If you are an active reader of Bleeding Green Nation or follow the Philadelphia beat writers on Twitter, you are probably aware of Greg Salas's breakout performances in training camp thus far. The 6-foot-2 wide receiver is having a successful camp by most (if not all) accounts. Entering his third year, Salas is hoping to stick with an Eagles' team that has seen its wide receiver unit go from a strength to a glaring weakness due to injury and controversy.
Salas, like most future NFL players, was a two-way talent in high school. He played cornerback and wide receiver at Chino High School but was recruited to play the latter at the University of Hawaii. After being redshirted in his first year, Salas played sparingly as a freshman. He registered three catches for 35 yards and a touchdown in eight games. As a sophomore, Salas's role was upgraded to full-time starter. In 14 games, Salas caught 57 passes for a team-high 831 yards and three touchdowns.
The slot receiver's college career sparked in his junior year. Salas was named first-team All-WAC after compiling 106 catches for 1,590 yards and eight touchdowns, while placing top-six in the nation in receptions (8.15) and receiving yards per game (122.3). In his senior year, he broke Hawaii single-season records with 119 receptions for 1,889 yards. He also added 14 touchdowns on 15.9 yards per reception. He was an Associated Press All-American and was again named a first-team All-WAC selection. He was a semifinalist for the the Fred Biletnikoff award and ranked second in the nation in receiving yards.
Salas left Hawaii as the school's all-time leader in career receiving yards and holds a boatload of other school records. At the combine, Salas showed average speed (4.53 forty-time) and strength (15 bench press reps) for his position. He was drafted by the Rams in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. His rookie year consisted of only six games. However, during that short span, Salas collected 27 receptions for 264 yards and ran once for eight yards. His short season was the product of a fractured left fibula that forced him on to injured reserve.
Last offseason, the new regime in St. Louis traded Salas to the Patriots for a conditional 2015 draft pick. He played just one game for New England and was cut by the team in November. He was claimed off of waivers by the Eagles, but did not appear in any games.
While Salas was likely a long-shot headed into training camp, his performances in practice and the instability of the position may allow for him to stick. With Riley Cooper's future still uncertain, Salas is among the bigger wide receivers with experience on the team. At the very least, he may make Chip Kelly's job a bit harder on cut days.