PHILADELPHIA -- The first thing you notice when looking out onto the Philadelphia Eagles' practice field is the new-look receiving corps.
As Carson Wentz commanded the offense during Tuesday's first day of OTAs, he was flanked by the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Alshon Jeffery and burner Torrey Smith -- two of the Eagles' top free-agent acquisitions in an offseason dedicated to bolstering the support system around the young quarterback. Tuesday was the first time that Wentz was able to test his new weapons out against an opposing defense. While there were a couple glitches along the way, he got a taste of what his new wideouts bring to the table -- particularly Jeffery.
In one sequence, Wentz took a quick drop and fired an intermediate pass to Jeffery that was a little high-and-outside. With linebacker Mychal Kendricks quickly descending on the play, Jeffery extended his long arms and snatched the ball out of mid-air, prompting Kendricks to slap his hands together in frustration.
"It's been great with him," said Wentz of Jeffery. "He plays on-time, he knows what he is doing. His catch radius is impressive; that's the first thing that jumps out at me. So I'm just looking forward to continuing to build on that relationship."
The receivers did Wentz no favors his rookie season, finishing second-to-last in receiving yards (1,849) and tops in drop percentage (5.8), per ESPN Stats & Information. So the Eagles' front office went out and inked Jeffery (1 year, upwards of $14 million) and Smith (3 years, $15 million) then drafted North Carolina's Mack Hollins and West Virginia's Shelton Gibson in the middle rounds. With a good amount of firepower now on the offensive side of the ball, things should open up for all parties involved.
"I expect Alshon to have a big year," said Smith. " You can't double-team everyone. So for myself and Alshon and really the whole receiving corps, when you have speed on the outside, Alshon obviously plays the way he plays the game -- he can stretch the field and he's a big body -- you have [tight end Zach] Ertz inside, Jordan [Matthews] in the slot, teams are going to have to pick their matchups."
Jeffery, who served a four-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drugs policy in 2016, is coming off a down year by his standards. Working with three different Bears quarterbacks, he found the end zone just twice and finished with 52 catches for 821 yards. The expectation is that he will re-establish himself as one of the league's best receivers while working on a one-year prove-it deal and alongside a young QB in Wentz who could very well blossom in Year 2, especially now that he has some quality playmakers at his disposal.
"I think this offseason, the approach has been great," said Wentz. "I think we've added on both sides of the ball guys that can help us both in free agency, through the draft. I'll tell you one thing: I love the guys in that locker room, and I think we have a chance to do something special."