So I was up early this morning prepping for a long day of blowing off a history class to go get a good spot in line with friends for a Childish Gambino concert tonight (that’s Troy on Community for all you Community fans) I digress. I read the Linc this morning and one nugget in the 3rd link stood out to me.
They have some wiggle room at wide receiver. We know DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are the starters, and while I appreciate everything Jason Avant brings as a slot receiver, the Eagles could upgrade there if the opportunity presents itself. According to Pro Football Focus, 19 of Maclin's 94 targets (20.2 percent) last season came when he was lined up in the slot. Not a huge percentage, but if the Eagles see a talented wide receiver who's better suited for the outside, maybe Maclin sees increased time inside.
The Birds have reportedly held a private workout with Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, who's expected to be a first-round pick.
I thought the part about Maclin in the slot was very interesting. When everyone was down on DeSean –okay, fine, not everyone, but when some people were discussing maybe jettisoning DeSean this offseason a lot was brought up about Maclin’s speed and that he could replace Mr. Jackson on the outside and the drop-off would be minimal. I tend to agree with that sentiment. When the Eagles traded up to grab Jeremy Maclin I was about as excited as I’ve ever been about a draft pick (except for maybe DeSean, PAC-10 country, loved him.) I was excited for Maclin because of the broad skillset he brings to the table. Maclin has incredible burst and lateral quickness, just look at some of the screens he’s caught over the past few years, or that touchdown in the Miracle at the Meadowlands part two, serious agility, serious quicks. He also has really good body control, I think he can excel in the slot because his physical gifts are perfect for the slot and he’s more talented in that sense than anyone who is going to cover him down there.
There has been quite a bit of discussion on this site about upgrading Jason Avant by adding some guy like Floyd or Sanu to be the 3rd WR. I thought that was insane and really small minded for a long time if you wanted to just outright replace Avant (a slot guy) for an outside player from the draft. I kept thinking (DRC in the slot, same thing just on offense, same reason it won't work.) The slot and outside are two totally different animals and it’s what made Victor Cruz so good last year was that he could play both at a high level. It didn’t occur to me until after I read this that Avant’s replacement could very well be Maclin. I’m not suggesting they delegate Maclin to the 3rd receiver and draft somebody like Floyd or Sanu to be the 2nd receiver, but give Maclin a more Cruz like role. In 2 WR sets have Maclin play outside with DeSean like he usually does, in 3WR sets Maclin slides right down into the slot and the Eagles new shiny high draft pick receiver plays outside where Maclin was. Maybe this is really obvious to you guys, but it was something that really struck me this morning.
My GM'ing shenanigans after the jump
Now for the fun part: If WR is a true option for the Eagles in the first two rounds and not just an option for those WIP Fans that are always screaming for a "WR" or a "Real QB," then who’s the guy to take?
Watching the Combine it was hard not to fall in love with Georgia Tech WR Stephen Hill. One he’s following in the footsteps of Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas (holy crap, how in the hell did GT’s Triple-Option produce WR’s like that?!?" Two, he’s 6’4 and runs a sub 4.4 40 yard dash, that’s Randy Moss caliber physical gifts. 3. He laid out for a Combine catch, I don’t know why, but I just love this. 4.) and most importantly, he has some really good game-tape when Georgia Tech actually throws the ball (again, I hate the 3-O if you couldn't tell.
A few links to some cut ups of his snaps from a few games this year.
Georgia and Middle Tennessee St: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaL6NvoHRT4&feature=related
If Luke Kuechly and Fletcher Cox are both picked before 15th overall where the Eagles sit I’m not sure there is another guy on the board there that I really would want to take at 15th overall. It’s kind of like there’s your top 10 talent, and then a group of 15-20 guys who look really good at like 22nd overall. So if my two defensive man-crushes are not on the board at the 15th pick I want the Eagles to trade back in the 22-25 range.
With that pick I would love if they take Stephen Hill. I know he may be a bit of a workout warrior, but as I said above in recent years Georgia Tech has produced some outstanding WR’s and his physical gifts are off the chart. Hill lined up next to Jackson would be such a massive deep threat that safeties would be hard pressed to handle Maclin and Celek underneath and McCoy single back runs. U think if the Eagles are looking to make their dynamic offense truly the most dangerous in the NFL a move like this makes sense. Floyd may be the better receiver prospect, but I don’t want to take a receiver at 15 and although he may be more physical than Hill I don’t like him as well as a fit with this offense. Mike Mayock also pointed out at the combine that Hill’s experience in the triple-option makes him one of the top blocking wide-outs in this class. Having WR’s that will block makes such a huge difference in the ground and screen game. Wasn’t planning on writing anything today, but I had some thoughts that were better suited for a fan-post than a comment.
Obviously this is a bit of wishful thinking and I am not a GM (although man wouldn’t that be a fun job?) but I would like to stir up some discussion about Maclin in the slot and guys like Hill, because that was an interesting nugget in the Linc today and it certainly opened my eyes to other options. I kind of forgot how much I love the draft season and all the thinking and speculation it stirs up. Let me know what you guys think of Maclin replacing Avant and the WR prospects and why you like/dislike them.