By Harry Allison
So, should Eagles junkies be happy that their faves didn’t get Marcus Mariota with their No. 20 pick in last night’s NFL draft, but did take Nelson Agholor, a wide receiver from USC?
Agholor was a big-time five-star recruit, and while it took him a little time to come into his own, he finished his USC career with a great understanding of the holes in zone coverage and of how to set up man defenders — not to mention more than a few big plays.
He isn’t a great athlete, ranking in just the 50th percentile of NFL receivers in SPARQ, though the player comp generated by his athletic web is Reggie Wayne, at a 98 percent match.
In college, Agholor tended to win in the slot on quick routes and with shifty runs after the catch, doing both as well as any receiver in the draft. That’s why he projects as an instant-impact slot receiver, but he can also develop as an outside receiver. Agholor’s body control is top-notch, which isn’t always noted in the traditional prospect measurements, and at USC he delivered a number of big plays on the outside, where he played more often before 2014.
Agholor is used to winning with finesse rather than power, which will limit his ability to line up on the outside and win one-on-one. He’s capable of powering up, but that part of his game remains a work in progress, and like Amari Cooper may struggle early in his career against physical corners who want to push him around.
There’s a lot to like about Agholor’s game. And the Eagles may play him at the slot while shifting 2014’s excellent rookie Jordan Matthews to the outside.