Barring Nick Foles and Chip Kelly holding up a Lombardi Trophy next February in Arizona, a good population of the Eagles’ fanbase is going to second-guess the team’s off-season release of DeSean Jackson. One person who has a chance to help Eagles’ fans forget about the artist formely known as number 10, is the Eagles second-round draft pick, Jordan Matthews.
Matthews, has said and done pretty much everything right since being drafted last Friday, and appears to be the gym-rat type player that Chip Kelly craves. Matthews, who is 6’3 and 212 pounds, has the ability to go over the middle, and finally give the Eagles the big-body receiver that the fanbase has craved this entire millennium. Yet Matthews is finding an increasing frustration with early comparisons to DeSean Jackson.
“I’m a totally different player than DeSean Jackson,” Matthews said. “I don’t even know where those comparisons would come from.”
Matthews, who spoke to Philly.com’s Zach Berman (among others) at rookie mini-camps yesterday, talked about his work-ethic and his drive to be great, which both lead you to think that he will have a bright tenure in Philadelphia. As he also said, his skill set is nothing like that of Jackson. He is a true-possession receiver, unlike Jackson. If any receiver in this class has Jackson-esque skills, it would be Josh Huff. Still, Matthews was the first receiver taken after the Jackson release, so he enters Philly as somewhat of a marked man.
Jeremy Maclin is the only player on this team capable of truly “replacing” DeSean. Maclin doesn’t have Jackson’s speed, but he still has elite speed, and is a much more consistent target and better route-runner than Jackson has ever been. I can’t pretend to tell you if he will be able to stay healthy next year, but I think looking at him as a question mark is a really negative way to think. By the time training camp gets going, Maclin will be nearly a year off of ACL surgery, which leads you to think that he will be at 100 percent by the preseason. Let’s save the negative thinking in this town for the Phillies and Flyers (and Sixers if they don’t win the lottery).
If Maclin can stay healthy, it’s fair to assume that he, like DeSean did last year, would have a career year under Chip Kelly’s offense. And as Matthews told reporters, he has confidence in Maclin, and the array of weapons around him.
“There’s not much pressure for a guy when you got LeSean McCoy, Darren Sproles, Riley Cooper, and Jeremy Maclin and Nick Foles,” Matthews said. “I just got to go in there and do my job.”