Eagles’ Former Highly Touted WR Signs With NFC Rival

Nick Sirianni

Getty Former Eagles WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is signing with the Falcons.

A former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver has found a new home.

As noted by Tori McElhaney of the Atlanta Falcons’ official website, the Falcons are signing wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. Arcega-Whiteside previously had a tryout with Atlanta during rookie minicamp.

The 26-year-old receiver is best known for being a former second-round draft pick of the Eagles. However, Philadelphia traded him during the 2022 preseason to the Seattle Seahawks after three disappointing seasons with the franchise. He was eventually released by Seattle after not appearing in a single game with the franchise.

“The Falcons have signed WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, the organization announced on Monday,” writes McElhaney.

Why Eagles Traded J.J. Arcega-Whiteside After 3 Seasons

Arcega-Whiteside spent three years in Philadelphia, but failed to make much of a dent with the Eagles. His best season saw him catch 10 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown during the 2019 season. Over the next two seasons, Arcega-Whiteside caught just six passes for a total of 121 yards and zero touchdowns in 24 games and two starts.

The former 57th overall pick has been a major disappointment during his NFL career. Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia details how historically underwhelming Arcega-Whiteside’s production has been as a former second-round draft pick.

“J.J. Arcega-Whiteside so far has been one of the most disappointing 2nd-round wide receivers in NFL history,” Frank wrote in February of 2022. “Only two receivers drafted in the 1st or 2nd round who’ve played in at least 40 games their first three seasons have had fewer catches.”

But during his collegiate career, the 6-foot-2, 225-pound receiver was a highly-touted product coming out of UCLA. Arcega-Whiteside posted 1,059 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns during his junior season in 2018, tying a school record for touchdown catches in a single season. His 2018 season performance garnered him Second-Team All-Pac 12 honors.

Why J.J. Arcega-Whiteside May Have Best Opportunity With Falcons

While Arcega-Whiteside has struggled to make an impact during his young NFL career, he may receive an opportunity with the Falcons for an expanded role. The team is lacking viable receiving options outside of returnee Drake London, with receivers such as Mack Hollins and Scotty Miller looking like the next best weapons in the receiving core. Considering neither of those receivers are large in frame, Arcega-Whiteside could carve out a role as a red zone threat for second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder.

“The 6-foot-2, 237 pound pass catcher may not have the build of the long and speedy receivers that are so often coveted in this league, but based on the way this offense likes to play, Arcega-Whiteside is someone who could fit right in,” McElhaney wrote during the first day of rookie minicamp. “He runs with power, and he’s thick. He’d be a tough tackle for a wiry defensive back. I’d like to see his blocking skills in action, too, because of his size. With the way the Falcons run the ball, that skill set could be a particular draw in this offense.”

In 40 games and seven starts, Arcega-Whiteside holds career totals of 16 receptions and 290 receiving yards along with one touchdown.

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