Our beloved Philadelphia Eagles recently signed wide receiver DeSean Jackson to a 5 year deal worth $51 million. Judging from the comments on Bleeding Green Nation, Eagles fans have had mixed feelings about the dynamic playmaker for awhile.
Projected to be a first round pick in 2008, Jackson fell to the second round and the Philadelphia snatched him up with the 49th pick in the draft. Jackson was the seventh wide receiver chosen in that draft and it is safe to say he has outperformed the six wideouts who were selected before him.
Donnie Avery (STL & TEN): 103 rec, 1,308 yds, 9 TDs
Devin Thomas (WSH & NYG): 43 rec., 482 yds, 3 TDs
Jordy Nelson (GB): 168 rec, 2,531 yds, 21 TDs
James Hardy (BUF): 10 rec, 96 yds, 2 TDs
Eddie Royal (DEN): 206 rec, 2,107 yds, 9 TDs
Jerome Simpson (CIN): 71 rec, 1,004 yds, 7 TDs
DeSean Jackson (PHI): 229 rec, 4,085 yds, 21 TDs
As you can see from the receiving statistics above, Jackson has compiled the better career numbers than the six players that were picked before him. He has certainly proved the six front offices wrong who passed on him for another receiver. Although Jordy Nelson of the Packers had a better year than Jackson in 2011, their total yardage difference is vastly different.
Most of us may have thought he’d solve our punt returning issues and play some slot receiver but Jackson has far surpassed our expectations as a receiver. Injuries to Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis pushed Jackson into the starting lineup week one against the St. Louis Rams. He definitely showed up for his rookie debut as he caught six balls for 106 yards. The next game was against the dreaded Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. This may have been the game where he prematurely flipped the football behind him as he ran for what could have been his first touchdown. He still ended up with 110 yards on six catches. Jackson became the second player in the league’s history to go over 100 receiving yards in their first two games.
The wide receiver position has often been a weakness of the Eagles during the earlier years of Andy Reid’s tenure. Jackson became only the third receiver to gain 1,000 yards with Reid has Philly’s head coach. The point is he solidified the position and it hasn’t been an achilles heel of the team since his arrival.
Jackson has been able to achieve some amazing accomplishments in his career. A league-leading 22.5 yards per catch in 2010, Only player to go to the Pro Bowl at two different positions (WR & PR), first player to return a game-winning punt as time expires, yadda yadda yadda. He’s also the only recipient of the Randy Moss Award. Did you even know such thing existed? Anyways, it is awarded to the nation’s top returner in college football.
It’s probably evident that I am a fan of DeSean Jackson and I am. I have been ever since he was playing for the Cal Golden Bears. I never even thought about him being drafted by the Eagles but his stock fell and the Birds swooped in and picked him up (Yes, pun intended).
DeSean Jackson has also made great contributions to society despite his success on the field. Ever since his father, Bill, passed away from pancreatic cancer, the DeSean Jackson Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer was founded. Also, who could forget when he, Todd Herremans and Jamaal Jackson made an appearance on the view to support a 13-year old boy who was a victim of bullying. Jackson came out from backstage, took the No. 10 jersey off his back and signed it for him right on the show. This event forever changed this young man’s life and DeSean was a monumental part of that.
Personal story time: In the summer of 2011, DeSean Jackson showed up at the southern California high school where I recently graduated from. It was a free football camp for youths and Jackson came out as a guest. I thought the whole thing was a silly little rumor but my friend and I decided to check it out. After an extensive period of waiting, he finally showed up in the afternoon. I was wearing his jersey with a black sharpie in my pocket with the hope of getting it autographed. That chance seemed slim until a man who claimed to be his speed trainer talked to me. He said he’ll try to get me an autograph. As we walked, I decided to spew some facts just for kicks and to prove my fandom. So I handed him my sharpie in the hopes of obtaining DeSean’s signature. After that, he answered questions from youngsters and was on his way to head out. As he was walking out, he was quickly signing some things and then I spotted his trainer next to him, pointing at me. DeSean then walked toward me and signed the back of my jersey and walked back to his limousine. It was a joyous moment for me as I had never acquired an athlete’s autograph in person.
Here's DJacc during a Q & A Session
Despite the headaches DeSean Jackson may have caused Eagles fans, his game breaking ability is unmatched. No other player has a better chance of scoring with the ball in their hands. Now let’s hope he regains 2009-2010 form in 2012 and beyond.
P.S. DeSean Jackson took my sharpie and never gave it back!