Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Players Who Could Replace Jeremy Maclin
Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Players Who Can Replace Jeremy Maclin
Jeremy Maclin was really looking forward to the 2013 campaign and having a productive season under Chip Kelly. His change of direction skills, pure speed and explosiveness all seem perfectly tailored for Kelly's new up-tempo style of offense.
Unfortunately for Maclin, he blew out his knee, tearing his ACL in only the second practice of the Kelly regime in a non-contact form of injury nonetheless. This is devastating for a player looking for a big bounce-back year in a new offense and coming into what was a contract year.
This leaves a ton of unanswered questions for Maclin. What is his future with the Eagles? Will he be playing there or somewhere else, and will he get that long-term contract he desires or be forced to play on a short-term, one-year deal?
No doubt about it, Maclin was one of their top two receivers, if not the best, on the Eagles' roster. It will be very difficult to replace his athletic ability and explosive play making on the field, as there just aren't that many guys capable of doing what he can do.
Coach Kelly, however, likes to rely on running backs and tight ends just as much if not more so than his wide receivers in his lightning quick offense. While this is a huge blow to the offense, the old saying of the next man stepping up applies, as the Eagles are going to have to make due with young players and veterans filling a bigger role.
Let's take a look at 5 guys who can replace Maclin in Coach Kelly's offense.
No. 5: Riley Cooper
Riley Cooper has the big body and natural ball catching skills to potentially fill Maclin's shoes on the outside. He also seemed to have a nice rapport with Michael Vick and Nick Foles when given snaps in the offense.
No. 4: Damaris Johnson
Damaris Johnson may be the quickest player in short spaces on the roster, and he has really impressed so far in OTAs and training camp. With his size, however, he may be best suited in the slot, playing outside only in a pinch.
No. 3: Arrelious Benn
Arrelious Benn may be the man most physically suited to replace Maclin. He has both size and speed and showed flashes of big play making with the Tamp Bay Buccaneers. Benn just has to stay healthy and on the field. If he does, the job opposite DeSean Jackson could be his.
No. 2: Russell Shepard
Russell Shepard has shown some explosive skills and great hands early in training camp. Vick singled him out the other day as a player to watch and a man who has to step up in place of Maclin. While he is a bit raw and new to the position, if he keeps progressing, it's not out of the realm of possibility he could get his shot in this offense as early as September.
No. 1: Jason Avant
Jason Avant has the best hands on the team, consistently making highlight-reel grabs. While his natural position is inside where he is one of the better slot receivers in the league, he has been asked to play outside from time to time due to injury and has had moderate success. While Avant is an option, the ideal situation would be someone else stepping in for Maclin and keeping Avant in his slot position where he seems to thrive.