Skip to content
Sports
Link copied to clipboard

How does the Eagles' revamped receiving corps stack up against the rest of the NFC? | David Murphy

There are numbers and there are opinions on how the Eagles' wide receiver compare to peers.

Whatever the pass-catching equivalent to the blind leading the blind happens to be, Jordan Matthews accomplished it last season. The third-year wideout's 804 receiving yards marked the first time since 2005 that a wide receiver led the Eagles with as few yards. You'll probably recall that 2005 was the year Terrell Owens decided to go scorched earth, accumulating his 763 yards in just seven games.

That it took Matthews 14 games to reach 804 last year was a nice little nutshell summation of the deterioration the Eagles have seen at the position over the last five years. The foursome of Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Josh Huff and Dorial Green-Beckham might not have been the worst in the NFC, but it was certainly in the conversation.

Since the end of the season, the Eagles have made a concerted effort to upgrade the pass-catchers at Carson Wentz's disposal, bringing in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith to join Matthews out wide. But there was plenty of movement at the position elsewhere in the NFC, with Terrell Pryor, DeSean Jackson, Brandon Marshall and Pierre Garcon all landing with new teams within the conference.

That got me wondering: how do the Eagles' stack up now? In the table below, you'll find one man's opinion (mine).

The bolded players are new to their team, with rookies in italics (and their draft round/overall pick in parantheses).

A few notes:

1) There is nothing scientific about the method involved here.

2) The tiers are more significant than the ranking within the tiers. You can certainly make an argument that you'd rather have the Eagles' group of four than the Redskins group of four. I happen to be a big believer in Terrell Pryor (77 passes for 1007 yards last year), and am a bit of an Alshon Jeffery skeptic. But the main reason I gave the Redskins the edge was the upside at WR2-WR4.

Last season, in his second year as a pro, Jamison Crowder caught 67 passes for 847 yards and seven touchdowns. Jordans Matthews caught 73 passes for 804 yards and three touchdowns. Numbers are highly dependent on variables outside a player's control, but they are what they are. At this point, Torrey Smith isn't any less likely to contribute than Josh Doctson, who appeared in just two games last season after the Redskins took him at No. 22 overall. But you could argue the same is true of Brian Quick over Nelson Agholor. Quick has some talent…as a third-year pro he looked like he might be on his way to a breakout season, catching 21 balls for 322 yards and three touchdowns in the first four weeks of the 2014 season, but a shoulder injury ended his season and he played sparingly in 2015. Last year, though, Quick caught 41 passes for 563 yards and three touchdowns. He's 6-4, 209 pounds and a former No. 33 overall pick. Remember, we're talking about WR4 here.

3) I can see an argument for having the Lions beneath the Eagles (and the Redskins), based on the strength of Jeffery over Golden Tate, but I'm not sure the difference isn't cancelled out by Marvin Jones over Jordan Matthews. They are different players, so, again, the numbers aren't the most meaningful things. Jones is more of a big play threat. But here they are:

Jones 2015-16: 120 rec, 1746 yards, 14.6 Yd/R
Matthews 2015-16: 158 rec, 1801 yards, 11.4 Yd/R

4) The Bucs offense is going to be fascinating to watch. Not only did they add DeSean Jackson to Mike Evans, but they drafted Alabama tight end O.J. Howard in the first round and Penn State receiver Chris Godwin in the third. If Jameis Winston has time to throw, look out.

5) Really, you can make an argument for any of the first five teams on this list. The Packers probably have more overall talent than the Cowboys and Giants, but Jordy Nelson is not as dynamic a playmaker as Odell Beckham and Dez Bryant.

Published