The Philadelphia Eagles went into the offseason with a few holes that needed to be addressed and created another by sending wide receiver DeSean Jackson packing. This was after cutting loose dependable veteran wide receiver Jason Avant, as well.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane noted, while it was always likely the Eagles would be drafting a wide receiver, their offseason moves made it a necessity.
Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly cannot enter a season attempting to defend a division championship with Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper and, who, Jeff Maehl? Damaris Johnson?
Due respect to those guys, but the Eagles need more and Kelly has talked about his desire to add wide receivers with both size and speed.
So, who fits the bill?
Unless the Eagles plan on trading up – a prospect which seems unlikely given their lack of expendable assets and available draft picks – guys like Clemson’s Sammy Watkins, Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks are out.
If the Eagles look for a wide receiver in the first round, some of the top-rated guys available would include USC’s Marqise Lee, LSU’s Odell Beckham Jr. and Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin.
We detailed Lee in a recent blog. He’s a player who stands less than 6-feet tall, but seems to play bigger than his size and possesses breakaway speed. Beckham is similar.
Benjamin is different. At 6-5, 240 pounds he is the kind of body Kelly is looking for. He’s not exactly a burner with a 4.6 40 time, but that’s pretty good speed for his size.
Benjamin is more of a raw talent. ESPN rates him “average” in separation skills, which is an attribute we know Kelly covets. If the Eagles feel he is a teachable, coachable player, he could be their guy. As was recently reported, Benjamin has been in Philly for a visit.
What about a scenario in which the Eagles go with defense in the first round?
Enter Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
At 6-3, 212 pounds, and with huge hands, he also possesses elite speed (4.46 40) and put up solid numbers (112 catches, 1,477 yards, seven touchdowns) in the SEC.
(Fun fact: He’s apparently a relative of Jerry Rice).
Matthews would fit the attributes of speed and size, and this nugget from his ESPN profile: “Willing blocker. Adequate toughness as a blocker.”
Sounds like Chip Kelly’s kind of guy. Check out his highlights here. A lot of great body control, one-handed catches, speed and power. He seems like a legitimate prospect.
Don’t be surprised to see the Eagles hold off on taking a wide receiver early and snatch Matthews in the second round.