Most people are going to remember the Eagles 2015 draft as how they weren’t able to get Marcus Mariota, and that has the potential to haunt them for a while. But, there is no way the draft was seen as “Mariota or bust.” The Eagles left Chicago with a solid group of players, some of which should make an immediate impact, a quality that has lacked in many rookies over the years. Here’s a look at who they picked and how they’ll fit in:
WR Nelson Agholor
1st round, #20 overall (USC)
The common comparison that Agholor has been getting recently is Jeremy Maclin. Whether that’s actually true or just a subconscious attempt to justify the Eagles letting Maclin walk and getting Agholor instead is still up for debate, but if the comparison turns out to be true, that’d be perfect. Agholor should immediately make an impact on this Eagles offense that was lacking WR talent. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start on the outside in his first year on the team, as he’s a whole lot better than Riley Cooper. If they’re set on Jordan Matthews playing the slot, Agholor should be a great receiver for this team.
Agholor, despite playing in the PAC-12 along with University of Oregon, Chip Kelly’s former home, he only faced off against the Ducks once. It was actually in Kelly’s last year with the team in 2012. That year, Agholor only totaled 340 yards and two TDs. Nearly half of those stats came in his game against Oregon (162 yards and a touchdown). If you’re not sold on Agholor as a player, check out his highlight video. I have high hopes for him.
DB Eric Rowe
2nd round, #47 overall (Utah)
He played three years of free safety in college before switching to cornerback last year, where he had a very productive season. The Eagles traded up to snag Rowe after deciding to not pick a cornerback in the first round. Honestly, this is my favorite move of the whole draft for the Eagles. They needed a defensive back and they got a great one who actually wanted to be here.
Words can't explain how blessed I am to be an Eagle! I can not wait to get to Philly and work! #EaglesNation
— Eric Rowe (@EricRowe32) May 2, 2015
I think it seems more likely that Rowe will play cornerback, but if no one steps up in training camp at safety, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them give Rowe a try there. The Eagles have so much question over who’s going to start in the secondary that it should give Rowe plenty of opportunities to see the field. If he was able to win the starting job at cornerback, that’d be perfect. They need a guy to pair with Byron Maxwell and be the corners of the future.
LB Jordan Hicks
3rd round, #84 overall (Texas)
Another linebacker who has injury problems? Bring him to Philly! He’s sometimes listed as outside linebacker and sometimes as inside linebacker, but I figure he’ll play a little bit of both. There’s obviously a lot more need on the outside considering that the depth currently consists of Travis Long and Marcus Smith, both of whom haven’t done a single thing in the NFL. Hicks has had injury problems, but Chip seemed high on him. Here’s his highlight video if you want to watch some tape on him.
CB JaCorey Shepherd
6th round, #191 overall (Kansas)
After going the entire fourth and fifth rounds without selecting a player, the Eagles ended their 107-pick drought and picked Sheppard, who many are calling a steal in the sixth round. He has high upside and should fill in as a backup for now. The Eagles needed some young depth at cornerback, and Sheppard should fill in nicely. He was First-team All-Big 12 in 2014 and had 32 passes defensed over the last two seasons at cornerback. He actually played wide receiver before that, but his stats show that he transitioned nicely to defense. I like his chances of making the roster.
CB Randall Evans
6th round, 196th overall (Kansas St.)
Just five picks after the Eagles picked Shepherd, they went with yet another cornerback. It was no surprise though after it was the team’s worst position in 2014. There was some criticism that they didn’t go offensive line here, but they needed as many defensive backs as they could get, and they got another one here. Evans isn’t quite as talented as Shepherd, but if he doesn’t make the team, he should at least have a good shot at making the practice squad.
DE Brian Mihalik
7th round, #237 overall (Boston College)
Well, Mihalik is certainly tall. At six feet and nine inches, he immediately becomes the tallest player on the team. He should provide the team with some solid depth at defensive end if he makes the team, which he has a shot at because of his size. It doesn’t seem like there are any highlight films on YouTube of him in college, but his high school tape lists him as 6’7″ and 240 pounds. Now, he’s two inches taller and 55 pounds heavier. That’s a scary thing to be facing as an offensive lineman. It seems silly that any player that big would go down in a three-point stance, but he manages to do it.
The Eagles addressed some key needs here in this draft despite having just six picks. Half of them were cornerbacks and another was a potential starting wide receiver in 2015. The other two guys should be depth picks for now. The first two picks are obviously going to impact them the most next year, but look out for Shepherd if he gets some chances in dime packages. He could be solid. Overall grade: B+
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