Eagles training camp 2022: Final receiver spots will be intriguing

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Battle for Eagles’ final receiver spots will be intriguing originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

We're getting close to Eagles training camp so we’re taking a look at five notable camp competitions.

We already looked at right guard, linebacker and cornerback.

Up today: The final WR spot(s):

We know the top four receivers on the roster are A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal. That leaves either one or possibly two roster spots up for grabs and it’ll be an intriguing competition for those positions.

Jalen Reagor

Age: 23
Experience: Year 3 (28 games, 24 starts)
Size: 5-foot-11, 197 pounds

This might be unpopular, but Reagor is a clear frontrunner to make the 53-man roster for several reasons. One of them is financial. Because of the structure of his rookie contract, the Eagles would actually take on a bigger cap hit in 2022 if they decided to cut ties with Reagor. The other reason is a pretty obvious one: It’s rare to give up on first-round picks this soon. Reagor’s NFL career has obviously been extremely disappointing, but the Eagles still think there’s some talent inside him. And this year he’ll go into the season as the No. 5 receiver, not the No. 2 he was at the start of 2021. Maybe that will take some of the pressure off Reagor and let him focus on a smaller role as a backup receiver and perhaps still a primary return man.

Greg Ward

Age: 26
Experience: Year 4 (40 games, 13 starts)
Size: 5-foot-11, 190 pounds

As much as the Eagles like and respect Ward, he saw his role in the offense take a big hit in 2021. In the final year under Doug Pederson, Ward was the Eagles’ primary slot receiver, catching 53 passes for 419 yards and 6 touchdowns. In 2021, he caught 7 for 95 yards, but 3 of those catches were for touchdowns. Still, it’s fair to wonder if Ward has already maximized his potential, whereas some of the other guys on this list might still be ascending players in the NFL.

John Hightower

Age: 26
Experience: Year 2 (14 games, 4 starts)
Size: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds

The Eagles drafted Hightower a round before Watkins in the 2020 draft and even gave him a bigger role first. In 2020, Hightower played an awful lot early in the season, catching 10 passes for 167 yards. But since that stretch early in his rookie season, Hightower saw his role decrease and he failed to make the roster in 2021. Hightower stuck on the practice squad and played in one game last year, but the Eagles kept him around for a reason.

Britain Covey

Age: 25
Experience: Rookie
Size: 5-foot-8, 173 pounds

Covey was a dynamic return man at Utah and that ability gives him a shot to make this team. During his college career, Covey returned four punts and one kickoff for touchdowns He averaged 11.9 yards per punt return and 25.4 yards per kick return. The Eagles didn’t have great success in the return game in 2021 and keeping a player like Covey could really help that.

Devon Allen

Age: 27
Experience: Rookie
Size: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds

All eyes are going to be on the Eagles’ resident Olympian once training camp starts. It’s a fascinating story. Allen is one of the greatest hurdlers in the world but he hasn’t played organized football since 2016. And his last really productive season came in 2014 at Oregon. So the odds are stacked against him in this competition, but you can’t teach world-class speed and he has it. If it doesn’t work out, the Eagles haven’t lost anything. If it works and he makes the roster, they’ll look like geniuses.

The rest

The other receivers on the roster are Deon Cain, Keric Wheatfall and Josh Hammond. Of those three, Cain has the most NFL experience and spent most of last season on the Eagles’ practice squad. Cain was a Colts draft pick (sixth round) back in 2018 when Nick Sirianni was their offensive coordinator. Cain has nine catches for 124 yards in his career.

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