CUTTING WR DeSean Jackson was a foregone conclusion. While it remains true that he’s still faster than gossip, he can’t string together 6 consecutive downs in a game, without having to be shut down. Usually for weeks. This leaves the Eagles once again without a deep threat.
After last year’s draft, rookies WR John Hightower and WR Quez Watkins had us Eagles fans excited. We had a couple of speedy, young pups to bring along behind Jackson, and free agent addition WR Marquis Goodwin. With Goodwin also being a speedster, we looked to be deep with deep speed.
Funny thing about Goodwin though, he also has tendency to get nicked up and miss weeks with injuries. So naturally, Covid-19 saw Goodwin opt out for the year, and fans worrying that he might miss a few games, suddenly were even less happy. And Jackson? He was of course, hurt just minutes into the 2020 season.
This left us leaning on Hightower by the end of Week 1. His speed was undeniable, but his inability to track balls, led to his 34.5% catch rate on the year. For those of you who don’t follow stats, that catch rate isn’t just bad, it’s horrendous. Watkins saw a little playing time later in the season, but he wasn’t exactly killing it out there.
In 2021, we have Hightower, Watkins, and Goodwin returning. At this point, I think these three may scare Eagles fans more than they scare opponents. Still, we need to turn one of those guys into a weapon that can stretch the field, and create room for the other receivers to work underneath.
WR Greg Ward is a Slot/possession receiver. WR Jalen Reagor looks like a Slot guy right now, but he keeps being sold to us as being able to play outside. WR Travis Fulgham looked like a solid second option for a few weeks. Then opponents realized that we didn’t have a first option, and took Fulgham away. WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is still on the roster, and was supposed to give us a physical, 50/50 ball winner.
FUN FACT! No Eagles WR has reached 600 yards since 2018.
Without a deep threat, our other receivers are going to have a much more difficult time finding separation. This means our QB will have to hold onto the ball and well…
My hope is that Hightower spends this off-season working on his hand-eye coordination. Exercises like, catching a jelly bean with both hands (Not just one). Or tracking raw eggs over his shoulder, while inside of his home. (All kinds of incentive to focus on the “ball”.) I’m not saying these are exercises that he will do. Just naming examples of some classics.
In any case, we gotta have a LEGIT deep threat in 2021.