Don’t Let His Release Fool You, Jeremy Maclin Still Has Pro Bowl Potential

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When a Kansas City Chiefs expelled receiver Jeremy Maclin on Jun 2, it was one of a some-more startling exchange of a 2017 offseason. There was adequate tape, notwithstanding his disappointing, injury-plagued 2016 season, to prove that this was a one-year misconception for Maclin and in no approach pragmatic that he was on a decline.


The Baltimore Ravens apparently agreed, signing a maestro receiver to a two-year deal on Monday, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Maclin had drawn interest from a Cleveland Browns (per Cleveland.com), Buffalo Bills (per BuffaloBills.com) and Baltimore Ravens (per ESPN’s Adam Schefter). He visited Baltimore and Buffalo in new days and has been recruited by Bills using behind (and former Eagles teammate) LeSean McCoy, per Mike Rodak of ESPN.com.

Baltimore is a good fit, given Ravens descent coordinator Marty Mornhinweg’s nuanced, possession-based West Coast offense with Joe Flacco’s low arm factored in. Maclin should have tons of targets in Baltimore, where there is a current miss of tip receivers outside of Mike Wallace, and Maclin will have some-more opportunities to arrangement his many apparent attributes as a low receiver.

Maclin held usually 44 passes for 536 yards and dual touchdowns in 12 games final season, though he had been one of a league’s some-more inclusive targets in a prior dual seasons for both a Chiefs in 2015 and a Eagles in 2014. In 2015, he led a Chiefs in targets (124), receptions (87), receiving yards (1,088) and receiving touchdowns (eight). And a year before in Philly, he led all Eagles receivers with 148 targets, 85 catches, 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns. That’s a deteriorate in that Maclin earned his usually Pro Bowl nod, though he was no slump in 2015 either.

Maclin recently admitted that he wanted to lapse to form and make a disappointments of 2016 a apart memory.

“It usually wasn’t adult to my standards,” he told a Kansas City Star‘s Terez A. Paylor in late May. “I’ve never been a stat guy. I’ve never been a man to say, ‘I wish this, we wish that.’ we usually didn’t play as good as we could have. And by not personification well, we feel like we let my group down. And that’s a many critical partial of it.”

When a Chiefs sealed Maclin to a five-year, $55 million agreement with $22.5 million guaranteed in Mar 2015, it was transparent a goal was for Maclin to be a epicenter of conduct manager Andy Reid’s flitting game. Reid was a Eagles’ conduct manager when Maclin was comparison in a initial turn of a 2009 breeze out of Missouri, so it was already transparent that he would know Reid’s offense. And a lapse to his home state seemed right out of a storybook.

One reason for a cut was a agreement Maclin signed—he had a $12.4 million income tip assign for a 2017 season, per OverTheCap.com. Even after a release, that saves a group $10 million this season, a Chiefs are still usually about $11.3 million underneath a cap. Without slicing Maclin or exorcising another costly veteran, there’s no approach a Chiefs could have afforded to pointer their rookie class, an practice that generally costs a group between $5-6 million in tip space.

But again, when we demeanour during a tape, it’s transparent that even when he was harmed final season, Maclin has a attributes to be a No. 1 receiver in a right offense—an offense in that a orchestrated low pass is a vital component.

At 60” and 200 pounds, Maclin isn’t a form of receiver who’s going to win in contested situations with ideal physicality. He’s a polished route-runner who excels during a pointed movements used by some-more gifted receivers when there’s a need to get out of parsimonious coverage in a hurry. This touchdown opposite a Colts in Week 8 is a ideal example.

Here, Maclin (No. 19) has a one-on-one opposite reserve Matthias Farley (No. 41) after Kelce (No. 87) took reserve T.J. Green (No. 32) inside on pre-snap motion. At a snap, Maclin finished a initial of a integrate nifty moves. He stuttered his feet where Green was and kick him fast to a outside. That pierce set adult another, where Maclin widened his stretch and set himself adult for a easy completion. This is a excellent scholastic instance of how good Maclin does a small things that lead to success. He can emanate easier completions for his quarterback when he does things like this.

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And Maclin is tough. He’ll hang in there and locate a turn in traffic, even when he knows he’s about to get poleaxed. This 22-yard locate over a center opposite a Chargers in Week 1 shows that specifically. Here, he pushed cornerback Jason Verrett (No. 22) out of parsimonious coverage during a snap to get subdivision and ran a discerning post upfield. He was far-reaching open for a catch, though a problem is he had 3 defenders concentration on him—cornerback Brandon Flowers (No. 24), reserve Dwight Lowery (No. 20) and reserve Jahleel Addae (No. 37).

Addae held a chastisement for targeting Maclin with his helmet, though Smith is culpable here to a point. You don’t wish to put your receiver in a position where he has to burst for a turn as mixed defenders intersect on him. Maclin didn’t have time to tighten a locate and ready for a impact, and he got his bell rung.

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But where Maclin unequivocally excels is as a intermediate-to-deep receiver, both from a container and outside, who can use his track recognition and ability to melt his physique for fantastic catches. This 19-yard touchdown opposite Verrett came in a fourth entertain of that same Week 1 diversion opposite a Chargers. Just 8 time mins before, Maclin found himself confused and confused after he was held between 3 San Diego defenders.

But on this play, watch how Maclin gets outward position on a blur route. Verrett runs with him step for step—when healthy, he’s one of a NFL’s tip cornerbacks—but during a final second, Maclin turns his physique divided from Verrett and toward a boundary, where usually he can locate a ball, and Verrett is left wondering what happened.

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Let’s conduct to Week 15 opposite a Titans for another instance of Maclin’s astuteness as a low receiver. Here, Maclin runs a low outward range track opposite cornerback Brice McCain (No. 23), who isn’t a good outward defender, though he was in line with Maclin all a approach downfield.

Still, it was Maclin who practiced to Smith’s somewhat underthrown pass and finished a catch. Again, we see a receiver whose recognition in brief spaces doesn’t blow adult a prominence reels though allows his offense to get things done. Here, it’s a 44-yard completion.

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That underthrown pass is something we see on utterly a few Alex Smith low attempts. It’s no tip that, for all his efficiency, Smith is not a unchanging or inclusive low thrower. Last season, he finished usually 15 passes of 20 yards or more in 46 attempts—fewer than 10 percent of his sum flitting attempts—for 521 yards, dual touchdowns and dual interceptions. This is since a Chiefs comparison Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes in a initial turn of a 2017 draft: They wanted some-more bomb plays in their future.

It’s a contrition that when Mahomes takes over a offense and those bomb plays increase, Maclin won’t be around to assistance emanate them, since he’d be a ideal fit in an offense that takes some-more chances downfield. Last season, he held usually four low passes—of course, it’s tough to do most some-more when a opportunities aren’t there. With a Eagles in 2014, he held nine low passes for 5 touchdowns. When he’s healthy, there’s no reason to trust that Maclin can’t put adult those forms of numbers again.

That’s since a recover for a Chiefs could be a blessing in costume for Maclin. Beyond a injuries he suffered in 2016, he wasn’t always an ideal fit in Kansas City’s offense. Smith is an fit though singular passer who needs his receivers to run ideally timed routes with ideal anticipation. If that’s not happening, Smith advantages from dual forms of receivers: yards-after-catch guys like parsimonious finish Travis Kelce (who, with 640 total, had 240 some-more yards after a catch final year than any other parsimonious end, per Pro Football Focus) and speed burners like 2016 rookie Tyreek Hill, whose ability to apart from coverage comes fast after a snap.

The chemistry between Smith and Maclin, that was transparent in 2015, wasn’t there final season. Everything seemed a bit off. Maclin was slowed by injuries, though there were also times when a dual seemed out of sync on ubiquitous track concepts.

Of a 4 2016 Smith interceptions we watched in that Maclin was a target, on 3 a intercepting defender jumped a track during a right time to take a turn divided or boxed Maclin out of a angle where a turn was going.

The fourth, this LeShaun Sims interception of a Smith pass to Maclin in a finish section in Week 15, is a good instance of what looks like track miscommunication. Maclin was in a left slot, and Sims (No. 36) was personification him in parsimonious coverage. Maclin determined outward position during a snap, Sims simply sealed to a inside and that’s where a turn went. Given Smith’s chin-strap-flapping disappointment after a play, one competence presupposition that Maclin was ostensible to pierce inside on that one.

Jeremy Maclin still has adequate to assistance an NFL offense. And in a right offense (which a Ravens have), he’s got some-more than that—he has Pro Bowl potential.

     

All modernized stats are from Pro Football Focus unless differently noted.


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