Breakdown: Eagles Select Nelson Agholor

Everything you need to know about the Philadelphia Eagles’ first-round selection of wide receiver Nelson Agholor out of the University of Southern California from Scout's college and pro football experts.


Awaiting Image
Nelson Agholor
USC / 6'0 / 198 lbs
  • WR
  • [1] #20

Analysis

Agholor got plenty of action, starting at both flanker and split end at USC. He played in 40 games, starting 30 times and finished with 179 receptions for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns. This former running back worked hard to make the full time conversion to wide receiver. Agholor has good size (6-0/198), strength and speed numbers. He catches the ball cleanly and is a good route runner. He’s also good after the catch and is tough to defend in the air.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

The Eagles needed to land a wide receiver and they get a very talented one from USC in Nelson Agholor. He got plenty of action, starting at both flanker and split end at USC. He played in 40 games, starting 30 times and finished with 179 receptions for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns. This former running back worked hard to make the full time conversion to wide receiver. To be honest, he turned himself into one of the best route runners in this class. Agholor has good size (6-0/198), strength and speed numbers. He catches the ball cleanly. He’s also can create after the catch and is tough to defend in the air. Agholor should put up good numbers in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Teams that miss out on the elite receivers like Amari Cooper, DeVante Parker and Kevin White might actually find a great playmaker still on the draft board in this Trojans split end/flanker with magnificent return skills. Nelson Agholor has a lean and muscular frame with room to add more bulk without it affecting his overall quickness. He has outstanding hip snap and agility to elude in attempts to gain big yardage after the catch.

Agholor makes smooth body adjustments and possesses solid hands and extension to catch away from his frame. He is quick to settle into the holes in the zone and is very effective as a cut blocker because of his feel for taking angles. Even though he has most of his experience at flanker, along with a full season as a starter at split end, with his size and reach, he could be an even better fit in the “Y” slot at the pro level.

Agholor has that explosive playing burst to easily gain separate after the catch. He shows above average lateral agility and balance when changing direction, doing an excellent job of extending for the ball and keeping his feet inbounds when working along the sidelines. He is a smooth open field runner who accelerates instantly coming out of his breaks. He has the burst to quickly eat up the cushion and run by defensive backs consistently.

Despite his angular frame, Agholor is developing into quite an effective crack blocker. He loves to play the game, will not hesitate to compete for the ball in a crowd and even though he lacks ideal bulk, he will sacrifice himself to go inside for the pass. He gives a consistently high effort and can be counted on to produce in the clutch.

Agholor is known for his explosive initial burst. Even when his speed fails to elude the defensive back, he has the hip wiggle and shake needed to prevent from being rerouted. He can get pretty physical with defenders to fight off the jam, as he knows how to use his arm-over action to separate when the defender attempts to press. He shows a good urgency to get into his routes, and is very shifty in his release, knowing how to avoid the defender through route progression. He is also savvy enough to know when to take a drop step and generate a slight hitch in his release to surprise a lethargic cornerback.

Agholor demonstrates a smooth running stride and excellent acceleration to instantly get deep. If a defender hesitates, Agholor’s very good separation ability and change of gear will beat his man. He is not used inside as a slot receiver, but shows good toughness in the middle. He has the quickness to separate along the perimeter and the “make you miss” burst to get down field.

His vertical speed is evident by his ability to consistently stretch the field and make good body adjustments to the ball. He can uncover and free up from his man working in the short area. He runs nice short area routes and is well-versed on getting on top of the defense, looking natural making plays on the ball down field.

Agholor’s hands are one of his better assets, as he did have three dropped balls in 2014, but his percentage of passes caught on targeted tosses was the second-highest for any of the top ten receivers in this draft class (caught 104-of-136 throws; 76.47%. The only one with a better mark was 76.74% by Ohio State’s Devin Smith). He holds the ball away from the body’s frame and demonstrates the ability to sink his hips and go low to grab the ball on shallow crossing routes.

The USC receiver has the burst to get under the ball and make the over-the-shoulder grab look routine, as he delivered on thirteen catches for 20 yards or longer, collecting 61 first downs among his 104 grabs last season. He is quick to gobble up the cushion, especially when working in the zone, delivered on eleven grabs in that region to set up USC scoring drives. He has that explosive burst that leaves the initial tackler grabbing at air. He is very quick off the line and has the suddenness to get to top speed instantly.

Agholor added some nice cut moves and refined his route running the last two seasons. He shows sharpness in his cuts and much better discipline in his routes. His body control and quickness out of his breaks allows him to set up the defender. You notice on film his ability to drop his weight, sink his hips and maintain body control in and out of his cuts when separating. By staying at a low pad level, he is very effective at rapidly accelerating to get under the ball.

Few receivers can get the rise in their leap or contort their body and make adjustments in the air to get to the high ball like Agholor can. Even on poorly thrown passes, he has the body control to change direction, work back or extend to get the ball into his hands. He has the natural hands and ball skills to adjust on the move.

You can see on film his fine timing and leaping ability getting to the pass at its high point. His flexibility and turning ability lets him find a way to the off-target throws. Simply put, his athletic agility lets him turn his body around and track the ball, even when it is thrown to his wrong shoulder.

Because of his excellent hands Agholor is capable of plucking the ball cleanly and almost never uses his body to make the play. He is able to extend and catch away from his frame and is a natural catcher with soft hands. He shows very good timing that allows him to get to the ball in what seems like the last second. That is what makes him so effective getting to the deep throws.

Nelson Agholor NFL Scouting Combine measurables


6-0/198 (4.42 forty)
32 1/4-inch arm length
9 1/4-inch hands
12-reps

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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