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Eagles Rookie Profile: Seven things to know about JJ Arcega-Whiteside

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Get to know Philly’s new wide receiver.

NCAA Football: Stanford at UCLA Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles selected Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

In order to learn more about this guy, I reached out to SB Nation’s Stanford blog: Rule Of Tree. Cardinal writer Jack Blanchat (@jackblanchat) was kind enough to answer my questions.

1) Let’s start with the most important question: how do we refer to guy when it comes to a nickname? JJ? JJAW? Cuervo? Some Eagles fans have suggested “Sega.”

Really need some help here.The one that seemed to stick with the Stanford faithful was JAWS, but there was also a little traction for Arcegatron, which I enjoy a lot. Apparently his Stanford teammates called him Spider, which seems apt too.

[BLG Note: Here’s a look at our nickname poll results from earlier this week.]

2) Can you sum up what his college career was like?

JJ’s breakout moment was a game-winning touchdown catch with 24 seconds left to beat Josh Rosen’s UCLA team. In an ugly game, he ripped the ball out of the sky and put quite an exclamation point on that game. I think it occurred to me at some point last year that he was the best receiver Stanford has had at least since Doug Baldwin, and he was a more polished player coming out of college than Doug was (although I will qualify that by saying they are very different players who excel in different ways). He never seemed to dominate games as a junior, but always made great plays, and this year, he took that next leap. He was just too big, too strong, and his hands were too secure for college DBs to stop.

3) What are his strengths?

JJ puts DBs on posters. The tape really does the talking: JJ wins down the field, on jump balls, in single coverage, and in the red zone. He’s not super fast, but fast enough to be a problem, because he has a huge frame and a massive catch radius. He has really strong hands, so just give him a chance to catch the ball and he’ll pull it down. I think Stanford sometimes forgot that he was a solid route runner and turned to him too much as a jump-ball guy, but he never let the team down when they needed him to come up with a big catch. He also is really poised, mature and easygoing, and his Stanford teammates clearly enjoyed playing with him. He’s soft-spoken and lets his big play stand for itself. He reminds me a lot of Zach Ertz, who has obviously been a great fit in Philly.

4) What are his weaknesses?

I don’t know that he has the speed to run away from NFL DBs, and technically, he’s probably not the sharpest route-runner, but I don’t know that it matters a lot because of where he wins on the field. If a coach is taking a guy with his skill sets and making him run crossing routes, that’s kind of a problem.

5) Are you surprised where he was drafted? Higher or lower than expected? Just right?

I think this is just about right. He does what he does, he does it well, and I don’t know that he has the athletic profile that teams fall in love over, so mid-2nd round seems right for a guy with his impressive resume.

6) How do you see his NFL career playing out?

JJ has all the talent needed to be a powerful red-zone threat for years to come. I think he’s ready to be a starter for the Eagles, because he has a little bit of that Zach Ertz-like game, where he can be counted on to catch the ball on big downs, and he’s just a problem to handle in the endzone. Not sure what his career arc past five years or so will look like, but he’s got the work ethic to refine his game for whatever comes.

7) Anything to know about him off the field?

He’s a super interesting guy with a great backstory - his family is filled with incredible athletes. I’m just going to copy-paste from his Stanford profile page:

• Born in Zaragoza, Spain

• Full name is Jose Joaquin Arcega-Whiteside

• Son of Joaquin Arcega and Valorie Whiteside

• Mother played basketball professionally overseas and collegiately at Appalachian State

• Father played basketball professionally overseas• Uncles, Fernando and Jose Arcega, played basketball for Spain in 1984 Summer Olympics

• Learned English as third language

• Lived in several countries, including Spain, Portugal and Italy

• Moved to South Carolina at age six


Highlights:

Film reviews:

Spider graph:

Relative athletic score:

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