Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor will report to his first NFL training camp this weekend. There is already considerable pressure on the Eagles’ young wide receivers to perform this season. Agholor’s work ethic has already been praised throughout the offseason. With Jeremy Maclin now long gone, Agholor will be required to not only meet expectations, but exceed them. Given the abilities displayed throughout his collegiate career and throughout the offseason, I believe Nelson Agholor will be the top rookie this season in the NFL.
Wide receivers coming from the University of Southern California have not made a notable impression on the NFL over the past decade. The most profiled recent receiver, Marqise Lee, left many skeptical of USC’s alumni after a disappointing rookie campaign. The struggles of Lee last season have not created any skepticism regarding Nelson Agholor’s professional future however. Aside from playing at the same college, Agholor and Lee are night and day in their abilities.
One of the more in-depth breakdowns of Nelson Agholor in college was done by Matt Waldman and Matt Harmon. What you’ll see (and I strongly recommend finding 90 minutes to watch) is Agholor’s ability to find the ball at it’s high-point and be the aggressor in his routes.
Originally recruited as a running back, Nelson Agholor was second in yards after the catch in the Pac-12 last season. The lack of a true deep threat in Chip Kelly’s offense this upcoming season will put added emphasis on skill players making plays, particularly in open space. The Philadelphia Eagles have been in the top 10 in the NFL in yards after the catch under Chip Kelly. A key contributor to that is the skill players creating space in their route running as well as their run blocking.
In the two seasons under Chip Kelly, the leading receiver (DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin) have gone for over 1,300 receiving yards. The second leading receiver (Riley Cooper and Jordan Matthews) topped 800 receiving yards and scored 8 touchdowns. If Agholor can hit those thresholds of Cooper and Matthews, he’d not only be a key contributor this season, but a prime candidate for the Rookie of the Year. While expectations vary on the 2015 Philadelphia Eagles as a team, Nelson Agholor should be one of the brightest spots not just in Philadelphia, but in the NFL.