Maclin's second season in Kansas City was shaping up as a disappointment even before a major groin injury suffered in Week 9 put an end to his bid for a third consecutive 1,000-yard season. He missed the next four games and only had 160 receiving yards over the final four weeks, finishing the year with career-low marks in catches (44), targets (76), receiving yards (536) and touchdowns (two). The Chiefs surprisingly released him in June after just two seasons of a five-year contract, spurred by the emergence of Tyreek Hill as well as a need for cap space. The Ravens pounced on the opportunity, giving the 29-year-old wideout a two-year, $11 million contract to join a receiving corps that lost Steve Smith, Kamar Aiken and TE Dennis Pitta (185 combined catches on 272 targets last year) earlier in the offseason. At 6-0, 198, Maclin has average size, but good speed and quickness and reliable hands. Although he's not a major target in the red zone, 9.7 percent of his career receptions have gone for touchdowns, in part because he can get downfield -- seven catches of 40-plus yards in 2014 with the Eagles -- which should be more evident now that he's traded Alex Smith for Joe Flacco. The Ravens figure to primarily use Maclin in the slot, but he'll also compete with Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman for playing time in two-receiver sets. Given their respective track records, it won't be surprising if Maclin ultimately leads the trio in all major volume stats (snaps, catches and targets).
After failing to throw a touchdown to a receiver in 2014, the Chiefs brought in Maclin, who scored eight. We'd consider that an upgrade. Maclin did more than score — he managed a robust 8.8 YPT in an anemic passing game and added occasional big plays (14 catches for 20-plus and three of 40-plus yards). But Maclin's efficiency was predicated on a high catch rate as he averaged only 12.5 YPC, thanks to Alex Smith's and Andy Reid's dink-and-dunk offense. At 6-0, 198, Maclin has just average size, but he's fast (4.45 40), quick, and has excellent hands. And at 27, he's still in his late prime. But without heavy red-zone work (unlikely given his frame and modest 15 targets there a year ago), Maclin's ceiling is relatively low in this offense. Maclin's also an injury risk — besides missing an entire season with an ACL tear in 2013, he's missed at least one game four of the other six seasons. He's healthy at press time, however, and profiles as the clear No. 1 in an otherwise weak receiving corps, giving him a decent floor.
Maybe it's not as bad as Greg Jennings leaving Green Bay for Minnesota a couple years ago or Eric Decker leaving Denver for the Jets last year, but Maclin going from one of the league's most prolific offenses to one that did not complete a single touchdown pass to a receiver in 2014 is a precipitous environmental downgrade, to say the least. Maclin's coming off a career year in Philadelphia and won't turn 27 until August, putting him in his late prime. At 6-0, 198, he has merely average size, but good speed (4.45 40), excellent quickness and reliable hands. As such, he'll be Alex Smith's No. 1 receiver, especially given that the Chiefs guaranteed $22.5 million of his five-year, $55 million deal. The question is whether the risk-averse Smith has the arm strength (or the inclination) to get Maclin the ball downfield the way the Eagles did a year ago when his seven catches of 40-plus yards ranked third. Maclin played under coach Andy Reid for the first four years of his career and did manage 964 yards and 10 scores in 2010, but mostly on shorter routes. Beyond Maclin, the Chiefs are woefully thin at receiver with only 5-9 Albert Wilson in line for regular targets, but emerging tight end Travis Kelce should see more work, and this is a team that loves to spread the ball around and throw dump-offs to its backs.
A torn ACL last July ended Maclin’s season before it started, but in April he declared himself completely recovered, three months ahead of training camp. His situation is arguably better now than it was last year because deep threat DeSean Jackson’s gone, and the less explosive Riley Cooper has taken his place. That means Maclin could be both the Eagles top target and its big-play option. At 6-0, 198, Maclin has only average size, but he’s fast (4.45 40), shifty and sure-handed. While Maclin’s seen a fair number of red-zone looks in the past (thanks to being bigger than Jackson) he’ll now the smaller regular target on the team when you count Cooper and tight ends Zach Ertz and Brent Celek. Even without substantial red-zone work, there’s significant upside here in Chip Kelly’s offense if Nick Foles plays at anywhere near the level he did for two-thirds of a season last year.
Maclin would have likely served as Philadelphia's top wideout in 2013 -- both in real life terms and by fantasy football standards -- but a torn ACL in July ended his season. It's awful timing for Maclin, as he will be a free agent after the season.
With Maclin out, DeSean Jackson becomes the clear fantasy target among Philadelphia wideouts, while Riley Cooper or Arrelious Benn figure to replace Maclin as the second starting outside receiver. Jason Avant figures to hold onto the slot role.
On the surface, Maclin seemed to take a step back in Year 3, but keep in mind he missed three games late in the season due to shoulder and hamstring injuries. If you prorate his numbers over 16 games, he’d have had 78 catches for 1,057 yards and six scores on 8.9 YPT, all career highs except for the touchdowns. The touchdowns declined in large part because he was targeted so much less frequently in the red zone (21 to 12) and also inside the 10 (12 to 4). Instead those scores went to LeSean McCoy who led all players with 20 scores and saw a massive increase in goal-line work. The re-emergence of tight end Brent Celek as a red-zone option (19 targets) was also a factor. At 6-0, 198, Maclin has only average size, but he’s fast, shifty and sure-handed (just four drops). He’ll still serve as Michael Vick’s most frequent target in a pass-friendly offense. Just realize that DeSean Jackson is the team’s primary big-play threat, and the Eagles seem to prefer other options in the red zone.
While DeSean Jackson makes most of the highlight reels, Maclin was the one who scored 10 touchdowns for the Eagles last year. Maclin (13th) actually finished one spot ahead of Jackson among fantasy receivers, albeit in two more games and on 20 more targets. And while Maclin doesn't have Jackson's jaw-dropping per-play numbers, his 13.8 yards per catch and 8.4 yards per target are solid marks for a receiver, who despite his speed, was playing more of a possession role, and he reeled in four catches of 40-plus yards. At 6-1, 200, Maclin isn't big, but he's the closest thing to a red-zone target the Eagles have out wide and as a result saw 21 looks from inside the 20 (7th) and 12 targets from inside the 10 (tied for 7th). Maclin heads into Year 3 as a starter in one of the league's most pass-friendly systems. So long as Michael Vick stays healthy, his environment could hardly be more favorable.
Maclin showed flashes of his big-play ability
during his rookie year — even if he was largely
overshadowed by DeSean Jackson. Maclin had
three catches of 40-plus yards on 96 targets,
averaged 13.9 yards per catch and 7.9 yards
Year 2 is typically when receivers take a
major leap forward, and conditions are ripe for
Maclin this year. For starters, the former firstround
pick can fly, has great vision in the open
field and is very dangerous after the catch. He’s
got good hands and is likely to see single coverage
playing opposite Jackson. Moreover, the
Eagles pass-happy system will ensure there are
plenty of targets to go around — Maclin saw
nearly 100 targets even last year when he
missed two games. Of course, the success of the
team’s passing game hinges on the development
of Kevin Kolb, but Kolb seemed more than
up to the task during his starts last year when
Donovan McNabb went down.
At 6-1, 200, Maclin’s not particularly stout
and isn’t well suited to catching balls over the
middle in heavy traffic. As such, he’s probably
not slated for a lot of red-zone work (only nine
targets there last year). So temper your expectations
for his scoring even in the event of a
The Eagles are built to contend this season, so that they traded up to get Maclin in the first round means they’ll want to get him involved right away – and not just in the return game.
At 6-1, 200, Maclin has just average size, but he’s arguably the most explosive receiver in this year’s class. Maclin has excellent acceleration and elite deep speed, combined with great vision and soft hands. His route running still needs work, and he’s not very physical, so don’t expect him to see a lot of red-zone work – at least early on.
Heading into camp, it remains to be seen whether Maclin starts opposite DeSean Jackson right out of the gate, or lines up in the slot with Kevin Curtis on the outside. Either way, the distinction isn’t that important as Andy Reid’s offense is one of the most pass happy in the league (4th most attempts), and Maclin should be able to earn his share of targets if he keeps his focus.