Since 2016, the Philadelphia Eagles have struggled to find a go-to player for Carson Wentz at the wide receiver position. Injuries, anonymous sources, and poor play have hampered a positional group in dire need of reliability. Luckily for the Eagles, an unexpected hero has come to save the day – Travis Fulgham.
And then a hero comes along…
Many believed that when Alshon Jeffery arrived, he would fill those boots until things took a turn for the worst and “Alshonymous” was born. Last offseason, the Eagles traded for an old friend in DeSean Jackson. We all saw the flash in the pan that was week 1 where the veteran caught two 50 yard bombs and finished the game with 154 receiving yards. Unfortunately, that’s the last time we saw the connection at that level.
Both Alshon and DeSean have been in and out of the lineup since Week 2 of last season. Jackson has “played” in three games this season, while Alshon has yet to make his season debut.
Due to the top two vets being out of the lineup and Reagor being on IR, Carson Wentz was forced to turn to the unlikeliest of places for help. Former 6th round pick of the Lions, Travis Fulgham, had bounced around from Detroit, to Green Bay, to Philly, but may have found his permanent home.
Travis Fulgham has risen
Fulgham has had a rollercoaster two-week period. He caught the game-winning touchdown against the 49ers and followed it up with a historical performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he caught 10 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. Fulgham is only the third Eagles receiver since 2016 to catch for over 150 yards, the first two just so happen to be injured right now, Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson.
The Old Dominion product now leads the Eagles receivers in yards with 209, despite appearing in just two of five games this season. He’ also averaging 17.4 yards per reception which isn’t normal for Eagles’ receivers. Only two players are averaging more than him this season: Jalen Reagor with 19.2 in just two games and JJ Arcega-Whiteside, who was only one reception, with 37.0. Scratching out JJAW from the stat would mean that the two new guys on the Eagles are already doing a better job than their veterans have.
The Travis Fulgham train just keeps on rolling with positivity as he is the highest graded receiver of week 5 so far according to PFF with a grade of 93 – the highest grade that any Eagles receiver has had this season.
A tough decision
Coach Pederson has a big decision to make that will massively affect the career of their budding star. Alshon Jeffery, Jalen Reagor, and DeSean Jackson are set to return soon and while Jackson may not affect the growth of Fulgham, Jeffery possibly can.
While the Eagles have moved Fulgham all around the line of scrimmage, his primary role is at the “X” spot, which is also Alshon’s role. Jeffery’s chemistry with Wentz has never been as potent as Wentz and Fulgham nor as important. Fulgham is 25 years old and right now has the potential to be something great here in Philly, while Alshon Jeffery is 30 years old and may have overstayed his welcome at this point. We know what we’re getting when Alshon is on the field, but as for Fulgham, the world is still learning.
Travis has mimicked all that Greg Ward did last season but mastered it without hitting his ceiling in just two games. He’s an efficient receiver who isn’t explosive but knows how to create just enough separation for himself. He also has shown that he’s willing to go up and make the big plays every time down.
The 6’2, 215 lbs, wideout was regarded as one of the most dominating receivers in the country during his senior year. According to Mockdraftable, his WR ability is in fair comparison to players like DeVante Parker, Corey Davis, and Allen Lazard but his most accurate comparison will be JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Crazy isn’t it? Fulgham is everything that Eagles fans and the front office thought JJAW would be.
Both players were drafted in 2019, JJAW was taken in the 2nd round while Fulgham was taken in the 6th and now the later pick is a budding star while JJAW at best, right now, is his backup. That’s one of those things where you say, “It’s funny how life works.”
All in all, the Eagles may have a budding star on their hands that already has “that” chemistry with the franchise QB. If the Eagles truly want this to work then they need to do all they can to make sure the return of other players doesn’t affect Fulgham’s development and most of all, play him as much they possibly can.
Photo by Bob Kupbens/Icon Sportswire