A former second-round pick for the Eagles will be taking the field at a different position when Philadelphia opens its offseason program on April 25.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside intends to move from wide receiver to tight end, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday. Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer first reported the news.
Arcega-Whiteside joined the club as the No. 57 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. At the time, Arcega-Whiteside was a Stanford WR prospect who was projected as an eventual starter following a standout college career. Of Arcega-Whiteside's 28 collegiate touchdowns, half of them came during his senior year, complementing a 1,059-yard campaign.
In his three years as an Eagle, though, Arcega-Whiteside has recorded just 16 receptions and found the end zone only two times -- once on a fumble recovery following a 74-yard run by Miles Sanders and once on a 20-yard catch as a rookie. Rather than venture into the insanity of trying the same thing over and over again with expectations of different results, Arcega-Whiteside and the Eagles have waved the white flag by shifting over to tight end.
The move makes perfect sense for a player who has been struggling to live up to his Day 2 price on draft day several years ago. Arcega-Whiteside is a big-bodied receiving threat at 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds. In the lead-up to the 2019 draft, NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein described him as a player who gets more dangerous closer to the red zone and who won't run by many NFL cornerbacks. You add the bow of Arcega-Whiteside being a former all-state athlete in basketball, and the package begins to look a lot like many tight ends who have found a home in the league.
Arcega-Whiteside will join a tight end corps that includes Dallas Goedert, Richard Rodgers, Noah Togiai, Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson -- another player who knows a thing or two about NFL position changes after making the jump from college quarterback to professional tight end.
If he navigates the depth chart ahead of him and snags a roster spot come the end of preseason, Arcega-Whiteside will still likely make his most notable impact as a special teamer. Being a member of Philadelphia's third phase has become his niche in lieu of success at what was supposed to be his primary position.