The Philadelphia Eagles surprised many in the first round of the NFL Draft by selecting Louisville OLB Marcus Smith. After trading with the Browns to move down to the 26th spot, the Eagles decided to bolster their pass rush with the former Louisville linebacker. Smith will be an impact pass rusher in the NFL but will not be the most valuable player from this Eagles draft class. That spot is reserved for their 2nd round selection, Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews.
The SEC’s all-time leader in career receiving will help answer some of the Eagles’ questions at receiver following the departure of Desean Jackson along with Jason Avant and questions about Jeremy Maclin coming off an ACL tear. Matthews will not only be the best Eagle out of this draft class but, with the exception of Sammy Watkins, will be the best receiver from this draft as well.
Matthews consistently produced at record breaking levels against the toughest competition in the country. In terms of collegiate production, Johnny Manziel is the only offensive player that sticks out as more impressive than Matthews. Matthews’ consistent production over the course of his career at Vanderbilt led him to break the SEC all-time receiving record by nearly 700 yards. He also racked up first team All-SEC honors in both his junior and senior seasons as well as an All-American nod following his senior year.
Matthews is not only a great receiver, but a great fit for what Chip Kelly is looking to build. Kelly looks for players who can stay healthy and produce consistently. Having suffered no significant injuries during the past few seasons and his consistent production every year, Matthews proved he has the durability to succeed in the NFL.
His 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame and 4.44 second 40-yard dash speed provides a size and speed combination that Kelly will be able to utilize in a number of ways. Look for Matthews to be a valuable asset on the outside as a number one receiving option. His size, speed and route running ability will give Kelly the option to use him as a mismatch in the slot. His size will also be valuable as a blocker downfield, which is one of the most important attributes for receivers to have within Kelly’s offense.
Despite being the 42nd selection of the draft, Matthews has all the potential to be a top ten value for Kelly and the Eagles. The combination of his size, speed, skills and production make him the steal of the draft for the Eagles and their most valuable selection.