The first Eagles player to officially opt out of the 2020 season was revealed today. According to Ian Rapoport, veteran wideout Marquise Goodwin will not be taking part in the team’s upcoming season.
Given the recent birth of his Daughter, it’s obviously extremely important that Goodwin does what’s right for his family.
The move does hurt the Eagles, despite their plentiful depth at the position. The Eagles switched sixth-round picks with San Francisco during the NFL Draft and Goodwin was tossed in as a sweetener. Although he has been hampered by injuries, the speedy wideout racked up 962 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2017. Goodwin ended up on IR in December with a knee injury after rallying to 186 yards and a single touchdown in nine games.
The decision to opt-out obviously impacts the Eagles’ roster picture, injecting a real spark into the Training Camp hopes of two receivers in particular.
Watkins is easily the biggest benefactor of Goodwin’s decision. The sixth-round pick was never a lock to make the roster and his slightly leaner frame meant he’d be justling for slot supremacy. He’s a little slower than Goodwin, but more importantly, that 4.35 speed doesn’t translate well on film, meaning the coaching staff would likely need as much time as possible to help him fulfill his potential and ensure that rapid speed is utilized better.
With Goodwin out of the equation, Watkins goes from being on the outside looking in, to clinging on to the very edge of the Eagles roster. A strong Summer could easily propel him onto the final 53.
Greg Ward Jr
Ward was a fan-favorite who, like Watkins, wasn’t a lock to make the final roster…which in itself is a little strange to say. The Texas native was invaluable to the Eagles’ late-season run, recording 21 receptions, 209 yards, and 1 TD over the team’s final four games. However, an offseason of addition meant his place on the depth chart was never cemented.
The Eagles drafted 3 receivers and traded for another. While none are ‘strictly’ slot guys, getting any combination on the field at once is going to impact the 24-year-old receiver.
For instance, we know DeSean Jackson has worked out of the slot plenty of times throughout his career, in fact, over 40% of the time in 2018. His first touchdown as an Eagle last year came working over the middle. In order to get both Jalen Reagor and Jackson on the field, D-Jax may well be moved inside on certain looks.
John Hightower and Quez Watkins may also be limited to slot action early in their careers, while 15% of Marquise Goodwin’s snaps also came inside last year. While there is no direct ‘slot competition’, the abundance of speed and intent to utilize it may well push Greg Ward Jr. back onto the roster bubble.
With Goodwin (Arguably the primary slot receiver) out of the picture, Ward should default to the team’s starting WR3 when camp opens today, knowing fully well he has plenty of NFL experience behind him now, giving him a leg up on the rampant rookies.
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