For the second consecutive draft, Chip Kelly and the Eagles have found themselves a wide receiver that appears to be a near-perfect fit for their unique scheme. This time around, it is USC's Nelson Agholor, whom Philadelphia nabbed one round earlier than Jordan Matthews a year ago. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock immediately compared Agholor to Jeremy Maclin, an 85-catch, 1,300-yard receiver for the Eagles a year ago. Maclin left in free agency to join Kansas City, opening up a hole in the depth chart.
Agholor's name had climbed into Round 1 discussion in the weeks leading up to the draft, with several teams intrigued by his advanced route-running and knack for getting open. In Kelly's spread offense Agholor should see plenty of opportunities. He certainly has the skills to turn those chances into Maclin-like stats, even if this pick at No. 20 may have been pushing Agholor's draft ceiling. One must wonder, however: Would Philadelphia have been better off re-signing Maclin and focusing its attention elsewhere at this spot, rather than leaving itself in need of replacing the talented receiver?
Strengths: Sees the field well, helping him both as a receiver and return man. His production bringing back punts (19.1 yards-per-attempt average as a sophomore and 14.6 for his career) may be what gets him on the field quickest in the NFL. Has the vision to pick his way through defenses and the footwork to make decisive cuts in the open field. Solid in his route-running, be it on the outside or in traffic. Comfort level with the latter—not to mention his size—could push him inside as a dangerous slot receiver. Not only manages to find gaps in the defense, Agholor makes himself readily available to his quarterback. Catches the ball and gets upfield. Kept getting better and better throughout his USC career, an appealing trend as he heads toward the pros.
Weaknesses: In a nutshell, strength. One of the main reasons teams may view him as a slot receiver is that he can get banged around outside. He’s terrific once he works off the line, but he cannot always do that when he has to face CBs get in his grill. Similar problems arise when Agholor is asked to block or make contested catches. While energy is there to take on any challenge, the physical ability to battle through contact is not overwhelming. Has enough burst to stretch the field, just doesn’t always make the plays once there. Hands are no issue whatsoever when the concentration is there; when it’s not, he’ll drop catchable passes and make fielding punts a bit of an adventure. Between the hash marks-type threat in the red zone—offensive coordinators won’t be calling any jump balls for him.
Player comparison: Jarvis Landry