Who Will Replace Jeremy Maclin?
With the news that Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will miss the entire season with a torn ACL, that obviously increases the odds that another wide out will make the 53-man roster in 2013. Most people think the two players who will benefit the most from Maclin's absence will be Riley Cooper and second-year man Damaris Johnson.
Looking at the wide receiver position, there doesn't seem to be many locks for the roster. DeSean Jackson and Cooper are most likely going to take up the first two spots on the wideout depth chart. After those two guys, it looks like a full-fledged competition featuring Jason Avant, Johnson, Arrelious Benn, and a couple of wild cards; Ifeanyi Momah and Russell Shepard.
Past the initial two names, there are five names likely fighting for four spots. With as many young, enigmatic receivers as the Eagles have, it's probably a safe bet that the team keeps six spots for the position.
Along with the names above, Greg Salas, David Ball, B.J. Cunningham and Will Murphy will be in competition for those spots.
However, Cooper is the clear cut favorite to land Maclin's starting spot. With everything considered, he has clear physical talent that the others listed simply do not have. As long as he can stay healthy during training camp, he should be a good bet to start opposite DeSean Jackson in 2013. Cooper a big physical target, appeared in just seven 2012 games, playing at least 70 percent of Philly's snaps, he managed 19 catches for 206 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's a big, physical player," said Eagles head coach Chip Kelly about Cooper. "I think one of the attributes he has is that his size is a weapon for him. He catches the ball really well. He's an outstanding blocker. He's a real technician in terms of what he wants to get done. He's another guy that lives and breathes football. He's here all the time."
"(Cooper is) big, he's strong, he can go up and get the football," Roseman said. "He can block. And for a big guy, he can drop his weight, he can run routes."
The next spot then comes down to the veteran Avant, second-year man Johnson and Benn, who was acquired in the offseason from Tampa Bay. With due respect to a couple of fan favorites so far, Momah and Shepard, they could be the hidden gem's of the competition at this point, but are still considered long shots. Unless both really come out and performs at a consistent high level, they both have an uphill climb to make the roster outright.
Most would think Avant has a clear advantage over Johnson and Benn in part because the latter is a valuable pass-catcher and blocker down-the-field. However, some predicted before Maclin's injury that Avant's roster spot could be in jeopardy. Coming off a career-high 53-catch season, Avant just might make the team now, because Maclin went down.