Rookie Watch - Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles need wide receiver help, this much we know. The tandem of Desean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin is long forgotten, leaving the team with a cast of has-beens and not-yets. It’s no surprise, then, that the team used its first round pick (No. 20) on 6-foot, 198-pound Nelson Agholor, who last year caught 104 passes for USC… another Pac-12 dandy for Chip Kelly to nurture in the NFL.
Agholor has NFL polish and a good opportunity to find early success if the team’s quarterback (Sam Bradford, we’re guessing) can make a smooth adjustment to Kelly’s system. Still, as is true with all rookies, there will be a few roadblocks on the path to success…
Dissecting the depth chart: The Eagles have essentially dismantled the receiving corps fans counted on for several years and replaced it with a collection of fresh faces and a couple veterans. Riley Cooper and Miles Austin give the Eagles experience, but both could be fighting for looks. Last year’s second round pick, Jordan Matthews, is the favorite to assume the No. 1 role and the team hopes Agholor can make a quick transition. Tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek will also eat up a lot of passes in this offense (Ertz has 94 catches in two seasons).
Just the stats: At USC Agholor was a catch machine in 2014. He averaged eight catches in his 13 starts and posted double-digit catches against Utah, California (16) and Notre Dame. He logged 100 or more yards in five of the Trojans’ last six regular season games and had three touchdowns in a win over Colorado. Agholor was also productive in 2013 (56 catches, 94 yards and two touchdowns in the bowl win over Fresno State). He caught 20 touchdowns and averaged 14.3 yards per catch throughout his three-year collegiate career.
2015 Projection: 52 receptions, 658 yards, 5 TDs
2014 rookie comparison: Allen Hurns, Jaguars
Hurns was the rookie receiver not expected to step up for Jacksonville in 2014, but by the end of the year he had topped both Allen Robinson and Marqise Lee (and his numbers bested oft-injured Cecil Shorts for the team lead in several categories). Agholor won’t have the benefit of surprise – fans expect him to produce – but his opportunities in Philadelphia’s offense can lead to similar year one numbers as those Hurns posted.
Interesting fact that won’t help you: Agholor’s family left Lagos, Nigeria when he was five and arrived in New York City, later settling in south Florida where he attended Berkeley Prep.
What he’s worth: The smart play is to call Agholor a No. 4 with upside (for those who make a habit of reaching, that’s a No. 3 on your roster). The Eagles will press him to be ready but have options to fall back on if he is not. He deserves a slightly higher grade in PPR leagues.
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