The Philadelphia Eagles need to replace Jeremy Maclin after he reached a deal with the Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, but which Maclin will they have to replace: the one who enjoyed a breakout season of 1,318 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns last year, or the one who averaged less than 60 yards per game over his first four years in the league?
Conventional wisdom would suggest the Eagles will bolster the defense with the No. 20 overall pick, and even the second round might be too soon for a wide receiver. But if it's not, the speed merchant from UM could be just what Philadelphia needs: a vertical deep threat who can keep cornerbacks on their heels and safeties on their toes. Dorsett was the third-fastest player at the NFL Scouting Combine (4.33) and was uncoverable at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., back in January. But with limited size (5-foot-10, 185 pounds) and quite a few receivers regarded more highly, there is a good chance Dorsett could be available when the Eagles pick in Round 2.
Lockett is very dangerous in the open field and can turn a short catch into a big play. Like Dorsett, he is lacking in size (5-10, 182) but has the explosiveness Kelly loves at the position. Lockett said at the Senior Bowl that he faced a great deal of press coverage his senior year at KSU (unusual at the college level), which he believes prepared him well for the aggressive cornerback play that is more common in the NFL. Lockett would make a nice complement to the bigger, rangier Jordan Matthews, who enters his second NFL season with much promise. Lockett would also bring some competition to the Eagles' return game.
In a deep draft class of receivers, Hardy figures to be a high-value pick who will be well-equipped to make a significant contribution as a rookie. Although he might lack elite speed (4.56 at the combine), Hardy is an exceptional route runner who has soft hands and tons of experience as a four-year starter in a fast-paced offense at ECU. He had a strong week at the Senior Bowl against a higher level of competition than he faced in college.
Goodley's production fell off from his junior year to senior year for the Bears, but that could be a good thing for an Eagles club with bigger needs on the defensive side of the ball and a hope that quality receivers will be available on the second and third days of the draft. Goodley has a strong, physical frame even though he is only 5-10, and big-play speed downfield. He's also got a strong familiarity with hurry-up offensive play, having played for Art Briles at BU.
If the Eagles see fit to groom Matthews as the club's No. 1 receiver and wait until the middle or later rounds of the draft to add receiving help, Conley could fit the bill nicely. Speed and explosiveness at wide receiver are more valuable traits than size in the Chip Kelly offense, and Conley has plenty of both. He blistered a 4.35 40-yard dash at the combine and posted an eye-popping 11-foot-7 broad jump. With a dominant rushing attack led by Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb, Georgia maintained a relatively pedestrian passing attack last year; expect Conley to be a more productive pro player than he was in college.