Solving the Philadelphia Eagles’ puzzle at wide receiver
The Philadelphia Eagles have a surplus at wide receiver, but who can we expect to actually make the team?
The Philadelphia Eagles have entered mandatory minicamp with a whopping 12 wide receivers on their roster. Obviously, all 12 won’t make the team, so let’s take a look at who has established themselves and could possibly make a push for roster spots.
There are a few receivers we’re certain will be on the team. The most obvious is Alshon Jeffery. He was the top free agent wide receiver on the market and signed a one year deal with the Eagles. He is expected to be the red zone threat and number one option the Eagles have been lacking.
Torrey Smith, the other receiver this team signed in free agency, will also be making this team. Smith’s signing gives the Eagles the deep threat that they’ve been missing since DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin left. Smith had a down year last year, but he was on a bad team with sub par quarterbacks. Playing with a franchise quarterback should really help Smith put up the types of stats that he did with the Baltimore Ravens.
Jordan Matthews is also a lock. Matthews is the top returning wide receiver from last year’s roster, and he figures to be the starting slot receiver. The other two signings should really take the pressure off Matthews and help open up the middle of the field. There has been speculation that he’s trade bait, but if he isn’t moved, he’s on this team without a doubt.
The final lock at receiver will be rookie Mack Hollins. Hollins is a mixture of Jeffery and Smith in that he has both size and speed. All reports indicate that he’s been killing it at training camp as well. Combine that with the fact that he’s a special teams demon, and he’s basically guaranteed a roster spot. As a rookie in the NFL, versatility is your best friend and Hollins definitely fits that bill.
The Fringe Players
Those four guys will leave little room on the depth chart. These next few players have the potential to make the roster, but they’ll need to show that they belong.
The first receiver considered to be on the fringe is Nelson Agholor. Much has been made about the fact that the Eagles would actually be losing money by cutting him. The fact of the matter is, regardless of what Agholor’s scheduled to earn, the fifth roster spot should be given to the best player. If the Eagles don’t feel that’s Agholor, they shouldn’t hesitate to let him go.
Agholor’s had a very good off-season so far, but that was also the case last year. Agholor needs to show that he can consistently produce through training camp and the preseason. There’s still hope for the former first-round pick, but time is running out.
The next player that may be on the fringe is rookie Shelton Gibson. Gibson was selected to be another speedster for the Eagles. The word out following OTAs and minicamp has been Gibson’s really struggled. He hasn’t consistently caught the ball during individual drills, and that’s a concern. He may be given the benefit of the doubt since it’s his first NFL season, but given the depth the Eagles have at receiver, Gibson could be on a short leash. He’ll need to capitalize on every opportunity he’s given to show he belongs. Sometimes, it takes rookies a little while to settle in, and that could be the case for Gibson. Still, If he’s struggling around the preseason, it could mean trouble for the young wideout.
The “Thanks for Stopping By” Receivers
The remaining receivers on the roster have a very slim chance of sticking around. These players include the speedy Bryce Treggs and fan favorite Paul Turner, but the most notable name from the remaining players is Dorial Green-Beckham.
DGB came to the Eagles with the type of measurables that got fans really excited. Unfortunately, he has yet to show that he was worth the second round pick that the Tennessee Titans used on him. He’s struggled with route running and hasn’t caught the ball consistently. He’s also lost way too often in jump ball situations which, given his size, is something that he should probably win nine out of ten times.
Everyone remaining should have an opportunity to be signed to the practice squad, but their chance of making the active roster is very small.
The Final Roster
If Eagles carry six receivers on their 53 man roster this year, those receivers will more than likely be Jeffrey, Smith, Matthews, Hollins, Agholor, and Gibson. Now this is all speculation and subject to change, but barring any unforeseen circumstances, this will probably be the group that suits up on Sundays. This group is already vastly improved from a season ago, and it should be fun to see how they progress through the summer.