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April 03, 2015

Expect big numbers out of Jordan Matthews in 2015

Eagles NFL
040315JordanMatthews Bill Kostroun/AP

Jordan Matthews won't be Boykin'd in 2015.

What is Jordan Matthews? In 2014, from the day he walked into the NovaCare Complex after he was drafted until the final game against the Giants, Matthews worked almost solely out out the slot. He almost never lined up outside.

As a rookie he excelled in his role, catching 67 passes for 872 yards and 8 TDs. The Eagles drafted Matthews 42nd overall, and it appears he could be a really good player. Couple that with the Eagles' less than scary wide receiver corps, and it would be foolish to use your best receiver in a role that would limit his snaps to three wide receiver sets. It appears the Eagles see it that way too. Zach Berman of the Inquirer talked to Matthews, who confirmed that his role will increase in 2015:

"I think you would think that I might get a whole lot more outside reps now just because Maclin is gone, but I already had talked to coaches, and they were already going to implement me more on the outside as opposed to just the inside regardless," Matthews said. "I don't think that's a crazy, huge deal."

It was previously somewhat unclear if Matthews' role would be expanded, seeing as the Eagles are quirky about who plays where. (See: Brandon Boykin riding the bench in favor of Bradley Fletcher). But the thought of Matthews standing on the sidelines while Riley Cooper, Josh Huff, or Miles Austin are on the field makes no sense whatsoever.

Jeremy Maclin was the Eagles' volume catcher last season, hauling in 85 passes, or 18 more than Matthews, who finished second on the team. Maclin's volume-catcher role will now likely go to Matthews.

Matthews is used to it. His last season at Vanderbilt, Matthews was responsible for 49.93% of his team's receiving yards. That was the highest percentage of any of the 32 receivers who were drafted in 2014. Vanderbilt had the 67th ranked passing offense in the nation, and Matthews finished fourth in the nation both in receptions and receiving yards. In other words, Vanderbilt's opponents knew who was getting the ball and Matthews still found a way to put up huge numbers anyway.

With an expanded role and a pair of former #1 receivers in DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin coming off career years in Chip Kelly's offense, expect Matthews to put up good numbers in 2015 as their primary threat in the passing game. Adjust your fantasy football draft boards accordingly.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski