Jordan Matthews will start his pro career playing an inside receiver position with the Philadelphia Eagles, coach Chip Kelly said. Whether he actually develops into a starter at the position remains to be seen, but Kelly spoke of Matthews' inside role in the same breath with starters Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper.
If Matthews isn't the starter in ink, it sounds as though his name might be written in soft pencil.
"We're probably going to start him inside," Kelly said, according to nj.com. "If we've got Jerry Maclin on one side and (Riley Cooper) on the other side and throw him inside, and he has experience. So I think the kind of thing that would separate him from some other people is he does have experience."
The inside role isn't very common for bigger receivers like Matthews (6-3, 212 pounds), particularly at the college level, where slot receivers tend to be smaller and quicker and often specialize in getting open against zone defenses. But Matthews took well to the role for the Commodores, along with playing on the outside.
Matthews was drafted No. 42 overall in the second round, just three picks after the Jacksonville Jaguars took Southern Cal star receiver Marqise Lee and three picks before the Seattle Seahawks took Colorado receiver Paul Richardson.
"It's all about roles," Matthews said. "There are levels to becoming great in the NFL, and that's one of the things you've got to do as a rookie. ... You have to find your role and become the best at that before you can move on to a new one."
For Matthews, that role will begin inside, where he'll draw more coverage from nickelbacks and safeties. Kelly said Matthews' ability to catch contested passes in traffic was one reason the Eagles liked him. He'll see plenty of traffic playing inside.
Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.