Travis Fulgham, the wide receiver the Philadelphia Eagles never knew they had, is the breakout star in the NFL this season. For the entirety of the Doug Pederson era, the Eagles never had a true No. 1 wide receiver — and it’s fair to assume Fulgham is one after just five games with the team. What Fulgham has done since joining the Eagles’ active roster in Week 4 has been remarkable, as he leads the NFL in receiving yards since being called up form the practice squad prior to that week.

Fulgham’s journey to stardom is incredible, a reason why teams shouldn’t give up on Day 3 draft picks so soon. A sixth-round draft pick out of Old Dominion in 2019, Fulgham spent his first season with the Detroit Lions, playing in just three games and not recording a single catch. The Lions waived Fulgham in August and he was claimed by the Green Bay Packers a day later. Fulgham lasted nine days in Green Bay before the Packers waived him, only for the Eagles to claim him a day later.

Fulgham was actually waived by the Eagles on 53-man roster cutdown day, but no team picked him up and he ended up on the Eagles’ practice squad. Philadelphia didn’t even protect Fulgham on the practice squad the first two weeks, so any team could have claimed him to their roster. The Eagles reaped the benefits of the “error” of 31 other teams, finding in Fulgham the No. 1 wide receiver they coveted since Chip Kelly released DeSean Jackson after the 2013 season. 

In this week’s “By The Numbers,” let’s take a look at where Fulgham ranks amongst the elite NFL wide receivers, his impact on the Eagles’ roster, and how he compares to the other wide receivers in the Pederson era. 

Most receiving yards since Week 4

  1. Travis Fulgham — 435 
  2. George Kittle — 430
  3. Tee Higgins — 413
  4. Robby Anderson — 410
  5. Stefon Diggs — 407

Highest yards per catch since Week 4

  1. Tee Higgins — 16.52
  2. D.K. Metcalf — 15.96
  3. Tyreek Hill — 15.75
  4. Travis Fulgham — 15.00
  5. Julio Jones — 14.93

*Minimum 20 receptions

Most receiving TDs since Week 4

  1. Christian Kirk — 5
  2. A.J. Brown — 5
  3. Davante Adams — 5
  4. Travis Fulgham — 4
  5. Will Fuller — 4
  6. D.K. Metcalf — 4
  7. Tyreek Hill –4
  8. Travis Kelce — 4
  9. Chase Claypool — 4

Fulgham is the only player to rank in the top five in all three of these categories, showcasing how productive he’s been since bursting on the scene in Week 4. His 29 receptions are the seventh most in the NFL since Week 4 and his yards per target rank sixth at 9.89. Of Fulgham’s 29 catches, 21 are for first downs — an astonishing 72.4% clip. He has just one drop on 44 targets, showcasing his reliability for a struggling Carson Wentz. 

Since Fulgham entered the Eagles’ lineup, Philadelphia is averaging 25.4 points per game. While that points-per-game number is average around the league, it’s an improvement of 5.7 points per game from the Eagles’ first three games. 

Carson Wentz has completed just 57.3% of his passes but has thrown for 1,146 yards with nine touchdowns to six interceptions for an 80.3 passer rating since Fulgham entered the lineup. His nine touchdown passes are actually in the top 10 in the NFL during that span. In Wentz’s first three games, he completed just 59.8% of his passes for 737 yards with three touchdowns, six interceptions and a 63.9 rating. Wentz has a 128.5 passer rating targeting Fulgham, which is sixth in the NFL amongst all players with at least 25 receptions. 

Now let’s take a dive where Fulgham ranks amongst Eagles’ wide receivers since Pederson became head coach in 2016. Brace yourselves, Eagles’ fans: the numbers for the wideouts aren’t pretty. 

Most receiving yards by Eagles WRs in a season since 2016

  1. Alshon Jeffery (2018) — 843
  2. Jordan Matthews (2016) — 804
  3. Alshon Jeffery (2017) — 789
  4. Nelson Agholor (2017) — 768
  5. Nelson Agholor (2018) — 768
  6. Alshon Jeffery (2019) — 490
  7. Travis Fulgham (2020) — 435

Fulgham has played five games while the top six on this list played more than 10. 

Most receiving TDs by Eagles WRs in a season since 2016

  1. Alshon Jeffery (2017) — 9
  2. Nelson Agholor (2017) — 8
  3. Alshon Jeffery (2018) — 6
  4. Nelson Agholor (2018) — 4
  5. Alshon Jeffery (2019) — 4
  6. Travis Fulgham (2020) — 4 

Fulgham has played five games while the top five on this list played more than 10. 

Highest yards per catch by Eagles WRs in a season since 2016

  1. Travis Fulgham (2020) — 15.0
  2. Alshon Jeffery (2017) — 13.84
  3. Alshon Jeffery (2018) — 12.84
  4. Nelson Agholor (2017) — 12.39
  5. Torrey Smith (2017) — 11.94

*Minimum 25 receptions 

Fulgham is just one of seven players in franchise history to have four consecutive games of five-plus catches and 70-plus yards. Hall of Famer Tommy McDonald has the record with seven consecutive performances (achieved from 1961 to 1962), followed by Irving Fryar with five (1996), then Fulgham (2020), Zach Ertz (2015 and 2018), Terrell Owens (2005), Fred Barnett (1992), and Harold Jackson (1971 to 1972). Fryar also had another four game streak in 1997. 

Fulgham is on pace for 58 catches for 870 yards and eight touchdowns despite missing three games. If we go by his actual receptions (5.8) and receiving yards per game (87), Fulgham will finish with 75 catches for 1,131 yards and 12 touchdowns. He would be the first 1,000-yard wide receiver for the Eagles in the Pederson era and the first for the franchise since Jeremy Maclin in 2014. His 75 receptions would be the ninth-most for a wide receiver in franchise history. 

Finally, let’s look at the 2019 draft class of wide receivers and where Fulgham ranks in 2020 — for fun, of course.

Most receptions in 2020 by 2019 draft class at WR

  1. Terry McLaurin — 43
  2. D.K. Metcalf — 36
  3. Darius Slayton — 32
  4. Travis Fulgham — 29
  5. A.J. Brown — 27

Most receiving yards in 2020 by 2019 draft class at WR

  1. D.K. Metcalf — 680
  2. Terry McLaurin — 577
  3. Darius Slayton — 485
  4. Travis Fulgham — 435
  5. Scott Miller — 400

Highest yards per catch in 2020 by 2019 draft class at WR

  1. D.K. Metcalf — 18.89
  2. Scott Miller — 16.00
  3. Mecole Hardman — 15.77
  4. Darius Slayton — 15.16
  5. Travis Fulgham — 15.00

*Minimum 20 receptions  

Most receiving TDs in 2020 by 2019 draft class at WR

  1. D.K. Metcalf — 7
  2. A.J. Brown — 5
  3. Travis Fulgham — 4

Fulgham is averaging 87 yards per game, behind only Metcalf. Of the receivers listed in these four categories, Fulgham was the No. 184 pick in the draft, with only Scott Miller being selected lower at No. 208 (also in the sixth round). Slayton, Fulgham, and Miller were clearly the Day 3 finds in the 2019 draft — with Fulgham going to three different organizations before finding success. 

The Eagles definitely found a keeper in Fulgham, who is proving each and every week he’s a No. 1 wide receiver in the league. Fulgham has played just five games, but his success against elite cornerbacks have shown he’ll be a threat to opposing defenses for a long time. 

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