football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

Arcega-Whiteside or Reagor: Who Do Eagles Need To Contribute More?

  • The Draft Network
  • September 3, 2020
  • Share

The Philadelphia Eagles are going to be in a dog fight for the NFC East crown this upcoming season. The win total betting lines for both them and the Dallas Cowboys are currently set at 9.5 at BetOnline, and knowing the Eagles (9-7) barely bested Dallas (8-8) for their second division title in three years last year, they’ll once again have to bring their best to keep up.

It was an arms race this summer between the Cowboys and Eagles. Both Dallas and Philly have two of the best offensive lines in the NFL, when healthy, but Dallas made a strength of their offense even stronger during the draft by drafting Oklahoma’s electrifying wide receiver CeeDee Lamb to complement and enhance an offense that already had Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup.

Philly didn’t let the Cowboys take too much of an offense lead on them, as they, too, used their first-round pick on a receiver, Jalen Reagor, the talented speedster out of TCU. But Philly doesn’t have the luxury of returning two 1,000-yard receivers in addition to their prized top draft pick the way Dallas does. In fact, not one wide receiver on the Eagles roster last year recorded more than 500 yards receiving.

Along with Reagor coming on as a true new addition, the Eagles are hoping they’ll get a new addition in the form of J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, their second-round pick from the year before who had, by most accounts, quite the disappointing year in 2019.

The Eagles receivers went through a lot of injuries in 2019. Alshon Jeffery only played in 10 games, Nelson Agholor only played in 11, and DeSean Jackson only played in three. In theory, that should have left the door wide open for Arcega-Whiteside to contribute. But that didn’t happen. Arcega-Whiteside was the only wide receiver on the team to play in all 16 games, yet he only started five, even with all those injuries, and was tied for eighth on the team in catches with just 10 for 169 receiving yards and a single touchdown.

Philly was 12th in the NFL in points per game as an offense in 2019. In 2020, nine of their 16 games will feature them facing off against offenses that were better in scoring the year prior, including the Cowboys, who they will face twice.

So who is the more important new contribution to the Eagles in order to stay around or within the top 10 in scoring, Arcega-Whiteside or Reagor? In reality, they need both. But does one hold a more important key than the other?

Let’s first look at Reagor.

For as much as Eagles fans probably want the answer to be Reagor, they may hope he isn’t the most important piece of this puzzle, at least early on, as Reagor will likely miss the first few weeks of the season due to a torn labrum.

Reagor’s skill set should be great for the Eagles as a “Z” receiver, a guy who can move around behind the line of scrimmage and someone who can get free releases at the snap without dealing with immediate contact against press coverage—instead being able to blow by defenders playing up close with uninterrupted acceleration. Reagor, who scored high in athletic testing with explosion and speed with a 4.47 40-yard dash, 42-inch vert, and 138-inch broad, should be able to thrive in that spot.

But the team isn’t dry on the depth chart in that area. When healthy, this is an area where Jackson can really do a lot of damage as well, as his speed has made him famous around the league for years. As of right now, Jackson is good to go, which means the Eagles won’t be losing a unique skill set with Reagor out to start the year knowing Jackson’s speed can stretch the field all the same. 

To start our section about Arcega-Whiteside, he would like you to totally forget about 2019 when trying to project what he can do this year. Arcega-Whiteside recently said that when he went back to watch the tape of himself last year, he barely recognized the man he was watching.

“I wasn’t good enough,” Arcega-Whiteside said. “You turn on the TV and you could see it. But 2019 is in the past. I look back at it now and I’m thinking, `Man, I’m a totally different player than I was then.’ I kind of laugh about it because I don’t even know who that was.”

Now, Arcega-Whiteside’s skill set might not be unique to Philadelphia’s roster sheet, but right now it is to the depth chart. Not only is Reagor likely to miss a few weeks with his injury, but Alshon Jeffery is also still on the physically unable to perform list as he recovers from his Lisfranc injury. As of right now, the thought is Jeffery won’t be available until October. 

Jeffery is the Eagles’ big-bodied wide receiver. The Eagles can make up for that big body presence a with their tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert—who led the team in both catches are targets in 2019—but they still need a receiver with the frame, strength, and game to play at “X” receiver position on the line of scrimmage to start the season.

To play “X”, you have to be able to handle press coverage. You have to know what you’re doing with your hands, have to be comfortable catching through traffic, and know how to work close to the sideline. That’s a range of skills Arcega-Whiteside turned into his bread and butter in his final season at Stanford.

If you look at the situation right now, Arcega-Whiteside setting up quickly is most important to the Eagles’ offense in 2020, if nothing else but because they’ll likely be without Reagor and Jeffery and have to get good production with them still on the sidelines. But as the season progresses, Reagor’s speed and ability to really stretch the field vertically will go a long way to keeping up with some of those high scoring teams in the shootouts they’ll inevitably find themselves in.

Filed In

Written By

The Draft Network