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Report: College assistant in play for Eagles’ wide receivers coach vacancy

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Also: a hint about the OC search?

Indianapolis Colts 2006 Headshots

Vanderbilt wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead is “one name that keeps popping up” for the Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receivers coach vacancy, according to ESPN’s Tim McManus.

The 39-year-old Moorehead is really the first candidate we’ve seen connected to this opening; it’s previously been pretty quiet on that front.

Moorehead played college football at Illinois before signing with the Indianapolis Colts as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2003. He remained with Indy through 2007, so he was part of the Colts’ Super Bowl team in 2006. Moorehead finished his five-year NFL playing career with 31 receptions for 330 yards and one touchdown in 36 games played.

Moorehead transitioned to coaching in 2009. A snapshot of his experience:

New Mexico (2009) — Graduate assistant

Stanford (2010–2012) — Graduate assistant

Virginia Tech (2013–2014) — Wide receivers coach

Texas A&M (2015–2017) — Wide receivers coach

Vanderbilt (2018-present) — Wide receivers coach

Moorehead has a track record of helping to develop players, as noted in his Vanderbilt bio:

In 2019, two of Moorehead’s receivers — senior Kalija Lipscomb and redshirt freshman Cam Johnson — posted more than 30 receptions.

In Moorehead’s first year at Vanderbilt, he mentored Lipscomb to one of the finest seasons ever by a Commodore. Lipscomb posted 87 receptions and 916 receiving yards, both among the top totals in team history. Lipscomb finished his career ranking among Vanderbilt’s all-time top-10 with 198 catches, 2,356 receiving yards and 22 touchdowns.

A young receiver, freshman CJ Bolar posted 34 receptions for 440 yards and two scores in 2018.

Moorehead came to West End after serving as wide receivers coach at Texas A&M for three seasons.

At Texas A&M, Moorehead helped develop one of the SEC’s most exciting players of recent years in Christian Kirk. In his three years on the College Station campus, Kirk amassed 234 receptions, good for 2,856 yards and 26 touchdowns.

In addition to Kirk, Moorehead developed Josh Reynolds into a standout receiver at Texas A&M. As a junior and senior in 2015-16, Reynolds posted 112 catches, 1,946 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns.

Both Kirk and Reynolds are now playing in the NFL: Kirk as a second-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals; and Reynolds as a fourth-round selection of the Los Angeles Rams.

The Eagles previously hired a college wide receivers coach — North Carolina’s Gunter Brewer — in 2018 and that didn’t work out so well. He was gone after just one year with the team as receivers regularly struggled to line up correctly. A key difference between Brewer and Moorehead, though, is that the latter actually played in the NFL.

At the very least, Moorehead seems like a candidate worth interviewing. In addition to his player development experience, he could potentially bring some fresh ideas to Philly’s offense. The Eagles have previously had their wide receivers coach assist in game planning (ex: Mike Groh spent time on third downs in 2017). The Eagles signaled interest in incorporating college concepts by interviewing USC offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Graham Harrell for their OC job before he turned them down. So, maybe Moorehead can be the Eagles’ consolation prize in that regard?

Another interesting wrinkle to consider here is that Moorehead overlapped with Jim Caldwell — whom McManus previously identified as an Eagles offensive coordinator candidate — in Indy. Caldwell was the Colts’ assistant head coach and quarterbacks coach for every year of Moorehead’s playing career. The Eagles previously had a setup where the wide receivers coach (Carson Walch) had familiarity with the offensive coordinator (Mike Groh) before being hired in Philly. So, maybe the Eagles are really interested in Caldwell and he wants some say when it comes to the receivers coach?

I think there’s appeal to a Caldwell and Moorehead combo. The seasoned Caldwell has a great track record with quarterbacks and Moorehead could bring some new ideas to the table.

Hopefully it won’t be too much longer until we see what the Eagles have in store.