Rookie FA receiver Boone 'gonna make that team'

Rookie FA receiver Boone 'gonna make that team'

Roseman details the Eagles' draft philosophy

May 17, 2014, 10:30 am
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Kadron Boone was stuck behind WRs Odell Beckham Jr. (12th pick in the draft) and Jarvis Landry (63rd) on the depth chart at LSU. (AP)

Kadron Boone runs a sub-4.5 in the 40-yard dash. He played for a powerhouse college program. Coming out of high school in Florida, he was ranked by recruiting services at the 12th-best receiver prospect in the country.

Had he gone to any other college, Boone might have emerged into more of known commodity, maybe even into an NFL draft pick.

But in his last year at Louisiana State, Boone played on the same squad as future first-round wideout Odell Beckham Jr., future second-round receiver Jarvis Landry and two running backs who were each last week drafted in the top five rounds.

There just weren’t enough footballs for everyone. So Boone caught just seven passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns last year, a steep dropoff in production that led the 6-foot, 204-pound receiver to fall completely out of the draft and sign a rookie free-agent deal with the Eagles.

Boone’s tumble is apparently the Eagles’ gain. Said one AFC personnel man who scouted the former LSU wideout: “He’s gonna make that team.”

“He’s not a bad receiver; he’s a pretty good receiver,” the scout added. “He just got caught up in a place that has two pretty good receivers. He’s going to be fine. I honestly believe he can play either way (outside and slot), and that’s what’s going to benefit him.”

Boone is among the drafted prospects, rookie free agents and tryouts participating in this weekend's rookie camp at the NovaCare Complex.

Given the Eagles’ lack of established talent at receiver, Boone stands a good chance to make the team if he can quickly grasp coach Chip Kelly’s offense and make plays in training camp. Behind Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper are unproven rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff, along with veterans Jeff Maehl, special teams ace Brad Smith and some others who have yet to make their mark in the league.

Despite little production his senior season, Boone finished his LSU career with 611 yards and eight touchdowns in 51 games.

“He can run. He has good hands. Very competitive guy,” the personnel executive said. “You’ll see. He’s definitely gonna show up. It wouldn’t surprise me if he makes the team and actually contributes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he outplays Huff. It wouldn’t surprise me.”

Rookie free agents face long odds to make an NFL roster, but the Eagles signed three undrafted prospects last year, two of which won backup jobs and played significant snaps. Defensive lineman Damion Square and inside linebacker Jake Knott each contributed on defense after making the team as rookie free agents last year. The other, backup offensive tackle Matt Tobin, has drawn praise throughout the organization.

Last year, the Eagles signed LSU offensive weapon Russell Shepard to a rookie free-agent deal and didn’t cut him until the last roster cutdown date. Shepard latched on with Tampa Bay and played on special teams but had his season end early from an injury.

The Eagles have to replace more than 1,700 receiving yards and 11 total touchdown catches that came last year from deep threat DeSean Jackson and slot wideout Jason Avant, two receivers who were released in March.

Boone, the personnel man said, is a “faster, more explosive” version of Avant and has the skill set to excel in the slot.

“Avant wasn’t fast or explosive but Avant played strong and physical and athletic, but I think that kid from LSU has an Avant-type of player in him,” he said. “He just wasn’t able to get as many balls (at LSU).”

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