‘Not-Yet-Elite 11’: Ranking of Philadelphia’s Most Promising Young Talent

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9.) WR Josh Huff-Eagles

Dec 20, 2014; Landover, MD, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Josh Huff (11) returns a kick against the Washington Redskins during the second half at FedEx Field. The Redskins won 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

For a guy who only had 23 touches (14 by way of kickoff returns), Josh Huff had quite the eventful rookie season. Unfortunately for him, most of those events were of the negative variety. Off the top of my head: a fumble at the goal line against the Cardinals, an interception by the Texans off a dropped pass, and the cringeworthy misfield of the opening kickoff in the team’s week 15 loss to the Cowboys stand out as the miscues that defined Huff’s season in the eyes of most fans.

What those fans overlooked was that Huff possesses an explosiveness and natural ability unlike anyone else on the roster. While everyone remembers his mistakes, Huff did have a few spectacular moments that fall by the wayside due to the team missing the playoffs.

Exhibit A: 107-yard kickoff return vs. Titans (11/23)

Exhibit B: 44-yard reception vs Cowboys (12/14)

Huff is a special talent with the ball in his hands. He is far more physical a runner than most ‘speed dependent’ receivers and has a knack for the spectacular. An inconsistent workload, turmoil at the quarterback position, and the general growing pains that go along with being a rookie in the NFL made Huff’s 2014 season one of the more adventurous than he probably wanted. Much is to be expected of Huff in 2015. Jeremy Maclin is gone. The team has committed to fellow second-year man Jordan Matthews as their primary slot option. Riley Cooper is still Riley Cooper. Even if the Eagles do what many expect and select multiple receivers in the upcoming draft, Huff will go from a secondary option to a primary target.

Much like Jesse Biddle, Huff will need to demonstrate that any sort of mental hurdles that some perceived hurt him during his rookie season will not get in the way of the physical gifts he flashed at times in 2014. Though a great deal of his potential production will depend on who’s under center for the Eagles, Huff has a chance to validate the third round pick the team used on him last offseason. As a member of a draft class that produced John Brown, Allen Hurns, and Martavis Bryant after Huff was already off the board, Huff is more of an afterthought in an otherwise historical group. According to most reports, the team is extremely high on Huff’s potential impact on the team moving forward. Whether or not this impacted their decision to let Jeremy Maclin walk, albeit for an extremely high number, is up to speculation. Those in the know have only reinforced what the organization thinks of the second-year man out of Oregon.

He will have plenty of opportunities to prove this in 2015.