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Wildcard Weekend Showed Eagles What They Missed Out On

When the Eagles were on the clock with the 57th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, they had a few different directions they could have went. They decided to address the wide receiver position, and selected J.J. Arcega-Whiteside out of Stanford.

There were some mixed reactions to the selection. Most casual fans didn't hear his name during the draft process, so there was some "Who???" comments, but after seeing his college highlights and analysis from draft experts, the general consensus became that he was a great selection and would be ready to take over for Alshon Jeffery before the 2020 season started.

JJAW finished his rookie campaign with just 10 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown. For some reason he had a hard time getting onto the field this season. There was a seven game stretch in the middle of the season where he never played more than 25% of the offensive snaps. It *literally* took all of the wide receivers ahead of him on the depth chart getting hurt or released for him to finally start seeing the field. Still, even when he was on the field, he very rarely impressed.

During Sunday's Wildcard loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Eagles caught a glimpse of what they could have had on their team if they made a different selection. DK Metcalf was still on the board for the Eagles to select with the 57th overall pick, but the decided to take JJAW over him. Metcalf was selected seven picks later, and had a terrific rookie season for the Seahawks. In his first playoff game, Metcalf put up essentially the same production that JJAW had for the entire 2019 season.

If that wasn't embarrassing enough, there were two other rookie wide receivers this season that torched the Eagles. The front office had multiple chances to have selected them, but instead they thought that JJAW was the answer for all of their wide receiver problems.

So now the Eagles are entering 2020 with the same wide receiver question marks that they had to start 2019. In fact, they may be even worse off because now they need to find a replacement for Nelson Agholor, a speedster that can step in for DeSean Jackson, and an eventual successor to Alshon Jeffery (who might miss the start of the 2020 season with his achilles injury).

There is still a chance that Arcega-Whiteside can turn the narrative around and get rid of his early bust label. The Eagles had him learn all three wide receiver positions (X,Y,Z) this season, which might have been an information overload for him. If the Eagles designate him for a specific position this offseason (like Jeffery's "X" position), it will help him learn his role in the offense much quicker. It would also allow him to dedicate time this offseason to perfect his route-running.

Arcega-Whiteside has a long road ahead of him to become the guy the Eagles thought they were getting. He will need to start improving fast though, or else he will always be known to Eagles fans as the guy the Eagles drafted over DK Metcalf.

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