For better or worse, the Philadelphia Eagles dug their own hole at wide receiver with the release of DeSean Jackson. On Day 2 of the 2014 NFL Draft, they began to fill it.
The Eagles traded up 12 spots with the Tennessee Titans to select Jordan Matthews, a highly productive wide receiver out of Vanderbilt. And whether the decision to dump Jackson was about football as the organization has attempted to claim, or it was due to the three-time Pro Bowler’s attitude problems and off-field concerns, Matthews has the Birds covered.
At 6’3”, 212 pounds, Matthews provides a bigger, stronger target for quarterback Nick Foles, but with a 4.46 in the 40-yard dash, doesn’t sacrifice too much in the way of speed. However, he's also described as a team captain and a professional, words you would leave off of Jackson's resume.
Here’s the scouting report via NFL.com:
Good length. Big zone target. Good form as a route runner. Sinks his hips and pops out of breaks. Concentrates, tracks and adjusts. Soft hands and sticky fingers. Has leaping ability to compete in the air. Opens up his stride in the clear and shows nice long speed. Good field awareness. Gives effort as a blocker. Competes and plays with intensity. Tough and intelligent. Lined up outside and inside and has punt-return experience. Team captain and four-year starter with record-setting production.
Could stand to bulk up his frame. Adequate line release. Fairly linear. Not a quick-twitch athlete. Does not show elite explosion to separate vertically. Lets some throws into his body and is not immune to concentration drops. Limited creativity and elusiveness after the catch. Can be moody and has some diva in him.
Matthews posted big numbers against SEC competition, leading the conference in receptions (112) and receiving yards (1,477) as a senior. Over his final two seasons alone, he hauled in 206 passes for 2,800 yards and 15 touchdowns.
The Eagles traded their fourth-round pick—No. 122 overall—to the Tennessee Titans, jumping from No. 54 to No.42 to select Matthews. Given they already added an extra third-round pick in the Day 1 swap with the Cleveland Browns, the price does not seem too steep at all.
Given the lack of depth at receiver behind Jeremy Maclin, who’s coming off an ACL injury, and Riley Cooper, an adequate No. 2 at best, Matthews should be able to carve out a role in the offense immediately.