With their second second-round pick, No. 57 overall, the Eagles on Friday evening selected Stanford wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
Arcega-Whiteside improved each of his three seasons in Palo Alto, with 24 for 379 and five TDs as a sophomore, 48 for 781 and nine TDs as a junior and 63 for 1,059 and 14 TDs this past season.
Arcega-Whiteside stands 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and joins a wide receiver crew that at the moment also includes Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson.
Arcega-Whiteside isn’t a speed receiver but is considered very physical, has terrific hands and uses his body well to get position on d-backs. That comes from his basketball background — he grew up playing basketball, and both his parents played professionally.
Arcega-Whiteside is known for using his height, leaping ability and basketball instincts to catch jump balls and contested balls over d-backs (see story).
“It takes practice," he said at the combine. "A lot of it comes from playing basketball back in high school, middle school. The coach would literally tell us, go to the DB and post him up. You got to have some experience to do it, too. So at the end of the day, when that ball is in the air, you just got to go up and get it. You can have a great post-up, but at the same time, if you’re not physical at your catch point, you’re not going to come down with it. Same thing with running routes. If the DB is not on your landmark, you have to be physical with him. Step on his toes, put a body on him, push off and get open.”
This is the eighth time since 2000 the Eagles have used a first- or second-round pick on a wide receiver.
They took Todd Pinkston (2000), Reggie Brown (2005), Jackson (2008) and Jordan Matthews (2014) in the second round and Freddie Mitchell (2001), Jeremy Maclin (2009) and Agholor (2015) in the first round.
Six years ago, the Eagles took Zach Ertz in the second round out of Stanford, and Ertz has more catches through six seasons than any other tight end in NFL history.
Arcega-Whiteside is the first Stanford wide receiver drafted by the Eagles since Hall of Famer James Lofton in the sixth round in 1978. Lofton finished his career in 1993 with the Eagles.
“Football is the ultimate team sport," Arcega-Whiteside said. "There’s not a sport like it in the world. Football unifies people. You can’t tell me that you go to a Sunday night to a stadium and it’s full of people in that city and the opposing team’s city. I’d say that that’s the unification of people. That’s what sports brings in general, but in football there’s no better feeling than scoring a touchdown or springing your running back for a touchdown by making a block down the field. There’s nothing like it. It’s hard to describe that feeling because it’s so blissful. It’s amazing. Honestly, I don’t feel like I’d be able to live a normally without playing football every day, just waking up and being excited about playing football.”
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.