The Eagles signed Alshon Jeffery earlier this offseason because they desperately needed to give Carson Wentz more offensive weapons to work with.
So far, the very, very early returns on Jeffery have been good. Jeffery has really stood out in positive way during Philadelphia’s two practices open to the media. The big-bodied wide receiver has caught almost all of the attempts Wentz has thrown his way.
But Jeffery’s reliability (one drop on 92 targets last season) isn’t the only factor that makes him such a great target for Wentz. The quarterback and wide receiver seemingly excel at the same routes. Take a look at this graphic from Pro Football Focus.
Alshon Jeffery and Carson Wentz team up in 2017 and had similar success on routes in 2016. pic.twitter.com/vF58O7gNK0— Eliot Crist (@EliotCrist) May 29, 2017
Kind of scary how that almost matches up evenly, huh?
Now, it’s worth noting these numbers come from only a 16 game sample size. In addition, Wentz was throwing to the league’s worst wide receivers while Jeffery had to deal with one of the NFL’s worst quarterback situations. So there’s room for improvement on both sides here.
The fit between the two players goes beyond the numbers. Prior to the beginning of free agency, ESPN did a film breakdown on why Wentz and Jeffery are perfect for each other.
"What I always look at with receivers is not what they do at the line of scrimmage -- he's big enough, strong enough where he’s going to get off a press -- it's what he can do at the top of the route. Because that's where he makes his money is between 12 and 15 yards; that's where the route is going to break with him. He's going to get open," Bowen said. "He understands now how to sink his hips, how to accelerate out of the break, how to create enough separation. Even if a defensive back does close, now you go back to the size and strength at the point of attack; he's going to pin him outside just like a basketball player in the post. That shows up a lot in third down, that shows up especially in the red zone."
"He's a guy that can move the sticks all day for you. And I really think that's what Carson Wentz needs right now."
Jeffery displayed his jump ball dominance during Tuesday’s practice when he leaped up and came down with the ball in the end zone despite rookie corner Rasul Douglas hanging on him like an ornament on a Christmas tree.
It was only a practice rep, sure, but I’d bet we’ll be seeing more of that when the real games start this fall.