He's made mistakes, sure.
It was his rookie season—but that isn't an excuse.
He is a superstar in the making.
Let's bring it back to his days of wearing No. 1.
Let's bring it back to Cal, where he excelled.
Let's bring it back...
DeSean Jackson was a very sought after wideout out of high school. He would choose to go to Cal. During his college career, Jackson was a very high-end receiver, but he would be best known for the danger he created when returning a punt/kickoff.
He had seven TDs in his freshman season and eclipsed 100 yards receiving three times. By his junior season, he was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate.
Jackson left Cal with a few Pac-10 records tucked under his belt: most punts returned for touchdowns in both a season, with four, and in a career, with six. DeSean also ranks third all-time for his university for receiving TDs and receiving yards.
Jackson entered the NFL Draft in 2008. He would run a 4.29 40-yard dash. He would also be referred to by Jerry Rice as "the fastest receiver I have ever seen."
He kept his cool, however, and was drafted 49th overall by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here's where it gets interesting.
He had a fantastic preseason, returning a punt for a TD against the Patriots. He became a second string receiver and starting punt returner by the start of the regular season.
He became a starting receiver when Kevin Curtis got injured early on, and he then performed well, ending the season with two TDs and 912 receiving yards.
So how will he perform next season?
I see him reaching at least 1,100 receiving yards, largely because he is now a starting WR, as well as due to the upgrades to the O-line.
Jackson will have a much easier time catching the bombs that Donovan McNabb is certain to throw downfield due to Jeremy Maclin being a quick short-route-running wideout.
With Jackson running streaks up and down the field, the secondary will be forced to cheat their safeties to his side, as well as forcing them to play a cover 3 at least and a cover 4 in long yardage situations.
This will open the flats or the middle. Why? Because the LBs will have to cheat to protect the short options, Maclin and Curtis most specifically.
Flats open? Jeremy Maclin open.
Maclin should be able to take full advantage of the short pass with his speed. Maclin's YAC will be through the roof.
Don't forget Brian Westbrook—he will be threatening the flats as well.
Middle open? Kevin Curtis open.
Curtis has ability to go deep, but he won't very often next season. The middle is where you can find him, catchin' them bullet passes.
The Eagles are going to be the best team in years at using the screen pass. Their line and newly acquired TE will have the speedy receivers cutting in between blocks and running all the way.
Here is what you can expect from Maclin:
A solid rookie season. Around 800-900 yards, with a huge amount of YAC. He will be on the field more than most rookies this year, but that just leaves more of a chance for mistakes.
I'm not saying he will make the mistakes Jackson did—you know, dropping the ball before the end zone in celebration, etc.
But Maclin will be a breakout receiver. Rookie of the year? Possibly. A Super Bowl ring? Possible.
Well, most of my predictions for him in '09 can be read here, but he will have a good season and lead the team in receiving yards.
Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin:
A receiving corps to appreciate.