Eagles' 2 young receivers could surpass DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, and make team history as a duo
Travis Fulgham and Jalen Reagor are just starting out on their NFL careers, but already the potential is enticing.
Let's start with the possibility of both surpassing 1,000 yards receiving in the same season, something that has never happened with a pair of receivers in Eagles history.
Harold Carmichael and Mike Quick never did it in the same season. Neither did DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Or Terrell Owens and, well, anybody else.
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No, it most likely won't happen this season for Fulgham and Reagor, either, but that could change as soon as next season.
Fulgham was promoted from the practice squad on Oct. 3, and has played in just five games. And Reagor, the Eagles' first-round draft pick, has missed five games to have surgery on his thumb.
But as the Eagles begin the second half of their season Sunday against the Giants, both players should become a significant part of the Eagles' passing game.
Fulgham has 435 yards receiving in those five games. Over a full 16-game season, that equates to 1,392 yards. That would rank second in Eagles history to Quick, who had 1,409 yards receiving in 1983.
If Fulgham keeps his pace of averaging 87 yards receiving for the rest of the season, he'll finish with 1,131 yards.
Reagor, meanwhile, has 112 yards receiving in three games. He'd have to average 111 yards receiving per game over the final eight games to reach 1,000.
Keep in mind that the two have barely practiced together, let alone with Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.
"Honestly, we’re learning and growing together on the fly," Wentz said about his rapport with Fulgham and Reagor. "Usually, you have the offseason. You have the spring. You get some summer workouts scheduled. Then you get to training camp.
"But training camp was limited this year, and Travis came late. So all of those things, we’re kind of growing our chemistry and communication on the fly ... I think the second half of the season, you’ll keep seeing more."
Maclin and Jackson came the closest to both surpassing 1,000 yards in the same season, in 2010. Jackson had 1,056 yards receiving and led the NFL with an average of 22.5 yards per catch. Maclin had 964 yards receiving and led the Eagles with 10 touchdowns.
But that was somewhat expected. Jackson was the Eagles' second-round pick in 2008 and Maclin was their first-round pick in 2009.
As a comparison, last season there were six teams that had two receivers surpass 1,000 yards receiving:
►Tampa Bay's Chris Godwin, a Middletown High School graduate, had 1,333 yards, and Mike Evans had 1,157.
►The Los Angeles Rams' Cooper Kupp 1,161, and Robert Woods 1,134.
► Dallas' Amari Cooper 1,189, and Michael Gallup 1,107.
►Cleveland's Jarvis Landry 1,174, and Odell Beckham Jr. 1,035.
►Carolina's D.J. Moore 1,175, and Christian McCaffrey 1,005.
►The Los Angeles Chargers' Keenan Allen 1,199, and Mike Williams 1,001.
Before the season started, it was expected that Jackson could get to 1,000 yards receiving along with tight end Zach Ertz.
But Jackson has played in only four games this season and has 155 yards receiving. He is currently on injured reserve, and could end up missing the rest of the season. Ertz is also on IR, and he has just 178 yards receiving.
Jackson only spoke to the media once this year, during the week leading up to the first game of the season. At that point, Fulgham was on the practice squad, and Reagor was just coming back after missing two weeks with a shoulder injury.
Yet Jackson was impressed with what he saw from Reagor during training camp.
"Jalen, man, is an interesting cat," Jackson said. "He’s a young guy with a lot of confidence. Since Day 1, I saw his confidence level. He came in, nothing was too big for him. He came in, he earned his respect, he’s put in the work and he’s made plays. I see a lot of upside to him."
Catching up, and on, quickly
It happened all so quickly.
The Eagles came into the season trying to work Reagor into a veteran wide receiver unit with Jackson and Alshon Jeffery, along with Ertz and Dallas Goedert at tight end, and Miles Sanders at running back
It hasn't worked out that way. Combined, the five have played in just 19 games this season. Jeffery, who led Eagles wide receivers with only 490 yards receiving last season, is expected to make his season debut Sunday.
"We've got to spend as much time as we can on the field trying to get Carson comfortable and also get them comfortable with the offense and all that," Eagles coach Doug Pederson said about Fulgham and Reagor.
"It's a work in progress with a couple of the young players."
That's because Reagor and Fulgham have had maybe one full week together as starting wide receivers.
The Eagles signed Fulgham on Aug. 20 after he had been released earlier that month by the Lions, then the Packers. It took Fulgham about five days before he passed COVID-19 tests before he could even practice.
At that point, training camp was winding down, so Fulgham was mostly stuck with the deep reserves.
Fulgham might have had a handful of snaps with Reagor before Aug. 30, when Reagor suffered a shoulder injury. Reagor didn't return until the season opener on Sept. 13 against Washington.
Reagor did practice leading up to the game, but Fulgham was on the practice squad, so they might have had a few snaps together.
Then Reagor tore ligaments in his thumb against the Rams on Sept. 20, and went on IR. Fulgham, meanwhile, was on the practice squad for another two weeks.
Once Fulgham got this chance, he started producing. He had a 42-yard TD catch against the 49ers in his first game, on Oct. 4. The next week against Pittsburgh, Fulgham had 10 catches for 152 yards and another touchdown.
Fulgham hasn't slowed down since.
"Travis is a smart guy, he works really had and he’s got a knack for making plays," wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead said. "The quarterback trusts him. When you throw the ball up to the guy, he’s going to go up and fight for it every single time, and run routes and do it crisp.
"He’s tweaking a little bit of his technique just to make sure it’s the way we want to do it, but he did that quickly ... I’m excited to see where the rest of the year can take Travis."
Reagor, meanwhile, didn't practice again until Oct. 28. He and Fulgham played in a game together for the first time on Nov. 1 against Dallas. Fulgham had 5 catches for 73 yards, Reagor 3 for 16, including his first career touchdown reception in the Eagles' 23-9 win.
The Eagles haven't played since.
"It’s chemistry, just getting a lot of reps in," Reagor said. "And then also being in tune with Carson. Just making sure I know where he wants me, and make sure I know what I’m doing. It’s just about connecting with the deep balls, then having the chemistry and having the reps done in practice."
That leaves Reagor and Fulgham as the Eagles' top receivers.
"Travis is my teammate, my home boy," Reagor said. "We're cool. It’s not like something I look at like, 'Oh, we haven’t had time (together).'
"I practice with these guys every day, and I’m just going to continue to grow with them, continue to help them, continue to let them help me, and we’ll collectively do this thing."
2 Eagles receivers with nearly 1,000 yards
2018, Zach Ertz 1,163 yards, Alshon Jeffery 843
2014, Jeremy Maclin 1,318, Jordan Matthews 872
2013, DeSean Jackson 1,332, Riley Cooper 835
2010, DeSean Jackson 1,056, Jeremy Maclin 964
1996, Irving Fryar 1,195, Chris Jones 859
Contact Martin Frank at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Mfranknfl.