There has been plenty of buzz about a potential reunion between the Eagles and dynamic WR/PR DeSean Jackson. Most Philly fans are salivating over the thought of Wentz throwing 40+ yard bombs to Jackson, but others are a bit more skeptical about bringing the speedy receiver back to the City of Brotherly Love. D-Jax is not without his faults, but would serve an important and much needed role if brought back to Philly, and I would like to highlight some of the key reasons the Eagles should try and bring him back.
The Eagles current WR core ranks 25th in receiving yards (3553), 29th in yards per catch (10.1), 25th in yards per game (236), and hold a four way tie for the second least amount of receiving touchdowns (14), despite ranking 11th in receptions. Those are some abysmal numbers and ones that frankly have to improve if the Eagles plan on contending next season.
The Eagles also lack an elite running game to take some pressure off of Wentz, so it would be in the team’s best interest to at least upgrade the weapons around him. One of the ways to do that would be the addition of Jackson. D-Jax has 971 receiving yards with one game remaining this season- good for 21st in the league- on 54 receptions, to go along with 4 touchdowns. To put it in perspective, Jackson would rank 1st in yards, touchdowns, and yards per catch on the Eagles this season. The only WR on the Eagles with more receptions than Jackson’s 54 is Jordan Matthews with 73.
This season is not Jackson’s only productive season, however, as he is a 3x Pro Bowler and has four 1,000 yard seasons under his belt- more than every offensive player on the Eagles combined. Needless to say Jackson would bring much needed production to a WR group that is severely lacking in that area.
One thing that has tortured Philly fans all season long is watching the Eagles passing game be limited to routes less than 20 yards long due to the lack of a deep threat. The Eagles have tried Josh Huff, Bryce Treggs, and even Nelson Agholor as their deep threats and the results have not been good. If there is one thing Jackson knows how to do, it’s flat out fly. Jackson ran an electric 4.35 40 yard dash at the 2008 NFL Combine, and his speed translated seamlessly to the NFL. Jackson has 149 catches of 20+ yards and 57 catches of 40+ yards throughout his career.
Jackson possesses break neck speed and showcases it every time he takes the field. Jackson, despite being 30 years old, ranks 3rd in average yards per catch with 18.0. His game breaking speed forces safeties to play over the top, which opens up the run game a lot more. Speed is a big part of his game and he is showing no signs of slowing down- pun intended.
The days of Vick, Shady, and D-Jax dancing in the endzone after dismantling defenses may seem like a distant memory, but the Eagles need to bring some of that flair back to Philly. The Eagles are a talented bunch, but aren’t elite yet, and could play off the energy boosts that stem from big plays. Football is a game of momentum and the Eagles offense has been severely lacking in that department since the Week 3 demolition of the Steelers. Jackson coming up with a big gain on a 3rd and long or sprinting past defenders with the end zone in his sights would give the entire team a jolt of energy that could trigger more impact plays. This is an underrated effect of “X-plays,” but one that the Eagles could definitely benefit from.
Wentz is the franchise quarterback Philly has been waiting for since the McNabb era and his development is critical to the success of the organization. Wentz is currently being held back by a subpar WR group that struggles with creating separation and catching the ball. Although Jackson isn’t a long term solution, he is a proven player that would give Wentz a consistent threat in the passing game for at least a couple years.
A reunion between D-Jax and Philly would take a lot of the pressure to be the #1 receiver off Jordan Matthews and would give the Eagles two WRs capable of having a 1,000 yard campaign. The Eagles desperately need a spark in their passing game and Jackson is inarguably one of the most electrifying players at his position. The cap wizard Roseman shouldn’t have too much trouble acquiring Jackson on a deal that doesn’t break the bank, and the Eagles would be wise to bring the speedy receiver back into the fold.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports