Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Eagles draft outlook: Wide receiver

Continuing the Eagles draft outlook series, today I look at wide receiver.

Eagles draft outlook: Wide receiver

The Eagles selected wide receiver Riley Cooper in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. (Clem Murray / Staff Photographer)
The Eagles selected wide receiver Riley Cooper in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. (Clem Murray / Staff Photographer)

Continuing the Eagles draft outlook series, today I look at wide receiver.

If you missed the earlier breakdowns, here they are:

Quarterback
Running back

On the roster: The days of wide receiver being an annual offseason focus are over for the Eagles - for now, at least. The Birds currently have eight wide receivers on their roster, and four of them have well-defined roles.

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DeSean Jackson has established himself as one of the best deep threats in the NFL, and Jeremy Maclin has provided a great complement, outperforming almost all second-year receivers in 2010.

Jason Avant lined up in the slot more than any other receiver in 2010, according to Pro Football Focus. And with his size and talent, Riley Cooper should nail down the fourth wide receiver position next season.

Chad Hall was OK last seasn. He provides some versatility, and the coaches obviously are intrigued by getting him more involved.. The Eagles also added receivers Rod Harper, Sinorice Moss and Jeremy Williams since the end of last season.

Contract situations: You know Jackson's deal by now. He's on the books for a reported $565,000 in 2011, the final year of his rookie deal. Once the labor situation is resolved, depending on what rules are in place, Jackson could get a long-term contract.

Maclin is signed for three more seasons (through 2013), and Avant got a five-year deal last offseason, which will keep him here through 2014.

Cooper is signed through 2013, and Hall is on the books for the next two seasons, if the Eagles decide to keep him.

Draft history: The Eagles have selected 13 receivers since Andy Reid took over in 1999: Na Brown (4th round, 130th overall in 1999); Todd Pinkston (2nd round, 36th overall in 2000); Gari Scott (4th round, 99th overall in 2000); Freddie Mitchell (1st round, 25th overall in 2001); Freddie Milons (5th round, 162nd overall in 2002); Billy McMullen (3rd round, 95th overall in 2003); Reggie Brown (2nd round, 35th overall in 2005); Jason Avant (4th round, 109th overall in 2006); Jeremy Bloom (5th round, 147th overall in 2006); DeSean Jackson (2nd round, 49th overall in 2008); Jeremy Maclin (1st round, 19th overall in 2009); Brandon Gibson (6th round, 194th overall in 2009); and Riley Cooper (5th round, 159th overall in 2010).

Workouts/visits: According to my master list, the Birds have shown some level of interest in the following wide receivers: TCU's Jeremy Kerley and North Carolina's Greg Little.

How I see it: Since 1999, the Eagles have drafted at least one wide receiver every year except for 2004 and 2007.

However, they really are set with their top four guys, barring injury. With the top three - Jackson, Maclin and Avant - I don't even see a real possibility for competition. If a guy falls that the Eagles really like, I guess he could push Cooper for the fourth spot, but I think even that is unlikely.

Special teams plays a factor here. As I mentioned above, the Birds have added three wide receivers since the end of last season. If they see a prospect who they feel can develop as a wide receiver and contribute immediately on special teams (specifically as a returner), the Eagles could draft him.

But I'd be surprised if that happened before the middle-to-later rounds.


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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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