PHILADELPHIA ( - J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is everything you thought he was, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound monster of a wideout who has a basketball background and excels in the red zone with contested catches.

Arcega-Whiteside is no one-trick pony, however, and has the athleticism to excel as a well-rounded receiver in Philadelphia after the Eagles selected the former Stanford star with the No. 57 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

"We heard from a bunch of people after we picked J.J. like we were very surprised J.J. fell," executive VP of football operations Howie Roseman said. "Sometimes these West Coast guys who play late, they get a little underrated because people aren't watching those late games. This guy's a baller. He’s got a very good skill-set and I think when our fans get to know him they are going to be really proud. He symbolizes Eagle mentality, Eagle football."

After Philadelphia became his new football home, Arcega-Whiteside quickly got congratulatory texts from his new quarterback, Carson Wentz, and his fellow Stanford family member, Pro Bowl tight end Zach Ertz, who knows Arcega-Whiteside from offseason workouts back in Palo Alto. A third Philadelphia player, receiver Alshon Jeffery, is the NFL player Arcega-Whiteside has patterned his game after.

"I grew up watching him," Arcega-Whiteside said on a conference call when discussing Jeffery. "He competes for the ball. He's a great competitor out there on the field. I know that's kind of cliche even though I'm going to be on his team, but he's a great guy to look after."

In fact, Jeffery is almost the template that Arcega-Whiteside strives to be at the NFL level, a player who understands how to use his size to dominate. Basketball is the connection to that as both love and embrace the game and have transitioned some of the skills that help you on the hardwood to the gridiron.

Both of Arcega-Whiteside's parents played professional basketball overseas and two of his uncles played for Spain in the Olympics. Hs knowledge of the game has already resulted in second-team All-Pac-12 honors after hauling in 63 receptions for 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns last season at Stanford.

"It helps a lot. Just having that basketball background helps you instinctively to be able to position yourself and move your body to where you can high-point the ball and outjump the DB," Arcega-Whiteside explained. "But a lot of people think that a jump ball is all jumping, but it’s all about positioning. Because of my basketball background that has helped me a lot."

It's also stereotyped him to some who picture the back-shoulders and fades but don't see a well-rounded player.

"I love to have that tag with me, as a contested-catches and jump-ball receiver, but at the same time, I’m not limited to that," Arcega-Whiteside said. "Any route that you give me, I’m going to run and I’m going to do my best to get open. I feel like this year, my coach was kind of like, ‘Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ and I said the same thing: “Yeah I agree. I’d rather have the jump ball in the end zone, but what receiver doesn’t?’ But at the same time, that is a skill that I have and that I’ve learned, but it’s not a skill that I am limited to."

Roseman specifically mentioned Arcega-Whiteside's ability to beat press coverage.

"All it is is doing a crossover and when a guy is kind of pressed up on you, you have to give him a shake to get him off his position and attacking him at the same time," he said. "Basketball with all of that helps, but at the same time you have to make it translate to football."

And that translation has been a breeze for a prospect who already knows three languages.

"{The Eagles] are going to get somebody who loves football. I mean obviously I love football, but someone who is going to work day-in and day-out, and try to learn and to try to be the best teammate that I can be to help the team win," Arcega-Whiteside assured. "Whether that’s playing special teams or coming in as a Day 1 starter or anywhere in between. I think that’s what separates me. Personally, I would love to catch every ball thrown to me and I would love to have the ball in my hands every play, but I would way rather be a winning-team member and help the team win no matter what."

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for You can reach him at or on Twitter @JFMcMullen

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