The Eagles have some issues at WR, losing Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn to ACL injuries. Coach Kelly has said the Eagles don’t like any of the currently available WRs, so they’ve resorted to using TE Clay Harbor at WR during practices. DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant are of course locks to make the roster. But which players will comprise the rest of the Eagles’ WR corps?
Barring a trade or signing of a yet-to-be-waived player (and assuming Clay Harbor doesn’t permanently move to WR), here’s a look at the remaining candidates.
I’ve included Riley Cooper. Eagles’ comments notwithstanding, it seems likely that he’ll have to earn his way onto the roster. I’ve also excluded Nick Miller, since he’s been mostly a special teams player, and was not a significant receiver in college (Southern Utah) either.
Here’s a look at the final season college productivity of these players.
We’ve written before about Russell Shepard, who probably doesn’t matter, and Damaris Johnson, who’s a deep sleeper. We even wrote about Ifeanyi Momah, which is proof of a sort that RotoViz leaves no stone unturned in its never ending quest for fantasy domination. We can probably eliminate Momah, who hasn’t garnered much buzz, and may be a practice squad candidate, and Shepard. That leaves Cooper, Salas, and Johnson.
The name that sticks out to me on this list is Greg Salas. He was more productive as a college player than any of these other WRs, dominating in targets, catches and catch rate. He also garnered a higher percentage of his team’s targets (27%) than any other candidate, suggesting he was more valuable to his team than the other players were to theirs. He also posts the best Dominator Rating and a competitive yards/target and reception.
He’s older than all but Cooper, but has a better draft pedigree. Salas was a 4th round draft pick, while Cooper was a 5th round pick and the others were all UDFAs. Salas’ career to date has been derailed by injuries, but he’s easily as talented as Riley Cooper or Damaris Johnson. In fact, physically, he’s also a pretty good match for Jeremy Maclin. Data for this table comes from Mock Draftable and NFL Draft Scout.
I’m not sure which of these candidates will make the team. It’s even possible that all three – Cooper, Johnson, and Salas – make the Eagles’ final roster. Regardless, Salas has as much, or more, potential than Shepard, Johnson and Cooper, and is also available on the waiver wire.
Take a Chance on Salas
Reports also suggest that Salas is having a very good training camp, and he performed well in the first preseason game. If you’re looking for a WR flier, why not take a chance on Salas? Unlike Russell Shepard, whom many consider a roster candidate, Salas has NFL experience. Also Consider:
- In his rookie 2011 season, before his injury, he caught 27 passes for 264 yards in 6 games. That’s a 72 reception, 704 yard pace. As a rookie, not bad.
- This is his first real full offseason since then, and he’s taking advantage. He “keeps showing up” according to Coach Kelly, and led the team in receiving during their first preseason game.
- He looks good to the beat writers:
If they’re making the 53-man roster right now, Greg Salas is making the team as the fifth receiver. Great one-hander.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 10, 2013
- And today, he’s getting first team reps in practice:
Greg Salas apparently moving up the depth chart. Getting some reps with the first team.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 11, 2013