Count LeSean McCoy among those impressed by what Jordan Matthews has shown in training camp to date.
The 2014 receiver draft class was largely considered one of the deepest ever. Six wideouts (Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Jr., Brandin Cooks, Kelvin Benjamin and Marqise Lee) were selected ahead of Matthews, but McCoy thinks the Vanderbilt product may very well be the best of the bunch.
"That rookie we got, Matthews, is looking real good. There's been a lot of talk about this draft class being deep at wide receivers, but I'm real confident in this one being the best of the class," McCoy said. "It's still early, you got to go through the season and see how he does, but he looks amazing."
With Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin sitting out team drills, Matthews got to work with the first team a decent amount during Tuesday's practice and was able to pull in a few catches. He also had some spirited battles with Brandon Boykin during one-on-ones. (Call it a draw.) The matchup was by design.
"The first couple days I was going against Malcolm [Jenkins]. I said, let's get together, I want to work against you, I want to see how it is to go against somebody a little more physical in there, somebody that is really going to try and get their hands on me. And then yesterday and this morning I said, 'Yo, Boykin, let's go together. I need to make sure I work against you a little bit.'
"It's just about seeing different looks, being able to be able to work against different type guys and then just putting it all together in my game...he's easily one of the best cornerbacks in the league."
McCoy believes Matthews might just be the best of the 2014 wide receiver group -- praise that seemed to hit home with the rookie.
"It feels good because a guy like LeSean, he is not just going to say things. He says it and he means it," said Matthews. "He's not just one of the best running backs but he is also the hardest working, so he's watching everybody else, he's making sure everybody else is accountable, too. So for him to compliment me in that way means a lot. It also tells me that I need to continue to come out here and put that product on the field because I want my teammates to think that of me. The outside world, the public, anything like that, that speculation, those opinions, they really don't matter as much as what my teammates say, so that's big for me."
Maclin sits but says he'll play Friday
Jeremy Maclin did not participate in team drills Tuesday. This is the third time in four practices that he was limited. The receiver said that he is dealing with soreness in his legs.
Is this just general training camp soreness?
"I think it's a little different because last year I had ACL surgery," said Maclin. "It's just protocol, I guess.
"I haven't missed a day since I've been out here. It's just communication between me, my coaches and the training staff. I could've gone if really, really need be, I would't have felt like myself, that's all."
The big concern is the surgically-repaired knee, of course, but Maclin suggested that he is just working through the soreness that comes when you are transitioning from rehab to football mode. He said he is 100 percent sure he will play against Chicago on Friday night.
Riley Cooper continues to wear a boot on his right foot. He has now been out for over a week. Jeff Maehl (ankle) is out of his boot but did not practice. Nolan Carroll sat out for the second consecutive day. He did not reveal what was ailing him as he walked off the field Tuesday but suggested it wasn't serious. Julian Vandervelde (back), Chris Polk (hamstring) and Jake Knott (hamstring) were spectators as well.