So... I guess we are doing a Zach Pascal film room! Move aside Tyreek Hill, this is the big one we all care about. I’ll be honest, this was not my first choice of film room but the Eagles haven’t signed anyone else yet and people voted for it on twitter so, let’s do it!
If you missed last week’s on Reddick, you can find it here. Just after I dropped it news came out that Fletcher Cox had been released so if you missed it, please go and check it out.
This one probably will not be as detailed but I will still try to fully understand if Pascal will actually bring anything to this Eagles offense (in addition to not being called Jalen Reagor or JJAW).
All stats per PFF and only includes players with a minimum of 20% snaps.
- Last 2 years, 69.5% in the slot.
- PFF grade this year of 52.7 (94th out of 94). 62.9 in 2020. 73.7 in 2019.
More advanced stats
- 10.1 yards per reception, ranks 80/94.
- 14.2 yards per reception in 2020.
- 56% targets caught, ranks 87/94.
- 61.8% targets caught in 2020.
- 3.1 YAC per reception, ranks 77/94.
- 5.2 YAC per reception in 2020.
- 0.78 Yards per route run, ranks 93/94 (thank you Jalen Reagor!)
- 1.3 Yards per route run in 2020.
- 7.5% drop rate, ranks 61/94.
- 9.6% drop rate (yikes) in 2020.
- 21.4% contested catch rate, ranks 90/94.
- 41% contested catch rate in 2020.
+ Has legitimate starting wide receiver film in both 2019 and 2020.
It's time... The big one... Zach Pascal film thread— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
Let's start with the good. He's a real target in the Red Zone. Big body, good hands and good body control, consistently wins on this skinny post type route in the middle of the field. Can another Eagles WR win in this way? pic.twitter.com/UX2t82pgPn
+ Really excels in the Red Zone. Runs an excellent skinny post route and has good size and body control to box out defenders and make tough catches in the middle of the field. He is really good at this.
It's that route again! Good job being physical at the LOS, does really well to lean into the CB before breaking inside and creating a ton of separation. He knows how to win in the Red Zone. Slightly odd body catch here but he still makes the catch. pic.twitter.com/xuaLoZU8PO— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
Are we noticing a pattern? Zach Ertz used to be excellent at this route too (Wentz LOVES throwing it) so not a surprise to see it in the Colts playbook. Pascal runs it really well and it's hard to cover in the RZ when the CB has outside leverage. This is easy money for him. pic.twitter.com/DbBUhOJHr8— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
This is the best route of the lot. CB initially reads it so he takes another false step outside and gets the CB to bite. He quite clearly excels in this situation v man coverage. pic.twitter.com/kaKF4eTlL9— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
I'm sorry for still posting this route over and over but we're going back to 2020 now and he's still crushing it with this route. pic.twitter.com/8rqI79uN0V— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
+ Can defeat press coverage in the Red Zone using his size and length.
Again, physical at the LOS and gets off press. Good body control to go up and get the ball. He has some legitimately decent tape in the Red Zone the past few years. Much better than I expected anyway. pic.twitter.com/uqE4wIPwlx— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
+ Can use his size to win in the Red Zone on corner routes too.
Safety over the top stopping the skinny post? Run the corner instead! pic.twitter.com/eSYTK7h4cz— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
+ Is quite versatile and was used on screens as well as shovel passes with the Colts.
Also was pleasantly surprised to see him used in this situation too. He had some fake carries in the Red Zone, was used in motion and even got some goal line snaps! He can sort of do the Reagor and JJAW role in the Red Zone but better. pic.twitter.com/MOIrYGXQkd— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
+ He has a good understanding of the position and can find soft spots in zone coverage.
Also pretty savvy against zone coverage. Does a great job settling this route down in-between two defenders. pic.twitter.com/W4tttM5aqS— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
+ Is a tough, physical competitor who is a willing blocker in the run game too.
+ Seems to have a nose for the end zone, I saw a few examples of TDs where he reaches out over the line.
Plays really hard in the Red Zone at all times. One of those players who you just think will score if they get the ball near the goal line. pic.twitter.com/pdSeeHuOHT— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
- Not explosive and will not provide an offense with a vertical element.
Here you can see (#2 to the right) he doesn't have the explosiveness to stretch the field. Even with a little pull at the CB here he was never separating and the CB never looked hurried or panicked. pic.twitter.com/xK4rhzPnvL— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
- Doesn’t have the ability to separate from close man coverage, especially on the outside.
So, onto the negatives. He's physical which is great but sometimes too physical due to his lack of separation. This is quite funny though tbh... pic.twitter.com/wa4IFZmudV— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
Doesn't have the speed, explosiveness or ability to win outside consistently either. Needs to be in the slot the majority of the time. You can see he struggles to separate against man coverage consistently on film. pic.twitter.com/U50J499Ktb— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
Same as before! Doesn't have the speed or explosiveness to win Vs man coverage consistently, especially on the outside as you can see here. pic.twitter.com/6U2xZsoeI5— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
- A lot of his production comes on schemed open throws, not beating man coverage.
He's also not very explosive and won't get you much YAC. A lot of his receptions some on schemed open passes where he doesn't really have to do anything to get the ball. pic.twitter.com/LLnlW9bW5j— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
- Won’t get you much YAC, doesn’t make many people miss with the ball in his hands.
- 2021 tape wasn’t very good. Some blame must go on the QB but he also just didn’t play very well and made too many errors.
His tape last year just wasn't that good. Idk why but he was a lot better in 19/20 from the bits I saw. Some poor routes and drops. pic.twitter.com/7hVdmhTrRY— Jonny Page (@JonnyPage9) March 22, 2022
Zach Pascal is an average starting wide receiver who will ideally play the role of a WR3/4. He has good size, toughness and is excellent in the Red Zone. He uses his body control to excel on post routes and has a knack for making touch catches at the back of the end zone. Despite this, he is below average in between the 20’s and he doesn’t scare you as a defense due to his lack of explosiveness, inability to separate from man coverage and his lack of yards after the catch. Pascal’s also flashed more in 2019/20 and it is difficult to determine if this is simply down to the quarterback he played with or a decline in talent.
I actually liked Pascal more than I thought I would after looking at his PFF grade from this year. I think he is clearly an upgrade over Reagor and JJAW and I also think he sort of fits both roles. He can do some of the Reagor stuff in motion from the slot but he can also play the JJAW role in the offense by using his size and strength to box out cornerbacks in the Red Zone. The Eagles used Greg Ward as a sort of Red Zone specialist last year too and it didn’t really work... so I am hoping Pascal can take these snaps instead.
I think Pascal is a fine WR3/4 if he can return to 2019/20 form but the Eagles still lack talent at the receiving position. Especially as nearly all of their current receivers are better suited to the slot, which is where Pascal is better suited too.
My one big concern is whether his skill set matches up to what Jalen Hurts is good at. We know Hurts has an issue throwing over the middle of the field and this is exactly where Pascal excels. It is no surprise he had a good year with Phillip Rivers as his quarterback as Rivers throws with anticipation against close man coverage, even if the receiver is not wide open. This is something we have not see with Hurts as a starting quarterback, yet.
Overall, I think the Pascal signing makes a lot of sense and whilst I would rather see him as more of a rotational option at WR3, if he does have to play meaningful snaps, I think he will be better than JJAW or Reagor have been for the Eagles. By the end of the year I think we will look back at this as a smart signing if he proves that last year was just a blip and not the start of a downwards trend.