PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - DECEMBER 26: DeVonta Smith #6 of the Philadelphia Eagles makes a reception against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on December 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

By Dylan MacKinnon

The Eagles have been around a long time. But if you look at their history at WR, it gets bleak. They haven’t had a 1000-yard WR since Jeremy Maclin in 2014. The McNabb years were infamous for having mediocre WRs. The Eagles have had great WRS for a short time. Like a single season of Terrell Owens, or a few years of Chris Carter. But overall, the Eagles Wide Receiver Corps have more often than not left something to be desired.

But this year has a chance to change that narrative. With the addition of AJ Brown, the continued development of DeVonta Smith, and Quez Watkins, the Eagles have serious talent in the WR Room. So much so, PFF even ranked them as the 4th best Receiving Corp in the NFL. Add in Dallas Goedert, and they have a formidable group of pass catchers for Jalen Hurts to target.

But where do they stack up All-Time among Eagles’ WR Rooms? Are they already the best before even stepping on the field? Or have the Eagles had better WR groups than we remember? Let’s take a look at where they fall among the top  Eagles Wide Receiver Corps of all time. We are including anyone who catches passes in this. So for the sake of this article, Tight Ends and RBs who catch passes count towards having the best Wide Receiver Corps.

  • 6) 1961- McDonald, Retzlaff, Walston, Lucas

    1961 Eagles

    Credit: Elsa Hasch /Allsport

    Picking between this team and the 1960 version was difficult. Technically they are the same group. And in 1960 they won the Championship. But I went with the 1961 team, helmed by QB Sonny Jurgensen instead of Norm Van Brocklin. The reason is they were way more productive in 1961. This team put up 3.824 yards through the air, which is still top 10 all-time in Eagles history. And this is back when there were only 14 games, and passing was not King in the NFL like it is today.

    Tommy McDonald is the obvious stand-out. He put up 1144 yards, and 13 TDs, in just 14 games. But Retzlaff, who is still 2nd all-time in receiving yards for the Eagles, put up numbers too. He had 769 yards and 8 TDs. Dick Lucas had just 8 catches for 67 yards. But 5 of those 8 catches went for a TD.

  • 5) 2004- Owens, Westbrook, Pinkston, Mitchell, Lewis

    2004 Eagles

    (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    Terrell Owens is the best WR to ever wear an Eagles jersey. His one year here, before it all blew up, was phenomenal. Even with missing time, he still put up 1200 yards and 14 TDs. Behind him, Brian Westbrook is maybe the most dangerous RB in the passing game the Eagles ever had. 703 yards, and 6  TDs for him just through the air in 2004.

    The issue is there was not much behind them. Todd Pinkston was mediocre at best. And Freddie Mitchell’s claim to fame is a couple of lucky plays, and nothing else. People will always remember him catching the 4th and 26 play, but outside that he did nothing. And then there was LJ Smith, who was a solid Tight End, but nothing special. As great as the top 2 are, the rest of the group keeps this squad from being higher up.

    But with all that said, McNabb still has the 3rd most passing yards in a single season ever because of this season. And in total when you add Koy Detmer’s yards it is 2nd most total.

  • 4)1988- Jackson, Carter, Byars, Quick

    1988 Eagles

    (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)

    The name power here is phenomenal. Keith Jackson is a 3 time All Pro Tight End, including making the team this season, which was his rookie year. Chris Carter is a Hall of Famer, although it was with other teams besides the Eagles he made his name. Mike Quick is one of the best WRs in Eagles history, although this season came towards the end of his career. And Keith Byars was a force catching passes out of the backfield. This season helped Randall Cunningham finish 2nd in the MVP race. Which is no surprise with the plethora of weapons he had.

    On paper you could make an argument its the most talented group the Eagles ever had. But the production and the results were below what you would expect from a group this good.

  • 3) 2017- Jeffrey, Agholor, Ertz, Clement, Foles

    2017 Eagles

    (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

    Winning a Super Bowl gives them a bit of a bump. But this group was genuinely good. Most Eagles fans’ memories of Alshon Jeffrey are tainted by how it went after this season, but he was really impressive his first year here. He had 789 and 9 TDs. He also caught the first TD in the Super Bowl. Then there was Ertz who is, and may remain, the best Eagles Tight End ever. He led the Eagles with 824 yards, and also had 8 TDs. Oh, and he caught the game-winning TD.

    After them, Nelson Agholor had his best season with the Eagles. He was a massive disappointment every other year. But many thought this season was a breakout for him. 768 yards, and 8 TDs by him. He did not catch a TD in the Super Bowl, but he did lead the Eagles with 9 catches in the game. Corey Clement was incredibly impressive as a pass-catcher in his rookie year. he too had a TD in the Super Bowl and led the Eagles with 100 receiving yards in the game. This season was a perfect storm. Everyone seemed to step up, including this group of pass-catchers.

  • 2) 2022- Brown, Smith, Goedert, Watkins, Gainwell

    2022 Eagles

    (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images)

    This group has a chance to be the best. The only thing holding them back is they haven’t played yet, and we do not know what Jalen Hurts will look like. But in terms of pure talent, it may be the most talented and deep WR room they have ever had. AJ Brown is a top 10 talent in the NFL right now at WR. His overall numbers were down last year, because he missed time. But his per game numbers were still elite. DeVonta Smith has the potential to be in that category. He broke the Eagles rookie record, on a team that barley threw the ball.

    Then you look at Dallas Goedert who is a top 5 TE in the league. After him Quez Watkins is a solid 4th option. And while Miles Sanders has weirdly disappeared from the passing game after being great at that his rookie year, Kenny Gainwell was fairly productive as a pass catcher out of the backfield his rookie year.

    It will be interesting to see their production with Jalen Hurts at QB, who still has some improvements to make as a QB. But in terms on pure talent, this is the most impressive WR Groups the Eagles have maybe ever had.

  • 1) 2010- Jackson, Maclin, Avant, McCoy and Celek

    2010 Eagles

    (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    It is kind of hard to beat this. Other groups had singular players better than any of these 5, but no other team went as deep with quality pass catches as the 2010 team. Desean Jackson is one of the best deep threats in NFL History, and put up over 1000 yards in 2010. Jeremy Maclin was a quality number 2, and we eventually saw just how good he was the year after the Eagles cut Jackson and Maclin put up a 1300 yard season. Then you have Jason Avant who was as solid a third WR as you could ever ask for. Brandon Marshall even recently praised him.

    “When I went to the slot, Jason Avant was the guy I studied… He got the best hands I’ve ever seen”- Brandon Marshall 

    But on top of the WRs, you had Brent Celek, and LeSean McCoy. They were the 4th and 5th options on the field for passes, and between them they had 1000 yards and 6 TDs. As a whole this team put up over 4200 yards, which is among the most in Eagles history. This is the standard this current team wants to reach. Individually, Brown, Smith, and Goedert can be better than these guys, but they have to show it this year. The 2010 team proved it on the field with Mike Vick and Nick Foles throwing to them. They deserve the top spot until this year’s team proves it themselves.

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