Over the last two weeks, the Philadelphia Eagles have added youth and depth to their wide receivers by signing Chris Givens and Rueben Randle.
The two moves not only made the Birds a much deeper unit at the receiver position, but added some upside and dynamic potential that didn't exist with last year's bunch. The potential is there for this to be a far more productive group than the 2015 squad.
Just look at the team's depth chart from a year ago and compare to what it is now.
Riley Cooper was still one of the team's starting wide receivers, and while he was capable of making an occasional play here and there, it was a role that he was badly miscast in. Jordan Matthews, the team's best wideout, was limited by Chip Kelly to serve exclusively in the slot. Rookie first-round pick Nelson Agholor flashed some explosive ability, but was largely a non-factor. Josh Huff, possibly the biggest enigma of the group, was responsible for some of the offense's biggest plays, but was maddeningly inconsistent. And of course, veteran Miles Austin was there to bring nothing to the table with the exception of some back-breaking drops, or an illegal formation penalty or two that wiped a big play or two.
Now, the team has already rid themselves of Cooper and Austin. Both receivers were essentially dead weight, and offered little to no upside.
The trio of Matthews, Agholor, and Huff all have another year under their belts, and with a fresh offensive system in place, could see their performances improve.
Head coach Doug Pederson has already stated that Matthews will not be limited to the slot, and will get some looks on the outside. Agholor can't help but improve from last year. The former first-rounder has a lot of ability, and I think that part of the problem last year was simply that Chip Kelly didn't make nearly enough of an effort to get him involved throughout the season. Huff isn't necessarily a lock to make the team, but he's just another guy that could potentially benefit greatly from playing in a new system.
The newcomers Givens and Randle could really add a lot to the offense.
Givens has the ability to stretch the field, and give the Eagles a deep threat that defenses will have to honor. He's been a bit of a disappointment ever since a promising rookie year with the Rams in 2012 where he caught 42 passes for 698 yards and three touchdowns. However, he's still young enough that there's hope for his career to be salvaged.
Randle is a very interesting case. The former second-round pick has put up some productive numbers for the Giants, catching 71 passes for 938 yards and three touchdowns in 2014, and 57 grabs for 797 and eight touchdowns last season. While there have been some questions his focus and desire to be great, Randle has shown the ability to be a very good number two receiver. Depending on the development of Agholor, he could easily push for a starting job in training camp.
The key word when you look at this group of Eagles' wide receivers is upside. It's a word that could only apply to a couple of guys on last year's team, but is now present throughout the depth chart.
From top to bottom, each of the five wide receivers offers considerable potential. While they may all not harness their individual upsides in 2016, this is a group that has a chance to be much more dynamic.
Denny Basens is a contributing writer to Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @DennyBasens.