The Philadelphia Eagles selected Josh Huff in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft, supposedly looking for a speedy wide receiver who would mesh in the offense not only because of his skill set, but because he went to Oregon, Chip Kelly’s former employer. As of now, this pick has not paid off.
People all over the place, both fans and media, were predicting that Huff would have a breakout season in 2015. They were so confident that with Jeremy Maclin gone, he was sure to step in and take over many of those snaps, possibly even reaching 1,000 yards. I never bought into that though. It just wasn’t logical.
There were short bursts of greatness from Huff in 2014, but that highlight video likely consisted of just two plays — one of which wasn’t even on offense. He took a kick return to the house against the Titans and had a 44-yard catch against the Cowboys in December. Did those two plays really give people enough evidence to declare his greatness already?
He definitely seemed to have a strong camp, increasing his muscle mass and making a lot of impressive catches in the offseason. However, that has not translated into the regular season.
I thought the main reason Huff wouldn’t do much was because Nelson Agholor would be the clear No. 2 target in the passing game, but Agholor has been even more disappointing due to ineffectiveness and injury. Huff hasn’t even been able to get onto the field, much less make more than a couple catches per game.
Through eight games, Huff has 15 catches for 151 receiving yards and a touchdown. Huff’s 41-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter against the Saints was his lone highlight of the entire season. Other than that, it’s been a bunch of two-catch games.
He finished that game with a career high in catches (4), targets (5) and receiving yards (78), but again, he doesn’t have much to compare it to. I have always been a big critic of Huff, so I have to give him credit for that game, but other than that, he hasn’t shown much to even earn playing time.
He’s nearly doubled his yardage total from last year, but considering he was held under 100 yards, that’s not saying much. Huff’s output against the Saints was his only game above 20 receiving yards this whole season. He looked to be off to a good start against the Cowboys on Sunday night, recording two catches on the opening drive. However, those would be his only catches of the whole night.
Based off snap count numbers through Week 8, per Football Outsiders, Huff was fifth on the team just among wide receivers in offensive snaps this season. That’s fewer snaps than Riley Cooper, who has had multiple bagels on the stat sheet, fewer snaps than Miles Austin, who didn’t appear to do anything the whole offseason and preseason, and even fewer than Agholor, who’s missed like half the season. That’s pretty disappointing.
Some might argue if this is a “chicken or the egg” situation. Would he put up bigger stats if he was on the field more often? Well, other than Jordan Matthews, no wide receiver in Philadelphia has done much, so maybe it’s a product of the offense and the sub-par play of Sam Bradford. But, all of these guys were on the team when these “breakout year” predictions were flying around the Internet, so there are really no excuses.
Huff was never in line for a great year in 2015. Bradford has been inconsistent and they are spreading out snaps throughout all the wide receivers, so there’s no real chance for someone to break out from the rest. It’s not like someone is stealing Huff’s snaps. He’s just not that good enough yet.
Will he ever have a breakout year for the Eagles? My guess is probably not. The way the Eagles offense is currently set up, they’re not going to have multiple 1,000-yard receivers. They’ve shown their commitment to the run game, especially recently, and they’re not going to pass to just one or two guys. It’s just not how they operate.
That’s why taking Huff in the third round was waste of a pick. At this point, the only place he can really stand out is as a kick returner, and he hasn’t even done that. It’s time to accept the fact that Huff wasn’t ever going to dominate in 2015.
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