Jan 4, 2014; Birmingham, AL, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores wide receiver Jordan Matthews (87) catches a pass for a touchdown against the Houston Cougars during the 2014 Compass Bowl at Legion Field. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

How Good Can Eagles Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews Be?

Eagles rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews looks the part of a future great wide receiver. He has the size and speed to matchup against any defensive back and produce, as he showed time and time again at Vanderbilt. Let’s take a closer look at Matthews and try to answer the question: how good can Jordan Matthews be?

Well to start, Matthews is Jerry Rice’s cousin. Yes, that Jerry Rice; the best wide receiver in NFL history Jerry Rice. It’s important to note, however, that while the two are related, Matthews is a bit bigger than Rice.   Matthews stands at 6’3”, 214 pounds, an inch and about 15 pounds bigger than Rice was. That will help when facing the bigger defensive backs of today’s NFL.

Matthews is the SEC’s all-time leading receiver in yards and receptions.   That speaks for itself. During the last four years, the SEC has been known for producing some of the best defenses in college football. In that time, the SEC accounted for three out of four national championships, with one going to Auburn and two to Alabama. Putting up the best numbers in the history of the SEC is no easy feat, especially when considering how good the defenses have been the past few years.

Jordan Rodgers. Austyn Carta-Samuels. Do you know those names? Unless you follow college football a lot, you probably don’t. Those are the names of the quarterbacks who threw passes to Matthews the last 3 years. What do they have in common? They’re not top prospects. Rodgers was a junior college transfer to Vanderbilt and went undrafted in 2013, never making a regular season NFL team. So Matthews’ production cannot be attributed to having a great quarterback. If anything, Matthews’ play elevated his quarterbacks’ play.

In the draft, there were six wide receivers taken before Matthews. Even so, the Eagles traded up twelve spots in the 2nd round in order to insure they would get him. Due to the mass amount of talent at the position this year, Matthews slipped to the 2nd round, but no one would have blinked an eye if the Eagles had picked him at 22 overall in the 1st round. Any other year, Matthews would have been a surefire 1st-rounder.

So far in OTAs, people have noted that Matthews looks like the best wide receiver on the field. He’s as polished a wide receiver as there was in this draft, and he’s probably the most NFL ready. His work ethic is also off the charts. Matthews is always the last player off the field, frequently having Eagles backup quarterback Mark Sanchez throw him passes after practice is over.

While this is way too early to judge, as Matthews has not played in an NFL game yet, or even had an NFL practice in which he wore pads, Matthews has the look of a future All-Pro. He has the size, speed, work ethic, and blood line to be one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. Let’s hope for the Eagles that “future perennial All-Pro” is exactly what Matthews is.

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