Eagles have intriguing depth at WR beyond Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor

Eagles have intriguing depth at WR beyond Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor

The Eagles have three pretty darn good wide receivers in Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor.

That’s probably the best three-deep depth chart the Eagles have ever had at receiver and no doubt one of the best in the NFL.

But they’ll keep at least five. Last year, they kept six — Jeffery, Agholor, Mike Wallace, Mack Hollins, Shelton Gibson and DeAndre Carter. So there’ll be a tremendous amount of competition this summer, and it’s going to be fascinating to watch.

The Eagles will probably also draft a receiver, and that could come fairly early. With the draft a week and a half away, here’s a look at what the Eagles have beyond the Big Three.

2017 draft picks

Mack Hollins

Hollins, a fourth-round pick out of North Carolina, did some good things as a rookie, with 16 catches for 226 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown against the Redskins and some excellent work on special teams.

Hollins missed all of last year with a mysterious groin injury that wasn’t considered serious during the preseason, but he’s got great size at 6-4, 220, and got a lot of good experience as a rookie, so he’s probably most likely at this point to be the fourth wideout.

Shelton Gibson

A fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, Gibson has only three catches to show for two NFL seasons. It was kind of odd last year that he caught a 48-yarder against the Vikings, then got just 12 snaps on offense the rest of the year and was never targeted again.

Gibson also played less and less on special teams as last year went on, which isn’t a good sign. 

Futures contracts

Braxton Miller

A really intriguing prospect, and the Eagles seem to like the former Ohio State quarterback and Heisman Trophy finalist who converted to wideout. Miller spent all last year on the practice squad, so the Eagles know how athletic he is. 

Miller caught 34 passes in two seasons with the Texans. He’s only 26, he’s played at the highest level in college, and he knows this offense now. Keep an eye on him in camp.

Carlton Agudosi

Agudosi, a former Rutgers receiver from Franklin Township High in Somerset County, New Jersey, split the 2017 season on the Cards’ active roster and practice squad but was out of football last year.

He didn’t play a lot in college, but at 6-6, 220, he’s got unusual size and that could get him a good look this summer.

Johnny Holton

Holton played at Cincinnati before bouncing on and off the Raiders’ active roster and practice squad as both a receiver and cornerback. 

Now 27, Holton has only 11 career catches but three of them have gone for 44 or more yards, all from Derek Carr in 2017. Interesting speed prospect.

Dorren Miller

Raw prospect who played at JUCO Georgia Military College and Division II Carson-Newman, Miller ran a 4.39 coming out of school, which opened a lot of eyes. 

He was in camp last year with the Jaguars and then spent all year on the practice squad. 

Marken Michel 

Michel was in camp with the Vikings in 2016 and then spent three seasons in the CFL with the Calgary Stampeders, catching 72 passes for 1,215 yards and eight touchdowns.

His brother is Patriots running back Sony Michel.

AAF refugees

Greg Ward Jr.

Ward remains an intriguing prospect. Former Houston quarterback who led the Cougars to a Peach Bowl win over No. 9 Florida State, he’s three years into his conversion as a wide receiver.

Ward, still only 23, got a Super Bowl ring with the Eagles in 2017 as a member of the practice squad but was released after camp last year and didn’t get a job until the AAF came along. He caught 22 passes for 214 yards playing for the San Antonio Commanders before the league was disolved earlier this month.

Charles Johnson

CJ2 was a seventh-round pick of the Packers in 2013 and is 30 years old, so kind of unusual for a camp body. 

He bounced around with the Packers, Browns, Vikings, Panthers and Jets, piling up 60 catches for 834 yards and two TDs in three seasons in Minnesota.

Johnson spent this past winter with the Orlando Apollos of the AAF, where he caught 45 passes for 687 yards. In a game against the Commanders, he had seven catches for 192 yards and a touchdown from Apollos QB Garrett Gilbert.

Keep an eye on Johnson. The Eagles gave him a $25,000 workout bonus, which is a sign that they really wanted him.

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Eagles prepared to be bigger players in free agency this offseason

Eagles prepared to be bigger players in free agency this offseason

INDIANAPOLIS — A few weeks before the start of free agency, Howie Roseman hinted on Tuesday that the Eagles will be more active this year than in recent offseasons. 

With ample salary cap space in tow, the Eagles’ general manager didn’t come out and say that the Birds will be players for top free agent targets when free agency begins on March 18, but he did make it pretty clear that the philosophy in 2020 is a departure from 2018 and 2019. 

After a couple offseasons of bargain shopping for players to plug into what the Eagles viewed as their Super Bowl roster, the Eagles are in what Roseman termed a retooling period. 

That means the Eagles are prepared to spend some bigger money this offseason. 

“I think what would be fair to say is that over the last two years, coming off the Super Bowl, we had a different amount of resources going forward,” Roseman said at the combine on Tuesday. “And we were looking at our team-building over that ’17, ’18, ’19 period, and we knew at ’20 we were going to have to change that a little bit. 

“Now we’re looking at it over the course of a window. Not that we don’t want to win this year — we desperately want to win this year — but more over building this team over 2020, 2021, hopefully 2022.

“It’s hard to look three years out, really, but keep our eye on that. I think that maybe changes the complexion of some of our decisions this offseason, that it’s different from coming off the Super Bowl or coming off losing to the Saints in the divisional round.” 

Roseman made it clear that the Eagles aren’t looking for aging players on one-year deals anymore. Forget plugging holes in the short-term; they want to build with longevity in mind. This is a departure from recent seasons and a necessary philosophical change as the Eagles continue to get further from their Super Bowl LII win. 

It’s no longer about recreating the Super Bowl team. 

It’s about creating the next one. 

Roseman said the Eagles aren’t undergoing a “total rebuild” but are simple in a “retool period.” That makes sense. They have several cornerstone players already in place: Carson Wentz, Miles Sanders, Lane Johnson, Brandon Brooks, Fletcher Cox, etc. 

With 10 draft picks, the Eagles can supplement those cornerstone pieces with young and cheap talent. (They also have the ammo to trade up and down the board in April.) 

And with plenty of cap space, they can also supplement those cornerstone pieces with relatively younger free agents who can be viable players for the next several seasons instead of one- or two-year rentals. 

Think back to when the Eagles signed Brooks, Rodney McLeod and Nigel Bradham in the 2016 offseason. 

Since then, Roseman has said those types of deals have become more expensive, so they’ll have to judge each case this offseason independently. Signing a 26-year-old to an exorbitant contract just because he’s 26 doesn’t make sense. 

But if the Eagles are able to find some middle ground, find perhaps a second-tier guy in his 20s that won’t break the bank, that would be the best of both worlds. 

And if they feel comfortable shooting their shot for a player like Amari Cooper, Byron Jones or Yannick Ngakoue, that’s a possibility too. 

“Now when we look at it,” Roseman said, “I think the scenario changes a little bit, in terms of, if we can get the right free agents, we’re not in a mode now where maybe we try to find the undervalued older guys that we tried to find over the last couple of years, and going forward, we’re trying to build this over a period of time, we’re not kind of in this one-year window. 

“We talked in January about looking at this, 2020, 2021 and 2022 in this three-year period who are part of it, I guess kind of similar to how we looked at free agency in maybe 2016 and ’17.”

That approach helped them win a Super Bowl. This situation is different, but Roseman is hoping going back to it will do the trick again. 

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Eagle Eye podcast: The biggest news from the combine

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Eagle Eye podcast: The biggest news from the combine

On the latest Eagle Eye podcast, Reuben Frank is joined by Dave Zangaro from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis to go over the biggest storylines of the day. 

Howie Roseman and Doug Pederson spoke to reporters on Tuesday about a wide range of topics. 

Will Jason Peters return? Have the Eagles changed their free agent philosophy? And what will the coaching staff really look like in 2020? 

• One more year of Jason Peters? 
• Eagles might change free agency approach
• More details about the coaching structure
• The rise of Press Taylor 
• What will Rich Scangarello do?  
• Breaking down Duce Staley’s role in the organization 

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