J.J. Arcega-Whiteside Is a Weapon in Waiting for the Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles looked to bolster their offense during the NFL Draft. In the first three rounds, they used all of their selections on the offensive side of the ball, with tackle Andre Dillard at 22nd overall and running back Miles Sanders at 53.
Four picks later, the Eagles selected Stanford wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, giving quarterback Carson Wentz yet another weapon at his disposal and adding depth to a position that lost Golden Tate and Jordan Matthews this offseason. What exactly do they have in their newest addition?
As a high school athlete in South Carolina, Arcega-Whiteside was an All-State performer in football, basketball, and track. But despite being a top-10 recruit in the state, Arcega-Whiteside opted for Stanford.
As a redshirt freshman in 2016, Arcega-Whiteside played in every game and finished third on the team with 24 receptions. He used his basketball skills and frame to lead the Cardinal with five receiving touchdowns and had his first 100-yard receiving game against Oregon. With Christian McCaffrey carrying the load in a run-heavy offense, Stanford averaged only 23 passing attempts per game. While Arcega-Whiteside's raw numbers are low, from a market share perspective, he accounted for 25 percent of the receiving yards and 38 percent of the receiving touchdowns, resulting in a dominator rating of 0.32 and a breakout age of 19.7 -- a pair of RotoViz metrics that have predictive value for future NFL success.
He took over the top receiver role in 2017 and led the Cardinal in every category, doubling his reception total from 24 to 48 and out-pacing his closest teammate by over 300 yards. What's more impressive is he cleared a 40 percent market share for both receiving yards and touchdowns despite a season in which two quarterbacks attempting over 150 passes each.
As a junior in 2018, Arcega-Whiteside cleared the 1,000-yard receiving mark and found paydirt 14 times. He had five 100-yard games and was a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. His final-year market share dropped to 0.33 of the team's receiving yards, but his touchdown market share exploded to 0.56, giving him a final-year dominator rating of 0.45.
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It was a slow rise, but all in all, Arcega-Whiteside was impressively productive in his time at Stanford, making him an intriguing prospect heading into the draft.
Arcega-Whiteside measured 6-foot-2 inches tall and weighted 225 pounds at the NFL Combine. He ran at Stanford's Pro Day and clocked a time of 4.49 seconds in the 40-yard dash with a 34-inch vertical and a broad jump of 9-foot-10-inches.
He shares a similar build and playing style to that of new teammate Alshon Jeffery. Because of that, and combined with Nelson Agholor and DeSean Jackson to round out the top three receiver spots, a starting role seems unlikely at the start of Arcega-Whiteside's pro career. However, Jeffrey just turned 29 while Agholor is in the final year of his deal and is subject of trade rumors. Jackson always carries injury risk and has no guaranteed money after 2020.
The Eagles have a lot of offensive weapons, including the big targets that are Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert, as well as a trio of backs in Jordan Howard, Corey Clement and the aforementioned Sanders. Outside of injury, it's hard to envision a scenario in which Arcega-Whiteside sees more than 50 targets, which is backed by J.J. Zachariason's early projections.
In spite of that, his production and draft capitol make him a fine target for all dynasty teams -- rebuilding or contending -- in the back-half of the first round in rookie drafts.