With the chips at the middle of the table on Thursday night, the Eagles held on to their first round pick and drafted USC wide receiver Nelson Agholor. With lofty expectations and an opportunity to thrive on the horizon, here’s all you need to know about the newest Eagle:
First, let’s get to know a little bit about Nelson Agholor away from the statistics, measureables, and projections:
1. According to Wikipedia, Agholor will be the 21st Nigerian-born player in NFL history.
2. Born on May 24th, 1993, Agholor will celebrate his 22nd birthday in less than a month.
3. Nelson is the fourth of five children in his family. His father’s name is Felix, and his mother’s name is Caroline.
4. Nelson’s middle name? Efamehule. It translates to “may my name not be forgotten.”
5. Agholor attended high school at Berkeley Prep in Tampa Bay, Florida.
6. Agholor majored in Communications while at the University of Southern California.
Now we get to Nelson Agholor, the football player:
7. While in high school, he was a 5-star recruit and was rated as the 3rd best athlete in the 2012 recruiting class.
8. He declared for the NFL Draft following his junior season at USC.
9. Agholor was the fourth wide receiver taken in the 2015 NFL Draft, behind Amari Cooper, Kevin White, and DeVante Parker.
10. At 6’0 and 198 pounds, Agholor has experience as an outside receiver and as a slot receiver. His versatility will be useful in Chip Kelly’s offense.
11. Considered one of his best skills, Agholor is an elite route runner who understands his position exceptionally well.
12. On April 23rd, Bleacher Report draft expert Matt Miller tweeted this nugget on Agholor:
13. He ran an impressive 4.42 in the forty-yard dash at the NFL Combine.
14. During his three seasons at USC, Agholor compiled a total of 178 catches for 2572 yards and 20 touchdowns. Here’s an outstanding highlight video (seriously, take a few minutes to watch it) that includes some of the best plays of his college career:
15. An asset as a returner, Agholor returned 37 punts for 540 yards and four touchdowns while at USC. That’s a whopping average of 14.6 (!) yards per return.
16. In his final season as a Trojan, Agholor was named a third-team All-American and a first-team All-Pac-12 player. In 2013, he was named a second-team All-Pac-12 returner and also received an honorable mention as a wide receiver.
Here’s a few meaningful quotes detailing the Eagles’ selection on Thursday night:
20. “Agholor is a precise route runner. He has added value as a great returner. He reminds you of Jeremy Maclin, the guy he’s replacing. Agholor can play anywhere, outside and in the slot. The Philadelphia Eagles are going to love him.” –NFL Network’s Mike Mayock shortly after the Eagles selected Agholor.
My take: “He’s a student of the game, he works at it. Ultimately it allowed us to have some fun with him and be really creative.” Those are the words of USC head coach Steve Sarkisian, who summarized his only season with Nelson Agholor following the wide receiver’s decision to declare for the NFL Draft following his junior year. Doesn’t that quote just scream “Chip Kelly”? And how can you watch Agholor’s highlight video (posted above) and not be excited? Though his SPARQ rating of 115.7 suggests that he’s only an average athlete by NFL standards, Agholor’s sure-handedness, precision route running, and versatility made him irresistible to the Eagles at pick 20. While he may not possess elite top-end speed, Agholor has tremendous vision and is excellent with the ball in his hands. The rookie will make an immediate impact on an offense that already has an elite running game, Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, and a reportedly-progressing Josh Huff; he’ll also be a consistent threat as a punt returner. Though the regular season is still months away, don’t be surprised if Agholor’s rookie-season stats surpass the 872 yards and 8 touchdowns that Jordan Matthews tallied during his rookie campaign in 2014.
Follow Sidelines and Headlines creator Ray Butler on Twitter: @RayButlerII