The Philadelphia Eagles have been without their top two wide receivers throughout training camp, as DeSean Jackson is holding out and Jeremy Maclin is missing with an illness. But Eagles coach Andy Reid says people are overlooking Philly’s third receiver.
Jason Avant, Reid says, is the best player in the NFL at what the Eagles’ offense needs an inside receiver to do.
“That son of a gun catches everything,” Reid said of Avant. “He makes these catches that are fun to watch. Even from a coach’s standpoint, those are fun to watch. He does some things I think are incredible. I would consider him the best guy in this league as an inside player. I’m not sure I’d want anybody else for what we do as an inside receiver. Then you can stick him outside and then he makes plays out there. He’s got great body control and understands leverage. He’s got great quickness.”
Avant, who averaged 11.2 yards a catch last season, doesn’t have anything close to the deep speed of Jackson, who averaged more than twice that at 22.5 yards a catch. But Avant has all the tools to be a valuable slot receiver.
And more importantly to Reid, talking about Avant means talking about the top receiver who is at camp, instead of the two guys who aren’t there.