Take a look at these two wide receivers:
PLAYER NO. 1: 77 catches, 1,200 yards, 14 TDs, 86 yards per game, 15.6 yards per catch.
PLAYER NO. 2: 75 catches, 1,131 yards, 10 TDs, 87 yards per game, 15.0 yards per catch.
Pretty close, right?
Player No. 1 is Terrell Owens in 2004 and Player No. 2 is Travis Fulgham’s projected numbers in 2020.
Now, there’s a big difference between doing it over a full season and doing it for five games.
But Fulgham’s performance so far sure doesn’t seem like a fluke.
It’s not like he’s caught a couple deep balls when the cornerback fell down or padded his stats during garbage time. He’s battled some of the league’s top cornerbacks, made big-time play after big-time play, produced in all five games he’s played and looked for all the world like the WR1 the Eagles have been searching for since DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin were in their prime.
And he’s done it without a single training camp rep or preseason snap with Carson Wentz.
Although Maclin came close in 2014, T.O.’s 2004 performance is generally regarded as the greatest season by an Eagles wide receiver since Mike Quick was in his dazzling prime in the mid-1980s. And when T.O. did it, he was in the middle of a run of five straight Pro Bowls and four all-pro honors in a five-year span. He was already an established superstar on his way to the Hall of Fame, and he was playing with a quarterback enjoying the best season of his career.
Fulgham is performing at virtually the same level in what are essentially the first five games of his career and with a QB having the worst season of his career and after getting cut by three teams in 29 days.
What’s been most impressive about Fulgham is his consistency. He had 57 yards and a TD against the 49ers in his first games and then 152, 75, 73 and 78 yards since, with a TD in four of the five games.
The only other Eagles WR with 70 or more receiving yards four straight weeks in the last 20 years?
In 2004, before he hurt his ankle in Week 14 against the Cowboys, T.O. had the 3rd-most yards in the NFL (48 yards behind Joe Horn of the Saints and 10 yards fewer than Javon Walker of the Packers).
Fulgham? Since catching his first career pass 32 days ago, he has more receiving yards than anybody in the NFL.
What else? How about big plays.
T.O. had 10 catches of at least 30 yards in his one full season with the Eagles and Fulgham already has four in five games – more than all Eagles WRs had combined last year.
There’s just one thing T.O. had that Fulgham didn’t have.
That ego-driven approach to football. That me-first mentality. That belief that “I Am the Show.”
T.O. was as gifted as any wide receiver I’ve ever seen, but there’s a reason he only lasted 21 games here, was with five different teams in his last eight NFL seasons and never played again after having a really good season in 2010.
He was a terrible teammate. As talented as he was, it was always about him.
Fulgham is the most humble kid you can imagine. Supportive of his teammates, respectful to his coaches, disinterested in his own accomplishments.
Something tells me we won't see him refuse to speak with his position coach, get into a long-standing feud with his quarterback or show up in Moorestown doing nationally televised sit-ups in the driveway.
It’s way too soon to coronate Fulgham.
It’s only five games. It’s important to remember that.
But they’re five games like no Eagle has ever started his career with. And if he is what I think he is, if he is what he appears to be, the Eagles may have just found themselves another T.O. Without all the baggage.