June 11, 2015
A number of you have asked what players the Eagles rookies remind me of so far. We're only a few practices into OTAs at this point in the offseason, and the Eagles haven't run enough team drills to really get a great in-person sense of what they'll be as pros. However, I do have some initial thoughts on players comps. Earlier this week we looked at a comparison for Nelson Agholor. Today we'll tackle Eric Rowe.
I really struggled coming up with a comp for Rowe. In researching it, a lot of the same names re-surfaced over and over. I think what happens there is that websites just recycle names they've seen elsewhere. Here are some of those recycled names you can find in a lot of places, and my thoughts on the comparisons:
• Devin McCourty, Patriots: Huh? I get that McCourty has played corner and safety like Rowe, but McCourty is 5'10. Rowe is 6'1. Those are two completely different body types.
• Casey Hayward, Packers: Hayward is a slot corner, or at least he has been so far in his three year career with Green Bay. Rowe is going to play on the outside at corner. And again, like McCourty, Hayward does not have Rowe's length, while Rowe hasn't shown Hayward's ball hawking skills, as he had just three career INTs in college.
• Pierre Desir, Browns: This one I like to some degree, via Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. Desir is a big, physical corner like Rowe, so the the comparison is apt in that regard. However, Zierlein did most of his comparisons prior to the NFL Combine, and Rowe's performance there revealed athletic measurables that surprised a lot of people. Desir does not have Rowe's athleticism.
• Aqib Talib, Broncos: Talib makes sense. He's 6'1, 205, and ran a 4.44 40 back in the day at the 2008 Combine. Rowe is also 6'1, 205, and he ran a 4.44. So their basic physical measurables match up nearly identically. Both players are also physical corners. However, Talib has always been a corner, whereas Rowe offers positional versatility. Talib was also a ball hawk both in college and in his first few years in the NFL, while that is a part of Rowe's game where he could stand to improve (again, just three INTs at Utah).
So who do I like as a comp for Rowe? Former Chargers corner Quentin Jammer. First, let's look at Rowe's and Jammer's Combine measurables.
|Measurables||Eric Rowe||Quentin Jammer|
|Bench press||19 reps||18 reps|
• Size-speed measurables: As noted above Rowe's and Jammer's Combine measurables were very similar. To expand on that a tad, I think some would argue that Jammer didn't play to his timed speed. That will also be something Rowe has to prove he can do.
• Versatility: Rowe had a rare transition from safety to corner in college. He played safety his first three years at Utah before moving to corner for his senior season. Similarly, Jammer started his college career at Texas at safety before moving to corner.
• Physical play: Jammer was a physical press corner, and a very solid tackler, as is Rowe.
• Lack of splash plays: Over his 12 year NFL career, Jammer had just 21 interceptions. In his four year college career, Rowe had just three interceptions.
• Smarts/character: Jammer was known as a smart, instinctive corner and quality person. The Eagles would not have traded up in the second round for Rowe if they didn't think he was a quality person, and he has already received rave reviews from defensive backs coach Cory Undlin for his ability to diagnose what the offense is trying to do, via Tim McManus of Birds 24/7:
There have been some positive signs here in the early going. Undlin pointed to "an unbelievable play" Rowe made on Wednesday that speaks to his level of growth in a short period of time. The new defensive backs coach didn't want to offer up too many specifics, but explained that based off the offensive formation and split of the wideout, Rowe properly diagnosed the situation and made a call that put the defense in position to have the upper hand.
"Actually, it was really impressive," he said.
Jammer is no longer playing in the NFL, which means that technically he's not exactly an "NFL comp," but I like it better than the others, so too bad.
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