The Eagles wide receiver group can go one of two ways this season. Either they meet their potential and put on a show every Sunday, or they struggle to mesh and continue to be inconsistent.
With guys like Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, and Greg Ward returning, along with the addition of Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, the talent is certainly there with this group. Head coach Nick Sirianni has a track record of developing wideouts, and he’s preached the importance of putting his skill players in favorable situations all throughout the offseason.
The sky is the limit with this group — but as we all know, potential doesn’t always materialize.
Here’s a look at this young, exciting receiving corps as prepare for the 2021 Eagles season.
The addition of DeVonta Smith was the highlight of this offseason for the Eagles. He’s a can’t miss prospect who absolutely dominated the highest level of competition in college football. He’ll immediately be the No. 1 target on the outside.
Reagor enters his second season with some mixed reviews after his disappointing rookie campaign. In 11 games, the TCU alum racked up 31 receptions for 396 yards and 1 touchdown, along with an additional touchdown on special teams. Not great for a first round pick, but his NFL story is far from over.
Reagor has all the physical tools required to be a special player in this league. He’ll just need to start putting those tools to good use. Refining his route running and developing his ability to beat press coverage should be Reagor’s top two priorities entering training camp.
Fulgham also has great potential entering his second year in Philly. He took the league by storm in the early portion of last season, but his production fell off a cliff in the second half of the year. He still ended up leading the team in receiving yards with 539. Like Reagor, if Fulgham utilizes his physical tools to become a more consistent receiver, he’ll be a problem on the outside.
Then we have Greg Ward, the most consistent receiver of the bunch. He led the team in touchdown catches (6) and catch percentage (67.1 percent) last season.
John Hightower and Quez Watkins figure to be the final pieces on the wide receiver depth chart. They both possess great speed and were able to showcase some of that ability during their rookie campaigns. It’s hard to judge them based on the small sample size we saw last season, but as depth pieces, they’re both about solid as you can get. Plus, they’re young and have potential to grow into starting caliber wideouts.
This team has lacked consistent wide receiver play ever since the Super Bowl year. The organization has attempted to mitigate the issue (signing DeSean Jackson, drafting J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Jalen Reagor with high picks), but none of it has moved the needle with this wide receiving corps.
Due to all the swing and misses by the front office, they were forced yet again to spend a high draft pick on a receiver this year. Smith is by far the best receiver prospect this team has drafted in my lifetime. If this pick somehow doesn’t pan out, I’ll be at a loss for words.
Maybe Smith brings some consistency to this group and they all fall in line behind him — that’s certainly a possibility. But it’s impossible to predict each of these young wideouts putting it all together in 2021.
The key to this group’s success is just finding consistency every Sunday. For all the talent the Eagles wide receiving corps possesses, the production hasn’t been there. Not a single wideout went over 600 yards receiving last season and only one (Ward) had over 50 receptions.
Some of that lacking production had to do with Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz last season, but a 7.3 percent drop rate among the team’s receivers still isn’t great.
Only time will tell with this young group of wideouts. We’ll get a clearer picture on what they truly are once the season begins in September.