One thing is for sure, and that’s with the departure of three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver DeSean Jackson, the Philadelphia Eagles will need a few players to step up and assert themselves in 2014. That’s including and especially players who are already on the roster.
The offense figures to see a number of skill-position players have their roles expanded in the season ahead in an effort to replace Jackson’s production. Whether they can actually accomplish such a lofty goal or not remains to be seen, but the Birds have precious few options at their disposal.
Whether it’s Jackson and the wide receiver position or anywhere else on the roster, the situation is not altogether unique. Young, untested players are asked to take on increasing responsibilities every year on literally every team in the league.
Is there a more pertinent example than Riley Cooper in Philadelphia just last season? When Jeremy Maclin was lost for the season at training camp, a three-year reserve was thrust into the job of No. 2 receiver. Turns out, Cooper was ready.
Are there any similar opportunists on this year’s roster?
While multiple players will be asked to help mitigate the loss of Jackson, the Eagles’ need for progression from developing prospects goes beyond one position. Here are five who should prepare as if they’re going to see the field a lot more in ’14.