clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

For the second year in a row, the Eagles look improved at wide receiver

New, comments

Eagles training camp position preview: Wide receivers.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles training camp 2018 is almost here. Players report to the NovaCare Complex on Wednesday, July 25. The Eagles’ summer 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.

The Players

Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson, Greg Ward Jr., Bryce Treggs, Markus Wheaton, Marquess Wilson, Rashard Davis, Anthony Mahoungou, Tim Wilson

In 2016, the Eagles arguably had the worst group of wide receivers in the NFL.

Carson Wentz’s top options included Jordan Matthews, Dorial Green-Beckham, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff, Paul Turner, and Bryce Treggs. Here’s what their receiving numbers looked like:

JMatt - 117 targets, 73 receptions, 816 yards, 4 TD
DGB - 74 targets, 36 receptions, 392 yards, 2 TD
Agholor - 70 targets, 36 receptions, 365 yards, 2 TD
Turner - 14 targets, 9 receptions, 126 yards, 0 TD
Huff - 17 targets, 13 receptions, 72 yards, 1 TD
Treggs - 12 targets, 3 receptions, 80 yards, 0 TD

All combined, that’s 304 targets, 170 receptions, 1851 yards (10.9 average), and nine touchdowns. Now compare that to the 2017 numbers:

Jeffery - 120 targets, 74 receptions, 789 yards, 9 TD
Agholor - 95 targets, 62 receptions, 768 yards, 8 TD
Torrey Smith - 69 targets, 36 receptions, 430 yards, 2 TD
Hollins - 22 targets, 16 receptions, 226 yards, 1 TD
Marcus Johnson - 9 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards, 0 TD
Gibson - 3 targets, 2 receptions, 11 yards, 0 TD

Last year’s production totals up to 318 targets, 199 receptions, 2269 yards (11.4 average), and 20 touchdowns. Much better! The good news is that most of that improved wide receiving corps will be returning for the 2018.

Jeffery figures to be the top receiver target again once he recovers from the torn rotator cuff injury he played through last year. It’s entirely possible we see a more effective Jeffery now that he won’t have to be fighting through that. We didn’t see Jeffery win as many 50-50 jump balls as we would’ve like to see. Maybe that changes now that he’s going to be healthy. He’s also had some time to build up a chemistry with Wentz. I’m excited to see what The Prophet brings in his second season with Philly.

Torrey Smith stepped up in the playoffs and was a great guy to have on the team but he wasn’t an incredibly efficient player in the regular season. Free agent signing Mike Wallace has a better track record of production. He’ll be able to stretch the field like Smith was able to do. But Wallace won’t just be limited to that. He showed off his ability to contribute in the intermediate passing game during spring practices. I think Wallace is going to have a real solid season. He should be a definite upgrade on Smith.

Agholor’s turnaround has been nothing short of remarkable. He went from being one of the league’s worst receivers to one of the best weapons in the slot. Moving him there was a great call by the offensive coaching staff. Agholor is a reliable target who creates a lot of separation with his shiftiness. The 2015 first-round pick graded out as one of the best receivers on third and fourth down situations last season.

Jeffery, Wallace, and Agholor will receive a bulk of the snaps at receiver this season. The clear fourth guy behind those three is Hollins. In a small sample size, Hollins has been a very efficient target. Eight of his 16 receptions went for first downs. This production isn’t unlike the numbers he put up at North Carolina. Hollins was never a volume target. Rather, he made the most of his limited opportunities. I figure he’ll do the same in 2018 as he also makes important contributions on special teams. He could see a little more offensive playing time in last year if he has a strong summer. It’s ‘possible’ he could even unseat Wallace but that doesn’t seem likely.

The Eagles’ top four receivers are virtually set in stone. Beyond that, things are unclear. Gibson, a 2017 fifth-round pick, is arguably in the driver’s seat for a fifth spot. He looks much improved from last year in terms of being able to actually catch the ball.

It’s possible the Eagles could keep six receivers like they did last season. Ward, Wheaton, Treggs, and Davis are the guys who look like the strongest contenders in that mix. If all goes well, they won’t play much in 2018, but they could be quality depth players to have around just in case.

How will it play out?

Jeffery and Agholor will likely see a bulk of the receiver targets once again. Jeffery has the potential to be more effective than he was last year while I think Agholor should turn in another good season. Wallace might surprise some people as a nice contributor to the offense. Hollins will see some rotational playing time. The cries for him to get more playing time will only grow louder if someone ahead of him (like Wallace) is struggling.

Gibson is probably the fifth receiver. He’ll be active on game day for special teams purposes. I’ll say Ward stays inactive on game day as the sixth receiver.

Overall, I think this year’s receiving corps has the potential to be even better than last year’s. We’ll see if they deliver. A lot depends on what Wallace brings to the table.

Who could be a surprise cut?

I’d be a little surprised if Gibson got cut since he’s seemingly built some positive momentum. It won’t be as surprising if he has another bad summer.

Poll

On a scale of 1-10, what’s your confidence level in the Eagles’ wide receivers? (10 being the most.)

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    10
    (417 votes)
  • 32%
    9
    (765 votes)
  • 40%
    8
    (943 votes)
  • 8%
    7
    (197 votes)
  • 1%
    6
    (25 votes)
  • 0%
    5
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    4
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    3
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    2
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    1
    (2 votes)
2356 votes total Vote Now