Justin Jefferson vs. Jalen Reagor, Jamon Brown’s awfulness in historical perspective and an incredible Brett Toth stat (yes, really)!
That’s just the tip of the iceberg in today’s rare Thursday morning edition of Roob’s 10 random Eagles observations!
1. I wanted Jefferson. I said it before the draft, I said it during the draft, I said it after the draft. And what Jefferson is doing for the Vikings is remarkable. He’s already got 537 receiving yards, on pace for 1,432 yards, which would be the most by an NFL rookie in 60 years. That said, it’s silly to start blasting Reagor because Jefferson is killing it, and I’ve seen that a lot. Calling this kid a bust because he got hurt after a pretty good start — 5 for 96 yards in his first two games — is stupid.
It’s not Reagor’s fault the Eagles drafted him instead of Jefferson, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t be a really good receiver in his own right. It’s funny — he actually had more yards than Jefferson after both had played two games. Then Reagor got hurt. But DeSean Jackson is the only WR in Eagles history with more yards in his first two games than Reagor. Not the kid’s fault Jefferson looks like a star. Maybe Reagor will never be as good as Jefferson. Who knows? But writing him off after two games makes no sense.
2. We saw Jason Croom catch a TD pass from Carson Wentz Sunday on his first reception as an Eagle. Today’s trivia question: Who was the last player to score a touchdown on his first regular-season catch as an Eagle? Answer below!
3. Wentz has completed passes to 23 wide receivers in his career. Eleven of them — nearly half — have been on a practice squad at some point in their career. None of them have been to a Pro Bowl or had a 1,000-yard season since Wentz was drafted. Eight of them are out of football. Two are currently on practice squads. Six are on other teams. Two are hurt. Five are on the Eagles but none of those five have started more than five games in a season since their current stint on the Eagles began. That’s who he’s been throwing to for 4½ seasons.
4. Of 49 kickers who’ve attempted at least 10 field goals of 50 yards or longer over the last 10 years, Jake Elliott’s 52.6 accuracy ranks 43rd.
5. Why did Toth struggle at times in pass protection Sunday after he was forced to replace Jack Driscoll at right tackle? In the two seasons Toth was a starting right tackle at Army — 2017 and 2018 — the Black Knights ran the ball 1,609 times and threw 163 times. Yes, they ran 91 percent of the time. Army had the most running plays in college football during those two seasons and the fewest pass plays.
Toth has never pass blocked. That he was able to hang in there in his first NFL game on a drive where the Eagles were chucking it just about every play and give an honest effort just 11 days after the Eagles claimed him on waivers from the Cards speaks volumes about the kid’s heart and about Jeff Stoutland’s ability to get just about anybody ready to play offensive line.
6. How rare is it for the Eagles to release a player who just made his first appearance and first start in an Eagles uniform? Would you believe it’s unprecedented? Thanks to the wonders of Pro Football Reference’s Stathead, we came up with a list of guys who played only one game in an Eagles uniform and started that game. And not including the 1987 replacement games, there are only five since 1950. Two of them played at least one more game as Eagles (Louis Cheek in 1990, Jamar Adams in 2010), one wasn’t released until the following summer (Jeremy Clark in 2010) and one was a late-season acquisition who played well in the postseason (Chris Warren in 2000). So Brown is the first player in at least 70 years who played one game as an Eagle and started that game and was released immediately after that game. He was that bad.
7. And they paid him $267,647. That’s insane.
8. Travis Fulgham has more receiving yards in his first six games than Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Michael Irvin, Art Monk, Andre Reed, Lynn Swann, Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens and Cris Carter. And he didn’t catch a pass in the first three.
9. Interesting that Wentz, for all his injuries, is one of only eight NFL quarterbacks to start all his current team’s games since opening day of last year. The others are Josh Allen, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray, Derek Carr, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Tom Brady and Philip Rivers haven’t missed a game, but they’ve played for two different teams.
10. With Toth and Hakeem Butler both getting into the Ravens game Sunday, the Eagles now have 18 players who’ve made their NFL debut this year. The last time more Eagles made their NFL debut in an entire season was 1999. And because I know you’re wondering, they were Jason Bostic, Na Brown, Doug Brzezinski, Rashard Cook, Pernell Davis, Dameane Douglas, Brian Finneran, Barry Gardner, Kelly Gregg, Ron Leshinski, Cecil Martin, Donovan McNabb, Damon Moore, Ryan Schau, Troy Smith, Justin Swift, Eddie Watson, Jed Weaver and John Welbourn.
Before that, you have to go back to the early 1940s. Some 31 Eagles made their NFL debut in 1941 and 22 in 1942, but that was during World War II, when a lot of regulars were unavailable. They had 21 new players in 1933, the first year the franchise existed.
Trivia answer: It was LeGarrette Blount. He caught a one-yard TD pass from Wentz in the 2017 opener at Washington. It was the last TD catch of Blount’s career and only the second overall.