Why we all slept through Eagles draft pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside's Stanford career

Why we all slept through Eagles draft pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside's Stanford career

Be honest: When JJ Arcega-Whiteside played college football, you were sleeping.

It was interesting watching the Arcega-Whiteside backlash Friday night after the Eagles drafted the Stanford wide receiver in the second round.

A lot of fans were critical of the pick simply because they hadn’t seen Arcega-Whiteside play or didn’t know much about him.

That’s not surprising considering Pac-12 games generally start at 10 or 11 p.m. ET and finish in the middle of the night.

“Sometimes these West Coast guys who play late, they get a little underrated because people aren't watching those late games,” Howie Roseman said.

“This guy's a baller. He’s got a very good skill set and I think when our fans get to know him, they are going to be really proud. He symbolizes Eagle mentality, Eagle football.”

Arcega-Whiteside isn’t a household name on the East Coast, but the Eagles hope he becomes one.

They certainly didn’t need a wide receiver with Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor already in the fold, but they weren’t going to let the 6-foot-3, 225-pound former basketball player slip by.

They were captivated by Arcega-Whiteside’s unusual skill set. He doesn’t have world-class speed, but he’s a big body with good leaps and knows how to use his body to gain position on opposing cornerbacks.

And he did run a 4.49 at his pro day.

“I think people sleep on my speed and when I ran a [4.49] at pro day, I think that kind of went out the window a little bit,” he said. “But at the same time, that’s not really my game. I like to play under control and give the quarterback a great position to throw the ball.”

Check out Arcega-Whiteside’s progression over the last three years:

2016: Caught 24 passes for 379 yards and led Stanford with five TDs.

2017: Led Stanford with 48 for 781 and nine TDs, second most in the Pac-12

2018: Led Stanford with 63 for 1,059 and 14 TDs. The 14 TDs tied a 41-year-old school record, led the Pac-12 and ranked third in the nation. He had five 100-yard games, ranked 21st in the BCS with 88.3 yards per game and had a 226-yard game against San Diego State.

It just happened while we were all sleeping.

“You know, the rankings and all of that doesn’t really matter,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “At the end of the day, they are going to turn on the film and see who balls and who doesn’t, no matter what time of the day it is. I think for the most part, with the general population that doesn’t stay up to watch these games, yeah, they don’t get to see the excitement of Pac-12 football that we bring every weekend. But at the same time, at the end of the day, I’ve always said that I want to go to a team and organization that wants me for what I bring to the table. Whether I’m overrated or underrated, doesn’t matter. I’m a Philadelphia Eagle.”

Arcega-Whiteside has that reputation as a jump-ball specialist, a guy who knows how to gain leverage and position and go up and get the football in traffic.

But he also said he’s more than that.

“I love to have that tag with me, as a contested-catches and jump-ball receiver, but at the same time, I’m not limited to that,” he said. “Any route that you give me, I’m going to run and I’m going to do my best to get open. …

“I’d rather have the jump ball in the end zone, but what receiver doesn’t? But at the same time, that is a skill that I have and that I’ve learned, but it’s not a skill that I am limited to.”

Arcega-Whiteside’s days of playing football while most of the U.S. is sleeping are over. Whether he succeeds or fails, we’ll all definitely be wide awake this time around.

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Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Eagles might lose executive Andrew Berry after all

Just a few days ago, it seemed like the Eagles weren’t going to lose Vice President of Football Operations Andrew Berry because it looked like the Browns were going to hire someone else.

Well, that someone else has dropped out of the race.

Vikings assistant GM George Paton has taken himself out of the running to be the Browns’ next general manager, which means Berry is now the new favorite, according to Cleveland.com

This is certainly an interesting turn of events.

According to Cleveland.com, “Paton was reluctant to accept the initial interview because he assumed the job would go Berry.”

Now it might.

It would have made plenty of sense for the Browns to hire Paton, who has a long-standing relationship with new head coach Kevin Stefanski from their time together in Minnesota. But according to reports over the past few weeks, it seems like Berry has been a favorite of ownership and the front office.

While Berry and Stefanski have never worked together, they did get to know each other during the coaching search in Cleveland a year ago. After that search, the Browns hired Freddie Kitchens and Berry left for Philly. But now, Berry and Stefanski might actually get a chance to work with one another.

The Harvard-educated Berry, 32, was with the Browns from 2016-18 as their Vice President of Player Personnel before he joined the Eagles last season in a role they created for him. Berry initially came up in the Colts franchise, first as a scouting assistant and finally as a pro scouting coordinator. He’s been a quick-riser in the NFL world.

Earlier this offseason, the Eagles reportedly denied a request from the Panthers to interview Berry for a Vice President job. The reasoning from the Eagles was that it wasn’t a general manager position and he wouldn’t have had final say on personnel matters.

Final say is something Berry will likely never have here in Philadelphia. Despite a few missteps in recent years, Howie Roseman has pretty solid job security and he isn’t going anywhere. If Berry is going to become a GM, it’s going to be in another city. And it seems like that day might be coming soon.

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Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson says one awful Eagles game made him shave his head for good

Lane Johnson is officially in offseason mode, and he kicked off Pro Bowl week - which he's now officially part of - by showing up on former teammate Chris Long's podcast and shooting the breeze for an hour.

The duo bantered about plenty, from dealing with failure and ego as football players, to Johnson's time as a grave digger. About halfway through, Johnson offered up a seldom-heard explanation for his hairstyle, or lackthereof.

Johnson, of course, famously keeps his hair short (read: nonexistent) on top, and keeps his beard long. He explained to Long that it took some serious self-reflection, and a couple rough games early in his rookie season, to officially start shaving his head:

I was in college, it was my senior year, and my friend goes, 'Bro, are you f***ing losing your hair?' I said, what are you talking about? Then I went to the mirror, and I'd clearly been in denial for some time. I said, 'Bro, this s*** is terrible.' 

So I played with it my senior year, it was bad. I'd comb it over, wear my hats, feather it out in the back, try to look cool. Then I got to the Eagles, and after getting bull-rushed by Dwight Freeney and giving up three sacks to Justin Houston, I just shaved that s*** off. I've been a different man ever since.

The Eagles, you might remember, lost in Week 2 that year to Freeney's Chargers, and then lost in Week 3 to Houston's Chiefs, to fall to 1-3. They went 9-3 the rest of the way, a startling and fun turnaround. I'm not saying it's all thanks to Johnson shaving his head... but maybe?

That's about as good a reason as I can think of to make a hairstyle change. Johnson has been one of the best right tackles in the NFL since he started shaving his head, so maybe he's on to something. He spends very little time focusing on his hair, and plenty of time focusing on his game.

When you go back and look at Johnson with hair, it's... extremely jarring:

Johnson is basically unrecognizable in that video. He looks like a child! Thank goodness for Freeney and Houston shellacking Johnson as a rookie, or he might still be clinging to that brutal hairdo.

Maybe Johnson should've floated this idea to the Eagles' coaching staff years ago. Who knows what a haircut could've done for Nelson Agholor?

You can listen to, and watch, the full conversation between Johnson and Long below:

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