Is Nelson Agholor finally turning a corner with the Eagles?

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 13: Nelson Agholor /

Through the first few days of training camp, it seems that things are finally beginning to click for Nelson Agholor.

As the 2017 training camp was approaching for the Philadelphia Eagles, Nelson Agholor seemed to be an afterthought in the wide receiver room. His struggles through his first two NFL seasons were well documented, and fans were beginning to become frustrated with the former first-round pick.

The additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency and Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson in the 2017 draft seemed to spell trouble for Agholor. It seems that Agholor has approached this season with a different mentality. He’s playing loose and faster, and he doesn’t seem to be troubled by his recent struggles.

What has changed?

Being a first round pick brings a mountain of expectations with it. Players are expected to hit the ground running and start producing right away. That pressure can really weigh on a player and make one think more than he reacts. When players start overthinking, they lose focus on the task at hand. When focus is gone, routine things (such as catching the ball) become much more difficult. Those missteps then start to weigh on someone even more, which causes more overthinking and so on and so forth. As you can see, it becomes a vicious circle. This year, Agholor seems to have realized that he doesn’t have to be the do-it-all playmaker.

Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles /

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles made some serious investments on the offensive side of the ball during the most recent off-season which should pay dividends. Typically, signing multiple players at a position would put more pressure on players to produce.

It appears that the opposite may be occuring with Agholor. Having prolific pass catchers like Jeffery, Smith and Matthews has helped to alleviate a lot of the pressure. All Agholor has to do is focus on being the best player that he can be, as opposed to being the best player on the team.

So far, it seems that things have been working out for the young pass-catcher. Chris McPherson and Fran Duffy of both singled Agholor out as their “player of the day” from the Eagles open practice on Sunday.

Plenty of support

People can bash on Philadelphia fans all they want, but when the city believes in you they will have your back no matter what. Eagles fans are like the friend at the bar that you might clash with, but if a fight breaks out, you know they’ve got you covered. This mentality was evident on Sunday. Reports indicate that Agholor received the loudest applause of any player at practice. Whether it was returning kicks or catching the ball, fans were there encouraging him.

All players are different and react differently to criticism. Some players use negative remarks as fuel and are focused on proving doubters wrong. Others prefer positive encouragement to reinforce the fact that they are doing the right things. Fans (and perhaps coaches) have realized that Agholor probably falls into the latter category. They have reacted accordingly and are doing what they can to boost his confidence. If Agholor knows that the fans are with him, then that will be one less thing to worry about.

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Consistency is key

The beginning of camp has been exactly the kind of start that Nelson Agholor has needed. He is doing and saying all of the right things. Now, the key for him is to be consistent with the things he’s doing. It’s great if he continues to produce in camp, but if it doesn’t happen in the regular season then it is all for not.

Agholor is facing an uphill battle for playing time. He needs to show the coaching staff that the team is better with him on the field as opposed to off, and it’s time for him to show out and be the player that he was expected to be.