Rookie Analysis, Part 2
DE Joe Kruger
After not having a 6th round pick, the Eagles took King with the first of their three 7th round picks. He was supposed to be a big defensive end that had a fair chance of making the roster, but probably wouldn’t play much. He’s actually the younger brother of Paul Kruger, the OLB for the Browns who won a Super Bowl with the Ravens the year before. But Joe was unable to play this season after getting injured in the preseason. He was placed on injured reserve, failing to play a single game. The fact that the Eagles kept him around and didn’t just cut him is a good sign though.
CB Jordan Poyer
While the Eagles needed backup CBs pretty bad, he was mainly drafted for his punt returning skills. He had three tackles in the Eagles’ opener against the Redskins, but after just three games on the team he was released. He was later picked up by the Browns where he played a significant amount, including recording 6 tackles in their loss to the Patriots. I regret them releasing Poyer because he could’ve been a good backup CB, or at least much better than Roc Carmichael. Heck, anyone would be better than Carmichael.
DT David King
Drafted out of Oklahoma, there wasn’t really a dire need for King, but he was taken nonetheless. He was the first of the supplemental picks of the 7th round. He was unable to make the roster though and was released by the team prior to the start of the regular season.
OL Matt Tobin
Tobin was one of the 9 undrafted free agents that the Eagles signed immediately after the draft. He managed to stay on the roster, but he never got a chance to appear in a game. He remains a backup lineman on the roster.
LB Jake Knott
Previously a long shot to make the roster, Knott managed to be one of the last people to sneak into the 53-man group. He received playing time in 12 of the team’s games, recording a total of 8 tackles. He mostly played special teams, but he had two multi-tackle games mixed in there, getting a bit of time on defense. I’m unsure of his status for next year but he should have a good shot to remain on the roster after impressing the coaches.
DL Damion Square
Square was a key player for the insanely good Alabama defense a year ago, but he was unable to make his way into the seven rounds of the draft. But, the Eagles were quick to pick him up, giving him a chance during training camp and the preseason. He made the roster as a backup DT and ended up appearing in ten games on the season. He had 4 tackles by the end of the year in addition to another one in their playoff loss to the Saints. He’s mostly remembered for being speared in the head by DeMarco Murray in Week 17 against the Cowboys, but Murray was fined so it was all good. I like Square and I hope he sticks around.
OT Michael Bamiro
This 6’8″ tackle from Brooklyn was a monster when standing next to him, and I’m sure his major size was a big part of why they signed him. He came from a small school in PA called Stony Brook University. He was released right before the regular season started, but he was brought back as one of the members of the practice squad. He remained there for pretty much the rest of the year.
S Keelan Johnson
After the Eagles suffered injuries to basically all of the safeties on the roster by the end of the season, Johnson was picked up in free agency as a player to sub in if yet another player went down. He only played in 2 regular season games and had one tackle, which came in the game against the Bears. He showed promise and wasn’t a total disaster like the rest of the safety squad as a whole, but the likelihood of him coming back is small.
LB Travis Long
Long had a solid career as a linebacker at Washington State, finishing college with over 200 tackles. He was picked up by the Eagles in July as an extra body in training camp, but he was later picked to remain on the practice squad after being released before the regular season.
RB Matthew Tucker
Tucker looked great in the preseason, and I even thought that he might be able to sneak onto the roster. The problem was that the Eagles already had three guys at the position and couldn’t afford to hold onto a fourth RB. He was released after the preseason but was immediately signed back the practice squad where he stayed the rest of the season. I would be open to trading Bryce Brown and bringing up Tucker as the 3rd string, but that’s purely wishful thinking.
Overall, 15 different rookies spent some amount of time on the Eagles main roster or the practice squad, a significant amount. The players that the Eagles actually used a draft pick on made up about half of those, and those selections were either really good or practically useless. But, there are always going to be some duds on Draft Day, and the good ones were good enough to count this draft as a success. Led by Lane Johnson, Ertz, and Logan, this draft class was a good one for the Eagles, something that they don’t often get to say. Hopefully Chip Kelly continues to draft well this upcoming draft because they could continue to be a dangerous and young team for years to come.