Eagles receiving corps has the potential to terrify opposing Defenses in 2017

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Alshon Jefferey split out left, Torrey Smith split out right, Jordan Matthews in the slot and Zach Ertz coming off the line. Individually each one of these players have never been considered superstars, but as a group they could be the scariest core of pass-catchers in the NFL.

At 6’3, 220 lbs,
6’0, 206 lbs,
6’3, 215 lbs,
6’5, 250 lbs,

the size alone, could send shivers down the spines, of defensive backs. When you look at the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles, offense, it is a bit of a head scratcher. But unlike last year, the reasons why are extremely positive. We are scratching our head on who would get double teamed and who should get the most attention. Each player has a certain strength that could help QB Carson Wentz take the next step in his young career.

We have all heard the narrative on Alshon Jefferey by now. Big, strong, fast, and strong hands. He has the ability to dominate defenses and is always a threat to score from anywhere on the field. The former Bears WR has never shied away from contact and even as the star on the team, always seemed to mix it up with defenders, sacrificing his body for the good of the team. In the red zone, he adds a true value as a pass catcher. No matter the route he seems to run them clean and even though he isn’t the speed burner such as a DeSean Jackson, his route running means he is always capable of getting separation.

The same could be said about tight end Zach Ertz. The Stanford product is a strong force across the middle and despite the “Cincinnati riff” where he seemed to duck a block, he has been seeing real growth as a blocker over his last few seasons. His added value in the run game is one thing, but as a pass-catcher, his skill set could be out right nerve racking for smaller corners and safeties. He has had some injury issues in the past but if it wasn’t for those, we could be talking about him as as top TE in the NFL.

In the red zone, he adds another match up problem, for defenses. One that could be even scarier with the likes of Jefferey on the outside looming. Defenses can not key in on Ertz, which could leave him one-on-one with some shorter, less athletic DB’s.

Torrey Smith is a whole other type of Horse that defenses need to game plan for. He is the type of player that you should always keep an eye on. In comparison, he can resemble a DeSean Jackson level threat, but on the field he is the leader coaches look for, as he has the “lean on me” mentality. In the locker room, he is a vocal, emotional, and disciplined leader, one that coaches would look to build your team around.

He is a true threat when going long, as he possesses the pure speed and raw ability to separate and defile defensive schemes. His route tree (which was questioned as a rookie) is complete, with the young veteran running most routes very well. He is bigger than he seems and has no issue going over the middle or opening up the run game. What may be his best attribute, is his ability to run with the ball in his hands. He can catch and run and create from nothing, which is a much needed skill set in the Eagles offense.

Jordan Matthews, has done nothing but produce over his young career. Sure, he and every other wideout on the team last year, dropped passes and at the most inopportune times. But Matthews has had a strong career up until now, actually accounting for more yards out of the slot than any WR in the NFL in the last three years. The honest truth is that he could be the one who benefits the most from the arrival of Torrey and Alshon. Not having to be the main man, should help his game as he is best suited playing out of the slot. Now that Defenses can’t afford to zone in on the Vanderbilt product, Matthews could see even more opportunities to realize his potential and be absolutely dominant in the middle of the field.

He has great size and plays quicker than fast as he runs his tree. Despite the talks of his drops, he has been an absolute safety blanket for Carson Wentz and when he is playing at his potential, can be a real problem for defenses. With the additions surrounding him in both the passing and run game we could see a huge boost in his game numbers.

Then of course, there’s Nelson Agholor. The wideout who has endured a rollercoaster first two seasons in the NFL, but could be set to bounce back under Mike Groh. While it’s still very days, Agholor’s new mentality and aggressive mindset has already been noted by coaching staff and media alike. The idea of rotating Agholor and Smith at the WR2 spot, two wideouts who bring vastly different skillsets to the table is enough to scare anybody.

Beyond the likely starters, there are still wildcards in play. Dorial Green-Beckham, Bryce Treggs and Paul Turner are just some of the names vying to secure their roster spot, while undrafted rookie Greg Ward Jr will be joining David Watford in trying to convert from throwing the football, to catching it. There are plenty of names to watch as the offseason progresses, and any combination of the aforementioned would not only act as solid depth in the right environment, but also add even more levels to the offense.

We are all in wait and see mode as the season hasn’t even kicked off, and as we all know, things are always subject to change in the NFL. But as it stands, when looking across the field at all these talents, mixed in with the scary addition of RB Legarette Blount, it is easy to believe this team could be special.

The word around the NovaCare Complex, is “Rebuild’, but when you look at the depth chart, you see a team so filled with riches of skill players, that it wouldn’t be too farfetched to consider them favorites to beat out defending NFC East champs, Dallas Cowboys. The mix of difference makers that are set to help the growth of Wentz, has the potential to be a top rated core.

When defenses line up, look across the ball, and see…Alshon split right, Torrey split left, Matthews in the slot, and Ertz coming off the line of scrimmage, a shiver of fear will sprint down their spine…and this isn’t even mentioning the potential of a resurgent Nelson Agholor. With an offense filled with this much talent, it makes it really hard for Defenses to act and instead could be stuck reacting. Which no coordinator wants to see their Defense doing.

 

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

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