"There's no pressure," Matthews said about following Jackson. "I wish the best for DeSean and his future endeavors with the Washington Redskins. But I have to go in and be the best Jordan Matthews I can be and not worry about that."
The Eagles traded up 12 spots from the 54th overall pick to the 42d to get Matthews. They gave the Titans their fourth-round selection (122d overall) along with their second-rounder. But after the team added a third-round pick the night before after moving back from No. 22 to 26, Kelly said the team had the luxury to be aggressive.
Their first third round pick (83d overall) was dealt to the Texans for fourth- and fifth-round selections - both the first in each round, which will be held Saturday.
With the second pick (86th overall) the Eagles selected another receiver and one Kelly knows well - Josh Huff (6-2, 206) of Oregon. Huff played three seasons under Kelly and had his best year, numbers-wise, in 2013, catching 62 passes for 1,140 yard and 12 touchdowns.
The Eagles had two receivers they targeted in the second round - Matthews and Southern Cal's Marqise Lee - according to Kelly. When Lee went to the Jaguars at No. 39, Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman acted fast before a run on receivers. A total of seven wideouts went in the second round.
Matthews is the most prolific receiver in Southeastern Conference history, having finished his four-year collegiate career with 262 catches for 3,759 yards. He caught 112 passes for 1,477 yards and seven touchdowns facing the toughest defenses in the country last season.
He played all over the map in Vanderbilt's scheme, but Kelly said Matthews will start out primarily in the slot for the Eagles, essentially replacing the departed Jason Avant.
"The one thing he does is catch the ball in traffic," Kelly said. "He made an unbelievable amount of contested catches. He has such a wing span and will go up and get it. . . . We've got Jeremy Maclin on one side and [Riley Cooper] on the other side, and then you throw him inside."
Matthews has good size (6-foot-3, 212 pounds, 33-1/4-inch arms) and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the combine. But Kelly chose to focus more on his new receiver's desire than his size, and it was difficult to not think he was indirectly referencing one of Jackson's few receiving flaws.
"The most important thing for a receiver - and I know I get talked a lot about 'big people beat up little people,' but that's more of a defensive philosophy for us - is your ability to beat one-on-one coverage," Kelly said. "We see it so much."
According to Kelly, Matthews saw more man coverage than most college receivers because of the SEC's abundance of athletic defensive backs. Many of his catches came on bubble screens and his yards after the catch.
Kelly's offense has its fair share of bubble screens. But Matthews will also be asked to block on those screens and as a slot man, something he and Kelly said he willingly did plenty of at Vanderbilt.
He sounded almost too good to be true, which begged the question: If Matthews was so prized a prospect, why did he slip into the second round, after six other receivers?
"I think that was just God's plan," Matthews said. "I don't have the answers."
Matthews doesn't seem to have any character issues. He graduated with a degree in economics in 31/2 years. Kelly said he spoke with former Vanderbilt coach James Franklin, along with some of Matthews' other offensive coaches, at Penn State's pro day, and came away further impressed.
"One of the things that they said was [Matthews was] one of the most competitive guys that they've ever been around in terms of his confidence and his work ethic," Kelly said.
Matthews, a distant cousin to receiving great Jerry Rice, was asked why he was so good at catching balls in traffic.
"Because I'm hungry," Matthews said. "Every opportunity I ever had in football I had to go out and grind for it. Nothing was ever given to me. When the ball is in the air, it's mine. That's my attitude whenever I go out on the field."