Philadelphia Eagles training camp 2016 is almost here. Coaches and players report as soon as Monday, July 25. The Eagles' training camp schedule, including information on practices open to the public, can be found by clicking here. As we count down the days together, Bleeding Green Nation will be previewing every position on the Eagles roster. We continue today by taking a look at the wide receiver position.
Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Rueben Randle, Chris Givens, T.J. Graham, Jonathan Krause, Cayleb Jones, Xavier Rush, Marcus Johnson, Paul Turner, Hunter Sharp
The Eagles simply don't have a lot of talent at receiver. The 23-year-old Jordan Matthews is the team's best option in the passing attack, and he had at least nine drops last season. There's been talk about the Eagles moving Matthews to play outside receiver, but Doug Pederson has indicated the Birds like him in the slot.
On the bright side, Matthews has shown some real potential in that role. Among Eagles players in their first two seasons, Matthews ranks first in receptions, second in yards, and second in touchdowns. Though not a game-breaking star, Matthews can still be a nice piece on offense for years to come.
The big problem with the Eagles' receiver corps is that they don't have much outside of Matthews. Philadelphia desperately needs their other pass catches to step up and contribute. Nelson Agholor, the team's 2015 first round pick, might have potential to be a difference maker for the Eagles. He has a long way to go in order to prove that, though. Agholor mightily struggled as a rookie and then again during spring practices this year. Agholor was accused of sexual assault earlier this offseason, but it appears no charges are expected to be filed.
There's a lot of pressure on Agholor to show he can be something. He's not alone in needing to step up, though. It's time for third-year receiver Josh Huff to prove he's not just a guy who flashes big play ability every once in awhile. More consistency is needed from him. Like Agholor, Huff struggled with drops during spring practices.
Philadelphia's lack of talent at receiver is what motivated them to sign two veterans in free agency: Rueben Randle and Chris Givens. Despite some frustrating moments, Randle was a decent contributor for the Giants. Randle never played up to his status as a second round pick, though, so he was considered a disappointment by some in New York. Givens signed with Philadelphia after being traded away by the Rams to Baltimore last season. The former St. Louis pass catcher has experience with Sam Bradford. Givens showed off his deep speed during spring practices in May and June. He looked good catching the ball. Randle and Givens will be pushing the young guys for playing time.
Outside of these top five players, the Eagles have a lot of fringe talent and long-shots.
How will it play out?
The feeling here is that the Eagles will keep five receivers. Matthews, Agholor, Huff, Randle, and Givens project to be the top five. One of the depth guys is really going to need to step up in order to force them to keep six.
Matthews will get a lot of playing time in the slot once again. Agholor and Huff could be the team's starting players on the outside. Randle and Givens certainly have the opportunity to crack the rotation at receiver.
Who could be a surprise cut?
Agholor reportedly won't have charges filed against him, but his situation is still worth monitoring until we hear something official.
Huff's ability as a kick returner could be saving his roster spot.