Stop me if you've heard this before: "The Eagles need a wide receiver.''
It hasn't mattered who the head coach is (Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, Doug Pederson), what decade it is ('90s, 00s, 10s), or who the failing wide receiver is (James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, Nelson Agholor) it always seems to be a need.What Eagles need to accomplish at NFL Combine
You know what else? It hasn't really been as big of a deal on the field as you might think.
In the early 2000s the Eagles went to playoff four straight years and made three NFC title games with a combination of Charles Johnson, Torrance Small, Thrash and Pinkston as their starting wide receiver.
Yes, the agreement can be made that when they traded for Terrell Owens they took the next step to the Super Bowl. But remember the Eagles never won a playoff game with Owens. That was Pinkston and Freddie Mitchell getting them to Jacksonville for Super Bowl XXXIX when Owens was hurt.
The best combination of wide receivers the Eagles have had this century is DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. And the four years they played side by side produced exactly zero playoff wins.
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Do the Eagles have to get better at wide receiver to compete for a playoff spot in 2017? Absolutely. But the past has shown you can win with average (at best) receivers, if the rest of the team is above average.
That's how the Patriots and Seahawks have done it, and they have a few trophies in their cases.
What they have: Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor, Dorial Green-Beckham, Paul Turner, Bryce Treggs.
What they need: Of the group above, only Matthews is guaranteed to be back, although Agholor is a pretty safe bet. And Turner as a No. 4 or 5 isn't a bad option at all. The biggest need is a guy who can run. A legitimate deep threat will make Matthews and the tight ends better.
Analysis: The Eagles should save their money on a very average group of free agents. To be honest, Matthews might be just as good, if not better, than any of them at this point. If one comes at a bargain, then maybe. They do need to add at least one through the draft. Clemson's Mike Williams would be a no-brainer if he falls to them in the first round. But beyond that Oklahoma's Dede Westbrook or Ohio State's Curtis Samuel are very intriguing. Both can really run.
Mark Eckel may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MarkEckel08. Find NJ.com Eagles on Facebook.
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