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What the Eagles should do at wide receiver

Eagles roster outlook: position-by-position.

Baltimore Ravens v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Today we continue our Philadelphia Eagles roster outlook series by examining the wide receiver position. Previously: Defensive end | Defensive tackle | Linebacker | Cornerback | Safety | Quarterback | Running back.

THE PLAYERS

GREG WARD

STATS: 791 snaps, 79 targets, 53 receptions, 419 yards, 7.9 average, 3 drops, 6 TD, ... 2 rushes for -4 yards ... 2 fumbles

REVIEW: After having success down the stretch in 2019, there was hope for Ward being a bigger part of the offense in 2020. And that sure ended up being the case; he led his position group in playing time and targets. But Ward wasn’t very good in terms of efficiency. He ranked 110th out of 112 wide receivers in yards per route run.

OUTLOOK: Ward is an exclusive-rights free agent this offseason, which means the Eagles will tender him at the minimum and he’ll accept it. Ward can be a quality backup option but he ideally shouldn’t be starting in the slot. He has good hands and can help move the chains at times, sure. But he’s just not a dynamic threat. The Eagles should be looking to get more explosive on offense.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Greg Ward: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Stay
    (3504 votes)
  • 17%
    Go
    (725 votes)
4229 votes total Vote Now

TRAVIS FULGHAM

STATS: 553 snaps, 67 targets, 38 receptions, 539 yards, 14.2 average, 5 drops, 4 TD

REVIEW: Fulgham was an afterthought when the Eagles claimed him off waivers in training camp. Then he unexpectedly flourished when injuries forced him into game action. Fulgham actually led the NFL in receiving during a four-week stretch, which was nuts. Even crazier was that the Eagles started to decrease his playing time, especially when Jeffery returned. Fulgham only had nine receptions for 104 yards and zero touchdowns in his final eight games ... and, yet, still led the team in receiving. Lol.

OUTLOOK: There were rumblings about Fulgham losing playing time in part due to work ethic. One can hope the new coaching staff can help motivate him to rediscover his form from that great stretch he had. Fulgham looked like a legitimate WR1 at the X position for a minute there! It’d be great to see him get back to there. No guarantee he does.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Travis Fulgham: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    Stay
    (4071 votes)
  • 5%
    Go
    (256 votes)
4327 votes total Vote Now

JALEN REAGOR

STATS: 511 snaps, 54 targets, 31 receptions, 396 yards, 12.8 average, 1 drop, 1 TD ... 4 rushes for 26 yards ... 2 fumbles

REVIEW: Reagor suffered an injury late in training camp that was expected to keep him out for a couple of weeks. The 2020 first-round pick was able to play in Week 1, though, and excited fans with a 55-yard reception. Unfortunately, that went on to be his longest reception of the season. It was the most yards he had in a single game as a rookie. Reagor did flash with a punt return touchdown in Green Bay but he wasn’t even able to earn the coaching staff’s trust as the full-time return due to fielding issues.

OUTLOOK: Reagor’s rookie season was pretty disappointing. He never really showed signs of being anything special. The book on his career has hardly been written; he’ll be just 22 years old heading into his second NFL season. Maybe he finds a way to thrive under the new coaching staff. A Carson Wentz trade could also help considering his top three games graded by Pro Football Focus came when Jalen Hurts played quarterback. But even if Reagor makes progress and turns out to be “good,” it’s going to be hard not to feel the pain of the Eagles passing on him for Justin Jefferson. Opportunity cost is a real thing, folks, and Jefferson is already one of the best receivers in the NFL.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Jalen Reagor: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Stay
    (3903 votes)
  • 6%
    Go
    (283 votes)
4186 votes total Vote Now

JOHN HIGHTOWER

STATS: 346 snaps, 29 targets, 10 receptions, 167 yards, 16.7 average, 4 drops, 0 TD ... 1 rush for 1 yard

REVIEW: Hightower looked good in practices but he did not look good in games. Kind of a problem. The coaching staff entrusted him with playing time early on but he eventually fell out of favor, going on to become a healthy scratch late in the year. Hightower showed some ability to get open down the field but he struggled with drops and just wasn’t an efficient target.

OUTLOOK: Hightower’s only entering his second season, yeah, but he turns 25 in May. In terms of development, he might mostly be what he is at this point. Depending on how the Eagles address receiver this offseason, it’s not a lock he makes the 2021 roster. That’s why I’m marking him down as “go” even though he’ll have a chance to compete to make the team in the offseason.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

John Hightower: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 47%
    Stay
    (1883 votes)
  • 52%
    Go
    (2046 votes)
3929 votes total Vote Now

ALSHON JEFFERY

STATS: 202 snaps, 13 targets, 6 receptions, 115 yards, 19.2 average, 2 drops, 1 TD

REVIEW: The Eagles foolishly wasted a roster spot on Jeffery for nine weeks before he was finally cleared to play in Week 10. The worth was totally worth it! Except, not really, because Jeffery looked pretty cooked out there. And the Eagles only wasted snaps by playing him over Fulgham or other young guys.

OUTLOOK: The Eagles would’ve liked to move on from Jeffery last year but couldn’t after inexplicably guaranteeing his 2020 salary back in September 2019. Jeffery is now more cuttable. The team reportedly restructured his contract with the plan to designate him as a post-June 1 release. Thanks for the Super Bowl contributions, Alshon.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

Alshon Jeffery: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    Stay
    (161 votes)
  • 96%
    Go
    (4057 votes)
4218 votes total Vote Now

DESEAN JACKSON

STATS: 179 snaps, 26 targets, 14 receptions, 236 yards, 16.9 average, 2 drops, 1 TD ... 1 rush for 12 yards

REVIEW: Jackson made headlines for the wrong reasons during the 2020 offseason by posting an image of an antisemitic message that was misattributed to Adolf Hitler. Pretty bad. The sincerity of his remorse was also drawn into question. Despite this, the Eagles stood by Jackson. Their faith in him wasn’t rewarded with on-field production as the veteran struggled to stay healthy once again. Jackson was placed on injured reserve after taking a late hit in Week 7. He then returned in Week 16 to catch an 81-yard touchdown bomb from Hurts, only to never see another reception.

OUTLOOK: Jackson’s second stint in Philly is likely coming to an end. The Eagles can cut him to clear about $4.9 million in much-needed cap space. It’ll be interesting to see if another team takes a chance on Jackson, who turns 35 this year. He clearly still has some juice when he’s healthy ... but he’s just never healthy anymore.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

DeSean Jackson: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    Stay
    (483 votes)
  • 88%
    Go
    (3740 votes)
4223 votes total Vote Now

J.J. ARCEGA-WHITESIDE

STATS: 141 snaps, 8 targets, 4 receptions, 85 yards, 21.3 average, 0 drops, 0 TD

REVIEW: JJAW was generating some buzz in camp since he was showing some signs of improvement. He never made an impact in the games, though. The 2019 second-round pick was a healthy scratch on multiple occasions after the bye week.

OUTLOOK: Maybe the new coaching staff can get something out of JJAW. I’m not holding my breath. Howie Roseman might not be ready to give up on him, so he might still make the 2021 roster, but he probably shouldn’t. It’s a shame because JJAW seems like a nice kid but the reality is he’s been a huge bust.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

J.J. Arcega-Whiteside: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 26%
    Stay
    (1111 votes)
  • 73%
    Go
    (3085 votes)
4196 votes total Vote Now

QUEZ WATKINS

STATS: 119 snaps, 13 targets, 7 receptions, 106 yards, 15.1 average, 2 drops, 1 TD

REVIEW: It took until Week 14 for Watkins to leapfrog Hightower and JJAW on the depth chart and see his first target. The 2020 sixth-round pick showed some promise in limited action.

OUTLOOK: The 22-year-old Watkins will be competing for a spot on the 2021 roster. There might be more hope for him than there is with Hightower.

MY TAKE: Stay.

Poll

Quez Watkins: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Stay
    (3453 votes)
  • 12%
    Go
    (508 votes)
3961 votes total Vote Now

DEONTAY BURNETT

STATS: 58 snaps, 4 targets, 3 receptions, 19 yards, 6.3 average, 0 drops, 0 TD

REVIEW: Despite having a good camp, Burnett was kept around on the practice squad instead of making the roster. He did see some limited playing time after being elevated due to multiple receiver injuries.

OUTLOOK: I’m not ready to give up on Burnett! He’s still only 23, which is notably younger than Ward, Fulgham, Hightower, and JJAW. The odds are probably stacked against him making the team and having a meaningful NFL career. I just think there’s some ability here.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

Deontay Burnett: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Stay
    (1155 votes)
  • 67%
    Go
    (2372 votes)
3527 votes total Vote Now

KHALIL TATE

REVIEW: The Eagles originally signed Tate, who played quarterback at Arizona, as an undrafted rookie free agent last year. They released him ahead of training camp, though, due to COVID causing the NFL to shrink the offseason roster limit. The Eagles re-signed Tate to a futures deal after their 2020 season.

OUTLOOK: Tate is very much a project. He’ll be competing for a spot on the 2021 practice squad at best this offseason. Odds stacked against him.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

Khalil Tate: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Stay
    (414 votes)
  • 87%
    Go
    (2776 votes)
3190 votes total Vote Now

MARQUISE GOODWIN

REVIEW: The Eagles acquired Goodwin from the San Francisco 49ers by moving down 20 spots from No. 190 to No. 210 in the 2020 NFL Draft. Goodwin understandably opted out of the season due to COVID-19 concerns.

OUTLOOK: Due to opting out, Goodwin’s 2020 contract tolled to 2021. Over The Cap says the Eagles can release him to clear about $4.3 million in cap space with $0 in dead money. No-brainer to move on from an aging vet who turns 31 this season.

MY TAKE: Go.

Poll

Marquise Goodwin: Stay or go?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Stay
    (528 votes)
  • 79%
    Go
    (2037 votes)
2565 votes total Vote Now

FREE AGENCY OR TRADES

We wrote about how Tyrell Williams is an option for the Eagles to consider if he ends up being affordable.

T.Y. Hilton has an obvious connection with Nick Sirianni but he turns 32 this season and will be too expensive. Zach Pascal is a restricted free agent and I’m guessing the Colts will tender him.

Nelson Agholor is available. Somehow, I don’t think he’ll be coming back to Philly.

The Eagles could look to add a vet minimum body to give them some more experience at the position. No one to get too excited about.

NFL DRAFT APPROACH

If they’re not going to draft a quarterback, the Eagles should really pick either Ja’Marr Chase or DeVonta Smith at No. 6. It’s possible neither will be there. In that case, Jaylen Waddle might enter the conversation.

Whether they take one or the first or not, the Eagles should be aiming to get at least two receivers from this class.