Philadelphia has seen some rough wide receiver play over the years. The two year span from 2019 to 2020 was a low point for the Eagles wide receiving corps. Injuries plagued the position during that time, paving the way for guys like Greg Ward and Travis Fulgham to have profound roles in the Eagles offense.
2021 was a turning point for the Birds. After getting little to nothing out of their 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor, Howie Roseman went with another wideout in the 2021 NFL Draft, Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. The former Bama All American didn’t disappoint. Smith broke the team’s rookie receiving yards record, hauling in 64 receptions for 916 yards and 5 touchdowns.
His performance, along with the emergence of second-year pass catcher Quez Watkins, gave the Eagles legitimate talent on the outside. This offseason, Howie once again added to his wide receiving corps. This time, trading for a proven Pro Bowl talent in A.J. Brown.
Now, the Eagles crop of wideouts is being recognized as one of the best units in the entire NFL. What a difference a year makes.
Pro Football Focus recently dropped their ranking of all 32 wide receiving corps in the league. The Eagles came in at No. 4 in PFF’s rankings.
A.J. Brown, a legitimate No. 1 option who can win over the middle of the field, changes everything for Philadelphia’s receiving corps. The only wide receivers to average more receiving yards per route run than Brown — who the Eagles traded for on Day 1 of the 2022 NFL Draft — since he entered the league in 2019 (2.61) are Davante Adams and Justin Jefferson.
Brown, DeVonta Smith and one of the more underrated tight ends in the league (Dallas Goedert) is a nice core with players like Quez Watkins and the thus-far disappointing Jalen Reagor adding some speed behind them on the depth chart.”2022 NFL receiving corps rankings: Cincinnati Bengals take No. 1 spot, Philadelphia Eagles make top five
The only teams that ranked higher than Philly were the Bengals, Buccaneers, and Dolphins. In PFF’s wide receiving corps ranking last offseason, the Eagles came in at 30th.
For years, wide receiver was a clear weakness for this team. Now, you’d be hard pressed to find a real weakness in the group.
PFF points out that the addition of A.J. Brown gives the Eagles a legitimate No. 1 receiver. While that is true, we can’t discredit Smith, who has everything you could want in a No. 1 wideout. Forget having just one No. 1 guy, the Eagles have two.
The depth behind Smith and Brown is equally as impressive. Quez Watkins had a bit of a breakout year in 2021, racking up 43 receptions for 647 yards and a touchdown. Zach Pascal brings veteran leadership to the position. Jalen Reagor still has potential to be a dangerous playmaker, and Greg Ward rounds the depth chart out nicely.
It’s crazy to think Ward was once looked upon as the Eagles No. 1 wideout. Down the stretch in 2019, he was the best receiver the Eagles had. Now he’s probably the sixth guy on the depth chart.
The best part about this newfound assortment of talent in the Eagles wide receiver room — they’re all young and have yet to reach their ceilings. The top-3 guys (Smith, Brown, and Watkins) are all under 25. Pascal is the old man of the group at 27.
If these guys can reach their full potential together, this could eventually be the best wide receiving corps in the NFL.
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