We are spoiled. In 2014 rookie wide receivers were so prolific that rookie wide receivers for the next couple of years will be unfairly compared to them. In a ten year period from 2004-2013, there were 54 rookie WRs who had at least 500 receiving yards. In 2014 alone there were nine. The 2009 draft class was even more prolific, with 11 WRs finishing with over 500 receiving yards. And we are doubly spoiled by Chip Kelly’s offense, which has produced in both of Kelly's two seasons career years from veteran wide receivers. With expectations raised by last year’s rookies, and by Chip Kelly’s offense, of which Jordan Matthews was a part of both, what can we reasonably expect from Nelson Algholor this season?
First we must assume he sees significant playing time, a more than reasonable expectation considering the Eagles WR depth chart. And of course that he stays healthy. Looking at rookie WRs from 2004-2013 that started 12+ games, we find 24 player seasons:
We see little relation between reception and yardage with touchdown totals. This makes sense, if you’re starting a rookie at WR your offense probably isn’t good, coaches of bad teams tend to make conservative decisions such as running the ball a lot in the red zone, and you’re just generally bad in the red zone anyway.
Over a 16 game season, these 24 players averaged 59 rec 832 yds 5 TD. Jordan Matthews 67 rec 872 yds 8 TD last year was unsurprisingly slightly better in all areas. And Matthews played exclusively in the slot, and as a result only played in 65% of the Eagles offensive snaps. Agholor could claim a full time starting job, which is very much up for grabs after the departure of Jeremy Maclin and complete ineffectiveness of Riley Cooper, but the expectations should not change:
The average season by rookie WRs who started 15+ games was 60 rec, 835 yds, 5 TD, virtually the exact same stat line as those who only started 12+, they averaged just one more catch for three more yards.
An expectation of around 60 receptions. 850 yds and 6 TD for Agholor is reasonable, with the TD total being the most likely to be off.