After being passed over by the Raiders and 49ers in the 2009 NFL Draft, Jeremy Maclin was selected by the Eagles with the 19th overall pick.
While this certainly hurt Maclin financially in the short run (as he was rumored to be a potential top-10 pick), his move to the city of Brotherly Love may have been the best thing that could have happened, as few teams are better equipped to take advantage of Maclin’s skill set than the pass-happy Eagles.
Rather than languishing in the pit of despair and watching his talent get wasted in a place like Oakland, Maclin is in the perfect environment, where he is NOT “the guy” but merely a piece of the puzzle.
In Philadelphia, he will have an opportunity to develop his game and prove his worth and talent, but without the high pressure of being expected to come in and be expected to immediately put up No. 1 wide receiver-type numbers.
While Maclin is not going to be the next Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson—at least not yet—his position in Philly also means that he won’t be the next Troy Williamson or Mike Williams or, dare I say...a clone of Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Maclin isn’t a particularly big guy at 6’0”, 198 lbs., but he does possess blazing speed and has the dynamic aspect to his game to be a true game-changer. Of his 55 receptions in 2009, 11 plays went for 20 or more yards, and three plays went for 40 or more yards, so he certainly has a little bit of DeSean Jackson in him.
The fact that the Eagles have so many weapons to cover, like the aforementioned Jackson, suggests Maclin should have plenty of chances to catch the ball in space and create big plays.
While I’m not personally buying into the current Donovan McNabb trade rumors, regardless of whether or not he remains in Philly for 2010, one has to face the fact that Kevin Kolb will be the future quarterback of the Eagles.
Whenever he does take the reins, there will, of course, be at least some learning curve, and it’s possible he flames out. During this learning curve, Maclin’s fantasy value will take a hit—to what degree remains to be seen.
However, as long as Andy Reid is in charge, one would expect the Eagles to remain pass-happy (he’ll find his QB at whatever cost), as the Eagles have far too many weapons to become a running team. Maclin’s value may take a temporary hit, but he and all Eagles wideouts will be more than okay in the long run.
In fact, the greatest threat or hindrance to Maclin’s fantasy value is not the possibility of an imminent quarterback change, but the receiving corps that gives him the space to operate. That’s right—the presence of DeSean Jackson and Brent Celek, and the fact that Maclin will be the third option of McNabb, Kolb, <insert name>, whoever is throwing them the ball, is what could prevent Maclin from becoming a fantasy superstar.
After a solid 2008 campaign, D-Jax exploded onto the fantasy scene in 2009, becoming the game’s most electrifying big-play receiver. Celek, on the other hand, introduced himself to the world during the 2008 playoffs and solidified himself as a force to be reckoned with in 2009, developing a tremendous rapport with Donovan McNabb, especially on third downs and in the red zone.
With fellow young wideout Jason Avant recently inking a five-year contract extension and the possible return of Kevin Curtis from injury, Maclin is looking at a dogfight to get his looks and receptions.
But as mentioned before, the Eagles are a pass-friendly team, and fortunately for him there will be plenty of looks to go around; 57 percent of the Eagles’ plays last year were pass plays, with Maclin still being targeted 90 times (16 percent of the total team looks).
All told, I like Maclin’s future: The system he is in, a nice supporting cast that demands attention unto itself, and, most importantly, his youth (he’ll turn 22 in the offseason) all combine to form a recipe for future success.
If you draft him hoping that he will be this year’s Miles Austin, you will be disappointed. I fully expect him to put up solid WR3 numbers, with low-end WR2 upside—providing consistency that is often tough to find amongst WR3s.
From Weeks 7-17 (once his role was secured) in nine games played, he posted at least three receptions and 44 yards in every game, so he’s not going to post too many of those devastating 0-2 fantasy point games that cost you a win.
In keeper/dynasty leagues, I would move him further up my board, as he has a strong skill set to build around and will continue to improve with time. The future looks bright for Jeremy Maclin.
Written by Marc Tokushige
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