Eagles Address Taking JJ Arcega-Whiteside over DK Metcalf

DK Metcalf

Getty Seahawks rookie WR DK Metcalf was the steal of the 2019 NFL Draft — and he was sitting right there for the Eagles to take.

It has been one of the most fiercely criticized debates from draft night. Why didn’t the Eagles take D.K. Metcalf?

Metcalf was sitting there at the end of the second round and went seven picks after Philadelphia selected J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. He also went 11 picks after the Eagles took Miles Sanders. While it’s too early to call either move a whiff, it certainly can be argued that Metcalf has a higher ceiling than both players.

The Seahawks nabbed the speedy 6-foot-4 receiver at 64th overall and he’s morphed into one of Russell Wilson’s favorite targets. Metcalf has 35 catches for 595 yards and five touchdowns. Meanwhile, Arcega-Whiteside has struggled to even get on the field. GM Howie Roseman still hasn’t commented on the decision-making process, but head coach Doug Pederson tried to shed some light on it.

“Obviously, you’re getting into the personnel side of it in the draft and all that, but we like the player [Metcalf],” Pederson said. “He’s a big, powerful, physical guy. He had some really good tape out there. It’s hard to go back and think about all the things that were going on.”

Of course, Pederson was quick to defend the guy the Eagles did take with the 57th overall pick. No regrets from the coach.

“And then we also liked J.J. We loved his size, his ability to play above the rim so-to-speak in the red zone and things like that,” Pederson said. “So similar players and [we] made a decision with J.J and we’ve been happy with it.”

JJ Arcega-Whiteside Ran Great Routes versus Patriots

The Eagles were down Alshon Jeffery last week and gave extra snaps to J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. While the numbers might not show up in the box score — one catch for 29 yards — Arcega-Whiteside made the most of his 19 total snaps. His 29-yard catch was an impressive piece of freelancing, plus the rookie was open and ran crafty routes on a few other plays. Carson Wentz just didn’t look his way.

As Thomas R. Petersen pointed out, he may have been the best receiver on the field versus the Patriots. Oddly, he was removed from the game after making his lone catch.

“He did some nice things in the game, even though the ball necessarily didn’t come his way,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said. “He ran some really good routes. He played physical. The signs of him getting work in practice kind of paid off in the game, and it’ll just give him more confidence moving forward.”

Eagles Defensive Coordinator Impressed with DK Metcalf

Count Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as a guy impressed with DK Metcalf’s early returns. When asked about the Seahawks talented rookie, he reeled off a slew of impressive stats.

Metcalf is averaging 17 yards per reception on limited targets (54 to be exact) while hauling in five touchdowns. Schwartz praised his size and speed for making him a nightmare matchup from a physical standpoint.

“He is a big, strong guy, and he has good size to go up and get balls,” Schwartz said. “He’s also a guy that is extremely strong with run after the catch. So it’s not just defending the deep balls. It’s also tackling the short ones and stuff like that.”

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