Since his return to practice back in April, Jeremy Maclin has professed that he is a "stronger" version of his former self. "You can just base it off certain things that you do in the weight room, on the football field," he said. "And also mentally stronger. When I talk about stronger I mean everything that goes into it."
In the four mostly healthy seasons that preceded his lost one, Maclin provided the kind of consistency and dependability Kelly has preached since the day he arrived. Maclin also fills nicely some of the leadership void created by Jason Avant's departure, an ideal veteran for rookies Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff to model their work ethic around.
Still, it is hard to tell if Maclin is physically stronger than he was before that gruesome injury.
It is also hard to believe that he is mentally stronger. This is a man, after all, who was abandoned by his father at 9 and raised by the little league football coach. This is also a man whose undisclosed illness in 2011 forced him to miss a chunk of training camp and led to wide speculation about cancer and his career ending, a man whose ACL tear last August was the second to that knee in his career and, coming at the onset of his final contract season, led to even more speculation about the end of his career.
Maclin is poised to fill a big role on the field too now that DeSean Jackson is out of the picture. Maclin isn't Jackson in terms of speed, but the Birds feel Maclin will still fill in nicely opposite of Riley Cooper. While QB Nick Foles is one of our top-rated at the position, Eagles WRs are further down our list. Maclin comes in at 36th, but his ADP of the 7th round is considerably lower than those ranked around him, so owners are banking on a productive season.