There may not be another player on the roster of the Philadelphia Eagles who is under more pressure than Jeremy Maclin. With the departure for DeSean Jackson, Maclin has been thrust into the spotlight and is facing the most important NFL season of his young career.
Not often does a team cut a 27-year-old, three-time Pro-Bowler coming off a career year. However, the Eagles did just that as they felt Jackson brought more negative values to the team than positive. Even with a top-5 offense in the NFL and even with the additions of Darren Sproles and Jordan Matthews, it is time for Maclin to show why he was drafted in the first round.
Still only 26 years old, Maclin has yet to reach the 1,000-yard mark in a single season. However, he still has impressive numbers on his resume. Throughout his four-year-career, Maclin has 26 touchdown catches and has never been under 750 receiving yards. This all coming as Philadelphia’s No. 2 wide receiver playing behind Jackson.
While Maclin has shown flashes of brilliance on the field, the biggest question mark is whether he can come back from the torn ACL he suffered before the 2013 season. According to both him and Chip Kelly, Maclin looked great in OTAs and is at 100 percent. However, the real test will come when training camp starts.
There may not be a better situation for Maclin to be in, with Kelly entering his secod season as the Eagles’ head coach. There were some ups and downs last season for Kelly, but for the most part he was able to get his playmakers in one-on-one matchups all over the field. This season should be no different for Maclin. In fact, there should be even more opportunities for all the skilled players, as Kelly is becoming more and more comfortable with the NFL game.
Maclin signed a one-year contract with Philadelphia because he felt that his upcoming performance this season would warrant a much more lucrative deal down the road. It is a big gamble for him, as the Eagles wanted to lock Maclin up long-term. However, if Maclin’s prediction on his performance is correct, he will be looking at a major payday after the 2014 season and the Eagles should be looking at another NFC East division title.