It hasn’t been a full 24 hours yet but you can still feel the electricity around the city of Philadelphia. The team went into the NFL Draft with huge needs on the defensive line and in the WR group. They left the first round with both positions being re-enforced with difference-makers for years to come, and star wideout A.J Brown joining Sirianni’s offense.
A.J. Brown is more than just your ordinary 24-year-old wide receiver with three years of experience in the league. He’s a game-changer, a difference-maker, and he’s a cornerstone piece of a franchise. Luckily, the Eagles will be that franchise for the next four years but how does A.J. fit the Eagles’ needs going forward?
The Eagles lacked a player outside of DeVonta Smith that could create separation as a reliable pass catcher. A.J. Brown now adds that needed reliability opposite of DeVonta with added experience. The Eagles now have four wide receivers that can play on the outside and move into the slot when needed.
Brown wins greatly in crossing routes, dig routes, and vertical routes, and creates the needed separation when being played man to man. At 6’ 2” 225 lbs, Brown has elite foot speed and a great catch radius. His presence alone will allow DeVonta Smith to flourish within the offense.
Defenses can no longer double the young wideout or focus heavily on his every move. The team can attack you from any part of the field with Smith and Brown lining up opposite of each other. Wrinkle in the speed of Quez Watkins in between those two then you have a WR group that ranks as one of the better groups in the league.
Brown opens up this offense in a similar way to how Terrell Owens once did. The only difference is that the Eagles have two wide receivers that would be considered the number one option on any other team. Not many teams have that advantage. They also don’t have a head coach that specializes in getting more out of his wide receivers than anyone else.
Outside of the playmaking influence that Brown will have on this team, there’s another avenue where he will make a big difference as well. Comfortability. Right now, the team is riding behind Jalen Hurts but you would be lying if you said they’re sold on him 100% as the QB for the next decade.
Bringing in his best friend after drafting one of his close friends in the previous year means that they’re supporting Jalen Hurts until he gives them a reason not to. Brown can help quiet the noise if he’s making plays off of the off-target throws or the short throws that Hurts has a tendency of throwing. Brown gets enough separation for Hurts to feel like he’s playing catch with no one else around.
Giving the young QB that level of comfortability will allow Hurts to develop after the growing pains of last season. Hurts knows what he has to work on and now he gets to show it off with two of his closest friends.
This will be a big season in regards to Hurts’ development with the number of pieces they’ve acquired to invest in their offense. The patience and buy-in are there and if Brown can help accelerate the growth of Hurts then the Eagles could be a dangerous team for years to come.
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