For the second consecutive season, there wasn’t that had to have franchise quarterback in the draft. With that said, it could make it easier for the other rookies to stand out. Last season it was Eddie Lacy who won the rookie of the year, but before that, three straight quarterbacks had won the award.
How does all this affect the Eagles? Philadelphia drafted Jordan Matthews in the second round, and given that he will be taking over the number two receiver spot in one of the league’s best offenses, Matthews very well could do enough to win rookie of the year.
During OTA’s Matthews shined and looked like he was finding his spot in Chip Kelly’s offense. Kelly, being the offensive mastermind that he is, will find a way to get you the ball if you are having success, and by the sounds of it, Matthews is.
Although Matthews wasn’t drafted in the first round, that doesn’t mean he can’t succeed or win rookie of the year. Since 2003, two receivers have won the award, Anquan Boldin and Percy Harvin. Boldin was also a second round receiver.
In Boldin’s first season he had 1,377 yards and eight touchdowns while Percy Harvin had 790 yards and six touchdowns. It would be unfair to expect Matthews to jump in and have over 1,300 yards in his first season. However, something between the 800 and 1,000 yard mark is definitely reasonable.
Matthews set SEC records with 242 catches and 3,759 yards in four years at Vanderbilt. If Matthews can do that in the difficult SEC, he will be ready when it comes to the NFL.
Kelly brought in Matthews to help replace DeSean Jackson. As proven last season, the second year head coach likes to utilize all his weapons, and there is no doubt Matthews is a serious weapon.
In a quarterback driven league, quarterbacks are going to get a lot of credit. However, with no clear cut franchise quarterback like there was in 2008-2010 with Sam Bradford, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III, Matthews will have a better chance to win rookie of the year.
Instead Matthews’ biggest competition will be the other wide receivers who were taken in the first round such as Sammy Watkins, Mike Evan, Brandin Cooks, and Odell Beckham Jr. and Matthews is the one with the best situation as he has an offensive minded head coach who will find ways to get him the ball.
We won’t know how Matthews’ skill sets translate to the field until the preseason and even week one, but without a sure cut franchise quarterback in the mix, the Eagles’ second round pick will have a chance to be the first wide receiver rookie of the year since 2009.