Riley Cooper will have a chance to earn starting job (USA Today Sports Images)
The Philadelphia Eagles lost wide receiver Jeremy Maclin to a torn ACL in his right knee on Saturday, potentially creating a spot for a currently unsigned free agent. But players still on the street, such as Brandon Lloyd, will have to wait a little longer as the Eagles plan to stand pat at receiver.
"We have a lot of faith in our skill position group as a whole and that's kind of how we look at it," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said on Sunday, via the Eagles' official website. "We're not only looking at just the wide receiver group, we look at the running backs, we look at the tight ends and those are the guys that we have high hopes and expectations for. That's what (training camp) is for, the competition, and that's why we brought in people to compete."
One of those players who will be fighting for a starting job opposite DeSean Jackson is Riley Cooper, a 2010 fifth-round pick out of Florida who started five of 11 games last season. He established career-highs with 23 receptions (for 248 yards) and three receiving touchdowns in 43.21 percent of the offensive snaps. If Cooper does not crack the starting lineup on a full-time basis, he has the size to be valuable player in the red zone.
"It's about evaluating all those guys and when you talk about Riley, you talk a lot about traits and we discussed traits, he's big, he's strong, he can go up and get the football, he can block and for a big guy he can drop his weight and run routes," said Roseman.
Competing with Cooper will be veteran Jason Avant, who has 259 receptions for 3,199 yards and 10 touchdowns in his seven-year career with the Eagles. Avant is sure-handed — zero dropped passes in 2012 — and is ideally-suited to complement Jackson in a possession receiver role. The Eagles also have Arrelious Benn, a 2010 second-round pick acquired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in March. Benn has battled injuries throughout his career and could be ticketed for a slot receiver role in Chip Kelly's offense.
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