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September 28, 2015

Eagles ILB Jordan Hicks looks more like a savvy veteran than a rookie

Eagles NFL
092815JordanHicks Bill Kostroun/AP

Eagles rookie ILB Jordan Hicks gets an "atta boy" from veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins.

Last week against the Cowboys, rookie linebacker Jordan Hicks was forced into action after the Eagles lost both Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso to injury. Hicks responded with seven tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble. In a film breakdown of Hicks that we published last week, we noted that the game did not seem to be too big for him in any way.

With Kendricks and Alonso still out against the Jets, Hicks got his first start, and responded once again, this time collecting 10 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, and a pass breakup. 

If you add it all up, in roughly six quarters this season, Jordan Hicks has 17 tackles, an INT, a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a pass breakup, and he knocked out Tony Romo for half the season. Not too shabby for a rookie, if that's how you see him.

Eagles safety Walter Thurmond had no idea Hicks was a rookie during OTAs. Thurmond had recently signed with the team as an unrestricted free agent, and therefore everyone on the team was new to him. "Jordan is a great football player," said Thurmond. "He's very smart. I saw his ability back at OTAs and I didn't realize he was a rookie when I was coming in as a safety, with just how smart he is and how fluid he is as a linebacker."

Speaking to reporters at the NovaCare Complex Monday afternoon, Chip Kelly echoed the sentiment that Hicks is wise beyond his years. "Right from the jump when we started the (pre-draft) interview process with him, just when you meet him and talk football with him, he’s a very, very intelligent football player, and with him it showed when we got a chance to sit down and talk with him. And then it showed when he got here at OTAs, and then minicamp, and was one of those guys, it's a compliment when we say that never acted like a rookie. He’s got a maturity to him and he's got a real good football mind in terms of being able to pick things up and diagnose things."

Fans and media alike were confused by the selection of Hicks in the third round, after the Eagles already had traded for Kiko Alonso, signed DeMeco Ryans to a contract extension, and still had budding star Mychal Kendricks on the roster. The Eagles were adamant that they simply wanted to have very good depth at inside linebacker. 

It turns out that they got that one right, as Hicks is already contributing positively in a reserve role, and looks like a future three-down starter in the NFL.

Follow Jimmy on Twitter: @JimmyKempski