Can Travis Fulgham become the next Victor Cruz for the Eagles?
The day was August 19th, 2020, when Travis Fulgham was cut by the Packers; just ten days after being cut by the team that drafted him in the 6th round last year. The seemingly always WR-needy Eagles claimed Fulgham the next day, signing him to the practice squad just before the season.
A few injuries later and Fulgham was promoted to the active roster, just ahead of the Eagles prime-time matchup with the 49ers. Fulgham made the most of his appearance, grabbing the game-winning 42-yard pass from Carson Wentz and sending the city in a frenzy. If you hadn’t heard of Travis Fulgham prior to two weeks ago (guilty) you sure as hell know who he is now.
These are the exact plays that the Eagles (supposedly) drafted JJAW for and he’s never even targeted.— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 8, 2020
Carson has more faith in a practice squad guy than him right now. pic.twitter.com/jpAuwMjc2E
As the Eagles headed to Pittsburgh the next week, many were anxious to see if Fulgham could build off of his heroics from the previous week. Travis answered the call again, this time to the tune of 10 receptions on 13 targets for 152 yards and a TD against the league’s 5th ranked defense. These weren’t fluke catches either. Fulgham ran every route possible for the Eagles, helping out his QB every chance he could.
The 6’2” receiver grabbed everything that came his way. He high-pointed the ball (which is something rarely seen from Eagles receivers), he ran after the catch, and he got separation when his quarterback was in trouble. Wentz to Fulgham was a connection on multiple 3rd down conversions as well.
Is that an Eagles receiver …. high-pointing the ball?! pic.twitter.com/yBJRraVmC3— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 12, 2020
Fulgham’s TD came on a 4th down that brought his team to within 2 after being down 17. In a short amount of time, Travis Fulgham & Carson Wentz have seemingly developed a chemistry that typically takes months to manifest.
It’s wondrous what a legitimate receiver can do for Carson Wentz. For the first time since Alshon Jeffery in 2017, Wentz looked comfortable throwing to someone other than Zach Ertz. It isn’t a coincidence that Fulgham & Jeffery share a lot of the same measurables. Having a guy that can go up and make plays rather than watch the ball soar over their head does a lot for a quarterback’s confidence.
Travis Fulgham’s journey from Old Dominion to the NFL appears to be on the same trajectory of another receiver that exploded onto the scene 9 years ago, Victor Cruz. Much like Fulgham, Cruz came from a subdivision football program and put the league on notice when called upon.
After going undrafted in 2010, the Giants signed the rookie and he immediately turned heads after his 3 TD performance against the Jets in the preseason. Cruz unfortunately sustained a hamstring injury that year and was placed on IR.
The following season, Cruz’s number was called after Steve Smith walked in free agency and starting receiver Domenik Hixon got injured. The UMass product made an immediate impact (against the Eagles, of course) and caught 3 passes for 110 yards and two TDs. Cruz proceeded to catch 82 passes for 1536 yards and 9 TDs that season. The Giants had found their gem at wide receiver.
Bro our secondary always been in shambles lmao WHAT THE HELL WAS ASOMUGHA DOING. pic.twitter.com/VjmvMyfP6k— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 13, 2020
Neither Fulgham nor Cruz had impressive college careers or wowed anyone at the Combine. But they both hold themselves to a high standard:
“I absolutely should have made that play. That’s on me. I should have come up with that play to continue the drive and hopefully give the team the win.”Travis Fulgham when asked about 3rd-and-5 incompletion in the 4th quarter.
Sometimes the desire to be great is all you need, and 10 catches for 150+ yards in the NFL isn’t an accident. Especially for a guy that didn’t start playing football until high school.
Even when Fulgham drops it, he catches it. pic.twitter.com/Tq8FL7bqsD— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 12, 2020
Granted, the Eagles needing to rely on a 6th-round WR to be their main option is a problem in itself. But for a team starved for young talent at the position, Travis Fulgham becoming the Eagles’ version of Victor Cruz would be a welcome surprise.
Fulgham, Reagor, Miles, Goedert; the Eagles offense may actually have a bright future. pic.twitter.com/EdH5xcxCqN— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) October 12, 2020
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Mandatory Credit: The Philadelphia Inquirer