Eagle's fans could be in for a treat with the talent competing for bigger roles and starting positions at wide receiver.
Six candidates lead the way including last year's rookie stand out Desean Jackson and Mizzou rookie sensation Jeremy Maclin.
Veterans Kevin Curtis, Reggie Brown, Jason Avant and Hank Baskett have all had success at the NFL level and intend on continuing to develop their game with the Eagles this year.
Desean Jackson's rookie production exceeded the expectations of most fans, hauling in 62 catches for 912 yards and finding the end zone twice. With breath taking speed, Jackson has provided an electric quality to the receiving group and there is no reason to doubt that the best is yet to come from this young athlete.
Jackson came into the first mini-camp with an improved understanding of his role as wide receiver in Reid's offense, setting the stage for limitless potential in 2009.
Expect at least a 1,000 yard season from Jackson if he is able to stay healthy for all 16 games.
Projected Role: Starter
After a career 2007 season with the Eagles, posting 1,110 receiving yards on 77 catches with six touchdowns, Curtis was sidelined for the first six weeks of the 2008 regular season as he rehabilitated his herniated groin following a surgical procedure.
Prior to the Eagles first 2009 mini-camp Curtis had a second procedure to clean the herniated area and expects to be ready by the start of training camp. When healthy Curtis is a reliable and explosive receiver from both the wide and slot positions.
Expect Kevin to return to 2007 form, but potentially lose targets to Jackson and the other emerging players on the wide receiver depth chart.
Projected Role: Starter
Avant showed his reliability in pressure situations in 2008, earning the third down "Go to Guy" role as McNabb began looking for him down the stretch for key drive extending conversions. Avant seems primed in his fourth year to play a much bigger role as a possession receiver in 2009.
Should Maclin truly dazzle in camp and preseason, the possibility exists that Curtis could shift and alternate with Avant.
Expect Avant to have a very productive season in the slot in 2009.
Projected Role: Slot Receiver / Situational Player
The Eagles 2009 first round draft pick is entering into a receiving group full of talent and an offense that has been regarded as complicated by the coaching staff. Coming from a spread offense at Mizzou, expectations are that Maclin will need to work on his route running.
Maclin is an intelligent and highly touted wide receiver. He is speedy and explosive with the potential to be an elite receiver in the NFL.
Extremely productive as an NCAA receiver, do not be surprised to see Maclin progress ahead of schedule despite the best efforts of the front office to temper their expectations for the young speedster in 2009.
Expect Maclin to earn a starting role in the Eagles offense at some point in his rookie season.
Projected Role: Situational Player / Kick Returner
Possibly the most interesting receiver on the roster, Baskett needs to put up some consistent and impressive efforts in camp and preseason to earn a bigger role with this Eagles offense in 2009. At 6'4", 220 lbs, Baskett is the most physically imposing receiver on the depth chart and he exersizes that imposition with outstanding blocking and special teams play.
Baskett is also explosively dangerous averaging 14.7 yards per catch in his 3 NFL Seasons with touchdown catches of 85, 89 and 90 yards.
With 440 yards receiving and three touchdowns in 2008, Baskett is showing signs of maturity at the position and an appreciation in confidence from the coaching staff.
Projected Role: Situational Player / Special Teams
The most tenured receiver on the Eagles roster, Brown had an incredibly disappointing 2008 season recording only 18 catches in 10 games. Missing six games due to injury and ineffectiveness, Reggie slipped from 816 yards in 2006 and 780 yards in 2007 to a meager 252 yards in 2008.
Expectations were once very high for this second round draft choice. Reality is that he will have to show his ability to contribute in training camp and preseason to play a role with this team and possibly even in making the 53 man roster.
The coaching staff gave great praises to Reggie in this most recent mini-camp, possibly as posturing for an elevated trade value or possibly a sign of the sincere admiration this front office holds for this veteran receiver who has been a big part of the Eagles offense in past seasons.
Projected Role: Situational Player
Brandon Gibson, Danny Amendola, Shaheer McBride, Brandon Robinson and converted running back Marcus Thigpen will most likely be competing for a spot on the Eagles practice squad. Don't count any of these guys out completely as the Eagles may keep six receivers and injury, trade or ineffectiveness may relieve Reid of a formerly valued player.
Albeit a long shot, one of these guys may find their way to the active roster. McBride offers good size at 6'2" and 205 lbs and Reid felt that 6'1" 205 lbs Brandon Gibson was worthy of a coveted draft pick.
The 2009 Eagles will yield surprise and excitement from their wide receivers. This is by far the most talented group of youngsters and young veterans Donovan has ever had.
Coupled with the contributions of the receiving tight ends and backs, smiles should abound from our franchise QB as he will exploit opposing defenses with his abundant arsenal of receiving threats.