When the Eagles traded up to nab Jeremy Maclin with the 19th pick in the 2009 draft, it came as a surprise.
The previous year, the Birds had taken DeSean Jackson, who surpassed all expectations as a rookie, catching 62 balls for 912 yards. A surplus of talent at wide receiver was unheard of during the first nine seasons of Andy Reid's tenure as the Birds' head coach. There was the season-and-a-half stint with Terrell Owens, but other than that, the lack of weapons for Donovan McNabb was an annual topic of discussion.
Now, nearly two years after the Birds selected Maclin, wide receiver is arguably the biggest strength on this team. Jackson is looking for a new deal as he enters the final season of his rookie contract. Jason Avant is signed through 2014. And Maclin still has three years remaining on his rookie deal.
In two seasons, Maclin has 126 catches for 1,737 yards and 14 touchdowns. Three receivers were taken ahead of Maclin in 2009, and six were taken overall in the first round. Here's a look at how they stack up:
Maclin's numbers play out favorably compared to his peers. He's tied for second in catches, and trails only Nicks in yards and touchdowns.
Of course, there are other receivers from the '09 draft class that have played well. Most notably, Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, who was taken with the 20th pick in the third round. He has 99 catches through two seasons and beats out all the guys listed above with 2,013 receiving yards.
Here's how Maclin's numbers through his first two seasons compare to some other receivers that got off to good starts after the Eagles drafted them.
Note that Quick's numbers should probably have an asterisk. He was a rookie during the shortened, nine-game season in 1982. In 1983 and 1984, Quick totaled 130 catches for 2,461 yards and 22 touchdowns.
But however you want to slice it up, Maclin's off to an impressive start and has put himself in select company.
Last season, he led the Eagles with 10 receiving touchdowns, which were four more than the next guy (Jackson with 6). Digging a little deeper, Maclin was by far the Eagles' best receiving threat in the red zone. Seven of his 10 touchdowns came inside the opponents' 20. No other player had more than one touchdown catch in the red zone. That says quite a bit about Maclin's ability to get open, considering he's listed at just 6 feet. Overall (not including the second Cowboys game), the Eagles' offense was 15th in red-zone offense, scoring touchdowns on 52.83 percent of their chances. That number and rank would have been a lot lower without Maclin.
In case you missed it, in yesterday's post, I tried to make sense of James Urban's departure.
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