One rookie has really stood out so far in the early stages of Philadelphia Eagles practices, and his name is Jordan Matthews. Matthews has caught practically everything thrown in his direction, and he routinely sprints all the way to the end zone, regardless of the yard line after every catch.
It is a routine he has practiced since his middle school playing days. One thing is clear about Matthews, he won’t be outworked. Whether it is getting in early, or working late after practice with quarterback Mark Sanchez or the JUGS machine, it is obvious to anyone who will notice that this kid wants to be a great player.
Sometimes players have pure talent but they try to coast by on their physical ability alone. When a player possesses the combination of athletic ability and a tireless work ethic, you have something special brewing. Early on, it looks like Matthews possesses that rare combination.
Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said early on that Matthews would start off in the slot to replace departed veteran Jason Avant. Avant was a sure-handed, dependable receiver, but lacked the explosion and big play ability Kelly covets out of the slot position.
It looks like Matthews could be a real upgrade inside. He is big at 6-foot 3- and more than 200 pounds, and he is also a 4.4 guy. However, Matthews won’t be the sole focus of attention, as he was in college.
Guys like Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and LeSean McCoy will be receiving the primary attention from both defensive coordinators and opposing defenses. In other words, Matthews will be going against the oppositions third, or even fourth, best corner.
That is certainly a favorable matchup for the physically talented Matthews. Between his physical ability, his grade A work ethic, and the offensive mind that is Kelly, we could see a huge year in store for Matthews — so big that despite being a 2nd round pick he could win offensive rookie of the year. Make no mistake about it, despite being a rookie, the spotlight isn’t too big for Matthews.
Unlike some rookie receivers who have that deer in headlights look about them, Matthews is ready and willing to contribute as soon as Week 1. The arrow is only pointing up for this kid.