Eagles Snap Count Analysis: What’s going on at WR?


Letting Jeremy Maclin go in free agency meant that somebody on the Philadelphia Eagles had to get more snaps at the wide receiver position. The feeling of despair over who would pick up those snaps was eased at least a bit when the Eagles drafted Nelson Agholor in the first round. But after signing Miles Austin and Seyi Ajirotutu in free agency, both of whom made the team, it was going to be interesting to see who got the most snaps.

After three weeks of football, all six receivers have had at least one snap on offense, but the distribution of snaps among receivers seems to be a little bit more balanced than I expected. The leader? According to Pro Football Focus, it’s actually Agholor with 175, just one more snap than Jordan Matthews thus far. Considering the huge difference in output, I was surprised to see this.

In three games, Matthews has 22 receptions on 30 targets for 231 yards and a touchdown. At this pace, he’s projected to finish with 117 receptions on 160 targets for 1,232 yards and five touchdowns. The receptions would be incredibly high compared to touchdowns, but the bottom line is that he’s producing really well for the amount of snaps he’s getting. To put it into perspective, after three games in 2014 he only had 138 snaps, 17 targets, 11 receptions and 113 yards. He’s essentially doubled his targets, receptions and yards with only a small increase in snaps.

Agholor on the other hand has struggled to start the season. Despite earning more snaps than any offensive skill position player on the team, he has just four receptions on 12 targets for 36 yards and zero touchdowns. According to PFF, he has the third lowest grade among wide receivers in the NFL to play at least 25 percent on their team’s snaps. That’s not good.

I do believe that he’ll improve over the season though. Matthews didn’t have a breakout game until nearly halfway through 2014. As just a rookie, I don’t expect Agholor to be dominating already, even if he is getting this many snaps.

Last year, Maclin was the top wide receiver to get snaps and Riley Cooper was second, trailing Maclin by only 63 snaps for the whole season. This year, Cooper has clearly been given a reduced role, as he should. Cooper has just 109 snaps in three games, which is about 36 snaps per game. To put it into perspective, last year he averaged about 61 snaps per game.

Cooper has just three catches for 25 yards this year, all of which came against the Falcons in Week 1. He hasn’t had a catch since. That’s bad. Or maybe it’s good because they’re not trying to pass to him. After getting targeted four times against Atlanta, he had just two targets against Dallas and zero against the Jets.

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Austin and Josh Huff have nearly the same amount of snaps as the fourth and fifth receivers on the team. Huff is definitely the higher receiver on the depth chart, accumulating 69 snaps in two games (he didn’t play against the Jets) while Austin has 70 in three games. Austin had to play a bit more against the Jets with Huff out, playing 45 snaps in that game alone. He had played just nine snaps the previous week against Dallas.

With each guy averaging a low amount of snaps anyway, it’s not a surprise that Huff’s season output is 39 receiving yards and Austin’s is 22 receiving yards. Neither guy is expected to do too much in the pass game anyway. However, let’s compare Huff’s snap count and output to last year. Huff didn’t play until Week 5 last year anyway due to an injury, but in his first two games, he played a combined 33 snaps and had one catch for four yards.

Based on these totals, it seems like Agholor and Matthews will be the clear top two guys in terms of snap counts by the end of the year, but Huff should eventually move into third in line. The Eagles are clearly using him more on offense than they did last year, so as long as he gets healthy, his stats should increase.

With Sam Bradford still figuring things out on the field, it’s expected that there will be some problems. But someone other than Matthews will eventually need to step up and prove that they deserve to be on the field.

Next: Eagles offensive line suffering from lack of recent draft picks

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