Is it too early to buy a DeSean Jackson jersey?
I know all about the Eagles success with drafting wide receivers, and I know rookies in general hardly ever make an impact on Andy Reid's teams, and I know the guy is 170 lbs. soaking wet, but does that mean it's too early to buy a DeSean Jackson jersey?
Personally, I am a little pumped right now, because I just had this revelation that the Eagles got the steal of the draft. True, I also had this revelation after reading a Dave Spadaro On The Inside column, which is pretty much like drinking Midnight Green Kool-Aid, but it was a revelation nonetheless.
Let's just take a look at the facts first. The guy was one of the best players in the country his senior year of high school at Long Beach Poly, which is a football powerhouse. He was recruited by every major program and chose to stay local and go to Cal. His senior year he earned First Team All-American honors, caught 65 balls for 6 TDs, and returned a kick and a punt. The year before he caught 9 TDs and returned 4 punts for TDs. Pretty impressive.
He was also projected to be a sure-fire first round pick, but teams passed on him due to character issues (who doesn't have character issues anymore?), and his diminuitive size. To that I say, look at Brian Westbrook, look at Allen Iverson, and look at Mark McGwire when he first came into the majors (sidenote: the NFL does not test for HGH). The guy will be playing wide receiver and returning kicks and punts. He doesn't need to be huge. It helps to be big if you're not as talented as him (Plaxico I'm looking at you), but with his skill, all the Birds need to do is find a way to get him the ball and he'll be juking and jiving all over the place. Barry Sanders was never a big guy, but the reason he never really got hurt is because it was hard to get a clean shot on him. Defenders were more worried about just bringing him to the ground than delivering vicious blows.
He has been working out with Jerry Rice (Jerry Rice!) for a while now, who is teaching him the ins and outs of the position (how to deceive a corner, how to get off the line of scrimmage, etc...), as well as how to stay healthy, how to train, and also the business side of the game. Forget about the Super Bowl rings and the MVP awards, I'm pretty sure this guy won Dancing With The Stars.
So he's got that going for him.
Which is nice.
Some other nice things about DeSean Jackson are his number (18), and his clear visor (not as intimidating as B-Dawk's all-black tint, but kind of sweet in its own right).
The Eagles are a veteran team, with a lot of good pieces in place. DeSean Jackson doesn't need to be a savior on this team, which is a role he would probably fail in. He just needs to be a piece of the puzzle. I think he is exactly the kind of player that can do that.
Maybe he'll take it to the house a couple of times on kick-offs or punts. Maybe he'll have a handful of catches for some big yardage, maybe he'll be another weapon for D-Mac to get the ball to, either way, I think it's just about the right time to buy a DeSean Jackson jersey.