When the Philadelphia Eagles selected WR Nelson Algholor with the 20th overall selection in the 2015 NFL Draft, the front office knew the former USC Trojan had a dynamic skillset. They knew he had excellent speed and solid production after playing college ball for just three seasons before declaring for the draft. They knew Algholor had amassed 197 receptions for 2,571 yards and 20 touchdowns. Philadelphia believed they were selecting their next No. 1 wide receiver.
What they were not expecting is that it would take three seasons and a near-bust label before he would begin to excel. But that is exactly what happened.
Through Algholor’s first two seasons in the NFL the 6’0″ wide-out struggled, heavily, as he racked up just 59 receptions on 114 targets which is slightly better than a 50 percent catch ratio. Algholor amassed only 648 yards on those 59 receptions and he had one fewer fumble (2) than he did touchdowns (3). His lack of production forced Philadelphia to overhaul the position during free agency. They brought in Torrey Smith on a three-year deal and Alshon Jeffery on a one-year prove it deal.
Following the 2016 season Algholor pledged to himself he would improve and he began a mission to redemption, not only in Philadelphia but to himself also. It started with fine-tuning his ability to break of the line with minimal disruption off the line of scrimmage. But it was what he did during training camp that started to open the eyes of the training staff and fans alike. Algholor documented every single ball thrown his way which resulted in an incompletion.
What happened during the 2017 season nobody expected. Everyone, myself included, had written Algholor off as an unfortunate bust. But something happened within Algholor that erased any notion that he could not compete at the NFL level.
Algholor entered the 2017 arena with a new sense of confidence which became evident as the season went on. The three-year wide-out vastly exceeded his combined numbers from the prior two seasons in a single year. He accounted for 62 receptions on 95 targets, 768 receiving yards (long of 72 yards), 8 touchdowns, and most important, not a single fumble.
Algholor did drop 33 targets in 2017. However when he had the ball in his hands he made the most of those 62 opportunities. Instead of just getting tackled he was making defenders miss, sometimes in ankle-breaking fashion. He showed a toughness that the Eagles fanbase had not seen from him in years past.
To date nobody really knows what Algholors initial struggles were about. It is very possible the pressure of attempting to be the No. 1 receiver was simply to much for a young athlete. But after seeing his play following the 2017 season it would be a safe assumption those struggles are a thing of the past. And even with his 2017 success it is fair to say that Algholor still has room for improvement.
One thing is for certain following this season. Nobody is calling Algholor a bust or looking for him to be traded to another team.