WHICH Eagles players are poised to have a breakout season? Before we can say that a player had one, first we need to define exactly what a breakout season looks like. Better still, we fans need to declare what our standard is, well ahead of time. Let’s start by setting the bar, high.
First, let’s rule out rookies. While rookie WR Devonta Smith could have a huge year, it would be unfair before Training Camp, to expect the Moon and stars from him. Especially with this team’s history of developing WR’s.
So now let’s start with QB Jalen Hurts. In 2020, during his four starts (just those four), he put up 148 attempts, 77 completions (52%), for 1061 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions. He also posted 46 rushes, 272 yards, 5.9 yards per carry, and 3 scores. These numbers led to his 1 – 3 record, and for good reason.
In Hurts four starts, his completion percentage fell each week (56.6, 54.5, 53.8, and 35.0%, respectively.) Teams quickly caught onto him bootlegging right, as if he were in an Option offense, and they made it harder and harder for him to use that, to set up passes. In 2021 he’s going to have to demonstrate an ability to take advantage of containment based strategies against him.
A breakout season from Hurts would look something like 493 attempts, 316 completions (64%), for 4,300 yards, 29 touchdowns and fewer than 15 interceptions. Adding 102 rushes for 595 yards (5.8) and say… 5 scores, would put him in the conversation for greatest season ever by an Eagles QB.
Again. Set that bar, high.
Now onto last year’s first round flop, WR Jalen Reagor. No, I won’t compare him to Vikings WR “Justin Jefferson”. This isn’t about comparing players. This is about individual accomplishment. This is about Reagor, how he spent the downs he played, and no one else. The focus, is on Reagor.
In 2020, our first round pick played in 9 games. He was targeted 54 times, made 31 catches for a catch rate of 57.4%, 396 yards (at 12.7 per), and caught one touchdown. (For those who want to know: His catch rate was 57.5% for QB Carson Wentz, and 57.1 % for Hurts. Wentz threw him his lone TD catch, in our win over Dallas.)
In the 9 games Reagor played, he averaged 3 catches for 44 yards per game. That hardly cuts it for a first rounder. With him playing in the Slot now, 15 yards per quarter shouldn’t be too much to ask. He’d average 60 yards per game, for 960 yards on the year. So let’s call it 960, and a score in at least half the games for breakout consideration. So 960 and 8. That’s the bar. Anything below that, isn’t even a conversation. That’s the kind of energy we need to keep.
I don’t think RB Miles Sanders counts here. He’s twice rushed for 800+ yards, so even 1,000 – 1,200 rushing yards will just seem like a great year, not a breakout. If TE Dallas Goedert sees 900 yards, or 12 scores, sure that would be breakout. But I don’t see him doing that.
On Defense, we’re hardly starting anyone who isn’t already an established veteran. Nobody can say that DE Brandon Graham, DT Fletcher Cox or CB Darius Slay are just now making their mark on the league, and LB Alex Singleton had his, last year.
Barring a situation where a starter’s hurt and a back-up comes from nowhere, no one on D is having a breakout year.
Summing up! On Offense, Hurts and Reagor are poised to have breakout seasons. On Defense, without a major injury, no one is on deck to do so. Sorry, but that’s the bottom line.