With the Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver corps still in a bit of a shake up, it makes sense that head coach Chip Kelly and his staff would look toward that position in the upcoming NFL Draft. Currently, on their bloated depth chart, the Eagles have veterans DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant and Brad Smith. They also have six other unknown wideouts who most likely won’t make it through training camp. Their issues revolve around their two free agents: Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin.
Cooper had a breakout year in 2013. The four-year veteran recorded 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns. He is expecting a rather big bump in pay or will simply play elsewhere. Cooper will most likely test the free agency market this offseason.
Maclin, on the other-hand, experienced a season-ending right ACL injury during training camp practice in July and missed the entire 2013 season. In his four-year career, Maclin has underachieved as a former first round pick but has been consistent averaging 64 receptions per season for the Eagles. It would make sense that Philly would pursue him over Cooper. Both the Eagles organization and Maclin have recently expressed interest in getting a deal done soon.
Regardless of what happens in free agency, the Eagles need to add some new blood to their aging receiver core. And NFL.com Media Analyst Bucky Brooks thinks they’ll find that new blood in the first round of this year’s draft when they select Oregon State wide receiver Brandin Cooks with the 22nd overall pick. Here’s his explanation why:
Coach Chip Kelly’s explosive offense is built around speedy playmakers on the outside. Cooks is a big play artist with the speed and quickness to excel as a vertical threat or ‘catch and run’ specialist.
At 5-10 and 185-pounds, Cooks’ game is all about speed. The undersized receiver is expected to play the slot for the Eagles and has excellent hands. Last season, he led the nation in receiving yards recording 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Cooks’ playstyle may resemble DeSean Jackson’s a bit too much for my liking, And it would appear Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, who tips the scales at 6’5 and 230-pounds, may be the more ideal draft pick. But we must remember that Kelly’s high-octane offense is predicated on speed. And the Eagles have an excellent group of tight ends that can make those big receiver plays in the middle of the field. So the speedy, sure-handed Cooks could be the perfect pick for Philadelphia.