The SB Nation NFL team sites will be doing theme weeks all throughout the 2017 NFL season. This week’s theme is: “What is the most surprising part of the NFL season so far?”
I’m applying this question specifically to the Eagles’ season. When I solicited answers on Twitter, the most popular response was ...
Only one game, obviously, but what would you say is the biggest surprise of the Eagles’ season so far?— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) September 13, 2017
... Nelson Agholor!
It has to be him, right? I mean, this was a guy that most had written off by the end of last season. And for good reason, too. It’s not just that Agholor was merely bad or below average. He was literally one of (if not the) worst wide receivers in the league in both 2015 and 2016.
He sure didn’t look like one of the worst wide receivers in the NFL on Sunday against Washington. The former first-round pick finished the game with a career-high six receptions for a career-high 86 receiving yards. There’s also this:
Agholor ranks second in PFF’s signature “WR rating” statistic, which shows the quarterback rating when a receiver is thrown at. In other words, Carson Wentz’s passer rating when targeting Agholor is 149.3.
The flashy play was obviously the 58-yard touchdown reception on that crazy scramble from Carson Wentz. But the even more impressive thing about Agholor’s performance was his consistency and reliability. Three of his receptions moved the chains on third down and a fourth reception was the touchdown play. Altogether, 77 of his yards came on third down plays.
Given that Agholor looked good in spring and summer practices, it’s not a total surprise he’s starting to play better. Still, he had a quiet preseason, and it doesn’t matter what he does in practices if he doesn’t show up in the games. On Sunday against Washington, he showed up in a big way.
It’s hard to fully buy in on Agholor right now. We’ve seen too much inconsistency to suddenly expect all of his struggles are fully behind him. Remember back to last year when Agholor had what turned out to be his best game of the season: four receptions for 57 yards and one touchdown against the Browns. Then things got ugly from there.
The hope is that Agholor will continue to play well. I don’t think anyone will be mistaking him for a bonafide No. 1 any time soon, but that’s OK. Even if he can just be a good slot receiver, that would be huge for Wentz and this team. So far, he’s off to a good start.
And now I turn the question over to you: what’s your biggest surprise of the Eagles season through only one game?