The Philadelphia Eagles enter training camp with a deep receiving corps despite the loss of DeSean Jackson.
The Philadelphia Eagles made a shocking decision to release DeSean Jackson, and he eventually jumped ship to the Washington Redskins.
It will be difficult to replace Jackson’s production and impact on the offense, but general manager Howie Roseman did his best to do so by selecting Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff.
Neither of them are expected to start right away since Jeremy Maclin is returning healthy on a one-year deal. Riley Cooper will start opposite Maclin after having a breakout season, but it remains to be seen how he will perform with defenses no longer focusing primarily on Jackson.
Maclin will also need to stay healthy after missing the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL. However, the talent is there since he has reached at least 850 yards in three consecutive seasons and caught 10 touchdown passes in 2010.
Matthews will see immediate playing time as the Eagles’ slot receiver, and he proved to be a fantastic possession receiver at Vanderbilt. The second-round pick caught 112 passes for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns.
Huff became the top target at Oregon, and he proved to be a dangerous deep threat. His previous experience with Chip Kelly will help him learn the Eagles offense relatively quickly, and his third-round selection pretty much guarantees him a roster spot.
The fifth receiver spot is expected to go to either Arrelious Benn or Brad Smith. Smith probably has the edge since he is much more versatile, and Benn has failed to live up to expectations since being drafted in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2010. Smith can pass in Wildcat formations, return kicks and punts and catch passes.
The Eagles are not expected to have more than five receivers on the team, but the depth is being maintained despite Jackson’s departure. If Matthews can continue his impressive start, he may be a future starter in Philadelphia.