Wide receiver Jordan Matthews has drawn plenty of rave reviews at Eagles practices this year, leading to high expectations about what he’ll do in Chip Kelly’s offense as a rookie.
Those rave reviews haven’t moved him to the top of the depth chart, however. The Eagles list three starting wideouts on their initial depth chart for the 2014 season and, as expected, Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin hold down two of those spots. Matthews is nestled behind veteran Brad Smith at the third receiver position, something that not many people would expect to be the case once the season gets underway.
It may be a case of rookies having to earn their way to the highest rungs, as fellow 2014 draft pick Josh Huff finds himself running on the third string behind Jeff Maehl and Arrelious Benn. Assuming that Cooper, Maclin, Matthews and Smith all make the 53-man roster, there are probably two other receiver slots and it would seem unlikely that the team would cut a third-round pick in favor of two veterans with middling pro resumes.
With tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz also expected to see plenty of playing time — the Eagles listed two starting tight ends last year — there will likely be plenty of fluidity among the team’s receiving options regardless of how they stack up on the depth chart. Throw in the versatile Darren Sproles and the Eagles depth chart might wind up as more of a suggestion than those of most other teams.