Jeremy Maclin Will Match DeSean Jackson's Productivity for Eagles in 2014

Jesse ReedCorrespondent IMarch 29, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

DeSean Jackson won't be missed by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014.

In his stead, Jeremy Maclin will re-establish himself as a go-to receiver in Chip Kelly's offense, making Eagles fans quickly forget about the talented but undisciplined pass-catcher out of California. 

Philadelphia made a bold move on Friday, March 28, to cut Jackson and announced the move on Twitter:

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on September 30, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Jackson had a career year for the Eagles in 2013, catching 82 passes for 1,332 yards with nine touchdowns. He was Nick Foles' top weapon all year long, and many wonder how in the world Philadelphia will replace him.

However, Eagles center Jason Kelce shared his surprising (to most) thoughts on the release, noting it was an unpopular move with the fans:

Kelce wasn't the only member of the organization who isn't concerned with moving on without the polarizing receiver, either, as detailed by Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Two Eagles players who requested anonymity said that Jackson wasn't a clubhouse cancer, but he had become a distraction. They would not offer specifics. Both questioned whether his loss would hurt the offense and opined that he wouldn't be difficult to replace.

Clearly, based on the team's action, Philly's brass and Chip Kelly agree. 

While it's not often a player of Jackson's caliber is jettisoned like he was, the Eagles aren't worried about replacing his production.

And with Maclin set to return after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury, it's not hard to see why. 

Before getting hurt, the 25-year-old receiver out of Missouri had been just as important to Philadelphia's success offensively as Jackson. 

Comparing Maclin to Jackson Between 2009 and 2012
CatchesYardsYPCTDs
Maclin2583,45313.426
Jackson2123,87318.2721
pro-football-reference.com

The two receivers share similar traits: Both are smaller in size than the "top" receivers like Calvin Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, both utilize speed and quickness to gain separation off the line and both are capable of breaking a game wide open on one play. 

Maclin isn't quite as explosive over the top as Jackson, as the yards-per-catch averages show, but he is a more consistent receiver from game to game who scored more often than his counterpart.

Furthermore, Maclin has, by all accounts, been a model citizen in Philly's locker room since he arrived in 2009. 

ARLINGTON, TX - JANUARY 9:  Jeremy Maclin #18 of the Philadelphia Eagles runs for a 76-yard touchdown in the second quarter on a pass from quarterback Michael Vick #7 against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 NFC wild-card playoff game at Cowboys Stadium
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

“One thing about Mac," Kelly said at the annual league meeting in Florida, as relayed by Mike Reiss of ESPN.com, "he’s been there every single day, even last year during the season he attended position meetings and was in the training room it seemed like every day."

While it would be foolish to assume the Eagles won't select at least one receiver in the first few rounds of the 2014 NFL draft, there's no need for panic as it concerns the team's need for receivers. 

Maclin is still a young player with plenty of gas left in the tank. Knee injuries used to be potential career-killers, but recent advances in the field of medicine have turned them into mere speed bumps for many professional athletes. 

And with Foles under center, it shouldn't surprise anyone if Maclin ends up taking off with a career year of his own—like Jackson did last year.

Foles is much more of a traditional in-the-pocket passer who is adept at getting the ball out on time and with accuracy, which is something that was sorely lacking when Michael Vick was the starter.

Provided he doesn't get injured again, Maclin will surely provide Eagles fans with plenty to cheer about this upcoming season. He'll also make them forget about Jackson, who never took the effort to cultivate his immense physical talents.