|This story originally published on WarNest.com|
The wide receiving corps for the Eagles has become pretty crowded. Reggie Brown and Jabar Gaffney will come into camp as the primary receivers for the Eagles. Then, there's Greg Lewis and Billy McMullen and Darnerian McCants are still hanging around. Todd Pinkston and Justin Jenkins are coming off injuries and neither is 100% - yet - but both should be able to contribute before too long.
Jason Avant comes to the Eagles out of Michigan, where he put up impressive numbers and was nothing but a strong part of the Wolverines receiving corps. Still, just where would he fit in with all of the faces ready to line up as wide receivers? Where he fits in for May's mini-camp and where he will fit in come September could be two different places.
"I know that they have a lot of guys in the mix. I know that Reggie Brown stepped up last year, I know Greg Lewis and I am just ready to compete for anything at any time. I am looking forward to coming in and helping the team," said Lewis of where he sees himself fitting in with the Eagles. The truth is that Pinkston is no guarantee and Lewis didn't really impress the Eagles last season, leaving the emerging Brown and free agent Gaffney as the big names in Eagles' camp. After that, everything is a toss up and Avant has the ability to find himself as the 'best of the rest'.
If there was one bad rap about Avant, it was his speed. He posted a slow 40-time, but Avant insists that he wasn't healthy and his times were misleading. "I could not put my hand on the ground because I had a broken hand. So, I had to start from a two-point stance. Nobody at my school ran on that surface in around 10 years," explained an adamant Jason Avant. "They usually go to the track even though our track is still considered a slow surface, but the surface that I ran on is a lot slower than that. Nobody from my school had a good time this year. I ran it again and I ran a 4.61, 4.62, but that is a track thing, not football." Avant insists that when you put him on a football field and let him stare down defensive backs, we'll all get to see just how fast he is. "When I get on that field, I am faster than any DB back there. I really am, I get open and I get separation. Listen, 40 times are all technique. I had never done that and I am a football player, so that is how I am going to make up for that," said Avant when asked about how he will make up for his bad showing in the 40s.
The truth that the Eagles saw in the films was good enough to convince them that Avant could fit in with the other young receivers on the roster. They also liked the fact that Avant has at least some experience playing in a West Coast offense. "Yes, we ran it at Michigan, except we just ran the ball a bit more than Philadelphia, but I am a receiver, so I will enjoy catching the ball more than blocking," laughed Avant.
Odds are that Avant will continue laughing once all is said and done. He does fit in well on the young receiving corps and was likely underestimated by some of the NFL scouts who put emphasis on numbers rather than on simply looking at what a player can do. Avant's got the potential to be the Eagles sleeper from a draft that is likely to go down as one of the best in the history of the team.
For more on Jason Avant, check out the GBW Post Draft Analysis - Part One