PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles got their wide receiver.
The Eagles traded up to select Vanderbilt’s Jordan Matthews with the 42nd overall pick in the NFL draft on Friday night. The 6-foot-3, 212-pound Matthews helps fill the void left by the release of three-time Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson.
“You look at his numbers and they’re off the charts,” coach Chip Kelly said. “He’s an intelligent kid. He’s a big, physical guy. He has outstanding speed.”
Matthews is the SEC’s all-time leader in career receptions (262) and yards receiving (3,759). He had 94 catches for 1,323 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior and followed it up with 112 receptions for 1,477 yards and seven TDs last season.
Kelly raved about Matthews’ size.
“He can catch the ball in traffic,” Kelly said. “He made an unbelievable amount of contested catches.”
Jackson, who was released in late March after the best season of his career, is only 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds. He had trouble against bigger cornerbacks, but used his speed and elusiveness to be one of the top playmakers in the NFL.
“We see a ton of man coverage,” Kelly said. “You have to get guys that can exploit that coverage.”
Matthews is expected to start inside with Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper on the outside. Jason Avant was Philadelphia’ slot receiver the last few years.
The Eagles gave the Titans their second-round pick (No. 54) and a fourth-rounder (No. 122) for the 42nd pick. They traded down on Thursday night, added an extra third-round pick and took Louisville linebacker Marcus Smith at No. 26.
Eagles fans at Radio City Music Hall in New York booed the selection of Smith, who was projected to go in the second or third round.
“Let him step on the field and play a snap first,” Kelly said.
Matthews is another chip for an offense that set several franchise records last year and features Pro Bowl quarterback Nick Foles and All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy.
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