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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor
Leading up to the Eagles match-up with the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here.
In this edition of our week-long comparison, we will look at the receivers and tight ends that the Eagles and Seahawks will field on Sunday.
Philadelphia WRs & TEs | Nelson Agholor, Greg Ward Jr., Deontay Burnett, Robert Davis, JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Joshua Perkins, Shelton Gibson
Agholor has has a disappointing season with just 363 yards and three touchdowns. His number of game-losing drops outnumbers his number of touchdown receptions on the season and he missed five of the last six games of the season.
Greg Ward spent season after season trying to crack the 53-man roster after converting to receiver from the quarterback position. After being a top target in the AAF early in 2019, the Eagles brought him back and injuries forced them to call him up the the practice squad. In the final six games of the regular season, or the time since he was given a chance, Ward has responded with 28 catches for 254 yards and a touchdown. He also had another touchdown called back on a phantom penalty. Ward has been impressive and projecting those numbers out over a 16-game season, he would have 75 receptions for 677 yards and three touchdowns. In a probably half of those games, Ward was the only wideout that the defense really needed to look out for, so it would be interesting to see him perform with a defense that is worried about the other guys outside.
Robert Davis and Deontay Burnett have combined to be active for a total of four games for the Eagles. Both showed potential in week 17 with Burnett going for 48 yards, something that had only been done by the five receivers on the original Eagles 53-man roster 10 times all season and four times since week three, and Robert Davis mossing a defender with a one-handed grab that was called back by a penalty on the offensive line.
Arcega-Whiteside was a second-round pick and contributed next to nothing other than game-losing drops and poorly run routes for much of the season. It is telling that his best stretch was a six-game stretch from weeks 11-16 where he accumulated 155 yards.
Zach Ertz has been the most consistent pass catcher for 916 yards and six touchdowns. Ertz is a perennial top-three option at the position, but he suffered fractured ribs and a lacerated kidney in game 16 and missed the final game of the regular season. His availability remains in question.
Dallas Goedert is a top-10 tight end, but his usage is limited by the presence of Ertz. He has 607 yards and five touchdowns as the second tight end on the roster. Goedert has also been a much-improved blocker, which has been an understated development to further help out.
Rodgers rejoined the team after being waived with an injury designation and figures to play more as a blocking tight end that will allow Josh Perkins to play in more of a receiver role that he is best-suited for. Perkins added 87 yards and a touchdown in the final four games of the regular season while Rodgers made his season debut as a blocker in week 17.
The Eagles re-signed Shelton Gibson on Wednesday. He is a speed guy that had just three receptions over the previous two seasons with the Eagles and was not on an active roster for any of the 2019 season.
Seattle WRs & TEs | Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, Jaron Brown, David Moore, Malik Turner, John Ursua, Jacob Hollister, Luke Wilson, Tyrone Swoopes
Lockett is a playmaker and the Seahawks top option. 2019 was his first season eclipsing 1,000 yards as he totaled 1,057 on the season. 53 of his 82 receptions went for a first down and eight of them went for a touchdown.
Drafted just a few picks after Arcega-Whiteside, DK Metcalf is the Seahawks second top target. Despite his 6-4 frame and his fast start, he has not been able to catch everything thrown his way as he has hauled in just 58 of his 100 targets. His season total comes out to 900 yards and seven touchdowns.
Both Lockett and Metcalf are solid playmakers with the ball in their hands as the pair registered 305 and 273 yards after the catch respectively.
With Josh Gordon once again suspended indefinitely, the Seahawks have Jaron Brown, David Moore and Malik Turner competing for playing time. The trio has registered 766 yards and five touchdowns. David Moore has had the best season of the three, but they are pretty even with Moore registering 301 of those yards and two touchdowns.
John Ursua has played just 11 snaps and is the receiver who was stopped just short of the goal line against the 49ers last weekend. That was his first catch of the season.
At tight end, the Seahawks have had injury issues with Hollister not coming in until week six and Wilson not arriving until week four, then missing five of the six final games of the season. The two have a combined 428 yards and three touchdowns with Hollister registering 349 of those yards and all of the touchdowns.
Swoopes has been used as a blocker and has had just one target the entire season.
The availability of Ertz certainly plays a major factor in this decision.
Tight ends, even without Ertz, is a clear win for the Eagles as Dallas Goedert is easily the best on the field if Ertz can’t play.
At receiver, the emergence of Greg Ward has been enormous and the recent play of Davis and Burnett has been huge, but none of that has a track record to fall back on and, with the exception of Ward, I wouldn’t feel confident declaring that any of them could make a contribution. Lockett is a top receiver in the league and DK Metcalf has the ability to change games in one play.
If I was looking at Zach Ertz, Dallas Goedert and Greg Ward starting, there might be an argument to say that the Eagles are better off. With Ertz questionable to play, that argument really can’t be made. Lockett and Metcalf have shown more than any of the Eagles receivers and Seattle’s three receiver behind that pair are, at this stage, a lot like what the Eagles are hoping to get out of the pair of Burnett and Davis – anything more than that would be a bonus.
Even without a dominant tight end, Seattle takes this round in a runaway.