It’s not hard to look back at the 2019 Eagles and find weak spots. The most glaring was the wide receiver corps. Somehow, they still managed to win the NFC East without their biggest playmakers on the outside. So, this year’s Eagles wideouts are out to prove they deserve respect.
DeSean Jackson re-signed with the team last season, but he was lost in Week Two. The other veteran, Alshon Jeffery couldn’t stay healthy either. Ending the year with a rookie who saw seven passes through the first half of the season. A three-time retread in Jordan Matthews, and practice squad standout Greg Ward, the Eagles desperately needed some new blood.
They got it this past offseason, in the form of Jalen Reagor, John Hightower, and former 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin, however, decided to opt out of the 2020 season. They also brought in coach Aaron Moorehead to hopefully bring some stability to the position.
[Read also, “Post Draft Eagles 55-Man Roster Prediction“]
Quez Watkins, and second-year JJ Arcega-Whiteside round out a solid group for Carson Wentz to use pick apart defenses. Actual on-field activities began on Thursday. Out of the gate Jackson started showing that he still has what it takes to make quick work of top defensive backs.
Jackson sent videos to former Bengals receiver Chad Johnson of some of his reps. Ochocinco decided to share one in particular where Jackson shook former Lions corner Darius Slay with ease:
WRs coach Aaron Moorehead, who is in his first year with the Eagles, had this to say about coaching this young group:
“I think that we have an expectation to be one of the top groups in the league and that’s what we expect. This group is coming out with a little bit of a chip on its shoulder because of last year, and that’s a good thing.
“At the end of the day, a little added extra motivation I think this day and age, you know with social media … I think you can try to ignore it, but people hear what they say, and I think guys understand that we do have something to prove, and that’s OK. There’s nothing wrong with that and I enjoy the challenge and enjoy coaching a group that I think has something to prove. I think that’s good.”
Reagor was a surprise pick for many fans. Although his numbers were down last year at TCU, most of that was due to inconsistencies at quarterback. Expect him to be one of the top offensive rookies this year.
Former Boise State star John Hightower is poised to show that he was overlooked by too many teams in the draft. His speed, and route-running ability should be a nice pairing with Jackson.
Ward is a solid part of this offense this year, and plans are to use his skillset in as many ways possible. A former quarterback at the University of Houston, Ward is a pure athlete. He will be someone that opposing defenses will have trouble with all year.
Arcega-Whiteside hopes to improve on his rookie campaign. He had problems with drops early last year, and struggled to find a place in the offense.
The anchor is Jeffery. He’s the wily veteran, the trusted guy that shows up to play every time he hits the field. The issue with him was that it didn’t happen a lot last year. The Eagles need him to be there in 2020, if they plan on repeating as Division Champs.
If these guys can stay healthy there is no question they can be one of the best receiving corps in the league. Chemistry and scheme are all that’s left to build here in Philadelphia. Which may not be as easy as it has been in the past, with the new COVID-19 protocols limiting time together on the field.
This group has a lot to prove. Respect is earned in the NFL, and the Eagles receivers fully intend on showing they deserve it.
Follow me on Twitter @davisjosh20
Follow Overtime Heroics Twitter page @OT_Heroics
Discuss this and much more on the Overtime Heroics forums!