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NFC East: Eagles WR Hype Sheds Light On Division Rookies


I was busy covering the Cowboys' trade up to select DeMarcus Lawrence, so I was a bit distracted during the second round of last month's NFL draft. It says a lot of my opinion of Jordan Matthews that I shot to attention when I heard his name called at No. 42overall – to Philadelphia, of all places.

It's hard to get too, too excited about Matthews until he's had a chance to prove himself. The Eagles are losing a three-time Pro Bowl receiver in DeSean Jackson, after all. Adding such a talented rookie to a group that includes LeSean McCoy, Riley Cooper, Darren Sproles and Jeremy Maclin has to be considered a boon for the Philadelphia offense, though.

So it's not entirely surprising to hear that Matthews is opening eyes at Philadelphia's Organized Team Activities. But to hear it from Twitter, the rookie might already be the best receiver on the roster – before the pads even go on.

This post by the Eagles blog documents the hilarious case of one tweet by team writer Jimmy Kempski from going viral, launching Matthews into the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation after just a handful of practices.

That's the way it goes these days, given the nonstop attention and anticipation given to even the most menial NFL activities. It's totally plausible to think that Matthews, already projected as the Eagles' slot receiver, could make that big of an impact in year one. It's a little aggressive to lobby for that in June, however, before the team has a training camp practice, let alone a preseason game.

The same can be said for Valley Ranch, where the coaching staff's decision to try Zack Martin at center, or the sight of Devin Street getting first-team reps can send people into a frenzy. Maybe it all amounts to something meaningful, or maybe we should take non-contact practices six weeks before training camp at face value. [embedded_ad]

It'll be interesting to keep an eye on Matthews. The Cowboys need a new Eagles nemesis with Jackson moving on to Washington – though Cooper is still around. I'm going to hold off on the Rookie of the Year conversation, at least for now.

It leads to an interesting question, though. Between Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Terrance Williams, Travis Frederick, Bennie Logan and Zach Ertz, there have been some big time breakout rookies in the NFC East in recent years.

Does that trend continue this year? Zack Martin seems like a safe bet to make a big impact, but Matthews and new Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. carry plenty of expectation of their own. Morgan Moses and Trent Murphy – perhaps even speedster Lache Seastrunk – could turn heads in Washington.

It's going to be interesting. But it's an argument I'm more inclined to have after at least a preseason game or two.

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