In this edition of Mosher's Mailbag, I answer a question about the pecking order of Eagles wideouts.
Q. What’s the WR depth as of now? Do you see it changing before the season starts?
-- Big Mike
A. It’s hard to put much into the spring depth chart because Chip Kelly is mixing and matching so his players can learn different positions and because some personnel packages help the evaluation process. For example, Brad Smith took plenty of first-team reps in the slot as the coaches try to determine if Smith can add value as an inside receiver along with his special teams acumen.
The two constants are Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper. Those are your first-team receivers and they’ll be the outside tandem in most two-wide formations. Right now, the team is giving Smith plenty of first-team looks, both inside and outside. But I don’t think it’s a given that Smith is on the roster. He’s 30, has played three different positions (also kick returner and quarterback) and hasn’t had more than 32 catches ever in a season. Smith is getting his chance to prove he should be on the roster, but he’ll need a big training camp and preseason to stick.
Rookie second-rounder Jordan Matthews saw most of his camp action in the slot on second team, but also took some first-team reps inside and outside. Chip Kelly wants Matthews to play the slot, but my hunch tells me Maclin will see a lot of slot action when the season starts. Josh Huff, a third-round wideout, worked mainly on the third team at various spots. But his knowledge of the offense and Oregon pedigree can help him make an early impact.
Maclin, Cooper, Matthews and Huff are your four roster locks. Smith and and Arrelious Benn, another veteran who has mainly worked on the second string, are probably fighting for the last spot.
Then there’s a jumbled mix that includes Jeff Maehl, Damaris Johnson, Will Murphy, B.J. Cunningham, Ifeanyi Momah and rookie free agents Kadron Boone and Quron Pratt. If any one of those guys had an amazing camp, he could possibly knock Smith or Benn out of a job or force Kelly to keep six, but that’s unlikely.