big guy with good hands. Mack Hollins was finally on the mend and offered a big guy who could run well.

One site had the Eagles 6th in the NFL. They also had:

28 – SF
29 – SEA
30 – NYG
31 – BAL
32 – WAS

You notice anything there?

28 – SF – Rookie Deebo Samuel became a star
29 – SEA – Rookie D.K. Metcalf had an excellent rookie season
30 – NYG – Rookie Darius Slayton had an excellent rookie season
31 – BAL – Rookie Miles Boykin showed promise
32 – WAS – Terry McLaurin had a fantastic rookie season

Perception and reality were very different. Those teams ended up much better than where people had them pegged. The site had the Patriots with the #5 set of receivers. And that might be the only group that ended up worse than the Eagles.

Did Howie and the Eagles learn a lesson?

Football is constantly evolving. Maybe this is the time to embrace rookies. Maybe this is an over-correction by the Eagles. They have been skeptical of rookie receivers for about a decade. Maybe they are going too far in the other direction.

I do think it is important to also address intangibles here. Last year Jeffery was dealing with some baggage. We don’t know exactly what, but something was up. DeSean was coming home and his presence may have had some type of effect on chemistry. DeSean isn’t the shy guy who just tries to fit in. Agholor was on a one-year deal and likely was trying to impress the Eagles and other teams to earn a contract for the future.

If you find rookies that come in hungry and with a chip on their shoulder, you have a different vibe.

I’m not trying to sit here and tell you that focusing on rookies is absolutely the smart way to go. I’m trying to figure out what Howie and the Eagles are thinking. They’ve got to have a plan. This can’t be bad luck or something like that. The plan might be bad. The plan might not work.

But there has to be a plan.


One of the topics that Sheil touched on was DeAndre Hopkins. One thing I would love to know is just how interested the Eagles were. I wonder if Hopkins was a great fit for the Eagles.

Before you think I’m nuts, Hopkins is a great receiver and would be a ton of fun to watch. But he is a volume receiver. You build the passing game around him and feed him the ball. In the last three years, Hopkins has 315 catches. In the last three years, Alshon Jeffery has 165 catches. That is a phenomenal difference.

When the Eagles offense was a juggernaut in 2017, they spread the ball around. Zach Ertz led the team with 74 catches. Agholor led the WRs with 62 catches. Carson Wentz spread the ball to WRs, TEs and RBs. He found the open guy and got him the ball.

Do the coaches want that kind of an offense or would they rather feed the ball to a star receiver? My guess is that they would rather spread it around, but I don’t have definitive proof. That is just a guess based on the way they have tried to build the offense the last few years.


Back to the subject of adding a veteran receiver. I’m just like everyone else. I fully expected the Eagles to make a move.

At the same time, this was a terrible group of free agents. Terrible.

We talked ourselves into loving Breshad Perriman off his breakout season of 36-645-6. Back in 2003, Todd Pinkston went 36-575-2 and people wanted him shipped to the ice caverns of Fridgia.

Devin Funchess was a mediocre receiver coming off injury and the Colts showed no interest in keeping him.

Robby Anderson didn’t have nearly the demand for his services that he expected. There is just something odd about him. Why didn’t the Jets make a stronger push to keep him?

Nelson Agholor was one of the 10 best receivers on the market. That alone should tell you how bad the market was.

Someone hit me up on Twitter wanting to know why the Eagles weren’t going after Rashard Higgins or Taylor Gabriel. My response…they are JAGs (just a guy) with some kind of track record. People want the Eagles to make a move so they’ll have an answer at WR and see something concrete.

Higgins breakout year was 2018, when he went 39-572-4. Last year he got in the coaches doghouse and barely played. Gabriel showed speed and playmaking ability in 2016. Since then he’s been a possession receiver and has scored 7 TDs. Oh, and he’s 5-7, 168. Higgins has potential. Gabriel would be a waste of time.

The Eagles would rather give snaps to JJAW than bring in a mediocre veteran. You can hate that thinking all you want. And the Eagles might be wrong to think that way, but most of the guys we’re talking about are not compelling and have been more disappointing than not in their careers. Are those the guys you really want to bank on?


I will get back to writing about draft prospects. Free agency and pro moves have been the dominant topics for a couple of weeks, but it is time to get back to obsessing on who the Eagles should pick in the draft in a few weeks.


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