2012 NFL Offseason: The Eagles Wide Receivers

If there is one unit on the Philadelphia Eagles that epitomizes their disappointing season it was the wide receivers.  There were many factors heading into the season, but the bottom line is they just have an underperforming season.


Whether it was a dropped pass, lost fumbles after the catch or passes that bounced off a receiver’s hands and turned into interceptions, this unit gave almost every example possible the results of lack of focus.


For a team that relies heavily on the passing game, there is much room for improvement.  Whether it is each receiver looking in the mirror or addressing the position in the offseason remains to be seen.


This is the current Eagles receiving unit.

Jeremy Maclin


When the 2011 Eagles training camp began, Maclin was excused to handle what we now know was a medical scare.  Fortunately, the ex-Missouri Tiger was deemed healthy by his doctors.  The downside is he never got into a rhythm.


Many fans will remember Maclin dropping a 4th down pass inAtlanta or the fumble in field goal range againstSan Francisco.  He was also bother by a hamstring and his shoulder, leading to a disappoint year overall.  His primary focus for 2012 is to start off healthy.


DeSean Jackson


Jackson’s 2011 season was a situation where everyone was wrong.  TheCalifornianative knows he could’ve handled the final year of his rookie deal in a more professional manner.  At the same time, the Eagles front office isn’t completely innocent.


The end result was a two time Pro Bowler allowing his financial situation be a distraction.  There were plays where his route running was obviously being executed without full effort.  He was also a non-factor in punt returns.


Jason Avant


Avant is considered one of the most professional guys on the Eagles.  Therefore, I was disappointed when he made comments about bandwagon fans.  When one of the team’s leaders makes comments like that, it lets you know how frustrating the environment is inside the locker room.


Having the most productive season of his six year career wasn’t necessarily a good thing.  Avant’s most productive games were either in losses or blowout wins.  This leads to the primary receivers being non-factors and/or having a down year.


The fact that one of the team’s role players has to be looked upon for leadership is a problem as well.  It’s like Avant is the Aaron McKie to DeSean’s Allen Iverson.  On championship teams, leadership usually begins with the top players.


Riley Cooper


In 2012, there will be no more excuses for Cooper.  The Eagles have their big receiver.  Now they just need Cooper to be a big receiver who can be relied upon to fight for the ball.


Chad Hall


Hall must be an excellent teammate in the locker room.  A consummate professional who does whatever is asked of him.  He is similar toNew England’s Julian Edelman without the need to play defense.


Like Edelman, Hall’s presence means there is a void on the team.  This is especially true in terms of needing a full time punt returner.


Steve Smith


Part of me still believes Smith came to the Eagles to help lose to the Giants.  Acquiring him via free agency may have been one of the worst moves in the Andy Reid era.  Fortunately, the contract was only for one year.


Jamel Hamler, Ronald Johnson and Mardy Gilyard


None of these three guys were a factor in the 2011 season.  Johnson spend most of the year on the Eagles practice squad, being promoted to the active roster for the final two games.


Hamler was a rookie free agent originally signed by the Denver Broncos.  He was placed on injured reserved before being released via settlement.


Gilyard was a 2010 4th round pick by the St. Louis Rams who didn’t make the final cuts for 2011.  The Eagles signed him to a futures contract after the season ended. Considering the Eagles’ recent history with Cincinnati Bearcats, he may be a steal.


None of these three guys are proven, but neither was Victor Cruz.


2012 Forecast


The status of DeSean Jackson is obviously going to be the biggest story heading into the offseason.  I’m one of the minority who believes there is no such thing as an irreplaceable player.


IsJacksona factor?  Yes.  Does he command attention on the field? Absolutely.  Will the Eagles go 0-16 if he departs? Very unlikely.


Timing is everything.  Just like with the Indianapolis Colts and Peyton Manning.  The ability to draft Andrew Luck with the No. 1 pick could not have come at a better time.


For the Eagles, the WR options in free agency and the NFL draft are currently very good.  While I don’t see Vincent Jackson (San Diego), Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City) or Marcus Colston (New Orleans) even making it to free agency, the Saints Robert Meecham is very likely to be available at a reasonable price.


In the draft, the Eagles can target eitherArkansasreceiver (Joe Adams or Jarius Wright) or Baylor’s Kendall Wright for a speedster.  If they want a larger receiver, Rutger’sMohamed Sanu,

South Carolina’s Alshon Jeffrey, UNC’s Dwight Jones among others should be available on Day 2.


Having said that, I don’t see the Eagles just letting DeSean leave for another team.  A franchise tag is very likely.  A trade could be pursued (San Franciscocould surely use him) or he’ll play one more year in Philly.


Next: Tight Ends

7 thoughts on “2012 NFL Offseason: The Eagles Wide Receivers

  1. watch this name in the draft…Brian Quick, Appalachian State…6-3 220.

    He reminds me of Brandon Marshall….projected 4th round pick – needs good coaching and some patience.

  2. Brian Quick had a solid,very good Senior Week definintely moved up the Draft Boards and is now seen as early to mid 3rd Round Selection (#70-85th Selection)
    I’ve watched him developed over the last 3 Seasons here in Boone,NC where App State is located and seen him play many times over his College Career and Quick reminds me of a young Plaxico Burress/Sydney Rice where he not only has the size and pretty good speed, but has a great timing on leaping for balls.. He’s a hard worker who has put in time to improve his route running and blocking.. He does not have a initial burst to blow past anyone from the line of scrimmage but when gets that 6-4 1/2 frame in stride deep down the field, he has another gear and can finish plays.. I think if he gets on the right team with good Coaching and a good QB, that he has an excellent chance one of top WR’s in the NFL in 2-3 years time and can be a big contributor by his 2nd Season .. I would love the Eagles to get him even if they have to use their 2nd 2nd Round Draft pick to grab him sooner then he’s probably slotted for he has production and potentail star written all over him in my humble opinion..

  3. I suspect all of the free agent WRs mentioned will be testing the free agent waters as deals would have already been done if they didn’t want to test the free agent waters.

  4. The better move is to sign D-Jax and find a good complimentary red zone threat WR to complement him in the starting line-up…Like Vincent Jackson. Maclin , Avant and Cooper are all expendable if you have have a Jackson and Jackson tandem.

    It would make more sense to move Maclin and Avant to make room in the salary cap for VIncent Jackson and DeSean Jackson and draft for the bench. Hell, I’d even consider bringing Hank Baskett back again since he already knows the system.

  5. **REPORT**
    According to a source of mine, Plaxico Burress wants to be an eagle really bad, he even mentioned this at this past Super Bowl. I mentioned last off season that i wanted the birds to sign him after he was released from prison. It was foolish of them to pass him up.. I dont think they will this time, he will get signed this off season by the eagles exactly what i said they should have done last off season..

  6. This is Old News JH,
    Last Off-Season Plex wanted to become an Eagle since he’s very good friend with QB Vick, he and his family live in NJ and he wants to play close by which he publicly states last off-season too.. The Eagles didn’t pass him up last year, the Jets offered him more $$$ and a starters Position which is what he was looking for.. Every time a big time Free-Agent doesn;t signe the with the EAgles, too many of you state the Eagles passed him up…. most times it’s the fact that the Player is just getting a bettter deal, it happens..
    Sorry Butch, Eagles have no interest in VInce Jackson, lots of off-the field baggage with him and he is looking fior Big $$$ which the Eagles are not going to spen for a WR..

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