I left Eagles training camp this year with one thing in mind. HOLY SH*T did Nelson Agholor look good. Like everyone else, I heard and read the reports of Nelson looking much improved at this year’s camp. I disregarded them because it’s practice. We’re talking about practice. But, then I saw it.
He looked at home in the slot. Agholor looked quick, not fast. He schooled Malcolm Jenkins, one of my favorite current players, again and again. Jenkins was frustrated, pushing Agholor and jarring in his face. Then, Agholor burned him again for a TD during a red zone drill.
The Eagles’ staff seemed convinced enough to trade Jordan Matthews and hand Agholor the slot receiver duties. So, what suddenly gives?
I think there are three reasons why Agholor is set for a breakout year.
1. Nelson went into this season without any legal worries. That’s a massive deal. He had terrible allegations placed upon him last summer with a police investigation ensuing. Yes, he was cleared of all charges by the time training camp started, that’s a major mental and emotional experience to overcome.
He also didn’t know if he’d be suspended by the league for the accusations.
This is super heavy stuff to deal with while dealing with a new coaching staff and learning a new system.
2. HE’S PLAYING THE SLOT. This is huuuuuuuge. Nelson was consensus late 1st round/early 2nd round pick. However, most scouts and draft reports projected him as a slot receiver, not on the outside as the Eagles have used him for the past 2 years.
Agholor’s best position could be working from the slot as a reliable possession receiver who can step right into the punt-returner job on Day 1.
In a deep wide receiver class, Agholor flew under the radar for most of the pre-draft process, and becomes the fourth pass-catcher to go in the first round. He’s drawn comparisons to former teammate Marqise Lee, whom the Jaguars ended up taking in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft. At 6-0, 198, Agholor has deceptive speed (4.42 40-time), and he can come in and play the slot immediately.
Experienced route runner displaying good footwork when running double moves and complex routes
Adept at finding holes in underneath coverage especially from the slot position
Displays consistent awareness in working back to the quarterback
3. He’s wearing number 13. This may not seem like a big deal, but #17 in Philadelphia is a big deal. The number should be retired and Harold Carmichael should be in the hall of fame. Carmichael is a figure that is often around the NovaCare complex as a team ambassador. That’s a burden for a young wide receiver to carry, but not so much for an established player like Alshon Jeffrey.
There you go. 2017 should be Agholor’s year. I’m in. I have Nelson on two fantasy teams hoping I can start him by week 3.