With their revamped offensive group, it appears the Eagles are getting quite a bit of love from analysts across the web.
Pro Football Focus ranked Philadelphia as their fourth-best wide receiving corp in the NFL, citing A.J. Brown and his average of 2.61 receiving yards per route run since entering the league as a major-game changer for the Eagles.
“Brown, DeVonta Smith and one of the more underrated tight ends in the league (Dallas Godert) is a nice core with players like Quez Watkins and the thus-far disappointing Jalen Reagor adding some speed behind them on the depth chart.”
The Eagles were placed behind the Cincinnati Bengals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Miami Dolphins, while the Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers came in fifth and sixth, respectively.
After Years Of WR Mediocrity, This Ranking Feels Right
If you’re skeptical of the hype, it’s understandable. This is a team that has been extremely dicey at wide receiver for the last half-decade, and to see the Eagles placed this high up is jarring. But there’s evidence this team will be as good as advertised.
Let’s start with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. Brown (998 average receiving yards per year) and Smith have all the makings of a dynamic 1-2 punch. For Smith, who attracted CB1s last year, it couldn’t be a better opportunity for him to learn under Brown while taking advantage of juicy matchups.
Meanwhile, Brown should offer Jalen Hurts a premiere option that — while separating from coverage — helps to better open up the field, letting Smith, Watkins, and Goedert get more looks. Speaking of the latter two, I don’t think Watkins gets talked about often.
He won’t see as many potential targets as he would’ve without Brown in the fold, but Watkins offers plenty to like. He had 647 receiving yards last year, second-most in a season of any Eagles receiver over the past six years behind Smith’s 916.
At just 24 years old, Watkins has shown speed and big play potential. He’s a fine WR3 with upside. Meanwhile, Goedert will likely take a huge leap this season now that he no longer has to compete for targets at tight end. Suffice to say, this will be a group no one will want to play.
The Eagles Come Close With The Teams Above Them, But No Cigar
There’s no arguments to be made here about the first two teams they’re put behind. The Bengals have a simply unfair rotation of receivers with Ja’Marr Chase/Tee Higgins/Tyler Boyd.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay possesses a great pair in Mike Evans/Chris Godwin (when healthy). Odds are, Rob Gronkowski returns as well, and though Gronk will be 33, he can still be an impact player any given week.
I feel like the Eagles are very close with the Dolphins in terms of WR/TE talent. While Smith may be the better receiver (eventually) over Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill trumps Brown and Cedrick Wilson definitely beats Watkins.
Of course, Goedert is better than Mike Gesicki — especially now that he’ll be the undisputed starter —so this might be a conversation worth coming back to mid-season. Ultimately, it’ll be quarterback play that decides what corp beats out the other.
Depth Will Be Key This Coming Season
It’ll be interesting to see how the Eagles’ depth — which is definitely less exciting than the main three — plays out in the event of an injury. How Reagor performs is anyone’s idea, and who knows if he’ll even remain on the roster by opening day.
Zach Pascal had just 384 receiving yards last year, but he’s had experience as a primary option (212 targets since 2019) and is very familiar with Nick Sirianni’s schemes. Meanwhile, Greg Ward will be the always unspectacular but reliable fifth option.
No matter where they rank, every Eagles receiver will need to contribute what they’re expected of in order to help what might be arguably the most talented Eagles roster (at least on paper) advance to the postseason and beyond.