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Eagles top 10 acquisitions of 2017: #2 — Alshon Jeffery

A #1 at #2

NFL: Super Bowl LII-Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Virtually everything the Eagles touched in 2017 turned to gold silver. With free agency around the corner and the draft to follow, we look back at the top 10 moves the Eagles made on their path to the Super Bowl.

When the 2016 Eagles season ended, changes were definitely coming in the offseason. The offense had the worst skill position players in the league, so for Carson Wentz to progress he was going to need some competency.

Boy did he get it.

The Eagles surprised everyone when they landed Alshon Jeffery, and on a one year deal heavy with incentives. Safe to say the Eagles got their money’s worth. With Jeffery, everything fell into place. The attention he demanded from defenses helped open up space for Zach Ertz to have the breakout season we’ve been waiting for and Nelson Agholor to turn his career around. And while Jeffery had a fairly pedestrian 789 yards on 57 catches, he still had a pretty good season himself, ending the season 4th in touchdowns.

The high touchdown output was indicative of the season he had: it wasn’t the flashiest, but when it mattered the most he excelled. Oh and he won the Super Bowl.

Of the 35 WRs who caught as many or more passes as Jeffery, only Mike Evans (77.5%) turned a higher percentage of them into a 1st down or touchdown than Jeffery’s 77.2%. Only 13 WRs caught more passes for a first down or touchdown than Jeffery’s 44.

21 of his 23 catches on 3rd down resulted in a 1st down or touchdown. He was a perfect 9 for 9 in the red zone, 8 for a touchdown and the 9th for a 1st down.

Including the playoffs, he caught 12 touchdowns, with little garbage time filler. Six gave the Eagles the lead, another increased the Eagles lead from 7 to 14, and two more extended a two score lead to put a game out of reach.

As if 12 touchdowns wasn’t enough, he also created two crucial field goals.

In Week 3 against the Giants he caught a 19 yard pass with 1 second left to set up Jake Elliott’s 61 yard game winner. Without that catch, perhaps the Eagles don’t win in OT.

In the divisional round against the Falcons he caught a 15 yard pass with 1 second left in the first half to set up a Jake Elliot 50 yard field goal. Without that catch, the Eagles are defending a 2 point lead against a Falcons offense that got into field goal range.

And he did all of this with, according to the NFL’s Next Gen stats, the smallest amount of separation from defenders of anyone. They also credited him as being 17th in targeted air yards, while Football Outsiders charted him with just 5 drops.

And then there were the playoffs. Discounting his cameo appearance in the season finale, Jeffery averaged 14.0 yards per reception and 52 yards a game during the regular season. In the playoffs he averaged 18.3 yards a reception and 73 yards a game, rates that in the regular season would be 1st and 9th, respectively. His 53 yard touchdown against the Vikings was the co-longest of the season, and his 34 yard touchdown in the Super Bowl was his third longest.

Yeah, I’d say the Eagles got the upgrade at WR they wanted.

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