The Philadelphia Eagles are currently pathetically short on talent at the wide receiver position and must address the issue with fervor this offseason.
The skinny: Last season, at the most crucial time of the season, the Eagles had just two healthy receivers on the roster. Furthermore, even with a fully healthy roster, the team lacks that true No. 1 option.
The current situation: Looking at the roster, there are some big names that pop. But if last year was any indication, those big names are at the tail-end of their careers, and the youngsters have not impressed.
- Alshon Jeffery: A 29-year-old who has had his career derailed by injuries and now seems much less explosive than he did early in his career.
- Nelson Agholor: Former first-round pick who has never lived up to the hype, Agholor had issues with drops last season and is a third option, at best. He may not return as he’s set to become a free agent.
- DeSean Jackson: His much ballyhooed return to Philly ended up being a huge disappointment, as Jackson played just three games and was placed in injured reserve with a core muscle injury.
- JJ Arcega-Whiteside: As a highly-touted rookie last season, Arcega-Whiteside did not impress the Eagles coaching staff and finished the campaign with just 10 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown.
- Greg Ward Jr.: A former undrafted quarterback, Ward came on strong as a receiver last season when Philly lost so many others to injury. He may have a future with this team as a reliable slot specialist.
In a dream scenario, Jeffery and Jackson would be fully healthy for 16 games and the Eagles may have a competent passing game. But competent doesn’t win Super Bowls. And with a quarterback like Carson Wentz still on the upswing of his career, the Eagles have to strike now to land some impact players at this crucial position.
What’s next? Well, free agency is coming up next month, and then the 2020 NFL Draft kicks off in late April. There are options galore for the Eagles to consider as they attempt to shore up this area of need.
Free agency options: There’s a chance some incredibly talented receivers will hit the open market this March. Some are less realistic than others, but here’s a quick look at some of the guys the Eagles could target in free agency.
- Amari Cooper: The Dallas Cowboys desperately want him back, and he says he wants to be back. But with so many mouths to feed in Dallas, there’s an outside chance Cooper tests the open market.
- Emmanuel Sanders: A talented veteran who took a back seat to the San Francisco 49ers’ run game last season, Sanders has a lot to offer but is probably a No. 2 option at this stage in his career.
- Robby Anderson: A deep threat and underrated overall playmaker, Anderson has caught 18 touchdowns the past three seasons.
- Breshad Perriman: A former first-rounder who appeared to be a bust, Perriman came alive playing for Bruce Arians in Tampa Bay last year. One can imagine he would thrive in the offense Doug Pederson runs.
- Danny Amendola: Though not a No. 1 option, Amendola is still capable of coming up with clutch receptions on third downs and is a matchup nightmare.
- A.J. Green: A true No. 1 receiver in every sense, Green missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury. Landing him would potentially supercharge the Eagles offense.
The Eagles already inked Wentz to his big-money deal and will have just over $40 million in cap space to work with this offseason. So there’s no reason for the franchise not to take a swing at one (or two?) of the top receivers in free agency.
Impact draft: This year’s draft is absolutely loaded with talented young receivers ready to make an immediate contribution. The Eagles will certainly want to take advantage of this, and they can go to the well multiple times.
The Eagles currently own the No. 21 overall pick, and some mock drafts have them going with a cornerback at that spot. However, it wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world if they took a receiver instead. Here’s a look at some options in the first round.
- CeeDee Lamb: This former Oklahoma star is an after-the-catch dynamo who routinely made college defenses look bad. He can do the same thing at the NFL level, but will probably be long gone by the time the Eagles pick.
- Jerry Jeudy: One of the primary weapons for Tua Tagovailoa at Alabama, Jeudy has the technical prowess and athletic ability to become an instant star at the NFL level.
- Tee Higgins: A big-bodied receiver with absurd body control, Higgins can stretch the field and make tough catches look easy.
- Henry Ruggs: Another Alabama product, Ruggs is an upper-echelon athlete with explosive playmaking abilities. He could end up being the best of the bunch in time.
If the Eagles look for an impact playmaker outside of the first round, there will be plenty of options. A few include Laviska Shenault Jr., Justin Jefferson, Jalen Reagor, Michael Pittman Jr., and the underrated Brandon Alyuk.
The bottom line: Aside from improving the defensive back end, there is no bigger fish to fry ahead of the 2020 season for Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman.
Thankfully, there may not be a better year to land multiple starting-caliber wide receivers. If they’re lucky, the Eagles could end up with a dynamic receiving corps by playing their cards right with a mix of free agency and draft moves.