Everywhere you turn of late, you’ll see the Eagles and Marqise Lee being linked together like peanut butter and jelly. Whether it’s a mock draft, article or tweet by various draftniks or writers who cover the Eagles, we’ve gone from March Madness to Marqise Madness.
I’m here to tell you that I’m not on the bandwagon. Just like kids to drugs, the Eagles should just say no.
I’m not saying Lee will be a bust, I’m just saying that I’d much rather select someone else if the Eagles do draft a Wide Receiver in Round 1.
Why? Mainly because I feel we already have a very similar receiver on the roster in Jeremy Maclin. Having a second Maclin on this team wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I’ve always been someone that favors bigger, stronger receivers.
When Chip Kelly made his “big people beat up little people” statement, it was like a breath of fresh air. The Eagles have long been mostly a smaller, faster team during the Andy Reid era and I’m ready for a transition to big and physical.
I’ve suffered long enough with having a main receiving corps consisting of players 6′ or shorter (Jackson, Maclin, Avant). I’m tired of admiring other teams’ receivers like Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Demaryius Thomas, Josh Gordon, A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, Vincent Jackson, Jordy Nelson, etc, etc.
What do all those guys have in common? They’re big and physical…and they can dominate.
Who was the last Eagles receiver that defenses had to game plan for but still couldn’t take out of the game? And don’t say DeSean Jackson, he was routinely taken out of games.
Your answer should be Terrell Owens.
Was he small and fast? No. He was big and physical.
Anyway, for comparison purposes between Maclin and Lee, I looked at a scouting report on Maclin when he came out and compared it to one for Lee. Both reports were done by NFLDraftScout:
Positives: Tight-skinned athlete. Good overall musculature. Explosive straight-line speed and quickness out of his breaks. Agile. Can make defenders miss in tight quarters. Natural playmaker who is a threat to score – from any distance – on every snap. Versatile athlete who can make plays in the running, receiving or return games. Natural pass catcher. Good body control to contort in space and make the spectacular reception. High-points passes and is an explosive leaper. High effort player. Courageous over the middle. Blocks downfield. Showed mental toughness in returning after a horrific knee injury in 2006.
Negatives: Still developing as a route-runner. Relies on his athletic ability at this point, and doesn’t explode out of his cuts as well as he could. Will takes his eyes off the ball, on occasion, to prepare to make the defender miss, and drop the ball. Production inflated due to his role and the presence of other playmakers in this offense.
STRENGTHS: Explosive straight-line speed that makes pressing him risky for even talented cornerbacks. Remarkably fluid athlete, capable of changing directions quickly and shows developing savvy as a route-runner, often using a hesitation move and shoulder-dip to get defenders off-balance.
His vision, elusiveness and acceleration make him a terror after the catch, whether as a receiver or returner. Plucks the ball easily and can track over either shoulder. Plays bigger than his size, showing the ability to go up and high-point passes amidst tight coverage and is an attentive, physical downfield blocker.
WEAKNESSES: Possesses a relatively slight frame and struggled with injuries in 2013, raising legitimate questions about his ability to remain healthy against NFL competition. Relies on his natural athleticism to work himself free, at times, rather than exploding out of his routes at the proper depths, showing a willingness to freelance that has led to interceptions for the Trojans.
Pretty similar, right? That could be because of the same person doing the report, but it could also be because they are just similar players.
Maclin is 6′, 198 lbs, was a dangerous receiver and return man, ran a 4.48 40, and had 102 receptions for 1,260 yards with 13 TDs and 2 return TDs in his last college season before entering the draft.
Lee is 6′, 192 lbs, was a dangerous receiver and return man, ran a 4.52 40, and had 118 receptions for 1,721 yards with 14 TDs and 1 return TD in 2012 (I disregarded his down 2013 season).
Lee had a down year in 2013 compared to 2012 and many point to nagging injuries and a drop in quarterback play after Matt Barkley left. That may be true, but Barkley himself is another USC player who looked like a first round draft pick at one point, only to have a year of struggles attributed to injuries that ultimately landed him in the fourth round and now will have to battle to make the roster.
Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather avoid drafting a player coming off a down season where you have built-in excuses such as injuries and how another player negatively affected his play.
At least not in the first round anyway. Especially when we already have a Lee-esque type of receiver on the roster in Maclin.
Unfortunately, Kelly and the Eagles are apparently very interested in Lee:
I can confirm USC receiver Marqise Lee will visit the Eagles this week. Has met with
#Eagles several times, per source, in various places.
We also know that Kelly may favor players who have performed well against his team while at Oregon. Lee has had outstanding games while playing against Chip’s Ducks which led him to state that:
“Lee may be the best receiver I’ve had the opportunity to coach against.”
Take it for what you will. Maybe it’s a smokescreen, maybe it’s not. I’m sure Kelly’s comment was genuine and that there is at least some level of interest. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone whom he hasn’t coached against that he likes better.
If I was told that we would have to take a Wide Receiver in Round 1, I would take Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Robinson or maybe even Cody Latimer over Lee. I like their size and upside better (plus I’m assuming Mike Evans would be gone).
However, we don’t have to take a receiver in Round 1 and certainly not Marqise Lee. We could get a receiver with just as much upside as Lee in Rounds 2, 3 or perhaps even 4.
As far as receivers go, I’d much rather take someone like Cody Latimer, Jordan Matthews, Davante Adams, Martavis Bryant, Donte Moncrief or Josh Huff somewhere in Rounds 2 – 4 over someone like Lee in Round 1.
If the Eagles ended up taking Lee, I would be anything but excited. However, at that point I’d have to accept him as an Eagle and hope for the best.
I just hope it doesn’t come down to that.