Eagles

Nelson Agholor proving doubters wrong in breakout season

Nelson Agholor hopes he never has to go through another season like 2016. It was a season in which no matter what he tried to do right, in most cases it ended up being wrong. Trying to achieve perfection got the best of him.

Dropped passes, lining up improperly and the constant negative criticism he heard ringing in his ears was too much for the 23-year-old to handle. According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Agholor dropped seven of 62 targets that came his way in 2016. Each week he stood at his locker fielding questions about not living up to expectations. His eyes filled with uncertainty. The tone of his voice revealed that he was deeply dumbfounded. At one point he said, "I can't get out of my own head. I'm pressing so much. I'm worried about so many things."

Doug Pederson was worried about him as a person, not an athlete. He sat Agholor for the Green Bay game to give him some time away from the field to mentally regroup. The Eagles even went so far as to take him to a sports psychologist. The season couldn't end fast enough for him.

During this past offseason, he dedicated himself to breaking the shackles of the mental demons that held him down. By the time OTAs and minicamp rolled around, you could tell a much different Agholor had emerged, one with more confidence. He was the talk of the spring session. And then it carried over to training camp and preseason games.

The Eagles noticed the difference and decided to make the bold move of trading Jordan Matthews to Buffalo to give Agholor room to grow. Through seven games, the organization's faith in him has already paid off. He has dropped only two passes in 33 targets. He already has a career high in receiving yards (366) and average yards per catch (15.3), and his five TD grabs are more than his two previous seasons combined (three). 

Right now, Agholor is enjoying the game again. The boos are no longer raining down upon him. Those who wanted to run him out of town now are singing his praises. I, like many others, felt he was just another first-round bust. He's 24 now, a year older and wiser. After what he went through, he deserves this fresh start, and I'm glad I was wrong about him.