First-round draft pick DeVonta Smith continues to rack up the awards and accolades, but it’s another emerging star receiver starting to fuel the Philadelphia Eagles’ hype train.
Travis Fulgham, who was claimed off waivers last August, led all Philly pass-catchers with 539 receiving yards in 2020. Many in the know feel the 2019 sixth-rounder is poised for an even bigger role this season, maybe as a starter on the outside opposite Smith.
Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox listed Fulgham as the “secret weapon” for the Eagles in 2021. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder flashed good speed and cutting ability while showing a knack for going up and getting contested catches. Here is how Know described his impact:
He caught 38 passes, scored four touchdowns and provided a passer rating of 96.5 when targeted. While players like Smith, 2020 first-round pick Jalen Reagor and tight end Dallas Goedert are going to command plenty of defensive attention, Fulgham could be the team’s sneaky difference-maker.
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Fulgham’s Mysterious Disappearance Last Year
Fulgham was a breakout star in Weeks 4 through 8 last year before mysteriously disappearing from the offense. He recorded 435 receiving yards and four touchdowns during that dominant stretch. Wide receivers coach Aaron Moorehead revealed that the Old Dominion product was dealing with a previously undisclosed injury, plus he wasn’t making the right adjustments when opposing defenses keyed in on stopping him.
“The four weeks showed me and everybody a lot,” Moorehead told reporters at spring OTAs, via NJ Advance Media. “With that, it also comes with the responsibility of understanding that defenses will start scheming towards you to stop you. For a young player, it took a little bit for him to understand that sometimes. Then, he got nicked up a little bit and didn’t complain, but he had to play through it. As the season got going, it wore on him a little bit.”
Fulgham could be competing for a starting job when training camp opens on July 27. Rookie DeVonta Smith and second-year receiver Jalen Reagor are going to be spread all over the formation, with veteran Greg Ward expected to resume his trusty position in the slot. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Quez Watkins, John Hightower, Jhamon Ausbon, Michael Walker will compete for the final roster spots.
Overlooked Coming Out of Old Dominion
Fulgham’s rise up the depth chart in Philly was a long time coming. The 25-year-old receiver was waived twice in 2020 after failed tryouts with the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers. The Eagles initially released him after claiming him off waivers on Aug. 20 then re-signed him to their practice squad three days later.
The disrespect dates back to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine. Coming out of a small school, Fulgham wasn’t high on the radar of most scouts despite leading Conference USA with 1,083 yards on 63 receptions. His streak of nine straight games with a touchdown was the longest such streak in college football for 2018.
And Fulgham’s size make him a dual-threat either in the slot or on the outside. John Allen, his wide receivers coach at Old Dominion, gushed about Fulgham prior to the 2019 draft in an interview with CBS Sports.
“He can run every route, there’s no question,” Allen told Ryan Wilson. “Especially when you’re talking about running inside routes because he’s a bigger target, and he’s smooth and he can negotiate coverage because he can tight-turn. He’s really going to be exceptional there [in the slot].”