One of the main reasons for speculation that Chip Kelly would relish in Philadelphia is because of the speed and athleticism on the offensive side of the ball — especially at receiver. The strength of the Philadelphia Eagles receiving corp is its playmaking ability.
Starting with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and going down to Damaris Johnson, the Eagles have plenty of home run hitters, but the receiving corps strength is also its weakness. Over the past couple of years, the Eagles have lacked a real threat in the red zone and, as the roster is currently constituted, the Eagles still don’t have a proven red zone threat.
There is no doubt that Coach Kelly has great weapons on the outside, but the question is who stays and who goes.
DeSean Jackson-Starter: Jackson is bound for a career year in Coach Kelly’s up-tempo offense because it will allow him to get into space and use his speed and agility to make defenders miss. He should see an expanded role in the offense, whether he’s lined up next to the quarterback in the backfield or running a reverse. These opportunities should provide him more touches.
I really think DeSean will have a great year, I just hope he keeps his mouth shut and doesn’t say anything stupid.
Jeremy Maclin-Starter: I think Maclin, like Jackson, is bound for a great year because he will be able to use his speed to get away from defenders. Maclin has shown in the past that he has the ability to go across the middle in the short-to-intermediate passing game, which is an area of the field that Coach Kelly loves to exploit — that is why I feel he will lead the Eagles in receptions.
Maclin is in a contract year and will want to have a great year to boost his value on the market and these circumstances usually lead to a good year for players.
Arrelious Benn-Slot Receiver, Jason Avant-Cut: This may come as a shock, but I see Benn starting the season as the Eagles slot receiver over the eight-year veteran, Jason Avant. I know I’m probably surprising most and upsetting others, but Coach Kelly wants to get bigger and Benn gives that to the Eagles offence — plus he’s younger. I’m a huge Avant fan myself, but I don’t think there’s a spot on the roster for him this year.
Damaris Johnson-fourth Receiver: Johnson’s game is predicated on his speed and his agility, but he is very small which gives him a huge disadvantage. The reason that Johnson will make the team is because of his value on special teams. However, when he is subbed in on offence, expect Coach Kelly to use him like Bill Belichick previously used Wes Welker.
Ifeanyi Momah vs Riley Cooper-Toss Up for fifth Receiver: Cooper and Momah are the Eagles primary red-zone targets on the roster tight now. Cooper at 6’3″ and Momah at 6’6″ are the tallest receivers on the Eagles roster right now. One of them is bound to make the roster because of their frame.
At the moment, Cooper probably has the advantage, but if Momah really improves his route running between now and Week 1, Momah may become the Eagles red-zone target.
Practice Squad or Released: