With Sunday's performance against the Giants, amassing over 200 all-purpose yards, DeSean Jackson has firmly implanted himself in the minds of many as one of the premier young receivers in the league.
Jackson was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft, a round which featured 10 wide receivers picked. Six were picked before him. No wide receivers were picked in the 1st round, due to the surplus of running backs and linemen. DeSean's position fell in the draft, thanks to his height. Due to Jackson's height, he draws parallels to Panthers WR Steve Smith, who once was, and still is, to some degree, a speedy and explosive receiver. Jackson looks to become the Steve Smith of the next decade.
Can it be argued that Jackson was better than those receivers picked ahead of him? I'm going to find out now.
Note that these are obviously due to current performance. This has nothing to do with potential, as potential can never be measured in numbers.
Picked Before DeSean:
Donnie Avery , WR, St. Louis Rams; (33rd Pick) - [Houston]
Avery broke onto the scene with 674 receiving yards in his rookie year. However, with just 510 receiving yards this year, Avery looks to be putting up the same numbers as last year.
Thomas hasn't been able to do much in an offense that includes wide receivers Santana Moss, Antwaan Randle El, and fellow 2nd-rounder Malcolm Kelly. Thomas has 325 receiving yards, building on a rookie season that lacked any opportunities. However, Jackson has almost as many receiving yards as Thomas, Kelly, and Randle El combined.
Nelson seems to be the exact opposite of Devin Thomas. Nelson had 366 yards last year, but has only 181 this year. Obviously, he is stuck on the depth chart behind Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, and James Jones. Right now, there is no comparison.
Hardy only had 87 receiving yards last year, and is on injured reserve right now.
This is the most interesting matchup. Royal outgained Jackson in touchdowns and receiving yards last year. If I had to compare these two after their rookie year, Royal would definitely win. But Royal's disappointing sophomore campaign means that Jackson wins this. Sorry, Eddie, but Jackson did pretty well last year. You, not so much this year.
In his career, he has 1 reception for 2 yards. Damn. He's good.
Obviously, DeSean is having a monster year. He's tied the league record for most touchdowns of 50+ yards with three games to go. He's already passed his total receiving yards from last year and is on pace to break 1,000 for the first time in his short career, being the first since Kevin Curtis in 2007. He's solidified himself as the Eagles' number one receiver and has become not only a game-changing punt returner, but arguably the most explosive player in the NFL.
The teams that chose other wide receivers should be killing themselves over that decision. Height isn't everything, and hopefully players like Maurice Jones-Drew, Darren Sproles, Wes Welker, and Jackson can prove that to many NFL execs. It may still be a factor, but you can get good players that are short.
The St. Louis Rams - They're desperately in need of some help at wide receiver. Donnie Avery, at least in this stage of his career, doesn't look like a true no. 1 receiver. There's a reason the Rams traded Will Witherspoon to us for Brandon Gibson. It's a true shame that they didn't draft Jackson, because Jackson could ease the pressure on Avery.
The Washington Redskins - I still don't understand why they picked both Malcolm Kelly and Devin Thomas, but while Thomas has been alright, Kelly has just not been there. A deep threat like Jackson might take coverage off Santana Moss and relegate Antwaan Randle El to the slot, where he has been most effective.
The Green Bay Packers - Honestly, I don't even think they needed a receiver now. Driver, Jennings, and James Jones seem to be good enough. Donald Driver will get old, and while his production is decreasing, he's on pace for his 6th straight 1,000-yard season. In my opinion, the Packers should have waited until this year and picked Jeremy Maclin or Hakeem Nicks. They could also have waited until next year and pick Dez Bryant of Oklahoma State or Golden Tate of Notre Dame. I'm truly happy Jackson didn't end up with the Packers, because that would have been a colossal waste of talent.
The Denver Broncos - This may have been a good fit. Maybe Cutler would've stayed, unleashing the deep ball to Jackson. Not that Cutler was that great to begin with, but still. Brandon Marshall would draw double coverage with the risk of Jackson on the other end. Jabar Gaffney, who isn't even that great a receiver, has taken over for Royal at WR2. Jackson would've fit perfectly in Denver.
The Cincinnati Bengals - While it may not seem like Jackson would do much in Cincy, as judged by Jerome Simpson's performance, I think he would. Both Laveranues Coles and Chad Johnson are growing older. Chris Henry is someone you can never count on, with his number of arrests. T. J. left in the offseason, and the Bengals should have realized was probable, a year earlier, and picking a WR. Maybe they did. But obviously, Simpson was not a good choice. Chad Johnson drawing single coverage, Laveranues Coles on the other end, and Jackson in the slot. Wow.
But we got Action Jackson, so there.
Rejoice, Eagles fans, for we have finally drafted a star! Let no memories of Freddie Mitchell and Reggie Brown haunt you!
By the way, who's JIBTA? Because everyone seems to be making fun of him, and I have no clue why. It MIGHT be because I'm new to here, but still.