Punch Drunk Wonderland

Examining Nelson Agholor’s Dreadful Rookie Season in Philadelphia

Nelson Agholor Philadelphia Eagles

Via our friends at numberFire.com.

One of my favorite aspects of heading home to visit family in the Philadelphia area is indulging myself in the local sports talk radio scene. It is particularly comical after an Eagles loss when the world is burning and the callers’ hot takes are as obnoxious as ever.

Following Philadelphia’s loss to Washington this past weekend, which eliminated them from playoff contention, I heard the calls for head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Bill Davis to go back to coaching a high school team and the sheer loathing of DeMarco MurrayKiko Alonso, and Byron Maxwell.

But lost among the disdain for those coaches and players is the disappointing rookie season of Nelson Agholor.

Granted, I may have missed some of the fury directed toward Agholor, but I believe he’s been mostly an afterthought in this debacle of a season for the Eagles.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for an Eagles team in the midst of a disappointing season, but following lofty offseason expectations, the 20th overall pick in the draft has come up woefully short.

A Replacement for Jeremy Maclin

After Jeremy Maclin signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as a free agent this offseason, the Eagles responded by taking Agholor, from the University of Southern California, in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

Almost immediately, the presumptions that Agholor could replace Maclin in the offense began.

In the year prior, Maclin had his best year as an Eagles receiver with 85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. Per our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Maclin’s 111.21 Reception NEP ranked him as the ninth most productive wideout last season among receivers with more than 50 receptions.

NEP measures how many points a player adds to his team’s expected scoring total; for more on NEP, check out our glossary.

Agholor clearly had some big shoes to fill, and thus far, he has been a letdown.

In 12 games this year, Agholor has recorded only 21 receptions on 41 targets for 260 yards and 1 touchdown. Agholor has yet to exceed 3 catches or top 64 yards in a single game. He ranks fifth on the Eagles in targets and seventh on the team in receptions.

Agholor owns a similar stat line to that of teammate Riley Cooper. Cooper has caught 21 passes on 40 targets for 327 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Of the 104 receivers with at least 20 receptions on the year, Agholor ranks 101st in Reception NEP (19.86). Only Andrew Hawkins, Javontee HerndonTaylor Gabriel, and Eddie Royal have posted worse numbers. Cooper’s 31.95 Reception NEP ranks him 84th.

Maclin, on the other hand, ranks 23rd (80.34) in Reception NEP this year.

Even among players with similar volume, Agholor is near the bottom in efficiency. Among 67 receivers with between 30 and 80 targets, Agholor’s Reception NEP per target (0.48) ranks 56th.

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