The Philadelphia Eagles were squarely in the market for a wide receiver in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, and they decided to trade up for Jordan Matthews before their top options were gone. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Jeff McLane, Eagles head coach Chip Kelly stated that the team’s top two receivers were Marqise Lee and Matthews. When the Jacksonville Jaguars ended Lee’s- a top five receiver in this year’s class- slide, the Eagles decided to trade up in order to ensure that their other top target wasn’t yanked off the board. While I had other receivers ranked higher than Matthews, the Eagles did well to ensure that their guy didn’t get picked up by somebody else.
Kelly stated that Matthews will start off in the slot for the Eagles, and he’ll be an upgrade over Jason Avant, who was released earlier this offseason and joined the Carolina Panthers. Avant had excellent hands and killer intangibles, but he was also incredibly slow and needed to be upgraded. Matthews fits Kelly’s offense better as a slot receiver, though there are plenty of questions regarding his ability to catch passes and consistently get open in the slot.
That said, this wasn’t a bad pick overall, even if I had a third-round grade on Matthews. He slots in nicely between the outside duo of Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, and Nick Foles has plenty of weapons to work with this year with Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles, and another good rookie wideout in Josh Huff, who knows Chip quite well. Matthews’s intangibles, toughness, and work ethic help make him an appealing prospect, and his size/speed combination is also very much praise-worthy. He fits Kelly and the Eagles well on paper, and it will be interesting to see how much of an impact he has as a rookie.