Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wide Receivers - How Many Do The Eagles Keep?

As the days creep closer and closer to the start of training camp, it is obvious that we shouldn’t expect any additions to the Eagles wide receivers.

So the next question is how many wide receivers will the Eagles keep on the 53-man roster? Will it be 4, 5, or even 6? Who will be cut, if anyone, from the group of Brown, Curtis, Jackson, Avant, Baskett, and Lewis?

You must also ask yourself how prominent a role the receivers will play in the Eagles offense this year? In 2007, approximately a third of the Eagles’ completions were to running backs. Why not continue to play to this strength in 2008.

That reliance on the backs will most likely increase with the off-season addition of Lorenzo Booker. You also can’t forget that a healthy LJ Smith will also be a weapon in the passing attack.

The obvious keepers are Brown and Curtis as the starting receivers. Another sure thing is rookie DeSean Jackson. You don’t waste a second round pick if the player isn’t going to be on the active roster. Plus Jackson will also serve as the teams’ punt return specialist.

That brings us to Avant, Baskett, and Lewis. Avant was last years number three receiver, but struggled dealing with a season long hernia issue. A healthy Avant should again secure the third spot in 2008, as coaches still remain high on his potential.

Baskett had an ineffective 2007 season after showing flashes of brilliance in 2006. Baskett’s big play potential, his strong blocking skills, and his ranking as one of the team’s best coverage guys on special teams should land him another year with the Eagles.

Lewis looks like he could be the odd man out. With Jackson, Demps, and Booker likely handling the return duties, Lewis no longer brings a special teams value to the Eagles. One of Lewis’ greatest strengths is his speed. The Eagles now have Jackson bringing speed from the slot position. Though he runs strong routes and has stepped up big in an occasional game over the years, Lewis no longer brings anything unique to the team.

My vote is to keep Brown, Curtis, Avant, Baskett, and Jackson. Time to say goodbye to Greg Lewis.

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