PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles will open the 2014 season without their most explosive wide receiver.
When the Eagles decided to release DeSean Jackson, it meant losing 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns from last season.
While it would seem natural to believe the Eagles would select a wide receiver with the No. 22 overall pick in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft, the franchise just may wait until the later rounds.
"Well, for us, we have a group of players that we brought back," Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said. "We signed Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin, those are free-agent signings for us. They were on the open market. Those guys are guys that we've added to our team. We added Darren Sproles. I know DeSean had really great production here last year, he had 82 (receptions) for 1,300 (yards). Darren Sproles caught 71 balls. We're really excited to see Jeremy in this offense. We think he's an extremely talented guy, a guy who we drafted in the first round, a guy who really fits what we're doing.
"For us, it's about believing in the guys we have here and, at the same time, being open, keeping our eyes open and looking to improve," Roseman added. "I think when you're building a team, it's all about where we are next year and resources. So we have to make tough decisions. We don't want to be in a position where we can't sign the guys that we've drafted here or that we're going to have to start dismantling the team. We want to try to grow together, and so some of those decisions are hard and, for us, we have to try to figure out where maybe we can get good players and maybe save some money for having room elsewhere going forward."
If the Eagles opt for players at other positions in the earlier rounds, they could still land a quality wide receiver as late as the seventh round.
"When you look at the talent in this draft and when we look at our board about how good the receivers are in this draft, I think there will be a point in this draft, and that could be in the seventh round when we have a guy in the fourth round, that there is going to be a really talented receiver," Roseman said. "I just feel like when you look back at the history of the draft, the wide receiver position always goes later to begin with, and now with the influx of the underclassmen at the wide receiver position, I just think that's how it's going to turn out now. It may not, but I think I said it's likely that we'll come out with at least one. I don't think I said more than one. There are no guarantees."