This season will be the rise of wide receiver J.J Arcega-Whiteside
3 September 2020 Eagles News
Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles used a second round pick on then Stanford wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside. Last season was a year to forget in terms of production, but what he learned could have been even more valuable to the Eagles. New seasons bring forth new opportunities and this season, Arcega-Whiteside looks like an animal ready to break out of his cage.
Unfortunately, to get the full picture of the pick and Arcega-Whiteside, let us take a step back a look at the player he was coming into the draft. His last season for Stanford, he racked uo 1,059 yards and 14 touchdowns on 63 receptions. In his career, he established himself as a matchup nightmare and a player who feasted in the red zone.
For the Eagles last season, he could not even get comfortable in any role. He was used in all of the wide receiver positions due to the Eagles injury problems. We know he did speak about this in an interview saying it is hard to come into the NFL and learn and try to be productive when everything is being put on your plate. He posted just 10 receptions for 169 yards and one touchdown. It was a season to forget.
But, like forth noted, new season bring forth new opportunities. He had a full offseason to get healthy, to train and to get better. Now, because of his work, the Eagles have seen a player worth the 57th overall pick.
Carson Wentz seems very comfortable targeting JJ Arcega-Whiteside this summer. Just went to him on three straight passes in hurry-up, with the final toss as a bullet across the middle with Jalen Mills on the WR in tight coverage. #Eagles
— Mike Kaye (@mike_e_kaye) August 27, 2020
It was a change of mindset that really is pushing Arcega-Whiteside further. When asked about his struggles last season and how he’ll play going forward, here’s what he had to say.
“At that point, I kind of just realized I’m playing football because it’s fun. Obviously I get paid to do it as well, but it makes me a lot happier doing it because it is fun and it’s what I did since I was a kid, so I don’t need to worry about what people say, or what people think about me or what’s being said out there. I’m not doing it for them, I’m doing it for my family for me because it’s fun. Who doesn’t love playing football? Who doesn’t love watching football? Once I made it about that, that’s when it really clicked.”
Week one against the Washington football team, Arcega-Whiteside is going to start opposite of DeSean Jackson. It is just common knowledge that’ll he will get a lot of targets in this game. Both in the open field and red zone. Now this season, he has to make the plays. Carson Wentz will keep going back to him if he trusts him.
With that being said, the Eagles are usually one of the top teams in terms of red zone offense. 63% of the time last season, the Eagles scored in the red zone, which ranked eighth best in the league. With a weapon finally realizing what his potential could be and getting better and better, that red zone percentage will only go up.
Arcega-Whiteside is going to surprise a lot of people this fall. Maybe he is not going to break the roof off of some places with excitement, but he is going to catch the ball and he is going to score. When this season is all said and done, Arcega-Whiteside will mark himself down as one of Wentz’s favorite weapons.
Photo Credit: YONG KIM / MCT