The Philadelphia Eagles are brimming with offensive talent entering the 2014 NFL season. With the exception of quarterback Nick Foles and running back Lesean McCoy, which other player will acquire prominence this year now that Desean Jackson is a Redskin?
Making the leap from 23 catches for 248 yards and 3 touchdowns in 2012, to 47 catches for 835 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2013, Riley Cooper has proven to be a valuable player for the Eagles. He has earned a starting role and could easily break 1,000 yards in 2014 if he stays healthy.
In 2012 Jeremy Maclin had a similar year to Cooper’s 2013 season. Maclin finished 2012 with 69 grabs for 857 yards and 7 touchdowns–and this was without the aid of the mastermind that is Chip Kelly. Maclin should have plenty of opportunities to claim rights to the #1 receiver spot in 2014.
With the 42nd pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Eagles selected a 6 ft 3 in, 212 lb wide receiver from Vanderbilt. Jordan Matthews holds the all-time SEC record for receptions and receiving yards with 262 catches and 3,759 yards. Always garnering positive praise, he was one of the most talked about players during this year’s OTAs.
“He’ll fit in beautifully in Philadelphia and in Chip Kelly’s offense. He makes tough catches. He has a big body. He ran faster than a lot of people anticipated (4.46-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine). The Eagles get Jeremy Maclin back. They have added Matthews and Darren Sproles. This team is going to be the first-, second- or third-leading scoring team in the league.” — Mike Mayock
Zach Ertz had a promising rookie campaign. His 36 catches for 469 yards and 4 touchdowns was just a tad under his fellow tight end Brent Celek’s totals in 2013. Now, with a full offseason under his belt (he missed OTAs last season due to Stanford/NCAA rules), Ertz can look forward to a great training camp and preseason before September. Zach appears to have better pass-catching abilities than Brent, which should allow him to be the better playmaking tight end for the Eagles in the future.
Brent Celek has been no slouch this offseason either. He has lost weight and opted to replace some weight-training with yoga and Pure Barre. Hopefully this will increase his flexibility and overall durability. Celek knows Zach Ertz is nipping at his heels and Chip has everyone competing at their highest levels.
There may be no better acquisition this offseason by the Eagles than the signing of Darren Sproles. Lesean McCoy will no doubt be the “guy,” but Sproles should be an omnipresent fixture on offense this year as well. Darren could realistically rack up well over 1,000 yards of total offense. His kick-returning skills should also boost the Eagles’ special teams play.