Receivers really catching on in camp, making for some difficult roster decisions

Ed Kracz

One play, Carlton Agudosi is extending his 6-6 frame to snatch a ball from the air.

On another play, Greg Ward is bursting out of a route to catch a ball in stride and jet up field.

Other plays have seen Shelton Gibson stretch out or Marken Michel show up. Lately in training camp, even DeAndre Thompkins and Braxton Miller have done some nice things. And Charles Johnson is a veteran who is as steady as summer rainstorm.

There will be some difficult decisions to be made up and down the roster when it comes time for the Eagles to trim from 90 players to 53 in early September, perhaps none more so than at wide receiver.

With a month and four August preseason games still left, the situation could become clearer, but, right now, as the calendar flips to August on Friday, the roster-chasing talent could force the Eagles to keep six receivers on their final 53.

VIDEO: Get to know Carlton Agudosi (Also pictured above)

Four are locks: Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. And they are well deserved, because they, too, have flashed throughout training camp.

Special teams, as it always does, will play a role in determining the final couple roster spots.

The Eagles, though, may need to factor in the future.

Chances are that Agholor is gone after this season. He may even be traded before this season.

Jackson signed a three-year contract in the offseason, but, depending on the season he has, may not return, either. Jeffery has a salary cap hit of $15.9 million.

Perhaps Ward is kept to be groomed as Agholor’s replacement in the slot. Ward can also compete on special teams.

“Being in the system, I’ve learned the play so I can play fast,” said Ward, who played for the San Antonio Commanders of the now-defunct AAF League and made 22 receptions for 214 yard before the league folded. “I think I could always do better. I always watch the film, take notes and be a sponge in the meeting room.”

Agudosi, who played at Rutgers, is a big-bodied receiver like Jeffery, and is running the same routes as the veteran.

“I pick his brains in meetings and on the field,” said Agudosi of Jeffery. “We play the same position, he’s running the same routes, so I’m able to ask him what he does on certain things. He has experience in the offense so I just try to learn and pick his brain.”

Head coach Doug Pederson was asked about Ward and Agudosi on Monday.

“Two guys that have really worked extremely hard, going all the way back to the beginning of the off-season and through OTA,” said Pederson. “We know Greg. He's been with us in the past, and he has some experience this spring in the AAF league and did some nice things there. So he's matured. He's gotten stronger, and I really like where Greg is at right now, and he's continuing to learn.

“Agudosi is another big, tall, kind of physical receiver that flashes from time to time … he can get into Alshon's hip pocket and pick his brain a little bit on routes and learning to keep your pad level down for a big, tall receiver. But both guys are doing well.”

Mack Hollins was a special teams ace two years ago, but Hollins was injured all last year and is again injured, missing practice on Tuesday, a day after leaving practice early with what Pederson called a lower body injury but unrelated to the groin injury that sidelined for the entire 2018 season. Hollins was believed to have the inside track to the No. 5 receiver spot, but who knows now, with his health once again in question.

Whatever happens, there will be some talented pass catchers that won’t make the Eagles, but they are good enough that they should land somewhere if things don’t work out in Philly.