In Nelson Agholor the best Eagles Wide Receiver?

In six games this season, Nelson Agholor has established himself as the leading receiver for the Eagles team. Last season Agholor faced many issues  a sexual-assault allegation, a mistake-filled season, a mini-meltdown in Seattle, the weight of unfulfilled expectations for a first-round draft pick- losing confidence in himself. Many fans wanted Agholor to be cut from the team due to not living up to first round draft pick expectations. Over the offseason, he was able to take some time to relax, getting his inner state in the right place before the grueling NFL season. After taking some time in the offseason to work on his craft, he has returned as a faster and stronger player. This year he has limited the dropped passes, while making explosive plays down the field. In general, he appears as a happier and passionate player, wanting to hone his skills. 

2017 has been a breakout year for Agholor, catching 20 out of 30 passes,  leading the team in reception percentage (all players above twenty passes). He has scored four touchdowns in six games; prior to this season, he had 3 touchdowns in his career. Additionally, Agholor is averaging 16.1 yards per catch, using his lethal speed to get down the field. He is the only wide receiver in the NFL with two 50-yard touchdown catches this season. Agholor is leading the Eagles in yards after the catch with 115 yards. What is most impressive about Agholor’s breakout season is that Wentz has a 149.0 passer rating when targeting Agholor, leading the NFL. It appears that Wetnz has been able to build a special connection with Agholor, as the new wide receivers continue to assimilate to the Eagles offense.

Due to all the improvements and impressive game play,  Agholor has been the best Eagles receiver; however, many Eagles fan argue that Zach Ertz has been better. At PhillyAnalytics, we break everything down to give you conclusive answers. To illustrate the comparison between Agholor and Ertz, I will compare their statistics.  

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Despite having more receiving yards than Agholor, Ertz has had the ball thrown 23 more times his way than that of Agholor. With the 23 extra targets, Ertz has been able to amass merely 84 yards more yards than Agholor.  If Agholor was given the same amount of targets, at his pace, he would have been had over 500 yards and seven touchdowns. The comparison displays that they would match up similar in several categories, but Agholor would outdo Ertz in the critical ones. The chart below takes Agholor’s production rate and projects his number in the event that he had the same amount of targets as Ertz. It is important to take the chart below as just a hypothetical situation because there could have been reasons why Agholor did not have as many targets as Ertz. For example, Agholor might have fewer targets since he was unable to get open. I want to make it clear that my analysis does not take into account the aformentioned indirect factors. However, it is safe to conclude that Agholor has been more efficient than Ertz and has been more explosive with his 16.1 yards per catch.

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After Jordan Matthews got traded to the Buffalo Bills, Nelson Agholor was able to go back to playing his natural position: the slot wide receiver. The adjustment has allowed Agholor to display his true potential. I am optimistic about what I have seen and look forward to what Agholor is able to do the rest of the season.

 

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