For years it seemed as though Andy Reid didn’t have an eye for wide receivers in the draft. Billy “Concrete Hands” McMullen was just a third round pick but he never made any kind of impact on the team. Freddie Mitchell and Todd Pinkston were productive for the Eagles but not enough to justify their early selection in the draft. Over the last few years it seems as though something has clicked for Andy. A year after drafting two-time Pro Bowler Desean Jackson in the 2nd round, the Eagles traded up to 19 to take Jeremy Maclin in the 1st round. Maclin finds himself at number 13 on our list due to his combination of speed and precise route running.
Going into the 2009 draft, most experts thought Maclin would be a top ten pick and the 2nd WR off the board. ESPN’s draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. had Maclin going to Oakland with the 7th overall pick, but Al Davis decided he would go with the workout warrior Darrius Heyward-Bay. So Maclin began to fall down the draft board, team after team passed on the talented kid out of Missouri. The Eagles traded up from the 21st pick to snag the explosive WR. The pick was met with mixed emotions by some fans. Wide Receiver was an area of need for the team but some were clamoring for a big WR. Maclin had a lot of talent but didn’t have the “ideal” size at just 6-0 198 lbs.
But it was obvious to most intelligent football minds that the Eagles got a steal with Maclin at 19. At the combine, Maclin’s official 40 time was just 4.45. But his personal best was an impressive 4.31 but he was slowed by a knee injury during the combine. Maclin’s great colligate career earned him back to back All-American Selections in both 2007 and 2008. Most imagined him becoming another explosive playmaker opposite of Desean Jackson for a long time and leave defensive coordinators without sleep trying to figure out how to stop the dynamic duo!
Maclin was just 21 years old during his rookie season and most thought it would take some time for him to develop. Due to an injury to Kevin Curtis, Maclin was thrown into the mix earlier than most fans had expected. He made his first career start in just week 3 of the 2009 season. Maclin reached the end zone for his first career touchdown with a 51 yard connection from McNabb against the Bucs a few weeks later. The Wild Card round defeat at the hands of the HATED Dallas Cowboys had few bright spots but the rookie WR was definitely one of them. Maclin’s 76 yard touchdown made him the youngest player in NFL history to score a playoff touchdown. He also broke Keith Jackson’s team record for most receiving yards in a playoff game with 142. Maclin had a very impressive rookie campaign; he finished the season with 55 receptions, 762 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Going into the 2010 season, Maclin was overshadowed by his teammate Desean Jackson. But J-Mac showed that he is capable of being the team’s go to guy. He started the season with a bang; through the first 3 games, he had a team high 4 touchdowns. Maclin had perhaps his best game of the season in week 6 against the Atlanta Falcons. After Desean Jackson left the game after a vicious hit, Jeremy took full advantage of the added looks. He ended the game with 7 catches, 159 yards and 2 touchdowns. Maclin’s 2010 performance somehow went under the radar of most national football fans. He quietly had a great year with 70 receptions, 964 yards and a team leading 10 touchdowns. His ten touchdowns were the 7th most in the NFL and more than great WR’s like Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Randy Moss.
Though Maclin is overlooked by a lot of football fans, he is quietly becoming a great wide receiver. Many people even began to call him the anti Jackson because of his laid back and calm demeanor. Jackson is an amazing player maker but he leaves some fans annoyed with his show boating. That is something that you will hardly see Maclin due. Despite his young age, he is a very professional football player. Maclin might still be the 2nd best wide receiver on the team, but he looks to become a more complete player than Jackson. He is the type of player that Philadelphia Phans love; he works hard and quietly goes about his business. His quiet demeanor can be a breath of fresh air in a time where most WR’s just love to hear themselves talk. He will enter his 3rd NFL season at just 23 years old and should only continue to grow as a football player. He has all of the tools to make him an elite player in the game and is a player who should only continue to rise up our rankings in the next few years!