More Sports:

June 22, 2024

How much did Eagles DC Vic Fangio play rookies with the Dolphins, Broncos, Bears, and 49ers?

Fangio's previous stops throughout his NFL coaching career might hint at how often Quinyon Mitchell, Cooper DeJean, and Jalyx Hunt could see the field.

Eagles NFL
062024VicFangio Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

Vic Fangio takes a quick nap while standing during an Eagles minicamp practice.

During the 2023 season, only one of the Eagles' rookie draft picks, Jalen Carter, had a prominent role. None of their rookie draft picks, including Carter, played 50 percent or more of the offensive or defensive snaps. The drafted rookie snap counts looked like so:

Round Player Snaps % of O/D snaps played 
DT Jalen Carter 600 48.7% 
EDGE Nolan Smith 204 16.6% 
OL Tyler Steen 71 5.9% 
S Sydney Brown 335 27.2% 
CB Kelee Ringo 234 19.0% 
QB Tanner McKee 0% 
DT Moro Ojomo 68 5.5% 

There are good arguments to be made that Nolan Smith, Tyler Steen, Sydney Brown, and Kelee Ringo all should have played more than they did in 2023, and that it would have also made sense for Nakobe Dean to be mixed in more in 2022.

At the NFL Combine in February, Howie Roseman and Nick Sirianni had mixed messaging on rookie playing time. Roseman expressed that the team shouldn't be afraid to play the rookies, while Sirianni took a more rigid stance saying that his philosophy "has always been play the guys that are going to help you win the game every week."

Because the Eagles selected defensive players — CB Quinyon Mitchell, DB Cooper DeJean, and EDGE Jalyx Hunt — with their first three picks, I took a look at how much new Eagles defensive coordinator Vic Fangio played his rookies in previous stops with the Dolphins, Broncos, Bears, and 49ers. The following chart shows all the players who were Day 1 or Day 2 picks, and how many snaps they played under Fangio as rookies (his 2011 season with the 49ers omitted, because snap count stats weren't available then):

 Team (Year)Player Draft round Snaps 
 Dolphins (2023)CB Cam Smith 20 
Broncos (2021) CB Patrick Surtain 902 
Broncos (2021) LB Baron Browning 564 
 Broncos (2020)CB Michael Ojemudia 882 
  Broncos (2020) DL McTelvin Agim 141 
 Broncos (2019)DL Dre'Mont Jones 295 
 Bears (2018)LB Roquan Smith 947 
 Bears (2016)DE Leonard Floyd 537 
 Bears (2016)DL Jonathan Bullard 297 
 Bears (2015)DL Eddie Goldman 518 
 49ers (2014)S Jimmie Ward 262 
 49ers (2014)LB Chris Borland 476 
 49ers (2013)S Eric Reid 982 
 49ers (2013)DE Tank Carradine 0 (injury) 
 49ers (2013)DE Corey Lemonier 276 

Not including Carradine, who was injured his rookie season, Day 1 and 2 picks played an average of 507 defensive snaps as rookies. First-round picks played an average of 726 snaps. My conclusion: Fangio isn't super afraid to play his early round picks.

"He's going to have to adapt to the NFL game, covering NFL receivers, NFL schemes in the passing game," Fangio said of Mitchell during a May press conference. "There's a lot to learn. We think he's the right guy emotionally and mentally to do that. Hopefully he'll pay dividends quickly rather than later. But he's going to be one of the many competing."

The Eagles also selected linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. in the fifth round. Here's a quick list of Day 3 guys who played at least 300 snaps as rookies under Fangio, going back to 2012:

 Team (Year)Player Draft round Snaps 
Broncos (2021) S Caden Sterns 321 
 Broncos (2021)DL Jonathan Cooper 457 
 Bears (2018)DL Bilal Nichols 359 
 Bears (2017)S Eddie Jackson 1055 
 Bears (2016)LB Nick Kwiatkoski 457 
 Bears (2016)S Deon Bush 333 
 Bears (2015)S Adrian Amos 1032 
 49ers (2014)CB Dontae Johnson 490 
 49ers (2014)DE Aaron Lynch 515 

I did not search out how much undrafted rookie free agents played for Fangio because that would be like an extra hour or two of research and I like to pretend I have a life outside of this job during the summer. My apologies.

MORE: Five players the Eagles need to step up in 2024

Follow Jimmy & PhillyVoice on Twitter: @JimmyKempski | thePhillyVoice

Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports

Add Jimmy's RSS feed to your feed reader