How Does Jeremy Maclin Stack Up to Other Rookie Receivers?

Written By Bob Cunningham On Saturday, December 05, 2009

With Jackson out, Maclin is the go-to guy this week.

Back in 2001, Andy Reid took a shot on a rookie receiver out of UCLA with his first round pick. He knew his quarterback needed better weapons, so drafting a receiver just made sense. Reid went with who he thought was the best of the bunch, and drafted Freddie Mitchell.

Unless you've been in a coma over the past decade or so, you know how well that worked out.

So with that knowledge in hand, many believed there was no way that Reid would draft another receiver in the first round. He'd been burnt before and no one thought he'd trust a rookie receiver ever again.

However, with the emergence of DeSean Jackson into a legitimate weapon for quarterback Donovan McNabb, Reid decided it was time to trust again and took a leap of faith by trading up two spots for the right to draft Jeremy Maclin, a receiver out of Mizzou.

Maclin slid to 19, but odds weren't good that he'd slide to 21, the spot the Eagles originally held in the first round. So Reid got on the phone to Cleveland and made a deal. They'd swap first round picks and the Eagles would send a sixth-round pick to Cleveland.

It's not a whole lot, but what some don't know is that Reid was offered the bank by the New York Jets in order to get into that 21st slot. They wanted Percy Harvin to team up with the newly-acquired Mark Sanchez, and were willing to give Reid whatever he wanted.

It's rumored that the Jets were willing to part with their first round pick in 2010 as well as some mid-to-late round picks in 2009 and in 2010. The fact that Reid turned down such a good offer just to go after Maclin shows how highly he thought of the kid.

Fast forward to Week 13 and we see Maclin is putting up some good numbers for the Eagles, especially for a rookie. He has solidified himself as the starter opposite second-year sensation DeSean "Fraction" Jackson, and is now even stepping into the role of No. 1 receiver with Jackson sidelined due to concussion-related symptoms.

He has a great chance to put up some impressive numbers this week against what is only an average Atlanta defense, but let's take a look at how he stacks up against the other receivers in this year's class and see if the Birds made the right choice.

Maclin's 2009 stats (where he ranks among rookies): 42 receptions (2t), 540 yards (2t), and 4 touchdowns (2t)

Maclin trails Austin Collie's 43 receptions, and Percy Harvin's 602 yards and 5 touchdowns.

This is a good crop of receivers this season, so it seems like the Eagles would have had to try to miss on drafting one. Other first round rookie receivers like Michael Crabtree, Hakeem Nicks, and Kenny Britt are also having good seasons along with some late-round standouts in Collie and Johnny Knox.

Maclin is still coming into his own as a receiver and seems to be getting better each and every week. This week, without having Jackson to compete with for McNabb's attention, Maclin could have a great game. None of the Atlanta corners should be able to stick with his combination of size and speed, and he should be able to serparate himself from the pack.

Either way, it seems like Reid made a smart choice drafting this kid. He and Jackson will have a long and productive career together as the Birds' 1-2 punch on the outside and should give McNabb, or whomever the quarterback may be years down the road, fantastic targets and an added element of explosiveness not seen in Philly since the days of Terrell Owens.

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