Due to the absurd amount of injuries the Eagles have dealt with this season, a lot of young, inexperienced players have had opportunities to show this coaching staff what they’re capable of.
Among all the backups getting playing time, two have stood head and shoulders above the rest — Travis Fulgham and Jordan Mailata. Before September 13, the opening Sunday of the season, Fulgham was an unknown on the team’s practice squad and Mailata was backing up the 38-year-old Jason Peters. Now, Fulgham is setting franchise records and Mailata is routinely throwing defensive lineman around like they’re rag dolls.
Example A of Mailata being a bully:
The former Rugby star has started three games so far this season and he’s played well enough to challenge Andre Dillard as the left tackle of the future. Through his three starts, Mailata has allowed 2 sacks, 2 QB hits and 9 total pressures. He’s still developing, there’s certainly areas of his game that still need work, but it’s hard to deny the potential he brings to the left tackle position.
A 6-foot-8 freak of nature like Mailata doesn’t come around very often.
Aside from Jason Kelce, Mailata has the highest Pro Football Focus grade of the current starting offensive line group.
While Mailata seems to be a very promising left tackle for this team moving forward, Travis Fulgham’s success through three games doesn’t even feel real. He’s quickly become the go-to guy on this offense, and even when Baltimore keyed in on him this past week, Fulgham still made plays and found the end zone for the third straight game. His TD snag on 4th down over two Pro Bowl corners in Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters was a thing of beauty.
Fulgham is legitimately the best receiver I’ve seen in an Eagles uniform since Doug Pederson has become the head coach, and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration.
Since Week 4, Fulgham is fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (284), averaging 95 yards per game since he’s started. He’s on pace 1,230 yards this season in just 13 games played. Per PFF, Fulgham has the second highest overall grade (90.3) of 124 qualifying receivers, and the fourth best receiving grade (89.6) of 122 qualifying pass catchers.
Fulgham has showcased the ability to operate effectively out of the slot as well as out wide, which brings a lot of value to the wide receiving corps. Of his 140 snaps played at receiver, 40 of them have been from the slot with the remaining 100 coming on the outside.
Aside from leaning on Zach Ertz throughout his career, Carson Wentz has never had a go-to guy on the outside. In just three games together, it seems like Fulgham is that guy. Wentz has a 153.5 pass rating when targeting him, and he’s voiced his confidence his confidence in Fulgham multiple times already.
“He’s a baller,” Wentz said in his postgame press conference Sunday. “I said last week, I see it in practice. It’s good to just see these guys get their chance and make plays. … There was zero blitz a handful of times today and I just looked to him.”
While the injuries have largely been detrimental to this team, they’ve allowed this front office to get a good look at two young guys who can have a profound impact for years to come. The long-term outlook for the Eagles still doesn’t look that great with the cap situation and some of the aging veterans, but it’s comforting to know there are at least a few promising young players that’ll be with this team for the foreseeable future.