What are the Philadelphia Eagles going to do with JJ Arcega-Whiteside in 2020?
The Eagles used their top pick in the 2020 Draft on TCU wide receiver Jalen Reagor, one of the fastest and most physical players at the position in a loaded class.
They followed up that selection by drafting both Boise State’s John Hightower and Southern Mississippi’s Quez Watkins, as well as trading for 49ers veteran speedster Marquise Goodwin.
With basically everyone at the position group back in addition to those new players (besides former first-round pick Nelson Agholor), who will be the odd one out?
Eagles 2019 target share not a great predictor
It’s hard to look at the Eagles’ 2019 target share as a predictor of really anything going forward.
Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert were the top two players on the pecking order in terms of pass targets during the 2019 season for the Eagles.
Behind them were Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and rookie running back Miles Sanders. None of those three players reached the 75 target mark.
Despite playing in all 16 games as a rookie, 2019 second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside was unable to make much of an impact. Even with five starts, Arcega-Whiteside caught just 10 passes for 169 yards and a touchdown.
Scouts had some concerns about Arcega-Whiteside’s ability to separate going into his rookie season, and he struggled to make an early impact for the Eagles in general.
The Eagles’ wide receiver acquisitions in 2020 certainly leave Arcega-Whiteside’s status with the team up in the air.
The most optimistic outlook would be Arcega-Whiteside playing so well in training camp and preseason play — whatever that looks like this year — that he actually pushes a veteran off the roster, but the Eagles have way too much dead money tied up in both Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson to let either player go this offseason.
It’s not out of the question to think Arcega-Whiteside will still be among the Eagles’ top six receivers with a late-round pick like John Hightower and/or Quez Watkins starting off their NFL career on the practice squad.
But where will the snaps and targets come for Arcega-Whiteside?
The Eagles didn’t draft Jalen Reagor in the first round to let him sit on the bench. They are not paying Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson to sit on the bench and groom a young player.
They need Arcega-Whiteside to come in and force them to keep him on the field in 2020 with his play. After what the team saw from him as a rookie, that seems like a longshot, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
With Arcega-Whiteside’s contract, the Eagles might be in a situation where trading him to a receiver-needy team could be his best option for success in the NFL going forward.