The full squad has been together for one week, and the Eagles still don't appear any closer to locking in their starting wide receivers. In fact, the team continues to rotate which players run with the first-team offense, making it difficult to judge who if anybody is gaining or losing ground.
Previously, we mentioned Rueben Randle was off to a fast start, and he's still very much in the mix. Since then, however, fellow free-agent addition Chris Givens has begun to emerge as a candidate for serious playing time, at least we think so based on his performance. There's really no way to tell.
Of course, it's early, and we probably shouldn't be making too much of a handful of practices anyway. Then again, this is a competition, so there must be some way to separate them.
Introducing The 700 Level's first ever and possibly only Eagles wide receiver power rankings, where we attempt to make sense of the chaos by making a simple list. This is by no means definitive and is very subject to change, but based on what's transpired thus far, this is how the top five currently rates in one reporter's humble opinion.
1. Jordan Matthews
Matthews easily has been the most consistent receiver in training camp, which isn't exactly surprising considering he's the only established target in the bunch. That being said, the third-year player has also been the most explosive of the wideouts, routinely getting open and making catches down the field.
Already a proven commodity out of the slot, Matthews is showing he can do more. During Sunday's practice at Lincoln Financial Field, he lined up out outside and blew past cornerback Leodis McKelvin and safety Rodney McLeod for a long touchdown. It's an encouraging sign, especially considering Matthews is the only sure thing on the roster.
2. Chris Givens
As mentioned at the top, there's been a lot of buzz over Givens recently, and he only built on that in Wednesday's practice. Quarterback Sam Bradford's former teammate with the Rams was very busy while with the ones, catching everything that came his way. He's looked good.
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We haven't seen Givens get deep very often, which is probably what's he best known for. That's probably a good sign though, as it's his short and intermediate route running that have always held him back. We know Givens is fast based on his career 16.6 yards per catch in the NFL. The sixth-year veteran needs to demonstrate he can be effective underneath. So far, so good.
3. Ruben Randle
Randle continues to very involved when he's on the field, and to his credit has displayed strong hands. He's also just kind of "blah" out there. There's not really many standout moments or big plays. Randle simply and quietly has done his job.
If the 25-year-old were merely a 6'2", 208-pound possession receiver, the Eagles would likely be fine with that. Bradford could use another reliable security blanket among his receivers. Of course, Randle has shown the ability to get open down the field as well, although no doubt it was a little easier when he was lining up opposite Odell Beckham Jr. for the Giants.
4. Nelson Agholor
It wouldn't be fair to describe Agholor as having a bad camp, but it's difficult to say he's really separated himself. Perhaps that's because expectations are relatively low for Givens and Randle as opposed to sky high for last year's first-round draft pick. Regardless, the wow factor hasn't been there. Agholor has dropped a few passes as well, which really stands out coming off of a disappointing rookie season.
Agholor might be the type of player who will stand out more over time or in game action. So far in camp, he's sort of just been there.
5. Josh Huff
Speaking of drops, hands remain a problem for Huff, who was having an outstanding practice on Wednesday before that old problem reared its ugly head. The third-year wideout was getting open all over the field and even made some tough grabs in traffic, but it was the one he volleyballed high in the air for an interception that we've seen before and remember all too well. That's only the most recent example.
Huff is dangerous once the ball in his hands, and the Eagles have been throwing a lot of short screens his way designed to squeeze the most out of that skill. Until he can put these miscues behind him though, Huff is going to be the least trustworthy out of the five.