Philadelphia Eagles News

Agholor's Rise Key To WR Play

The junk food is largely a thing of the past, even if Nelson Agholor occasionally dips in for a french fry every now and then. He is a different football player now than he was a year ago, Agholor knows, with a much more urgent level of expectations at a position filled with question marks for the Eagles.

"I've been through this once before, so I know what to expect and I know what lies ahead," said Agholor, 2.0. "I'm excited about where I am and where this football team is."

Agholor, the Eagles' first-round draft pick in 2015, had what is, when you really think about it and research the big picture, a typical rookie season. His numbers -- 23 catches for 283 yards and a touchdown while playing 58 percent of the snaps for an up-and-down offense -- weren't where he or the team thought when the Eagles used the 20th pick in Round 1 on the USC product. A sprained ankle suffered against New Orleans early in the season set Agholor back and he wasn't ever really, truly recovered from a physical standpoint the rest of the season.

But that was then. That was 2015. Agholor has a fresh mind and a new start with a coaching staff that has a new offense and new routes in mind for Agholor. He's going to move around the formation. He's going to use his speed more. He's hopeful to take the huge leap from Year 1 to Year 2 in the NFL.

"I know how to prepare now and how to prepare smarter," Agholor said. "I'm doing things better. I'm physically better than I've ever been. I'm wiser and I'm focused on being a better football player. I'm stronger and I'm eating better and I'm focused on being a perfectionist. It takes some time and experience and confidence. I have all of the above. I'm ready to play my best football."

A lot is riding on Agholor. The Eagles are young at wide receiver. Jordan Matthews is the most accomplished of the group as he enters his third NFL season. Josh Huff is searching for consistency. Veterans added in free agency like Rueben Randle and Chris Givens want to find long-term homes in an offense that works for them.

And Agholor is going here to be a playmaker -- a sure-handed, speedy receiver who is reliable and explosive with the football in his hands.

"I push myself every day to improve and to be ready to do anything this football team wants me to do," Agholor said. "There's a big difference between college and the NFL. Guys get it at different times. I feel like I'm on track and I'm where I want to be. But I have high expectations for myself. I have to be at my very best every day and I have to focus on that mindset to master all of the little things. Every rep has to mean the same to me and that's what I'm training to do, that's what I want to make second nature."

Agholor thinks he is "at a point where I'm building something special," and to get there he has to have this "hybrid" West Coast offense down cold, has to hit his routes perfectly and defeat press coverage and most of all Agholor must demonstrate that the coaching staff and the quarterback can trust him to be in the right place at the right time and catch the football.

"It comes with confidence," Agholor said. "G-Lew (Greg Lewis, wide receivers coach) is on us all the time. He wants us to be perfect in everything we do. He had an NFL career that he built by being technically sound and by catching everything thrown his way. He wasn't drafted. He had nothing handed to him. So he's handing nothing to us. He is a great teacher and communicator and I think he's going to help all of us become the best receivers we can be."

The full team hits the field on Tuesday for the first day of Organized Team Activities and while there is no contact and no tackling and the tempo isn't quite at the level of where it will be for Training Camp, the coaches are going to get more of a sense of just how far players like Agholor have come in the course of an offseason. Agholor's development is crucial, absolutely crucial, for the wide receivers' room. 

Agholor learned the hard way how cruel this league can be. It takes the right system, the right coaching and a diligent approach to have a chance for success and then things like health and good fortune play into the equation.

This is Agholor's time in the NFL, then, part deux. He has a great opportunity to be a factor, and he plans to catch it and run toward the end zone with the chance.

"I'm very excited to be around this football team and these coaches," he said. "I feel like I've got a great opportunity in front of me. Every day, I feel I'm rising to the challenge, getting just a little bit better. I'm keeping the big picture in mind about where I want to be."

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