4 veteran Philadelphia Eagles skating on thin ice entering training camp

Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)
Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia Eagles (Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports) /
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John Hightower #82, Philadelphia Eagles
John Hightower #82, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

John Hightower, wide receiver. 82. player. 54. . .

John Hightower enters Philadelphia Eagles camp seemingly with one foot out of the door.

Tweaking the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver room has been a long process. Everyone’s excited about the A.J. Brown/DeVonta Smith duo, but we had to endure a lot of experiments like Shelton Gibson and Mack Hollins to get there.

Telling the story of the Eagles’ last four offseasons can’t be done without discussing the way they’ve butchered the wide receiver position. Philly eschewed taking D.K. Metcalf, electing instead to add J.J. Arcega-Whiteside in 2019. One year later, they went with Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson.

There isn’t a Birds fan on Planet Earth that isn’t aware of how those decisions turned out.

Reagor wasn’t the only wideout Philly invested some draft capital into during the 2020 NFL Draft. They selected John Hightower in Round 5, 168th-overall. They added Quez Watkins 32 spots later at 200 in Round 6.

The hope was the Eagles had struck gold with both as late-round additions. They got lucky with Watkins. He’s evolved into one of the best wideouts on the roster, hauling in 50 receptions for 753 yards and reaching the end zone two times in 23 career games with 12 starts.

Hightower, on the other hand, has appeared in 14 games. 13 of those came in year one. He’s made four starts. Philly hasn’t been as lucky with him.

He was targeted 29 times as a rookie. He caught ten passes for 167 yards. He didn’t catch a single pass during the 2021-2022 NFL season, and he has yet to find his way into the end zone during his brief NFL career.

The Eagles enter camp with 12 wide receivers on the roster, and in all honesty, from where we’re sitting, it’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Hightower makes the roster (or the practice squad).