A Look at the Eagles Wide Receiver Battle Post Draft
As the clock hit zero in the wild card game loss to the New Orleans Saints, Eagles fans never really thought entering this year's offseason they would need to select a wide receiver.
That leaves the Eagles with 13 receivers on their roster. Philadelphia typically hasn't kept more than six on final cutdowns, which means the battle for roster spots could be more competitive at that position than any other.
"One of the things, especially with our receivers and DBs and all those other positions, if you're not the starter, you've got to be a special teams player," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said of the competition Philadelphia has created at receiver.
With Eagles rookie-camp kicking off today, here's an initial look at where Philadelphia stands at receiver after the draft:
Jeremy Maclin. When last we saw Maclin, he posted a 69-857-7 season in 2012 before suffering from a ACL tear during training camp before the start of the 2013 season. Maclin inked a one-year, $5.5 million contract with a max value of $6 million. Barring another injury, it's a safe bet that Maclin will be on the roster and is playing for a long-term deal with the team this year.
Riley Cooper. Philadelphia's second-leading receiver last season, Cooper showed both a knack for big-time catches as well as an ability to play outside after having a minimal role his first three seasons. Cooper hit the jackpot this offseason, cashing in with a 47 catches, 835 yards and eight touchdowns netting him a $25 million contract.
Brad Smith. Smith agreed to a restructured contract during the offseason, giving him a much better chance to make the roster in 2014. The Eagles' decision to bring Smith in last year gave him a chance to learn the offense and should have a leg up on some of the other competition since he also is a special teams players and could be used as part of the return game.
Jordan Matthews. Coach Chip Kelly said Matthews will start off as a slot receiver. Matthews will have an excellent chance to improve on JAson Avant's number in the slot from a year ago because he's a vastly superior athlete who will be matched up with smaller nickel corners. At 6'3', 212 lbs. Matthews could be a matchup nightmare, running a 4.46 40-yard time, he also posted a 10-foot broad jump which shows that he has the ability to go up and get the football over most defensive backs.
Josh Huff. Huff is a candidate to replace Jason Avant in the slot, though second-rounder Jordan Matthews has the clear inside track. A stout 5-foot-11, 206 pounds, Huff has sure hands, and is an able run blocker. Kelly obviously is familiar with Huff, that plus his versatility, Huff can also line up in the back-field and in the return game, make him a good candidate to make the roster - but he certainly isn't a lock.
Arrelious Benn. Benn is a very intriguing prospect, the No. 39 overall pick of the 2010 draft, has just 59 catches in 37 career games. Just 25-years old, Benn is coming off a second torn ACL, which was the latest in his long list of injuries. Benn could end up being a steal at $1 million if he stays healthy and is fully recovered from reconstructive knee surgery, but that's far from certain.
In the mix
Ifeanyi Momah. He has elite speed and a 6-foot-7, 239-pound frame to go with it, but is a major long-shot to make the team, although the Eagles saw enough in him last year to bring him back for another camp this year.
Damaris Johnson. An undrafted rookie in 2012, Johnson had started out as the Eagles main return man last year but ended up on Philadelphia's inactive list for much of the second half of the season. He caught just two balls in 2013 in the Eagles up-tempo offense. He's a smaller-bodied receiver, listed at 5-feet-8 and 175 pounds, and with Chip Kelly, size matters - making him a long-shot to make the team in 2014.
B.J. Cunningham. He's an bigger-bodied receiver at 6-feet-2 and 215 pounds who signed with Philadelphia last season after spending time in Miami as a sixth round draft pick. A 2012 sixth-round pick of the Dolphins, Cunningham has never appeared in an NFL game.
Jeff Maehl. Maehl, an Oregon product, was acquired from the Houston Texans before the season started last year. He ended up catching just four balls for 67 yards and one touchdown, but was a special teams player and could make the team in that role again in 2014.
Will Murphy. Murphy was a former walk-on at Oregon, who has never appeared in a NFL game. At 6-foot-2 and 196 pounds, he could be the longest of long-shots to make the roster at wide receiver. In three seasons at Oregon, he totaled just 240 receiving yards and one touchdown in 30 games - if he makes the team it will be as a special teams ace.
Quron Pratt. He was signed as an undrafted free agent this year after being named MVP of the Rutgers football team. Rutgers coach Kyle Flood told the Sports Bash, "I was a little bit surprised he was not drafted, he'll help the Eagles." A special teams ace, he should be considered a longshot at 5-foot-11 and 195 lbs.
Kadron Boone. An undrafted rookie free agent from LSU, Boone is six-foot tall and 205 lbs. Boone finished his collegiate career with 611 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in 51 games played.