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Training Camp Preview: Wide Receiver

Posted Jul 15, 2016

Training Camp Roster: Wide Receiver
Name Age Exp. Signed Through Note
Nelson Agholor 23 2 2018 Explosive athlete looking for more playing time in Year Two
Chris Givens 26 5 2016 Re-unites with Sam Bradford to rekindle Rams days
T.J. Graham 26 4 2016 Speedy receiver could play a role in Eagles special teams
Josh Huff 24 3 2017 Has shown flashes of being an electric playmaker; looking for consistency
Marcus Johnson 21 R 2018 Undrafted rookie looks to find his way onto NFL roster
Cayleb Jones 23 12 2018 10th-most receiving yards and total receptions in University of Arizona history
Jonathan Krause 24 2 2017 Acquired by the Eagles last season, found his way into the lineup by the end of 2015
Jordan Matthews 23 3 2017 Put early struggles behind him in route to a very productive 2015 season
Rueben Randle 25 5 2016 Consistent target in New York; could he be flying under the radar with Eagles?
Xavier Rush 23 R 2018 Sat out 2015 season while recovering from 2014 knee injury
Hunter Sharp 22 R 2018 In just two seasons at Utah State, he totaled 1,774 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns
Paul Turner 23 R 2018 Louisiana Tech product looks to prove himself during Training Camp and the preseason
Does the young core take that big step?
When the Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor in the first round of the 2015 draft, adding him to a group with second-round pick Jordan Matthews and third-round pick Josh Huff, it appeared that the team had built the young, core group of wide receivers that would be a huge part of the offense for years to come. But for one reason or another, things just never really seemed to click for the group in 2015. Huff played inconsistently, Matthews struggled with drops during the early part of the year, and Agholor dealt with an ankle injury that may have hampered him for a good chunk of the season. 
Now with Matthews and Huff going into their third seasons and Agholor back for Year Two, it’s time to see if the trio is ready to evolve into the dynamic group that many fans expect. In 2015, veterans Riley Cooper and Miles Austin virtually split reps with the younger players, but both of those players are now off the roster, paving the way for the next wave. 
Despite his slow start, Matthews came within three yards of 1,000 for the season, and he was five catches away from becoming the first receiver in franchise history with 90 catches in a year (running back Brian Westbrook is the only player to accomplish that). He also led the team with eight receiving touchdowns. 
Meanwhile, Huff and Agholor combined for just 595 receiving yards, though they did show that explosive side of their game, scoring a combined four touchdowns on 44 total receptions. There’s no questioning Huff or Agholor’s talent levels. Both players possess through-the-roof athleticism and could be on the cusp of that breakout season.
What can veterans Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and T.J. Graham bring to the table?
Last year, Austin and Cooper represented the veterans of the Eagles’ receivers group. Heading into this year’s camp, that role falls on the trio Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and T.J. Graham. Randle is the most interesting name on that list. After a nice four-year run with the New York Giants, Randle joined the Eagles looking to prove himself as a big-time option. With more than 2,600 receiving yards in his career (including 938 yards in 2014, Randle was a key piece of the Giants’ offense in past years, hauling in 20 touchdown passes. At 6-2, 208-pounds, he represents the most physical player in the Eagles’ receiving corps and could be a big part of the red zone offense.
Givens and Graham, on the other hand, both bring an added vertical threat to the Eagles’ attack. Givens has been known as a home run-type of player, first in St. Louis and then in Baltimore, while Graham brings his track and field background into play. Givens is also reuniting with Sam Bradford, as the two will re-live their days together in St. Louis. Givens’ most successful season as a pro came in his rookie year of 2012, playing with Bradford, when he totaled 698 yards, averaging 16.6 yards per catch and scoring three touchdowns.
How will the wide receivers be used in Doug Pederson’s offense?
The final big question left unanswered with the wide receivers doesn’t necessarily relate to any of the players personally, but to how they’ll be used within Doug Pederson and Frank Reich’s offense. History suggests that those two coaches will find the best ways possible to get the receivers involved. Fans may remember that in 2014, with Pederson as the offensive coordinator, the Chiefs wide receivers group failed to find the end zone throughout the season. However, once Jeremy Maclin joined Kansas City in 2015, Pederson maximized Maclin’s ability to the tune of 1,088 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. Meanwhile in San Diego, Reich helped Keenan Allen progress into a prolific receiving threat. 
Another key name to keep in mind is Greg Lewis. The new Eagles wide receivers coach, who of course played for the team and caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXIX, brings his years of NFL playing experience to a predominately young wide receivers group. Lewis has already made a connection with the players and has taken a very hands-on approach to teaching the young receivers the tricks and trades of the NFL game. Lewis’ impact could go a long way here in his first season as an Eagles’ coach.

A Big Step Forward For The Young Receivers?

When the Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor in the first round of the 2015 draft, adding him to a group with second-round pick Jordan Matthews and third-round pick Josh Huff, it appeared that the team had built the young, core group of wide receivers that would be a huge part of the offense for years to come. But for one reason or another, things just never really seemed to click for the group in 2015. Huff played inconsistently, Matthews struggled with drops during the early part of the year, and Agholor dealt with an ankle injury that may have hampered him for a good chunk of the season.

Now with Matthews and Huff going into their third seasons and Agholor back for Year Two, it’s time to see if the trio is ready to evolve into the dynamic group that many fans expect. In 2015, veterans Riley Cooper and Miles Austin virtually split reps with the younger players, but both of those players are now off the roster, paving the way for the next wave.

Despite his slow start, Matthews came within three yards of 1,000 for the season, and he was five catches away from becoming the first receiver in franchise history with 90 catches in a year (running back Brian Westbrook is the only player to accomplish that). He also led the team with eight receiving touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Huff and Agholor combined for just 595 receiving yards, though they did show that explosive side of their game, scoring a combined four touchdowns on 44 total receptions. There’s no questioning Huff or Agholor’s talent levels. Both players possess through-the-roof athleticism and could be on the cusp of that breakout season.

What Can The Veterans Bring To The Table?

Last year, Austin and Cooper represented the veterans of the Eagles’ receivers group. Heading into this year’s camp, that role falls on the trio Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and T.J. Graham. Randle is the most interesting name on that list. After a nice four-year run with the New York Giants, Randle joined the Eagles looking to prove himself as a big-time option. With more than 2,600 receiving yards in his career (including 938 yards in 2014), Randle was a key piece of the Giants’ offense in past years, hauling in 20 touchdown passes. At 6-2, 208-pounds, he represents the most physical player in the Eagles’ receiving corps and could be a big part of the red zone offense.

Givens and Graham, on the other hand, both bring an added vertical threat to the Eagles’ attack. Givens has been known as a home run-type of player, first in St. Louis and then in Baltimore, while Graham brings his track and field background into play. Givens is also reuniting with Sam Bradford, as the two will re-live their days together in St. Louis. Givens’ most successful season as a pro came in his rookie year of 2012, playing with Bradford, when he totaled 698 yards, averaging 16.6 yards per catch and scoring three touchdowns.

Wide Receivers Role In The Hybrid West Coast Offense

The final big question left unanswered with the wide receivers doesn’t necessarily relate to any of the players personally, but to how they’ll be used within Doug Pederson and Frank Reich’s offense. History suggests that those two coaches will find the best ways possible to get the receivers involved. Fans may remember that in 2014, with Pederson as the offensive coordinator, the Chiefs wide receivers group failed to find the end zone throughout the season. However, once Jeremy Maclin joined Kansas City in 2015, Pederson maximized Maclin’s ability to the tune of 1,088 yards and eight receiving touchdowns. Meanwhile in San Diego, Reich helped Keenan Allen progress into a prolific receiving threat. Both Pederson and Reich know what it takes to develop their receivers, and fans can expect to see them lined up all around the formation in an attempt to get the ball into their hands.

Another key name to keep in mind is Greg Lewis. The new Eagles wide receivers coach, who of course played for the team and caught a touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXIX, brings his years of NFL playing experience to a predominately young wide receivers group. Lewis has already made a connection with the players and has taken a very hands-on approach to teaching the young receivers the tricks and trades of the NFL game. Lewis’ impact could go a long way here in his first season as an Eagles’ coach.

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