Sure, the Eagles wanted to secure a better option, be that in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft or by using one of their picks to secure a premier talent like Deebo Samuel – or A.J. Brown – but if everything went wrong and Philly was only able to leave the weekend with a slot receiver like Kyle Philips, the presence of Pascal would at least keep the offense going and give Jalen Hurts a big target on the outside.
Fortunately for (almost) everyone, Howie Roseman was able to leave the draft weekend with A.J. Brown, the 24-year-old ex-Pro Bowler who has surpassed the century mark in two of his first three NFL seasons and just so happens to be good friends with Hurts.
Certainly the presence of “1K_Always Open” on the outside will make life a whole heck of a lot easier for the Philadelphia Eagles’ entire offense. DeVonta Smith will go from WR1 to WR2 more often than not, Dallas Goedert will have less focus across the middle of the field, and Quez Watkins will go from a speedy player of note to barely a footnote on opposing game plans. But how will A.J. Brown affect Zach Pascal? After already taking his number, will Brown take his role in the offense too?
Zach Pascal can still be a usable weapon for the Philadelphia Eagles.
In Indianapolis, Zach Pascal was predominantly deployed out of the slot. Of the 871 offensive snaps the Old Dominion product played on offense for the Colts last season, 627 came lined up on the interior, with only 205 on the outside, 37 inline, and two in the offensive backfield, according to PFF.
While the Eagles clearly viewed Pascal as a usable option on the outside, as they had plenty of other theoretical options they could have signed on the open market like Mike Williams, his best snaps have come as an interior option, especially in the red zone, where he snagged 15 touchdowns over the past four seasons.
That, my friends, is likely the role Pascal will now be tasked with, thanks to the addition of A.J. Brown: Supersized slot receiver.
It makes sense, right? While Watkins is a certain field home run hitter on the inside, he’s a relatively slight 6-foot, 193 pounds, and can get bullied across the middle of the field in traffic. Pascal, measuring in at two inches taller and 19 pounds heavier, has made a career out of embracing contact as both a receiver and a run blocker and should still be able to provide some serious utility whether playing alongside Brown or in place of him.
No one would fault Zach Pascal for resenting the Philadelphia Eagles’ decision to trade for A.J. Brown. He took his thunder, his position in the starting lineup, and even his number, but when the deal was ultimately announced on the opening night of the draft, what did Pascal, or should I say ZP3, tweet? “Just got a dog” with a triumph emoji followed close behind. Why? Because Pascal gets that Brown’s addition will only make his job easier, and Nick Sirianni, his original offensive coordinator in Indianapolis, will keep him in the offensive game plan one way or another.