Former Eagles wide receiver and now Washington Redskin DeSean Jackson, can definitely provide the deep speed the Eagles offense desperately needs. He has been able to maintain his 4.3 speed through nine seasons and shows no sign of slowing up. Jackson trains like a track sprinter during the off season and it’s allowed him to continue to get deep on anybody and everybody in the NFL.
His numbers are amazing. Jackson has had five seasons where he went over 1000 yards, plus he has two 9 touchdown seasons. I’m still amazed that Chip Kelly and the Eagles released him for nothing in return, after he caught 82 passes for 1332 yards and 9 touchdowns. Last year, he caught 56 passes for 1005 yards and 4 touchdowns, despite missing one game due to injury. He has a career reception average of 17.7.
Eagles are desperate for a deep threat to open up underneath areas for their intermediate receivers, Jordan Matthews and tight ends Zach Ertz and Trey Burton. Jackson’s presence will also help the running game because it will force safeties to backup or run the risk of biting on a play-action fake and finding their way onto Jackson’s highlight reel.
There are few wide receivers, who are able to track the deep ball like Jackson. He’s got baseball in his background and it shows when he’s running down a deep throw. He had amazing touchdown catch last year against the Eagles.
On the negative side, Jackson is one-dimensional. He will come up missing at times, if he’s playing against a cornerback, who is quick enough to move up into press technique and jam him at the line of scrimmage. The veteran pass catcher is also not effective working in the middle of the field and he’s not a very good red zone target because of his lack of size.
One of the other negatives for Jackson is that he’s 30 years of age and there’s a good chance that he will soon lose his speed. The final negative for Jackson is his attitude. He can and will be a “me-first guy”, who you might not want on a young team like the Eagles with a young quarterback like Carson Wentz. Jackson is going to always want the football and let the quarterback know it.
Stills is listed at 6’0 and 200 pounds, which is quite a bit larger than Jackson, who is listed at 5’10” 180. The additional inches and pounds make Stills a more complete receiver, who can block and take the hits that comes from catching the ball in traffic. He does a good job of fighting for the football and he’s a threat to catch passes across the middle.
Stills, who played his first two seasons in New Orleans with Drew Brees, where he had his best year as a pro, catching 63 passes for 931 yards with three touchdowns in 2014. Last year, Stills caught 42 passes for 726 yards, but he had an amazing 9 touchdown catches, which would be a big plus for the Birds who need to improve their play in the red zone.
One of the most important factors that leads me to believe that Stills is a better target than Jackson is his age. He’s only 24 years old and will turn 25 in April. He would give Carson Wentz a young pass catcher to grow with. I like the reputation he has of being a hard worker, who isn’t screaming at the quarterback every time he’s not targeted. At the same time, he seems to want to improve.
He’s the type of blossoming young player with the disciplined hard work attitude that the Eagles need to build this team with. There’s no question that he’s gotten bigger in his time in the league from his work in the weight room and it showed up with his big year of catching the football in the end zone.
I think the Eagles should target Stills, but if for some reason they can’t close the deal early, they should sign Jackson. They must sign one of these guys because Wentz and the entire offense will continue to suffer from not having a legitimate deep threat on the roster.