Even though the Eagles leading pass catcher in the last three seasons has not actually been a wide receiver, in 2007, their young receiving corps showed that they deserve recognition and respect.
Kevin Curtis, a free agent signing last off-season, led the Eagles receivers this year with 77 catches for 1,110 yards and six touchdowns. Formerly a number three receiver behind Tory Holt and Isaac Bruce in St. Louis, Curtis appeared worthy in 2007 of the big contract he got from Philadelphia by providing a speed threat on the outside along with outstanding hustle. At 29 years old and in his fifth year in the NFL, the Eagles oldest wide out recorded over 100 yards receiving in three games, the most memorable performance coming in the week three match up against Detroit where Curtis torched the Lions secondary for 221 yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches.
When the Eagles did not get Curtis involved in the offense, the result was usually not good. Philadelphia posted a record of 1-3 this year in the four games where Curtis finished with fewer than 30 yards receiving.
Reggie Brown celebrates a touchdown against the Saints.
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
On the other side, Reggie Brown got off to a slow start this year after finishing 2006 with eight touchdown receptions, but the third year receiver picked his game up as the season went on and also looked better as Donovan McNabb’s health improved. After posting only eight catches for 81 yards in the first four games of 2007, Brown recorded a career-high eight catches against the Vikings in week eight and caught all four of his touchdown receptions after week nine.
Brown finished the year with a career-high 61 catches and has now increased his reception total every season since setting an Eagle’s rookie record with 43 grabs in 2005. The former Georgia standout also helped set a team record in 2007, as Philadelphia had three receivers with over 750 receiving yards in the same season (Curtis, 1,110; Brown, 780; Westbrook, 771) for the first time in team history.
As the longest tenured receiver in Andy Reid’s offense, Greg Lewis was a pleasant surprise in his fifth season with the Eagles. The 27-year-old Lewis did not get a lot of looks early in the year, but came through with big plays when he was called upon and finished the year leading the team with a 20.4 yards-per-catch average. Lewis had his best game of the year against the Patriots, where he caught four passes for a career-high 88 yards and two scores. He finished the year with 13 catches and a career-high three touchdown receptions.
Jason Avant, a fourth round draft pick by the Eagles in 2006, looked more comfortable in his second season as a pro and started display the consistency that is needed to become a bigger part of the offense. Avant recorded a reception in 11 of the 15 games he appeared in this year and finished the 2007 season with 23 catches for 267 yards and two touchdowns. He also contributed 15 first downs.
After coming to the Eagles in a trade that sent Billy McMullen to the Vikings, Hank Baskett had a productive rookie campaign for the Eagles last season, but the second year receiver failed to match the same kind of statistics in 2007. Baskett had fewer catches (16), yards (142), and touchdowns (1) than a year ago, and his average-yards-per-catch went from 21.1 in 2006 to 8.9 this season. While the 6-foot-4 receiver has yet to emerge as a consistent threat on offense, Baskett was named the Eagles special teams MVP by his teammates and still has a great deal of potential because of his size and athleticism.
Final Grade: B
Andrew Pluta can be reached at email@example.com.