Answering Questions about the Eagles’ Receiving Depth
We know the Eagles are hopeful to have a healthy DeSean Jackson back on the field as their No. 1 wide receiver in 2020 for Carson Wentz to throw the ball to, but after them, the position is a little less clear.
While the Eagles have plenty of interesting options, there isn't a clear No. 2 option at the position and with Wentz entering his prime the team needs to capitalize and grow the position.
Geoff Mosher of InsidetheBirds.com joined The Sports Bash for 'Football at Four' to discuss had some questions regarding the Eagles’ receiving group.
So after Jackson, who is the next receiving option?
“Depth is a concern at wide receiver,” Mosher said. "If you look at the collection of wide receivers they have, the only one that's ever really proven anything is DeSean (Jackson)."
Jackson played essentially one game in 2019 and had eight catches for 154 yards and two touchdowns and Alshon Jeffery, who had 43 catches for 490 yards and four touchdowns, is likely going to miss half the season with a foot injury. The rest of the wide receivers on the roster that played in the NFL in 2019 totaled 50 catches for 609 yards and three scores.
That group includes, 2019 second-round pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Greg Ward and Marquise Goodwin, who came to Philly in a draft day deal with the 49ers this offseason.
"While there is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about this wide receiver group that's predicated on speed now," Mosher stated. "There is as many questions as there are answers."
The wild card is Arcega-Whiteside, who showed flashes during the preseason, but really failed to make an impact when given an opportunity in 2019. In three preseason games, Arcega-Whiteside had 12 catches for 147 yards and one touchdown. Compare that with this 16 games in the regular season, which totaled just 10 catches for 169 yards and one touchdown. Many are hopeful that the former second-round pick can turn things around and find a bigger role in the offense in 2020.
What about Greg Ward?
Last season, the former college quarterback, who was an undrafted free agent in 2017, became one of Wentz’s go-to targets over the final seven games of the season. When injuries began to pile up, Ward stepped in and registered 28 catches for 254 yards and one touchdown.
While he is back, the question is, is he a lock to make the team?
Philadelphia drafted three wide receivers, including one in the first-round, and traded for the veteran speedster Goodwin.
"When they are in 11 personnel on day one at training camp and you have Jackson at the Z and Jalen Reagor or Arcega-Whiteside at the X - you're slot receiver in those formations is going to be Greg Ward," Mosher explained. "Its going to be up to the other guys to outplay him and show that they can be counted on to play inside in the slot."
With that said, is it a given that Ward makes the team and has a role in the 2020 offense?
“I have a hard time believing that Greg Ward doesn't make the team,” Mosher said. "But he does stand to lose the most if the young kids and the new additions really play well."
Along with the group of veteran players and Reagor, the Eagles also have 2020 fifth and sixth-round picks John Hightower and Quez Watkins on board at receiver. The duo could be battling with each other for a roster spot, but can both make the team?
"Do they want both to make the team?" Mosher asked. "Yes."
"That means these two guys played so well that they can't keep them off the 53-man and that's a great situation."
So which receivers end up making the team?
Mosher went with Jackson, Arcega-Whiteside, Ward, Reagor, Goodwin and one of the rookies - either Hightower or Watkins.
You can listen to the full discussion, which includes more on the Eagles wide receiver depth, running back by committee and the possibility of a shortened preseason in the player below.