One of the growing strengths of the Philadelphia Eagles has been the receivers core. This offseason they continued to get better, trading for former superstar Eagle DeSean Jackson and drafting JJ Arcega-Whiteside out of the university of Stanford. They will be joining Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor, along with Mack Hollins retiring from injury. This group should be making a major impact on the offensive side of the football with quarterback Carson Wentz slinging the ball to them. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the 2019 Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers.
Alshon led the group for the past few years and has been a great presence for the Eagles. Catching balls for 843 yards and 6 touchdowns in 2018, he’s poised for a big 2019. While his stats may not be as good this upcoming year with the ball likely to be spread out a lot more than it was last year, he should still be the same threat he has always been. Sadly the 2018 season ended with a tipped interception from a Jeffery drop, but this has only motivated him to get better for 2019.
Coming in at 29 years old, he doesn’t have much time left to compete at a high level but will be sure to bring everything he has this year. Expect him to be the main short game receiver as well as a major red zone target. Agholor and Jackson will be your main deep threats, so Jeffery can probably rack up a lot of receptions for short gains and the occasional deep bomb. Alshon has the ability to break those small plays into big ones like many of the receivers on this offense, so opposing defenses will have quite the matchup problem for them.
After being traded back to Philadelphia in March in exchange for a 6th round pick, Jackson has been lighting up training camp thus far, as seen here.
Jackson put up 774 yards receiving with 4 touchdowns last season at 31 years old. While it’s gone down some, his speed is still there. Jackson is likely to be the primary deep threat for the Eagles this year and has shown to be quite able to do that so far in camp. Coming in at 32 years old, there isn’t much time left for DeSean to compete for a ring, but if it were any time to do that, it’s now.
The spacing of this offense means Jackson is able to get the 1-on-1 targets he wants and put himself in situations to catch the ball and make the big plays. So far he is officially listed as one of the three wide receivers, likely on the outside. Jackson is loving being back in Philadelphia, and the fans are giving him the love he deserves, acting like they haven’t skipped a beat. I would expect a big season out of DeSean this year and a lot of those big catches that we were so used to seeing a few years ago.
Nelson Agholor has made major strides in his young career. Having gone from not able to catch anything his sophomore year to being a talented slot wide receiver with quickness and agility, he is poised to have a breakout year with this offense – more than we have seen in the past. In 2018, he put up 736 yards with 4 touchdowns, nearly identical to Jackson.
At only 26 years old, he is beginning to enter his prime and couldn’t be in a better scenario. Like stated with the other receivers, with the skills group having been so loaded, it’s likely the defense will have to spread out. And if they go man, there’s not one person they can slack on, as any of them are able to make the big play. Agholor has shown this past year to be able to make those deep receptions and use his speed to finish and get the touchdown. While his stats may not show it, I expect Nelson to have a career year at wideout this season, as there isn’t any reason he should be held back.
Drafted in the second round this year out of Stanford, JJ’s main strength is his ability to fight for the ball in the red zone – and that’s probably where he will he used in 2019. I would expect him in some sets at wideout, but being the 4th option means he will not likely see a lot of targets come his way. Standing at 6 feet 2 inches, I think he will get plenty of end zone targets and be the person that can get up there in a jumpball situation. Wentz will have the ability to put it in a spot where only he can get it.
At 22 years old, Arcega-Whiteside has a lot of potential and can be a major key to the offense as the year and as his career goes along. Having put up 1,059 yards receiving alongside 14 touchdown receptions in college, it’s unlikely he will get that type of production off the bat in Philly. If one of the Big 3 goes down, I wouldn’t be surprised if he jumped in there, and it also wouldn’t shock me if they like they didn’t skip a beat. Sitting behind these veterans and this team will help teach JJ and keep him in a good environment to continue to develop and become the player to take over eventually.
Hollins didn’t see a lot of action in 2018 and is now back at full health for the start of the 2019 season. Hollins was a utility help everywhere, having been the kick returner, as well as receiver. He didn’t have much of a specialty but showed to be able to catch the deep routes and work to where he needs to be.
I think Hollins won’t have a lot of time to shine this year as he’s the fifth receiver in this offense with two elite tight ends as well. But if Mack Hollins is your #5 wideout, that is a very good sign of depth. Hollins is young, so he has time to grow. He should be able to develop well and continue to move up the depth charts as his career progresses. Hopefully he can stay at full health, and there won’t be an issue on that end of the field.
Overall, the Eagles don’t have a bonafide superstar at wide receiver, but all of their starters are good, and they have great depth. That combo of depth and talent makes them one of the best groups in the NFL. If one of them were to go down due to injury, the backups should be able to handle it without much issue
The starting three should have all great years. It is feasible that they all improve upon their seasons last year and help this team contend for a Super Bowl. Combined with the tight ends and the running backs, this offense with Carson Wentz throwing the ball can only be described in one word, lethal. There is nothing holding this group back, and anything below good is unacceptable for this group.