Heading into their first preseason against the Indianapolis Colts, there are a ton of questions facing the Philadelphia Eagles. Will quarterback Sam Bradford be able to take a hit? Who is going to play slot cornerback? Which player will start at right guard?
But one question not getting as much publicity is who will start at wide receiver? During the beginning of minicamp and OTAs, it appeared that veterans Riley Cooper and Miles Austin would likely begin the season as starters. But now during training camp, Austin is working with the second and third team. While Cooper continues to work with the starters, likely due to his blocking ability.
Second year wide receiver Jordan Matthews has reportedly caught everything during training camp. He’ll likely have a key role as the slot wide receiver in head coach Chip Kelly’s uptempo offense once again. Matthews has built a strong report with Bradford and the two could form a dynamic passing duo in 2015.
But there’s another second year wide receiver making his presence known and that’s Josh Huff. After a disappointing rookie campaign, Huff has put on quite a show during training camp. Nearly every time there’s a team drill during Eagles’ practice, it seems like Huff is catching a deep pass or touchdown from Bradford. He’s certainly trending upwards and seems to have an early lead for one of the outside starting wide receiver spots.
Then there is rookie wide receiver Nelson Agholor. As a first round pick, there were high expectations set for the 21-year old. After a tough start to training camp, Agholor has become more consistent and is even getting some reps with the starters. During yesterday’s practice when Huff sat out of team drills, Agholor took his spot which is certainly a good sign. Agholor will likely start the season as the team’s fourth wide receiver but should have a big role in the offense by the midway point of the season.
Cooper, Matthews, Huff and Agholor all have roster spots locked up. Austin and Seyi Ajirotutu will likely be the last two wide receivers to make the roster. But it’ll be interesting to see if either one is pushed by the undrafted rookies or other “youngsters” on the roster. That will play itself out on the field during preseason action.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see which players stand out during actual in-game action. It’s easy to beat a cornerback when they can’t press you at the line and really get physical. The real tests will begin on Sunday with the Eagles first preseason game against the Colts. We’ll have ours answers soon enough about where the wide receivers stand but for now it’s “wait and see” game for Kelly and his staff.
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