When the Eagles selected North Carolina’s Mack Hollins in the fourth round of April’s NFL draft, the big 6-foot-4 wide receiver couldn’t have imagined a better scenario to kick off his pro football career.
With veterans Torrey Smith, Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Matthews ahead of him on the depth chart, Hollins is free to learn in a low-pressure environment. And with former Pro Bowl talent lining up on the same practice field as him every day at the NovaCare Complex, he is able to learn from the best.
“In the experience sense, these guys have payed for a combined 14 or 15 years probably,” Hollins told members of the media Monday after a practice at OTAs, “and that’s stuff you can’t get from a wide receiver, even if he had 2,000-yard year last season it helps that they’ve been here. And it’s the little things you learn that help you.”
Hollins also is working with an up-and-coming positions coach in former Bears wide receivers coach Mike Groh, who Jeffery calls a “great coach.” Both Groh and offensive coordinator Frank Reich like what they see from their talented rookie.
“Mack Hollins is kind of a build-the-speed guy with great length and tremendous ball skills,” Reich said. “That’s flashed already. He’s got tremendous ball skills. Very smart, very good feet for a big man. Very excited about his development.”
Adding to the veteran personnel and coaching staff, Hollins’ locker is right next to another Eagles rookie wide receiver, Shelton Gibson. Together, the Eagles hope that, eventually, Hollins and Gibson can become the future at the position for the team — perhaps replacing Jeffery and Smith.
“It’s awesome,” Hollins said of sharing his rookie experience with Gibson. “We took a couple visits with different teams before and we never knew we’d end up in Philly together but it’s great to have him to lean on. We have fun together. When we struggle on plays we all laugh at each other. It’s nice to have someone else.”
Most importantly, the duo gives Carson Wentz even more weaponry to work with as he prepares to take a step forward in 2017.
“They look good,” Wentz said of the rookie wideouts. “They both can run so I am excited to continue to build my relationship with those guys.”