Who Will Be The Eagles Leading Receiver in 2014?

The Philadelphia Eagles finished the 2013-2014 NFL season with the 2nd ranked offense in the league.  DeSean Jackson was a major part of the team’s success with 82 receptions and 1,332 yards receiving.  He is no longer in Philly.  Where do the Eagles turn to this year?

Riley Cooper is the only contributing WR returning from last year’s roster.  Jackson is now in Washington, Jeremy Maclin is returning from an injury and Jason Avant is in Carolina.  Cooper had a breakout season under Head Coach Chip Kelly in his first season running the team.  But, was Cooper’s production just a product of having Jackson on the opposite side of the field, or does Kelly’s offense deserve the credit?  I believe it was Kelly’s offense and I expect to see more from Cooper this year.

Across from Cooper, we have the return of Maclin.  Personally, Maclin has been the Eagles best receiver since being drafted in 2009.  He’s not as explosive as Jackson, but he was the more crisp route running and better overall WR.  He now gets a chance to see where he fits in Kelly’s offense.  I believe he’s the perfect fit in Kelly’s up-tempo offense, where he has always thrived receiving on quick underneath routes.

The Eagles drafted Jordan Matthews out of Vanderbilt this off-season.  The Eagles hope Matthews has the same ethic as his cousin Jerry Rice (greatest WR ever) and can translate to the NFL level.  Matthews was my 2nd favorite WR coming into the draft this season and felt he was a steal where he was drafted.  He did nothing but impress in his final two seasons at Vanderbilt amounting 206 receptions and 2800 yards.

I expect to see similar results in Matthews NFL career, but not quite yet.  Being drafted by the Eagles and getting to play in Kelly’s offense should help him succeed.  He’s also a versatile receiver who may end up starting in the slot, but could eventually take Cooper’s spot on the outside.  Either way, expect to see him all over the field.

Finally, the Eagles selected Josh Huff of Oregon in the draft following Matthews.  Huff is a product of Kelly’s offense at Oregon and was one of his recruits as well.  Kelly knows his players that he’s coached, and also knows the types of players he wants on his team.  Huff will come in and compete right away and has a shot at beating Matthews out, simply because he’s familiar with Kelly’s offense.  It will be fun to watch the Eagles in training camp to see how these battles play out.

When it’s all said and done, I expect to see Maclin return to form and exceed his previous career highs in receptions and yards.  I would not be surprised to see Maclin end up with around 90 receptions and 1,200 yards.

Mark my words today!

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