- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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Look, I'm not saying Arrelious Benn was the second coming of Herman Moore, or that the Philadelphia Eagles' brave pronouncements about making up for their losses at wide receiver with extra help from their tight end group or their running back group don't make any sense. But with Jeremy Maclin and now Benn out for the season with torn ACLs, and with legitimate questions about whether Riley Cooper can really spend a full season in the same locker room with NFL teammates after being caught on camera angrily using the worst racial slur there is, the fact is that the Eagles are ridiculously thin at the wide receiver position.
DeSean Jackson is their best one. Jason Avant is a solid, if unspectacular, veteran. But other than those two, the seven remaining healthy wide receivers on the Eagles' roster have a combined total of 96 career NFL catches -- 46 of which belong to Cooper. Could the Eagles get more than expected out of guys like Damaris Johnson, Russell Shepard and Greg Salas? Sure, but it's a shaky bet to make.
Tim McManus looks at 10 wide receivers who are still available on the free-agent market at this very late date, and it's an uninspiring list. The top name is Brandon Lloyd, who had 74 catches and 911 yards for the Patriots last year. But something's off with Lloyd that is scaring teams away. Fact is, he'd have been one of the Eagles' top three receivers if he'd signed a month ago, and they weren't interested. I have to think that, if they liked Lloyd, he'd already be on their team.
Laurent Robinson, the 2011 Cowboys touchdown maker, is also on this list but comes with major injury concerns due to concussion problems. Guys like Deion Branch and Brandon Stokley have put up decent stats in the league, but not without Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, respectively, throwing them the ball. Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson isn't what the Eagles need as they rebuild under Chip Kelly.
You get the idea. There's not much out there. And I fully understand why the Eagles wouldn't want to sign any of the receivers on this list. But it's Aug. 7, they haven't even played a preseason game yet and their wide receivers are dropping like flies. The reason they had so much volume at the position was to protect against injuries, and certainly there's no guarantee that there won't be any more injuries over the course of the next month. As much as they don't want to, the Eagles probably should hold their nose and take a flyer on someone like Lloyd or Branch or Stokley. Maybe call up the Redskins and find out what their plans are for Donte' Stallworth and Devery Henderson ... something to address what's becoming a problem for a team that already has a huge question mark at quarterback and is hoping to run as many offensive plays as possible.