Okay, look. We all know that the Philadelphia Eagles have had their challenges at the wide receiver position, especially over the course of the past two seasons, but some things are just disrespectful. You won’t believe what’s been said about the unit now. First, you need some backstory though.
In each of the past two offseasons during the NFL Draft, the Birds have spent their first-round draft choices on a wide receiver (both were seen as one of the better prospects in their respective classes). Philly also nabbed a wideout in Round 2 of 2019’s NFL Draft and two more talented prospects in the later rounds of the selection meeting last year.
Apparently, that isn’t enough for the stat gurus at Pro Football Focus. They gave this team a failing grade for their group in a recent ranking of the NFL’s receiving corps.
The Philadelphia Eagles barely avoid a last-place finish in PFFs rankings.
Okay, you guys are right. Over and over again, our staff at Inside The Iggles is told to ignore what’s being said by PFF, but you know how power rankings draw you in. They’re like mock drafts and potato chips. Plus Philly just drafted DeVonta Smith. How could we not look where they were slotted.
Here’s the dagger though, and that isn’t to reference a last-second score that finally puts the opposing team away. This one feels like being stabbed in the chest. In a ranking of the NFL’s 32 receiving corps, the Philadelphia Eagles landed at 30. Here’s some of how Steve Palazzolo, the writer of this one, defends the statement.
"Eagles wide receivers have ranked last in receiving grade in each of the last two years, so there’s plenty of room to improve for this unit. They’ve now spent back-to-back first-round selections on receivers, putting the pressure on Jalen Reagor and DeVonta Smith. (Reagor) has the explosiveness to develop as an outside vertical threat. Smith is a better all-around receiver, and that was on display in one of the best seasons in college football history…One of the bright sides of last season’s struggles was the emergence of Travis Fulgham, who had bounced around with several teams before posting an impressive 71.2 overall grade and leading the Eagles with 539 receiving yards. Beyond that top three, Greg Ward may have a role in the possession game, as he’s averaged 8.3 yards per reception in his career. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside has disappointed as a former second-rounder with just 26 career targets. And 2020 fifth-rounder John Hightower adds another speed component…"
If all of that is true, it seems off base to place Philly at 30. Blame PFF’s funky ranking system for this one as that probably has a lot to do with it. Just in case you’re wondering, only the Detroit Lions and Houston Texans finished with lower marks. The Philadelphia Eagles rivals all finished ahead of the Birds (obviously).
The Dallas Cowboys landed at number two while the New York Giants and Washington Football Team landed at 12 and 20 respectively. When you think about it, arguments can be made that Philly could be placed above each one of them. Philly’s wideouts haven’t exactly set the world on fire, but the same can be said for both New York and Washington.