Nelson Agholor Having One of the Strangest Years Ever for a WR

Nelson Agholor is having one of the strangest seasons ever.

The Eagles' fourth-year wideout is on pace for the third-most catches in Eagles history.

And the 60th-most yards.

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He's tied for first in the NFL in catches of at least 50 yards but dead last in yards per catch.

In fact, Agholor is already the first wide receiver in NFL history to have four games in a season with four or more catches and an average of 6.0 yards per catch or less.

And there are nine games left.

Agholor, who capped a breakthrough 2017 season with nine catches for 84 yards in the Super Bowl, is the single most under-utilized player on the Eagles' roster.

He's been targetted a ton - 7.9 times per game - but almost all the time it's short, dinky stuff, often behind or at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles' philosophy this year seems to be they want Agholor to catch underneath balls and then use his speed to make plays down the field.

Fine in theory. But it's not working. The Eagles aren't fooling anybody with the patterns Agholor is running. He rarely has any room to maneuver once he has the ball in his hands. 

Hence, short gain after short gain.

"I think a lot of the situations that you're talking about there's tight coverage there, so it's a completion and a quick tackle," offensive coordinator Mike Groh said.

"Could he break a tackle? I guess, without examining each one here in this conversation. But a lot of times, it's tight coverage and it's a tight-window throw, and he's been making the catches and then he's been tackled."

But why?

The Eagles are struggling on offense - 22nd in the league at 22 points per game - and have lost three of their last four games going into London for the Jaguars.

Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffery have both played magnificently, but this offense operates at a higher level when it's balanced. The offense has been way too top-heavy with Ertz and Jeffery.

The Eagles need to involve Agholor in the mid-range game, not just on short passes that have little chance to become big plays.

He proved last year he's capable of making big plays. Groh and Doug Pederson have to find ways to get Agholor involved like last year.

Not just as a guy to catch dump-offs but as a down-field threat.

• Agholor averaged 12.4 yards per catch last year, but he's down to 8.5 this year - lowest among all NFL receivers with at least 20 catches. That's a 31 percent decrease in yards per catch.

• Agholor has 22 receptions for six yards or fewer but just 12 from 7-20 yards and just one between 20-50 yards.

• The only wide receiver in NFL history who netted fewer yards on 38 or more catches seven games into a season is Wes Welker, who was 40-for-319 seven games into the 2010 season. 

"He's a guy that we know is a playmaker for us and we love his talent and his ability and what he brings to this offense," Groh said. "Got to continue to try to find ways to get him the ball down the field." 

Got to try harder.

Agholor has always been productive with the mid-range ball. Last year, he had 16 catches between 15 and 50 yards.

Just in the Super Bowl alone he had five double-digit catches, including gains of 17, 18 and 24 yards.

So he had as many catches of over 15 yards in a Super Bowl as he has in five games playing with Carson Wentz this year.

Where is that now? Where are those plays? 

Agholor is too talented to be used like this. Catching passes for minus-two yards or plus-three yards. 

The Eagles have gone from 29 points per game last year to 22 this year. They have a guy who can help. He's the exact same guy he was last year. 

Something has to change, and it's up to Pederson and Groh to figure out how.

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