There is going to be a battle at training camp for the backup tight end spot, and one of the fighters for that tile will be a player drafted as a wide receiver. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is switching positions after three unproductive seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles, according to The Inquirer’s Jeff McLane.
He’ll have an opportunity to compete for the No. 2 spot behind Dallas Goedert. Arcega-Whiteside is still listed at receiver on the team’s official roster – standing at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds – and his transition will begin once players report for offseason training on Monday, April 25. He’ll be trying to steal snaps away from fellow tight ends Tyree Jackson, Jack Stoll, Noah Togiai, and Richard Rodgers. McLane noted that Arcega-Whiteside “added weight during winter training and has embraced the move to a new position.” So, there you have it, the first surprise move of the offseason comes a week before the NFL draft.
Arcega-Whiteside was a second-round pick (57th overall) out of Stanford in 2019. Known as a sound blocker and special-teams contributor, the 25-year-old has struggled to carve out a role as a reliable receiver. He has only 16 receptions for 290 yards and 1 touchdown in 40 regular-season games. His lone receiving score came on a 15-yard strike from Carson Wentz in 2019. Arcega-Whiteside also has a touchdown off a Miles Sanders’ fumble recovery in 2020.
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Nick Sirianni Raves About Arcega-Whiteside’s Blocking
It’s not clear if the idea to switch Arcega-Whiteside from receiver to tight end came from Nick Sirianni or someone higher up the food chain. It’s no small secret that general manager Howie Roseman wields unchecked power on personnel decisions. But this move feels like a Sirianni decision, especially when looking back at the coach’s end-of-year comments on the development of his young receiving corps. And specifically, Arcega-Whiteside’s ability to block.
“You have that blocking element of J.J. [Arcega-Whiteside],” Sirianni said on January 19. “J.J. did a really good job in his role this year of our enforcer. Of our guy that would go out and get blocks when we needed him to pave the way for the No. 1 rush offense in the NFL.
“And I don’t want to say pave the way. We know our offensive line and our tight ends and our backs pave the way. But that is a very underappreciated position in the blocking wide receiver, because those sometimes spring five-yard runs into 15-yard runs or 20-yard runs or 8-yard runs into 28-yard runs.”
NFL Set to Release 2022 Schedule on May 12
The Eagles’ slate of home and away opponents has been set in stone for months, but the dates and times for those games has yet to be announced. The big reveal on the 2022 schedule will finally happen on May 12 at 8 p.m. on NFL Network, according to a press release from the league.
Individual clubs are permitted to announce their first home game opponent on May 12 at 6 p.m. And individual tickets will go on sale once each game is announced. Stay tuned for schedule leaks in the coming days.