Friday, April 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Optimist/pessimist: Eagles' WRs

Today we do the optimist/pessimist thing with the wide receivers.

Optimist/pessimist: Eagles' WRs

Today we do the optimist/pessimist thing with the wide receivers.

But first, let's get to your voting results for the tight ends:

4 - 38.2%
3 - 34.8 %
2 - 14.6%
5 - 8.1%
1 - 4.3%

As you can see, over 81 percent of MTC voters registered a 3, 4 or 5.

What is your confidence level with the Eagles' wide receivers?
1
 
  14 (2.6%)
2
 
  33 (6.2%)
3
 
  107 (20.2%)
4
 
  296 (56.0%)
5
 
  79 (14.9%)
Total votes = 529

I was debating between a 3 or a 4 and settled on a 3 since I feel like I've been a little too optimistic with these things.

I liked what I saw from Brent Celek last season. Not sure he has the ceiling of an elite tight end, but I think he can be productive and a nice fit with the rest of the team's offensive personnel. Remember, he's only 24 years old.

Sidenote: Want to feel old? Celek was born in 1985, and this will be his third season in the NFL.

The question of course is can Celek be counted on as a blocker. And no one has that answer. We'll just have to listen to what the coaches say about his progress in camp, but we won't really know until the games begin.

Twitterer SigmundBloom asked if Celek's upside could be 70 catches. As I told him, I think that would be a pretty extreme upside. Only five tight ends hit that mark last season. Celek's success will be measured by his steadiness as a receiver, his capability as a blocker and his worth in the red zone. As I: pointed out in the previous post, he had three red-zone scores in the team's final four games last season. The team really counted on him in the playoffs, and he came through, which is great to see from a young guy.

As for Cornelius Ingram, it looks like they got good value with the fifth-round pick. But no one really knows how he'll be able to contribute in his first season. I'm excited to see him at camp though.

Now on to the wide receivers. The poll is to the right. Remember, 1 means you're worried and 5 means you're supremely confident.

The optimist says...

Donovan McNabb has more weapons than he's had in his entire career here. And it starts at wide receiver. Before last season, we heard all about how DeSean Jackson was too frail, too cocky, etc. And how did he respond? 62 catches for 912 yards. Add Jeremy Maclin to the mix, and the Eagles now have speed and youth at receiver that rivals any team in the NFL. And don't forget about the other guys. The nice part about this group is that everyone has a clear role. Aside from Jackson and Maclin, you have Jason Avant, a great route-runner with tremendous hands and a knack for getting open on third down. Hank Baskett, a guy who has shown the ability to be a big-play threat and a red-zone target if the Eagles use him correctly. And Kevin Curtis, who is back and hopefully healthy. Don't forget that he caught 77 balls for 1,110 yards a couple seasons ago. Who are we missing? Oh yeah, Reggie Brown. Ok, so even an optimist doesn't know what to make of him. But if he has his head on straight, he can be a productive player. He proved that during the 2006 and 2007 seasons.

The pessimist says...

Ahh, I love how we think adding a rookie whose stock fell rapidly on draft day is going to solve this decade-long problem. The truth is this team could have gotten Anquan Boldin for a first-round pick and change. Instead, they drafted Maclin, who will be nowhere near as productive a player in the upcoming season. Why is it never about winning NOW with this team? And the best part is the Eagles have most of the fan-base and media brainwashed into thinking they are now OK at receiver. The best one I heard was "The Eagles have the best receiving corps in the division." Umm... that's because the Cowboys lost T.O. and the Giants got rid of Plaxico. Not because the Eagles got drastically better. There's a difference. You have Curtis coming off of an injury. You're expecting Jackson to improve, even though teams now know he's the No. 1 guy. And you think Maclin, a guy who spent his college career in a spread attack, is going to just pick up the offense right away. Don't forget how many WRs failed here as rookies before Jackson. Then there are the red-zone struggles, which can largely be attributed to this group's inability to get open down near the end zone. Want a stat? Eagles receivers had zero red-zone TDs in the team's final five games, including the playoffs. That's not gonna get it done, my friends.

Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
About this blog
Sheil Kapadia is in his fifth season writing about the Eagles and the NFL for philly.com. His earliest memories as a sports fan include several trips to Veterans Stadium with his Dad. He's not a beat writer or an Insider, but is here to discuss the NFL 365 days a year. E-mail him at skapadia@philly.com or by clicking here

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Sheil Kapadia Philly.com
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