Philadelphia Eagles: Albert Wilson can help to fill DeSean Jackson’s shoes

( Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images )
( Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images ) /

As DeSean Jackson’s absence inches deeper into the season, the Philadelphia Eagles should trade for Albert Wilson to help ease their deep threat woes.

The Philadelphia Eagles are just a different team without DeSean Jackson.

Without the premier deep threat of the current generation, the team’s offense, whether called by Chip Kelly, Pat Shurmur, or Doug Pederson, has been two-dimensional at best.

You see, Jackson has the rare ability to take the top off of an opposing defense on any given play, and pick up a 50 yard TD in the blink of an eye – or two, as evidenced by his glorious Week 1 return to Lincoln Financial Field. While this trick is one of the slickest in all of football, it also opens up an overall offense like few others.

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With a player like Jackson lined up at the X, opposing teams can’t stack the box against the run, and will be less inclined to deploy single-high safety looks in fear of giving up one-on-one coverage to an unguardable speedster. When employed correctly, Jackson’s presence alone can free up the middle of the field for players like Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz, open up running lanes for Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders, and give Alshon Jeffery one-on-one coverage on his signature 50-50 balls.

But when Jackson is gone, things can get predictable in a hurry.

Sure, the team can still attempt big plays down the field with players like Torrey Smith or Agholor filling the Jackson role, but they seldom produce the same results, especially not at the same clip. Simply put, if the Eagles are going to recapture their Week 1 vertical passing prowess, they’ll either need to get Jackson back on the field, or find a close enough approximation to fill his shoes.

Or better yet, why not try to do a little bit of both?

You see, while fans in the 215 will look to big-name players like A.J. Green and Emmanuel Sanders as potential solutions to the team’s receiving woes – though to be fair, both players would be good gets – the perfect player to both replace and complement Jackson actually calls South Beach home – and before you ask, no it’s not oft-mocked Eagles target DeVante Parker.

When Albert Wilson placed his name into consideration for the 2014 NFL Draft, his chances of making a roster – let alone earn a second contract – were slim to none. Despite accruing 6,235 all-purpose yards en route to one of the most dominant careers in Sun Belt Conference history, the 5-foot-9, 195-pound receiver felt like a novelty with no real NFL prospects.  Sure, he was invited to the combine – the first-ever Georgia State player to earn such an honor – but if he were selected in the seventh round, it would be an absolute godsend.

But in the NFL, it’s not where you are (or aren’t) drafted, but the situation you are (or aren’t) drafted into, and Wilson signed up to play for Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Locked in on a bargain-bin three-year, $1.54 million contract, Wilson made the Chiefs’ opening day roster as a rookie and went on to play 55 games for Kansas City with 26 starts. Granted, he never quite became a star or even a consistent top option for KC, but Reid found a way to use Wilson as the perfect bridge from Jackson in Philly to his eventual ultimate weapon in West Alabama speedster Tyreek Hill.

Splitting time between the inside and the out, Wilson averaged the most yards per target of any receiver on the Chiefs’ roster from 2014-15 and finished out his career with a 7.8 average on roughly 3.6 attempts a game.

Those numbers aren’t comparable to Jackson or Hill, but they surely impressed then-Miami Dolphins‘ GM Chris Grier enough to reward him with a three-year, $24 million deal with $14.45 million guaranteed at signing.

However, without the aid of a truly elite quarterback to throw to him – like Ryan Tannehill, Brock Osweiler, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Josh Rosen, Wilson’s skillset has had to adapt to remain relevant.

Now locked in as an interior YAC magnet operating out of the slot, Wilson’s developed into a deceptively effective gadget receiver – albeit, as effective as one can be on an intentionally tanking team.

Really, the Eagles should feel compelled to make a deal to acquire Wilson to set him free and finally unlock his potential in a legit role. It honestly wouldn’t cost much to acquire the 27-year-old vet, both from a draft pick perspective (conditional sixth-rounder?), or financially, as the majority of his 2019 contract would be paid by the Dolphins.

With an out at the end of the 2019 season, there really is no risk to a potential trade.

Furthermore, adding Wilson right now would not only help to ease the loss of Jackson in the short-term but could provide a nice complement to DJax if (and hopefully if) he makes it back to the field later this season.

As we collectively saw last October when Howie Roseman flipped a third to the Detroit Lions for Golden Tate, the Birds have been on the lookout for a receiver who can pick up yards after contact and supplement the running game within five yards of the line of scrimmage.

Based on their shared two-year tenure in Kansas City, Doug Pederson should be incredibly familiar with how to optimize Wilson’s shiftyness.

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Ultimately, we may never know what the Philadelphia Eagles have in store for the 2019 Trade Deadline, as we’ve collectively taken a monster L on Jalen Ramsey, Marcus Peters, and (probably) Patrick Peterson, but if a low-risk, medium reward receiver who perfectly skirts the line between DeSean Jackson and Golden Tate is on the shipping list, Howie Roseman could do a whole lot worse than rescuing Albert Wilson from the South Beach Titanic.