Eagles

Don't be so quick to write off Nelson Agholor

Don't be so quick to write off Nelson Agholor

Nelson Agholor isn’t worried about making mistakes anymore.

He knows he’s going to make them. It’s part of the game. And he’s confident he knows how to fix them this year.

“The best thing in Year 2 compared to Year 1 is after Year 1, you’ve made the mistakes,” Agholor said Wednesday. “Now you’re not worried about if you’re going to make them, you’re worried about just lining up again and trying to make the next play.”

Agholor received criticism for his less-than-stellar stats in his rookie year, when he compiled just 283 receiving yards and one touchdown. However, plenty of standout receivers had quiet rookie seasons.

Antonio Brown had just 167 yards and zero touchdowns his rookie year. Brandon Marshall had 309 yards and two touchdowns his first year. As a rookie, Demaryius Thomas had 283 yards and two touchdowns, very similar stats to Agholor. And all three were in the top 10 in the NFL last year in receiving yards.

Additionally, the Eagles’ all-time leader in receiving yards, Harold Carmichael, had just 288 yards and no touchdowns as a rookie. Mike Quick, second among wide receivers in yards in franchise history, had 156 yards and one touchdown his first year.

Essentially, sometimes it takes a year or two for a receiver to begin making a big impact; it doesn’t always happen immediately. The pressure for the 2015 class may have been greater after all five wide receivers taken in the first round the year before (Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin) had good rookie years, but that isn’t a common occurrence.

And Agholor actually fared pretty well among the six receivers taken in the first round in 2015. He ranked third in receptions and receiving yards and was tied for third in touchdowns. Considering guys like Kevin White and Breshad Perriman missed the whole season with injuries, comparatively, Agholor’s season wasn’t really all that disappointing.

However, Agholor said he doesn’t really care if rookie receivers get too much criticism.

“It’s none of my business, man,” he said. “I have a job to go out there and help this team win football games. That’s what I have to strive to do every day I’m out on this practice field and every opportunity I get.”

According to SportingCharts, Agholor had four drops last year on 44 targets, tied for the eighth-highest drop rate among receivers with at least 40 targets.

Drops aren’t necessarily a sign of a lack of skill or ability. Instead, they often can be because of a lack in concentration or focus caused by uncertainty — something common in rookies in a new offense.

“I’m sure you can ask anyone,” Sam Bradford said, “I can imagine any time you’re a young player, it doesn’t matter what position they’re playing, you’re still in that process where you’re thinking a lot.”

Which Agholor was.

“I played with a little more hesitation because I was thinking,” he said. “I was thinking, I was trying a little bit too much. I just need to go out and fly around and have faith in my preparation.”

But now he’s no longer a rookie, so ideally the pro game will come more naturally. On the other hand, he’s once again learning a new offense.

“When you’re out there thinking a lot it slows you down,” said veteran wideout Rueben Randle, a second-round pick in 2012. “You can’t just go out there and play fast because you make mistakes, and more importantly, you drop balls. There’s a lot that’s going on out there, you just have to use your natural ability, for the most part, once you understand your assignment.”

Randle’s production doubled from Year 1 to Year 2, from 19 receptions for 298 yards and three touchdowns to 41 for 611 and six.

“I definitely have to progress in Year 2 from Year 1, definitely,” Agholor said. “That’s one thing that’s on my mind, it’s a constant goal from the way I approach the game with my confidence and my practice habits. So I’m definitely going to do that.”

Eagles Mailbag: Predicting several positions for 2019 team

Eagles Mailbag: Predicting several positions for 2019 team

I’ll be heading to the annual NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, so look forward to my coverage from Indianapolis. But until then, I put out a call for mailbag questions and you guys came through. 

We had so many that we split them into three parts. 

You can read Part 1 here

And Part 2 here. 

Now, let’s get to Part 3 today: 

RB1: Not on roster yet 

WR1: Alshon Jeffery 

QB2: Nate Sudfeld

I don’t know who the Eagles’ top running back will be, but I don’t think he’s on their roster right now. That means the Eagles will either sign a free agent or draft a running back — or very possibly both. If I had to guess, I’d say Tevin Coleman as a free agent and David Montgomery as a draft pick. 

Unless the Eagles trade for Antonio Brown (unlikely), Jeffery is going to be their top receiver in 2019. 

Some folks think the Eagles should get a veteran backup behind Carson Wentz, but I don’t think they’re going to. I think they’re going to offer Sudfeld a second-round tender and keep him on the team in 2019 as Wentz’s backup. He’s young, they like him and he’s been in the system. 

I’m guessing this question is because of something I have said plenty over the last few weeks: that the Eagles need a feature back. I wouldn’t bet on that being Clement. Could he develop into that one day? Perhaps. But I can’t go into a season expecting it, especially after his season ended with a serious knee injury. 

I did see enough of him as a rookie to think he can be a part of a rotation, but in Year 2, when he had a chance to take over, he was too banged up to do it. Haven’t seen enough from Clement to think he can be a No. 1. 

Nah, it’s not that great of a need. I’m not sure why so many national types keep mocking corners to the Eagles at 25. I guess it’s possible the Eagles could take a corner in the first round if that player is clearly the BPA, but there are more pressing needs. The Eagles still have Rasul Douglas, Jalen Mills, Avonte Maddox, Sidney Jones and Cre’Von LeBlanc under contract. My money is still on OL or DL in the first round. If a top CB fell to 25 and he was clearly (and I mean clearly) the best player available, then the Eagles could draft him. 

That’s a possibility. I’m not sure Johnson would develop into that true feature back, but as a change-of-pace guy, sure, especially if Darren Sproles retires or isn’t back with the Eagles in 2019. I think getting a guy like Johnson would allow the Eagles to then draft a running back to pair with him. Not sure if they’d sign Johnson and another decent running back in the free agent market. 

Johnson has never had more that 379 yards rushing in a season, but he’s a skilled receiver out of the backfield and the Eagles could certainly find a use for him. 

I like Humphries, but he’s a slot receiver and if Nelson Agholor is back in 2019, he should be in the slot. The Eagles need to bring in outside speed at receiver and the 5-11 Humphries doesn’t have exactly what they need. 

A list of some under-the-radar names I think are viable: RB Spencer Ware, WR Cordarrelle Patterson, S Blake Countess, S Terrence Brooks, DE Margus Hunt 

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Eagles release popular special teamer Chris Maragos

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USA Today Images

Eagles release popular special teamer Chris Maragos

Chris Maragos, the popular special teams ace whose career has been derailed by a serious knee injury, was released Friday by the Eagles.

Maragos, 32, played in 47 of 48 games from 2014 through 2016, mainly on special teams but a significant amount at safety in 2015. But he suffered a career-threatening knee injury against the Panthers in Charlotte on Oct. 12, 2017, and hasn’t played since.

Maragos, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Seahawks in 2013 in addition to one with the Eagles in 2017, made all the road trips with the Eagles this past season even though he had no chance of playing simply because he was so respected in the locker room and such an effective leader.

“I’m really more of a coach and cheerleader these days than anything else,” he said with a smile before one game this past season.

Maragos went undrafted out of Wisconsin in 2010 and after a season with the 49ers played three years with the Seahawks before signing with the Eagles before the 2014 season.

He was signed through 2019 and will count $250,000 in dead money against the Eagles’ salary cap, which gives the Eagles a $2 million cap savings.

Maragos earned over $10 million in his career, including over $7 million from the Eagles, according to Spotrac. His career earnings high of $2.5 million came in 2016.

Maragos has had two knee operations since originally getting hurt against the Panthers, most recently this past fall. 

Even healthy, Maragos probably wouldn’t have fit in the Eagles’ plans this coming season.

Since re-signing Rodney McLeod to a contract restructure that lowered his 2019 cap figure from $.9 million to $4.84 million, the Eagles have safeties Malcolm Jenkins, McLeod and Tre’ Sullivan under contract, along with Avonte Maddox, who can play either safety or cornerback. 

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