Every player in the NFL has strengths and weaknesses. The best way to fill a roster is to find talented individuals at certain positions with skills and attributes that complement each other.
It’s always good to have as much competition throughout the roster as well. It keeps everyone on their toes and allows the best to be brought out in each player.
At this point the Eagles have quite a large group of wide receivers with 13. Obviously more than half of these guys will be gone by September but we might as well take a look at what each is bringing to the table.
To be clear, each player is listed in order of his jersey number. Some will have larger profiles than others based on how much knowledge I have on each individual player. To make this even more comprehensive, if you feel I missed anything please leave it in the comments.
10: DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson is an absolute burner. He is one of the fastest players in the league and is one of the league’s most dangerous vertical receivers.
He is lethal after the catch and in space and can make defenders miss with quickness and footwork. He plays hard when focused, almost routinely making tackles and forcing fumbles on interception returns.
He creates room for everyone else in the offense and keeps defenses honest whenever he’s on the field. He is an electric punt returner and is a threat to score anytime he touches the football.
Jackson had a down year last season that showed serious lapses in effort and concentration. Whether they can be chalked up to contract problems they were still an issue.
He’s been known to drop passes and shy away from contact. Jackson isn’t the most versatile route runner and can be completely eliminated from games.
His return production was almost nonexistent last season but no coverage team feels safe kicking to him.
13: Damaris Johnson
Damaris Johnson is an incredibly versatile performer. He is explosive as a receiver, a runner and a returner.
Very dangerous with the ball in his hands. He has exceptional quickness and can make plays as a receiver inside.
He was good enough to lead collegefootball in all-purpose yardage, setting an NCAA record in career yardage. Johnson could be an interesting weapon used in various roles.
Johnson is small enough to make DeSean Jackson almost look big. He also lacks elite speed.
He may be too small to be a consistent threat as a slot receiver which could limit his overall ability to contribute to the offense.
While he is known as a speedy player he didn’t show much as a vertical threat and will never be more than a role player.
14: Riley Cooper
Riley Cooper has very good size and strength for the position. He’s a fluid athlete that can go up and get the football.
He was a respectable performer when he was forced into action at times last season. He made a number of big plays down the field when called upon.
Cooper has the size and athleticism to make plays down the field at times and he can be a factor in the red zone.
Cooper has definitely flashed ability at times but with no consistency. He doesn’t seem to have the best concentration or body control and mistimes his jumps too often.
He will never be an adequate starter as a wide receiver but will never have to be. He has his moments but can’t be counted on from week to week.
Cooper should be more effective getting the football at its highest point. He is also victimized by allowing defenders to come down with the football in crucial moments. He seemed to be more effective when paired with Vince Young last season.
16: Chad Hall
Chad Hall is a versatile player.
He can be used as a receiver, in the backfield, in the Wildcat and as a returner. He has managed to stick around for a few years and seems to always find his way into a few games.
Chad Hall is not actually good in any of those roles.
He has a bad combination of lacking size and speed and he never seems to be able to make much happen with the ball in his hands.
17: McKay Jacobson
McKay Jacobson has experience in a pass heavy offense. He is a good route runner with the instincts and skills to succeed in the slot.
He has good playing speed and better quickness. He has consistent hands and can make catches away from his body.
He also has some experience returning punts, including a return for a touchdown.
Jacobson is short and small at just 5’10″ and 188 pounds. He has some speed but doesn’t have big play ability and isn’t a home run threat.
He doesn’t really bring any one exceptional skill to the NFL to stand out or make the Eagles roster. He has knowledge of the passing game but doesn’t appear to have the physical ability to apply it at the highest level.
18: Jeremy Maclin
Jeremy Maclin may not be as explosive as DeSean Jackson but he can fly as well. He also brings a little more to the table as a complete receiver.
He has good size and strength and has become a very polished route runner. He can be a factor down the field, in the slot and in the intermediate passing game.
He can compete with defenders for the ball and can make the spectacular catch. He could finally reach his potential this season.
Maclin was very highly touted coming out of Missouri but he’s never proven to be an elite receiver with any consistency.
He can wow you with a 10-reception, two-touchdown game one week then catch a single ball the next week. Some of 2011′s issues can be chalked up to an offseason of illness.
He made critical mistakes in losses last season that were a matter of concentration and ball security. He also failed to produce when DeSean Jackson was out of the lineup.
19: Mardy Gilyard
Mardy Gilyard is a return specialist that has experience handling both kicks and punts. In college he had five return touchdowns.
His biggest strength is his ability to make plays with the ball in his hands. He can pick his way through traffic and has the vision to find running room.
Gilyard is another small receiver and he doesn’t offer much in that capacity.
He doesn’t run good routes and he doesn’t have the ball skills to succeed at the position.
If Andy Reid has any plans of using him in the offense it will probably be on quick throws and nothing more.
80: Ron Johnson
Ron Johnson fits the mold of what the Eagles like in wide receivers. He is smallish with good speed.
He has good hands and can catch away from his body and is a very good athlete.
In his senior year at USC he proved to be a devastating punt returner which gives him added value to the Eagles.
Johnson is smaller than what you’d like in a wide receiver as the Eagles could use more size at the position.
He was successful as a college returner but only returned 56 kicks and 22 punts in his career.
Johnson has some good qualities but may lack the size and strength to ever be on the roster. He also lacks the type of route running you’d like in a secondary receiver.
81: Jason Avant
Jason Avant is a little bigger than both Jackson and Maclin. He is strong, competitive, tough and smart.
He is willing to take a huge hit in order to make a catch. He can come down with the ball in traffic and make catches to bail the quarterback out.
He is dangerous inside and knows how to find openings in the defense. He is also a willing special teams participant and a good blocker.
As tough as he is and as much he is known for his hands, he isn’t as consistent as he’s made out to be. He has had some crucial drops and fumbles at inopportune times.
He isn’t very fast or dynamic and he spent way too much time last year whining and complaining about fan reactions in the stadium.
He is a good, hardworking player who has maxed out on his ability.
83: Marvin McNutt
Marvin McNutt is a huge receiver at 6’3″ and 216 pounds. He is athletic for his size and has decent speed as well.
He knows how to use his size to his advantage and will always make a play on the ball.
McNutt can make plays in all areas of the field and will make some spectacular catches. He should develop into a dangerous red zone threat.
He also has the benefit of knowing the game as a quarterback, which he played in high school.
McNutt has only played the receiver position for three years and he lacks experience as a well rounded route runner.
He doesn’t have great speed and won’t necessarily make plays after the catch.
As a rookie he will have quite a bit to learn in Andy Reid’s complicated offense.
84: Jamel Hamler
Jamel Hamler has great size and hands. He’s strong and physical and will compete for the ball.
Hamler is slow and lacks quickness. He isn’t explosive or a playmaker. Not likely to be more than a practice squad player.
86: Aaron Pflugrad
Aaron Pflugrad has some experience as an inside receiver. He is quick and has good hands.
In college he was able to get behind defenses at times to make big plays.
Pflugrad is another small receiver at 5’10″ and 182 pounds. He lacks elite or even above average speed.
It’s hard to imagine he will last very long before he’s sent packing.
88: Elvis Akpla
Elvis Akpla has great body control and quickness. He can make spectacular catches and has great quickness in tight spaces.
He is dangerous over the middle and down the field and knows his way around the sidelines.
Also, his name is Elvis.
Akpla doesn’t have elite speed and may find it hard to gain separation on NFL defensive backs.
He has very little experience against top level athletes and it may take him too long to adjust. He looks like a player but may have a hard time finding a chance in Philadelphia.