The Eagles added two high profiled free agents in the form of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith this offseason. Jeffrey is a guy that could win jump balls and be a real redzone threat, while Smith can take the top off of a defense with his speed. However, both of these receivers are on 1 year deals and there is no guarantee that they’ll be here for the long haul.
Taking this into account, Howie and the Eagles added another pair of receivers through the Draft. Mack Hollins out of UNC, is a big bodied receiver that possess both speed and good route running. The West Virginia product, Shelton Gibson, excels at catching the deep ball.
Sound familiar? One must assume that these young receivers are potential replacements for Jeffrey and Smith. However, the true beauty of these picks is that they are not expected to produce immediately and have time to develop.
Jeffrey and Smith have both had success in their NFL careers. They were also both taken in the early rounds of their respective Drafts, which comes with more demand for production early in their careers.
As you know, neither Hollins or Gibson were taken that high. Picking up Hollins in the 4th and Gibson in the 5th, neither of them should be expected to have as much success as Jeffrey or Smith early on. But, if they learn from their superior counterparts and gain some experience, they may turn out to be legitimate weapons for Wentz in the future.
– Shelton Gibson
There has not been much talk about Gibson at camp thus far, but I expect him to have a bigger impact on the offense than Hollins, despite draft position. Gibson’s style of play translates into the NFL a bit smoother than Hollins’. Whether in the NCAA or the NFL, speed kills. Cornerbacks may be better skilled in the NFL, but if Gibson can sprint into the defensive backfield at the collegiate level, he can do it for the Eagles.
Here, Gibson uses his speed to blow past the defender and is able to keep concentration on the ball as his helmet was being ripped from his head.
He has a knack for getting separation when deep and tracking the ball down in the air. His route running isn’t great and he isn’t very big, so those down-field plays are his biggest attribute. Many critics have labeled him as a one-trick pony because of this. However, if there is one trick the Eagles need, its the ability to throw the deep ball. Plays like the one above are what lead me to believe that Gibson can translate his success from college into the NFL.
– Mack Hollins
Hollins was recently raved about for his performance in rookie camp in a report by an anonymous source . The source went on about how he couldnt take his eyes off of him and that Hollins played like a top-10 pick in the draft.
Although it’s only rookie camp and no one should get their hopes up, it is better to hear reports about rookies playing well instead of hearing about players acting like 10 year olds and eating lunch by themselves. (I’m talking to you Nnamdi).
Hollins will have a more difficult time converting his style into the pro’s. Although he is a good downfield threat like Gibson, he isn’t as fast and will need to rely on his big body to box out corners when going for jump balls.
Now this was not a perfectly thrown ball, but Hollins is still able to make the catch by reaching over the defender, showing his ability to control his large body in the air. He is obviously going to be facing much better competition in the NFL and cornerbacks won’t allow him to easily reach over and catch that ball, but if he learns from Jeffery in camp and throughout the season, he may be able to make the adjustment.
Hollins and Gibson are some very talented prospects who have plenty of time to learn from established NFL veterans. By playing smaller roles in the Eagles offense this season, they will be able to work out their flaws, and develop their games without a boatload of pressure. With hard work, and patience, these two could prove to be difference makers in the league, and help the Eagles organization and fans obtain their ultimate goal… A Lombardi.