Draft Daily: Why Chip Will Love USC WR Agholor
This article was originally published on April 2.
Between now and the draft, we’ll zero in on one prospect a day with an Eagles slant. If you have a player you want covered, let us know on the Birds 24/7 Facebook page.
THE BACK STORY
Chip Kelly continued his draft prep today, reportedly working out USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor in Tampa.
Chip Kelly in Tampa to workout USC and former Berkeley Prep WR Nelson Agholor. Projected 2nd round pick.
— Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) April 2, 2015
Kelly has not hidden the fact that he believes this is once again a deep and talented group of wide receivers. And Agholor has a lot of the attributes that Kelly finds attractive. In 2012, Kelly’s final season at Oregon, Agholor lit up the Ducks for six catches, 162 yards and a touchdown as a freshman.
He’s since progressed nicely, earning first-team All-Pac 12 honors last season with 104 catches for 1,313 yards and 12 touchdowns. In 2013, Agholor caught 56 balls for 918 yards and six scores.
When it comes to the Eagles’ interest (and Agholor reportedly came in for a visit), the biggest thing the USC wide receiver has going for him is his versatility. He has been effective lining up inside and outside. The Trojans would sometimes use him close to the formation as a blocker. He returned four punts for touchdowns the past two seasons, and he was on coverage teams as well.
The more you can do, the more Kelly likes you. That much we know at this point.
Born in Nigeria, Agholor and his family moved to America when he was 5, and they ended up settling in Tampa. Kelly, along with pretty much every big-name coach in the country, recruited him coming out of high school.
Later this month, we’ll find out if the two end up connecting at the professional level.
Agholor is not the biggest guy. He measured in at 6-0, 198 at the combine. That’s the exact size of Jeremy Maclin when Maclin came into the league.
He ran a 4.42 40 (Maclin ran a 4.48).
Here’s Agholor’s spider chart:
Some have pegged Agholor as strictly a slot receiver. I don’t see it that way, especially if he lands in the Eagles’ offense. I think he can put on some weight and play either inside or outside.
There’s nothing about Agholor’s size or speed that would stop the Eagles from targeting him. They drafted 5-11 Josh Huff in the third round last year and showed serious interest in bringing Maclin back. Neither guy has measurables all that different from Agholor’s.
As I mentioned, I’m not convinced Agholor is only a slot receiver in the NFL, but there’s no doubt that his biggest strength is being able to work the middle of the field. Agholor is very good with the ball in his hands, is elusive and can make tough catches in traffic.
Here are a couple examples of his YAC ability:
* Click through to 2:41.
In the games I watched, he rarely got taken down by the first defender and showed good wiggle/make-you-miss ability in open space.
* Click through to 4:14.
Another thing that really stood out with Agholor was his physicality and toughness. He’s very good in traffic and will seek out contact. Agholor can break tackles and deliver stiff-arms to unsuspecting defenders.
Here’s a grab in traffic:
* Click through to 5:14.
And here’s a full game against Cal. At the 1:30 mark, he again does an excellent job in traffic. At 2:16, he tracks the ball well and uses his leaping ability. At 3:58, he scores on a slant in the red zone.
Again, there’s a lot to like. Agholor is physical, elusive and has good hands. But there are some little things that Kelly will really appreciate.
Here’s a punt return he scored on last year.
* Click through to the 35-second mark.
Look at where he lines up here and what he’s asked to do on this next play. When the Eagles did this type of thing with Jason Avant in 2013, Kelly couldn’t stop raving about the veteran wide receiver.
* Click through to the 1:35 mark.
It’s not like he pancakes the guy, but still, how many wide receivers are asked to do that?
And here’s one final highlight video (warning: music) with a bunch of Agholor’s big plays:
There is no doubt in my mind that Agholor will be a player who ranks highly on the Eagles’ draft board. His measurables are good enough. He’s versatile. He’s good with the ball in his hands. He’s physical. And he can contribute on special teams. Agholor checks pretty much every box that (we think) Kelly values.
There are a couple questions, though. First of all, it’s tough to get a gauge on how some of these receivers do against press coverage when looking at the TV copy. Given his measurables, I see no reason why Agholor would have trouble developing that skill, but it’s something Kelly will look at closely.
And the other factor is how he might fit in the Eagles’ offense. If Kelly views him primarily as a slot guy, how high would he be willing to take Agholor? And does he have enough confidence in Jordan Matthews and/or Josh Huff to play outside?
If Kelly believes Agholor is capable of being productive both inside and outside, then it’s conceivable that the Eagles would spend a first-round pick on him. NFL Network’s Mike Mayock thinks Agholor has more upside than Marqise Lee, who went 39th overall last year. Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah would not be surprised if Agholor made his way into the first round.
I’m probably in the minority here, but Agholor seems like a better fit for the Eagles than Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong, whom we profiled yesterday.
We’ll see if the Eagles make any moves to trade up or down in the first couple rounds. But Agholor is certainly a player who will be on their radar.