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Training Camp Preview: Wide Receiver

Posted Jul 17, 2014

A Look At The Wide Receivers
Name Age Exp. Note
Arrelious Benn 25 5 Can he return from ACL and contribute?
Kadron Boone 22 R Part of talented WR group at LSU
Riley Cooper 26 5 Will he build upon breakout season?
B.J. Cunningham 25 1 Looks to be on roster for year
Josh Huff 22 R Thrived in Chip Kelly's offense at Oregon
Damaris Johnson 24 3 Can he find a niche as an all-around player?
Jeremy Maclin 26 6 Nick Foles called him a "top-tier WR"
Jeff Maehl 25 2 Special teamer who showed flashes on offense
Jordan Matthews 22 R Will he build upon impressive spring?
Ifeanyi Momah 24 1 Will size, speed translate to field?
Will Murphy 24 1 From practice squad to 53-man roster in '14?
Quron Pratt 23 R Rutgers team MVP also thrived on special teams
Brad Smith 30 9 Rock-solid special teamer, gets full offseason

Wide Receiver

The Big Questions

Can Jeremy Maclin return healthy and better than ever following his knee injury?

Jeremy Maclin seemed poised for the best season of his career in Chip Kelly’s offense in 2013, but an ACL injury on the second day of Training Camp dashed those dreams. Undeterred, he diligently rehabbed all season and into the offseason. His effort and hard work behind the scenes were rewarded in the spring when he took part in all of the Organized Team Activities and mini-camp.

Maclin established a great rapport with starting quarterback Nick Foles in the five games the two played together in 2012. Foles looked to Maclin as his top target, and the latter recorded 29 receptions for 386 yards and three touchdowns in that span. Foles praised Maclin on his spring performance saying that he couldn't even tell the wide receiver was coming off an injury.

Can Riley Cooper build upon his breakout season in 2013 and improve even more in 2014?

In his fourth season, Riley Cooper finally put everything together and emerged as a dependable starting wide receiver in the NFL. He had shown flashes of potential before in his career, but he never could manage to become a consistent force. After Maclin’s injury, however, Cooper seized the opportunity, and once Foles took over as starting quarterback, his play took off. The two had instant chemistry, and Foles was never afraid to put the ball up for Cooper in coverage so he could make a play. Cooper also showed he had big-play ability down the field, and Foles found him often for huge gains. In the 10 full games that that Foles started in 2013, Cooper had 37 receptions for 729 yards – 19.7 yards per catch – and seven touchdowns. His performance in 2013 earned him a five-year contract in the offseason.

Cooper finished 2013 with 47 receptions for 835 yards and eight touchdowns, and his 17.8 yards per catch ranked tied with Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions for third in the NFL. The Eagles re-signed him with the hopes that those numbers are a sign of things to come for the former Florida Gator, who turns 27 in September. Now it is time for Cooper to take his game to yet another level in 2014.

Who emerges from the rest of the pack to make an impact?

The Eagles used both of their second-day draft picks on the wide receiver position selecting Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff in the second and third rounds, respectively. Matthews displayed an impressive blend of size, speed and athleticism in the spring as he worked out of the slot. Huff is no stranger to Chip Kelly's offense having finishing his career at Oregon tied for the most touchdown passes in school history. Huff has been moved all around the formation and could be a factor on special teams as well.

Arrelious Benn, whom the Eagles specifically targeted and acquired from Tampa Bay early in the 2013 offseason, is returning from a torn ACL and hungry to prove he has the ability to be an important contributor to this offense – much like he was for the Buccaneers in 2010 and 2011. Jeff Maehl had some moments as a receiver in 2013, while Damaris Johnson dazzled in Training Camp last year.

Brad Smith, a midseason acquisition, saw some snaps as a receiver and in the backfield, in addition to handling kick-return duties looked much more comfortable in the offense this spring with the full offseason to get acclimated. B.J. Cunningham, Will Murphy and Ifeanyi Momah are the other three receivers returning from last season. The Eagles also added rookie free agents Kadron Boone and Quron Pratt who will get plenty of chances to win jobs in camp.

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