The Philadelphia Eagles had a busy offseason, especially re-configuring the wide receiver position. First was the shocking release of pro bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The Eagles say it was for “football reasons”. More likely, it was for attitude and money reasons.
Jackson isn’t exactly a choir boy and his cap number was a problem for an Eagles team that will need to make many more long-term commitments to other core players in the near future. So out is Jackson. The Eagles loaded up in the draft at the position, though. They added Jordan Matthews who they traded up for in the second round. Matthews’ size and speed are appealing and he should be a heck of a target for quarterback Nick Foles, even in year one.
They also selected Josh Huff in the third round. Huff is an explosive weapon who head coach Chip Kelly can use as a chess piece to move all around the offense. Kelly will certainly get creative with Huff who also brings added value on special teams as a return man and gunner in kick and punt coverage.
The Eagles also made a long-term commitment to break out receiver Riley Cooper. Cooper and Foles formed a real rapport last season and it became clear he was one of Foles’ favorite targets down the stretch in clutch moments. So there are at least three receivers who will be here for the foreseeable future.
This begs the question: Where does that leave Jeremy Maclin? Maclin has shown flashes of brilliance as a former first round pick in 2009, but has never quite put it all together. He seems to be the perfect fit in Kelly’s offense with his explosiveness and change of direction, but injury concerns still hang over his head. There’s also a perception that he isn’t the toughest wide receiver.
Kelly demands that his receivers block down field, absorb hits and play a tough brand of football. Is that really Maclin’s game? We will soon find out. One thing’s for certain, Kelly has a vision for every position, and if the player isn’t fit to his image, no matter how big the name or how high of a pick he was, he won’t be an Eagle for long.
We will see what is in store for Maclin in the future. For now, the Eagles have formed one heck of a wide receiving core.