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Competition Continues To Shape WR Group

Posted Jun 30, 2017

That the Eagles released wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on Friday after seeing him all spring and now giving him the chance to latch on with another team was not a surprise given the emphasis the team put forth upgrading the wide receiver corps in the offseason. The story here is not the release of Green-Beckham, but rather the vastly improved group of pass catchers on the other end of Carson Wentz’s throws ...

That the Eagles released wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham on Friday after seeing him all spring and now giving him the chance to latch on with another team was not a surprise given the emphasis the team put forth upgrading the wide receiver corps in the offseason. The story here is not the release of Green-Beckham, but rather the vastly improved group of pass catchers on the other end of Carson Wentz’s throws.

For Green-Beckham, acquired last summer in a trade with Tennessee in exchange for reserve offensive lineman Dennis Kelly, his time in Philadelphia was brief. Greeted by cameras and tremendous attention as he ran through preseason pre-game drills in Pittsburgh only a couple of days after arriving at the NovaCare Complex, Green-Beckham caught 36 passes for 396 yards and a pair of touchdowns last season.

And then the Eagles overhauled the wide receiver position. As a result, Green-Beckham’s outlook was clearly changed. He now has a chance to sign with another team before Training Camp.

The Eagles, meanwhile, look forward with great anticipation as the wide receivers come off an impressive spring. Free agent signees Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith played as advertised – Jeffery with his tremendous catch radius and tenacity, and Smith with his burst and big-play ability down the field – and they project as starters when Camp opens. Jordan Matthews, the primary target in an inconsistent passing game last year – from a wide receivers’ standpoint – missed much of the spring making sure his rehab for a knee injury kept him on target to be ready for the start of Camp and figures to be a key weapon from the slot and lining up outside as the Eagles move their pieces around.

Nelson Agholor’s spring was a huge positive, as he performed with consistency and appeared to be more fluid and confident after a couple of tough seasons since the Eagles selected him in the first round of the 2015 NFL draft. Can Agholor keep it going? He’s got talent, clearly, and the Eagles are hopeful that he is able to contribute to the offense and special teams.

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Then there are the draft picks – Mack Hollins in the fourth round and Shelton Gibson in the fifth round. Nothing is guaranteed with either, and the pressure for them in Training Camp will be substantial. The Eagles have confidence that new receivers coach Mike Groh’s teaching and guidance will develop both Hollins and Gibson, and that they are worth the investment as Green-Beckham is released.

Young veterans like Paul Turner and Bryce Treggs remain, and although some may consider them longshots to make the roster, they were in the same position last season as undrafted rookies – Treggs in San Francisco and Turner with the Eagles. You just never know what’s going to happen in the months to come with Training Camp and the preseason schedule. May the best men win.

The point is, the Eagles made it a priority in the offseason to give Wentz more explosiveness and consistency in the passing game, and they’ve delivered by signing Jeffrey and Smith, by drafting Hollins and Gibson, and by adding Groh. Green-Beckham, so tantalizing to watch given his success in college and the way he looks in a uniform with his physical dimensions, simply did not distinguish himself in the upgraded wide receivers room.

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