When asked about DeSean Jackson on Monday afternoon, Carson Wentz’s eyes lit up.
It’s easy to understand why.
Not only will Jackson bring back an element that has been missing from the Eagles’ offense for years, but he’ll also provide Wentz with the kind of deep threat he’s never had before.
It’s exciting. It’s, without a doubt, exciting. You see the guy, obviously, the guy is getting up there in age, but the guy still runs like the wind. Impressive on film, [saw] it last year opening play of the game we played them. The guy’s still got it. It’s, without a doubt, exciting. I think he’ll bring a dynamic aspect to our offense. Whether he’s catching balls during the game or whether he’s opening things up underneath, I’m really excited to have him.
Jackson is 32 now but has shown no signs of slowing down, literally or figuratively. At 31, he led the NFL in yards-per-catch last season at 18.9. It’s the fourth time (for his third different team) that Jackson led the league in that category.
And since he entered the league in 2008, Jackson has led the NFL with 40 catches of 50-plus yards. The next closest player on that list is Mike Wallace, who has just 26.
Wentz brought up Wallace on Monday. He mentioned that Wallace was supposed to be the fastest player he had ever played with, but it didn’t happen. The Eagles brought Wallace in on a one-year deal for 2018, but Wallace got hurt in the second game of the season and Wentz didn’t return until Week 3. They were ships passing in the night last season.
But now Wentz has Jackson.
“I’m excited to get out there and just really see it in action,” Wentz said.
With all due respect to the 30 players who have caught a pass from Wentz during his first three NFL seasons, Jackson will be the most dynamic deep threat Wentz has ever had. Heck, Jackson is one of the best deep threats the NFL has ever seen.
Among the players who have caught at least 10 passes from Wentz, the highest career yards-per-catch belongs to Torrey Smith (16.1). But in Smith’s one season in Philly, he averaged just 11.9 yards per catch.
Here’s every player to ever catch a pass from Wentz and their career yards-per-catch average. Guys like Bryce Treggs and Shelton Gibson have so few catches, their averages are obviously skewed.
Zach Ertz: 216 (11.0)
Nelson Agholor: 117 (11.6)
Alshon Jeffery: 100 (14.5)
Jordan Matthews: 91 (12.1)
Darren Sproles: 62 (8.8)
Trey Burton: 56 (10.2)
Dorial Green-Beckham: 36 (13.8)
Torrey Smith: 33 (16.1)
Wendell Smallwood: 33 (8.3)
Corey Clement: 25 (9.8)
Dallas Goedert: 24 (10.1)
Brent Celek: 23 (12.6)
Golden Tate: 19 (11.8)
Josh Huff: 13 (10.3)
Ryan Mathews: 12 (7.7)
Mack Hollins: 12 (14.1)
Paul Turner: 9 (14.0)
Kenjon Barner: 9 (5.9)
Jay Ajayi: 9 (6.7)
LeGarrette Blount: 5 (7.1)
Josh Adams: 4 (8.3)
Bryce Treggs: 3 (19.9)
Byron Marshall: 3 (5.8)
Carson Wentz: 2 (5.5)
Marcus Johnson: 2 (13.4)
Terrell Watson: 1 (5.0)
Shelton Gibson: 1 (19.7)
Kamar Aiken: 1 (11.6)
DeAndre Carter: 1 (9.8)
Joshua Perkins: 1 (13.6)
So who is the best deep threat Wentz has ever had? Maybe it’s Alshon or Smith or Treggs or DGB or Agholor. But it won’t be any of them for very long.
And it’s not like Wentz doesn’t like to throw deep balls. He has 13 passes of 50-plus yards in his career, which ranks ninth in the NFL — and that’s with missing eight games over the last two years.
It’ll be up to Wentz and Jackson to get their work in together because so much of completing deep balls is about building a rapport between quarterback and receiver. But if these two can get on the same page, they could form a special duo.
It’ll be like nothing Wentz has ever had. And that’s why he seemed so happy on Monday.
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