Grading the Philadelphia Eagles This Season, Player by Player: Part 3, Wide Receivers & Tight Ends
DeSean Jackson, Wide Receiver: I’m actually a little disappointed with DeSean Jackson so far this season. Sure, when he’s hot, he is one of the biggest playmaking threats in the NFL. But when he’s off, or Kolb isn’t getting him the ball, he’s nothing.
He’s had two good games this season, and to be fair, both were fantastic performances. He caught 4 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown against the Lions, and he caught 5 for 153 and a touchdown against the Jaguars. And he did catch a 34-yard touchdown and rush for a 31-yard touchdown in less than a half versus the Falcons.
But he’s done virtually nothing in his other three games. Combined, he’s caught 9 passes for 73 yards and zero touchdowns. It’s basically come down to whether Vick is playing or whether Kolb is playing. Jackson and Vick have been fantastic in their two games together, but Kolb and Jackson just haven’t been able to connect much this season. That’s going to have to change in the future.
Jackson will return from his concussion against either the Indianapolis Colts on November 7th or the Washington Redskins on November 15th.
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver: Maclin has easily been the Eagles’ best wide receiver so far this season. He’s caught 30 passes for 458 yards and six touchdowns. His six touchdowns are tied for the fourth most in the NFL.
Maclin turned in one of the big games by an Eagles’ receiver in the Andy Reid era, catching 7 passes for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons. This included an 83-yard touchdown reception, the longest by an Eagles’ receiver since 2006.
Maclin is turning in a borderline Pro Bowl season. He is on pace to finish the season with over 1000 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Jason Avant, Wide Receiver: Avant has been slightly disappointing this season, but he’s come on big in the last two games. For the season, he has 24 catches for 240 yards and zero touchdowns. In the last two games though, he has 11 catches for 122 yards.
I had heard rumors of Avant losing his third-string receiver spot to Cooper, but I don’t think that is going to happen. Avant is more of a slot receiver anyway. I’m not expecting 1000 yards out of him, or even close to that, but I did hope for 600 or even 700. He’s going to need a big second half to finish with that many.
Riley Cooper, Wide Receiver: I’m quickly becoming a very big Riley Cooper fan. It took him a little longer than I thought to get on the field though. He had a 20-yard reception against the Lions but didn’t catch a pass for another month.
In the Titans game, Cooper caught three passes for 51 yards and a touchdown. His 37-yard grab near the goal line was one of the best catches I’ve seen by an Eagles player in the last few years. And he finally scored his first NFL touchdown, on the same drive.
Cooper is a player who is going to receive a lot more playing time this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish the season with 25 receptions.
Chad Hall, Wide Receiver: First of all, I’m really not sure if this guy is a wide receiver or a running back. He has more rushes than receptions this season. Either way, he hasn’t really made much of an impact. He caught a 9-yard pass on 3rd and 2 against the 49ers, his first NFL reception. And he carried four times for 19 yards against the Titans. I wouldn’t mind seeing this guy stick around though. He has potential.
Brent Celek, Tight End: I have been very disappointed with Brent Celek. After his 76-971-8 breakout season last year, he has had a significant drop-off. He’s caught just 21 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns so far this season. He is also tied for first in the NFL with six dropped passes so far this season. This isn’t a fluke either. His 12 dropped passes last season tied for the league lead also.
Celek hasn’t caught five passes or topped 50 receiving yards in a game once this season. I had aspirations of Celek turning in six-catch, 63-yard games all season. Celek can still turn his season around with a solid second half but he’s lost any chance of duplicating last year’s performance.
Garrett Mills, Tight End: Mills hasn’t done much this season. His two receptions this season are a 14-yard catch in the Lions game and a 5-yard catch in the Titans game. I expected him to catch about a pass per game.