Over two weeks, I’m taking a look at 10 Eagles players who might be primed for a breakout season in 2020. I have already looked at Boston Scott, K’Von Wallace, Sidney Jones, T.J. Edwards, Jalen Reagor, Isaac Seumalo, Derek Barnett and Josh Sweat.
Up today: Greg Ward
How acquired: 2017 undrafted free agent
Entering: Year 4
It’s impossible not to root for Greg Ward. His story is one of true perseverance and determination.
But is he for real?
Ward first entered the NFL in 2017 as an undrafted free agent. The former University of Houston quarterback changed positions to wide receiver but it took him three years to actually make the team and get on the field. He was on the practice squad in 2017 and part of 2018, he became a star in the short-lived AAF before he came back to the Eagles for last season. Last season, Ward was cut, put on the practice squad, brought up, sent back down and finally brought back up on Sept. 26.
Hopefully Ward won’t be going back to the practice squad anytime soon.
In 2019, Ward finally got a chance to play in November. Thanks to injuries, from Week 12 through the end of the 2019 season, Ward became the Eagles’ most consistent and reliable receiver. He ended up with 28 catches for 254 yards and 1 touchdown in six weeks.
So now as he enters the 2020 season, he’s probably the likely candidate to be the Eagles’ slot receiver. But is he more than just a nice story?
Ward might not be as explosive from that slot position as Nelson Agholor once was, but that’s OK. He’s dependable, reliable and Carson Wentz can trust him.
Just think back to the final seconds of the Washington game on Dec. 15. The Eagles were in must-win mode in their season and Ward’s touchdown catch gave the Eagles a 31-27 lead with just 32 seconds left. Wentz threw it up to him in the end zone, trusting Ward would come down with the ball.
On that game-winning drive, Ward had four catches for 40 yards and the TD. There’s no denying the rapport he built with Wentz last season.
I think Ward, along with Boston Scott, taught the Eagles’ front office a valuable lesson last year about youth and determination. The team was hesitant to go with Ward all season despite what it saw in practice and didn’t turn to him until it was out of options. The Eagles shouldn’t make those mistakes again.
And maybe Ward will never be a Pro Bowl player, but in an offense that suddenly has a ton of field-stretching speed, having a sure-handed and reliable slot receiver will be a big deal. Look for Ward to continue his success.
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