Eagles explain why Arcega-Whiteside created Fulgham’s roster originally on NBC Sports Philadelphia
You might have moaned when you heard the news.
Not only did JJ Arcega-Whiteside make the initial 53-player roster for the 2021 season… but he did. more Travis Fulgham.
Being a high draft pick certainly didn’t hurt JJAW’s cause, but the Eagles give a much different reason he made the roster against Fulgham.
“I think the first thing is with Travis, here’s a guy who obviously had a lot of trouble for us last year,” said general manager Howie Roseman. “And we considered it to be a new year and a new start, and we wanted to build on what we saw and put the whole process into play.
“When you talk about JJ and what he did during camp and his contributions in attack, his will and desire to be a great special teams player, what you saw during the pre- season, and all of that and how it fits into the group at the receiver.
It may sound crazy.
A player is an underachieving second-round pick who did nothing in his first two years in the NFL. The other came out of nowhere last season to be one of the NFL’s top receivers for a month.
In his magical five-game streak last year, Fulgham had 435 receiving yards. In JJAW’s entire two-year NFL career, he’s 254.
But here’s the thing: Arcega-Whiteside was better than Fulgham (and John Hightower) this summer.
Maybe the Eagles would have protected Arcega-Whiteside no matter what. But based on this summer’s merit, they had real arguments to keep it legitimately.
And it wasn’t even like JJAW had a magical camp because he didn’t. He actually had a better training camp going into the 2020 season. But if you didn’t know who they were, where they were drafted, what they’ve been up to before and you’ve watched all 17 practices and three games this summer, you’d have walked away thinking Arcega-Whiteside was the slightly better player.
It seems the area where Arcega-Whiteside really created this team was the special teams area. Never known as a special team member, the former second-round pick has worked hard in the field this summer.
He landed a big touchdown against the Jets in Game 3, so it’s funny that the tackle he made on the ensuing kick might have counted for more.
“JJ has really done a good job this year on special teams,” said head coach Nick Sirianni, “and sometimes it’s the thing at the end of the day that separates what happens on special teams. and what he can do there in Coach [Michael] Clay’s bedroom.
Of course, the Eagles didn’t draft Arcega-Whiteside with the No.57 pick in 2019 to play against special teams. And they didn’t draft him to be a big slot catcher. It’s disappointing to think he was the last receiver to make the roster and could potentially be in danger as the roster continues to mix.
This is exactly where JJAW’s career is at right now. It’s not much, but it can at least stay a little longer. He deserved it.
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