Eagles

Eagles

The Eagles completely revamped their wide receiving corps. Which we all agree they had to do. 

Have they done enough? 

You know how Howie Roseman likes to say, "Hope isn't a strategy?" 

It is when it comes to the Eagles' wideouts. Because there isn't a sure thing in the group. 

The Eagles did the right thing by attacking wide receiver in the draft, but with the crux of the offseason over and virtual OTAs getting started, the Eagles still have more questions than answers at a position that's been a problem for years. 

They did devote a first-round pick to a wide receiver, but it's one who a lot of experts didn't think was the right guy. That doesn't mean he wasn't the right guy. But Roseman's track record with Day 1 and Day 2 receivers doesn't inspire a lot of confidence. 

They did spend next to nothing to acquire a veteran receiver who once had a 962-yard season. But Marquise Goodwin is 29, has averaged 331 yards in seven NFL seasons, has reached 500 yards just once and has gone from 56 to 23 to 12 catches the last three years. 

They did draft speed in the later rounds, adding John Hightower in the fifth round and Quez Watkins in the sixth. But the reality is that the Eagles have drafted 18 wideouts in the fifth round or later since 1980 and only three of them ever caught a touchdown in an Eagles uniform — Tony Woodruff, Calvin Williams and Riley Cooper. 

 

They do bring back DeSean Jackson, but as exciting as he's been throughout his career — even on opening day last year — he's 33 years old now and coming off a serious injury. The last Eagles wide receiver to catch a pass after his 33rd birthday? Irving Fryar in 1998. 

Alshon is still here. Whatever. If he's still on the roster whenever he gets healthy, we're looking at an overpaid 30-year-old coming off a miserable season and a serious injury who's six years removed from his last 1,000-yard season and appears to have issues with the quarterback. 

And then there's J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who may make huge strides in Year 2. Or maybe not. 

There's Greg Ward, who might be the closest thing the Eagles have to a sure thing. Fantastic hands, great routes, an incredible work ethic. But he's more of a steady, sure-handed underneath guy than a game-breaker. 

Then there's the bomb squad from the end of last year — Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, Marcus Green and Shelton Gibson.  

And those are your Eagles wide receivers. 

Best-case scenario is pretty good. D-Jack bounces back in a big way. Reagor puts together a rookie season like D.K. Metcalf or Terry McLaurin. Goodwin stays healthy and plays like it was 2017. JJAW figures it all out. Ward holds down the slot. Alshon gets healthy by November and turns the clock back to 2017. 

Whatever happens, it's almost guaranteed to be an improvement over last year, when Nelson, Jeffery, Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins got a combined 2,103 snaps and caught 102 passes. And dropped almost as many. 

What Carson Wentz was able to do last year with a rag-tag group of practice squad call-ups, struggling veterans and waiver-wire acquisitions was remarkable. 

Wentz deserves better, and it's exciting to imagine what he could do with an elite wideout to grow with for the next several years of his career. 

Donovan McNabb never really had that. He had T.O. for a year and a half and DeSean when he was nearing the end. 

The Eagles are definitely faster at wideout, and they're definitely younger.  

But this is the team that brought you Josh Huff, Dorial Green-Beckham, Rueben Randle, Golden Tate, Steve Smith and Mack Hollins. 

The best receiver the Eagles have brought in since Roseman became GM is probably Jordan Matthews and they got rid of him three times. So far.

So it's not easy to buy in. 

Is this more of the same or have the Eagles truly solved a lingering problem?  

To answer that question, we have to turn to the one thing Howie didn't want to rely on, and that's a whole bunch of hope.

Subscribe and rate the Eagle Eye podcast: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Stitcher / Spotify / Art19

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.

More on the Eagles