Roster Outlook: Projected Eagles WR depth chart in 2022
Although the top of the depth chart is essentially solidified, the Eagles have a number of receivers fighting for a roster spot in training camp.
While relying heavily on the run, Eagles’ WRs combined for just 1,993 yards last season — third-fewest in the NFL. GM Howie Roseman’s aggressive offseason approach aimed to change that.
With 11 receivers currently on the roster, here’s my projection of what the Eagles’ WR depth chart will look like Week 1.
Roseman made it known that the priority this offseason was providing Jalen Hurts with as many weapons as possible. The Eagles have notoriously passed on premier WR talent in recent years, most notably DK Metcalf and Justin Jefferson.
Instead of taking an unproven talent in the draft, Philadelphia sent first and third-round selections to Tennessee for Pro Bowl WR AJ Brown to right the ship.
Acquiring Brown was a flashy move, with Philadelphia locking in the elite 25-year-old to a lucrative four-year, $100 million extension. The addition provides an accomplished, big-bodied threat who will bring elite YAC ability to the offense. This move also further cements what Roseman has been preaching for months on end — they’re all in on Jalen Hurts.
“We’re really excited to have [Brown] on this team,” Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said. “He’s a strong man, he’s quick for a big guy and he catches everything. There is no projection. You’ve seen him do it in the NFL for three years now.”
AJ Brown straight bitched Chuck Clark, Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Patrick Queen all in the same play lol. pic.twitter.com/qpDAZojFnt— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) May 6, 2022
To nobody’s surprise, DeVonta Smith had an awe-inspiring rookie season, catching 64 passes for 916 yards and five touchdowns. He fell just short of his 1,000-yard goal, however, due to the Eagles’ rush-heavy style of play.
Even with the addition of AJ Brown, that goal should be well within reach for Smith in 2022.
“In my opinion, Smitty is a wide receiver 1 and he’s going against a cornerback No. 2,” Brown said last Friday. “I expect Smitty to dominate.”
With top corners likely to shadow Brown next season, things will only open up more for the route technician in Year 2. In addition, Smith has been spending much of the offseason studying Keenan Allen and Davante Adams to improve his game.
Regardless of who’s atop the depth chart on opening day, the Eagles virtually have two WR1s in their new-look offense.
A 2-step whip route is ridiculous. pic.twitter.com/L31b0hXmKX— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) June 5, 2022
Nick Sirianni spoke highly of Quez Watkins upon the conclusion of last season. The former sixth-round pick tallied 647 yards and one touchdown a year ago and Sirianni sees big-play potential.
“He has big-time speed, and he has a knack to make plays,” Sirianni said in January. “The style of offense that we played this year didn’t allow for Quez to get as many touches as he probably deserves, but we did everything we could do to win each individual game.”
Playing primarily out of the slot in 2021, Watkins possesses the versatility to line up anywhere on the field and has reliable hands as well, evidenced by his single drop last year. He’s still a pretty raw player and has occasionally given up on routes, but Watkins’ burst alone will keep defenses on their toes.
The Eagles’ other WR acquisition, Zach Pascal, is known to be a gritty player in short-yardage situations and a willing blocker in open space. The 214-pounder isn’t afraid of the dirty work, but he’s here to do damage in the passing game as well.
Nick Sirianni groomed Pascal in Indianapolis for three seasons and was eager to get him in Philadelphia once the 27-year-old hit free agency. Pascal had back-to-back campaigns with 600+ yards prior to last season.
He caught just 38 passes for 384 yards in 2021 while the Colts leaned on RB Jonathan Taylor. I expect Watkins and Pascal to interchange at the WR3 spot depending on the packages.
Zach Pascal. 🧐 pic.twitter.com/E6NcRL4hCQ— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) June 23, 2022
Part of me feels like Reagor is a prime candidate to be cut, but the other part knows that the organization is too prideful to release their former first-round pick. Despite their best efforts to move Reagor this offseason, it appears Philadelphia will give him one final chance.
Reagor has struggled to find his footing since entering the league in 2020 and looks flat-out uninterested at times. He did make some plays on the first day of training camp, however, so perhaps this is the year it all comes together for him.
We’ve seen glimpses of what the TCU standout can do with the ball in his hands and Reagor has been through a lot recently, losing a childhood friend last spring and mourning the death of college teammate Jeff Gladney just a few months ago.
At just 23 years of age, Reagor still has time to unlock his potential in the NFL if he can get right mentally.
“Jalen Reagor’s a Philadelphia Eagle.” Roseman said in April. “He’s going to be here. We want to have good players in that room, we want to have good players on this team.”
The Eagles’ special teams unit hasn’t been much of a factor since the Chip Kelly era; Britain Covey brings experience in that area. The undrafted rookie out of Utah had three return touchdowns last year and has averaged 15.0 yards/punt return over the last two seasons — second-best in the BCS.
Covey is woefully undersized at 5’8″, 175 pounds, but he’d provide a spark in the return game that Philly has lacked since Darren Sproles was here. The last time the Eagles returned a kickoff for a touchdown was Josh Huff in 2016.
Practice Squad: John Hightower, Greg Ward Jr.
Britain Covey, coming soon to an NFL end zone near youpic.twitter.com/MXy8epcTeO— PFN Draft (@PFNDraft) January 1, 2022
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