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May 02, 2015

What they’re saying: Reacting to the Eagles’ second day

Yesterday, we looked at what everyone had to say about the Eagles’ selection of Nelson Agholor. Today, we’ll run it back with a Philly-centric view of the draft’s next two rounds, and most importantly, our first full 24 hours A.M. (After Marcus). The Eagles traded up in the second round — They received the 47th and 191st picks from the Miami Dolphins in exchange for 52, 145, and 156 — to select another Pac-12 player in Utah corner/safety Eric Rowe. Even if Chip Kelly might have a West Coast bias, he got it done on the draft value chart:

HEIST! In the third round, the Eagles made Texas’ Jordan Hicks approximately the 10,000th inside linebacker on the depth chart. Just like yesterday, we’ll separate the takes (whether they’re hot or not) into local and national subcategories.


2015 NFL Mock Draft: Eagles pick Eric Rowe in Round 2: Mike Kaye, Bleeding Green Nation

Kaye gets the pole position because he went all Nostradamus and correctly predicted the Rowe selection last night:

In the second round of this mock draft, the Eagles snagged Utah defensive back Eric Rowe. He has the versatility that can compete at both cornerback and safety. Chip Kelly and Billy Davis want coverage safeties and that is Rowe's strength. He'd be an interesting student for Malcolm Jenkins.

Day 2 Review: Tommy Lawlor, Iggles Blitz

Lawlor is both a scout and Eagles fan that watches a ton of film on pretty much every college player entering the draft. Here are excepts of his scouting reports on the two players that the Eagles selected:

Rowe is one of the few guys that looks comfortable jamming his guy, running with his guy or even backing off and reading the play. He seems natural in zone coverage. Rowe started at Safety for 3 years and is used to being away from receivers and reading plays. He has excellent awareness and is involved in a play if the ball is anywhere near him.

Hicks is a good ILB prospect. He is 6-1, 236. That is a good frame for a rookie ILB. He shows a complete skill set. Hicks is a good run defender. He can take on OL and shed blocks. He tackles well on inside runs. Hicks has the speed to chase RBs out wide and still make the play. He takes good angles when pursuing. The Eagles see Hicks as a 3-down LB. They feel he can blitz and cover. He looks comfortable in zone coverage. Hicks is a good enough athlete to handle most RBs and TEs.

Eric Rowe was sold on Eagles early, glad they were sold on him: Les Bowen, Philadelphia Daily News

Culture beats scheme, as Kelly famously said last season during a nationally televised destruction of the New York Giants. We’ll see if the draft picks can play as well, but it’s definitely all aboard the culture train at NovaCare:

What Rowe said about feeling as if he fit in with the Eagles' culture, about liking what he heard from the team's coaches, sounded remarkably similar to what first-round pick Nelson Agholor had said earlier in the day.
This is Chip Kelly's draft. Clearly, he is selecting players who fit not only a physical template, but an intellectual and emotional one as well. It'll be a surprise if we ever hear Agholor or Rowe question Kelly's training methods or practice emphases.

Total breakdown: Eagles draft LB Jordan Hicks in third round: Phil Sheridan, ESPN

I thought Sheridan summed up the disconnect between Chip Kelly and most draft observers nicely:

This one seemed like a bit of a head-scratcher. A quick scan of draft analyst’s work showed that Hicks was projected by most to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick. The Eagles have a glut at inside linebacker, with DeMeco Ryans and Mychal Kendricks joined this offseason by Kiko Alonso. But coach Chip Kelly said the Eagles had a second-round grade on Hicks and he was far and away the best player on their draft board with the 84th pick. So they took him. “He’s an every-down linebacker,” Kelly said.

Rowe the new prototype for an NFL cornerback: Jeff McLane, Philadelphia Inquirer

Big people beat up little people, right?

Football has always been a big man's sport, but the league has gotten even bigger at skill positions where size wasn't always a must. Every team wants a Calvin Johnson-size wide receiver. They may not have anywhere near his talents, but coaches figure the longer the receiver, the more they can take advantage of the squatty cornerbacks that were typically the norm.
To keep up, defensive coaches have clamored for tall corners, and personnel directors have come through. Since Kelly has become coach, the Eagles have added Cary Williams (6-1), Bradley Fletcher (6-0), Nolan Carroll (6-1), Byron Maxwell (6-1), Walter Thurmond (5-11), and now Rowe.

So that’s a scheme fit, kumbaya with the culture, and the right measurables. Ooohhh, that’s a bingo:

Kelly: Kendricks Not On the Trade Block: Sheil Kapadia, Birds 24/7

Hicks’ selection was BPA to the max, because if there’s one area the Eagles are definitely set, it’s at inside linebacker. The Mychal Kendricks speculation doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere, even if Kelly did act like everything is hunky dory on Friday night:

Maybe Kelly does plan to keep Ryans, Alonso, Kendricks and Hicks. He admitted that Alonso could get some looks at outside linebacker. But it's also fair to wonder whether Kendricks will be here by the time Week 1 rolls around. He's entering the final year of his contract, and the team has invested elsewhere at the position.
Asked directly about Kendricks, Brandon Boykin and Evan Mathis, Kelly said: "No. We haven’t talked to anybody about trading those guys during this draft.
"A lot of those reports about us offering all these players is kind of false. I did have to make some phone calls to guys on our team saying that that’s not the case. We haven’t offered any of our players in any packages for anybody for anything."


2015 NFL Draft Tracker: Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

Prisco was really high on the Eric Rowe acquisition and not totally bummed about the Jordan Hicks pick:

Rowe: He is one of the most versatile defensive backs in the draft. To go up and get him is a heck of a move by Chip Kelly. I think he can be a star safety, but a lot of scouts love him as a corner. GRADE: A+
Hicks: This is a kid who went to Texas with a ton of talent but had some injury issues. He has the ability to be a good player if he can stay healthy in Philadelphia. GRADE: B-

A lot of draft observers seemed to think that the Hicks pick was a little bit of a reach, but apparently not everyone felt that way:

2015 Draft Reaction Blog, Round 2: Pro Football Focus

Didn’t really distinguish himself with his 2014 play though he was impressive enough in coverage to earn the ninth highest grade in coverage against Power-5 opposition. Will likely have to make a mark on special teams to get himself noticed this year with so many guys ahead of him on the depth chart.

Philadelphia Eagles select Texas LB Jordan Hicks with No. 84 pick in 2015 NFL Draft: Stefan Scrafield, Dallas Morning News

From someone who covered Texas football on a regular basis, here’s a short summary of Hicks’ Longhorn career:

Hicks, who was a highly-touted recruit out of high-school, battled injury and off-field issues at Texas, but always performed well when healthy. His ability to get sideline-to-sideline and drop back in coverage, and his reputation as a hard-working guy who spends a lot of time in the film room has many scouts and experts believing he will stick in the NFL.

Utah football: Philadelphia Eagles select Eric Rowe with the No. 47 overall pick: Matthew Piper, The Salt Lake Tribune

Same thing as above, except concerning Rowe’s time at Utah:

In recent weeks, Rowe moved up the boards of mock drafters, who reported that NFL teams were more enamored of Rowe than college football fans sometimes were.
Safeties coach Morgan Scalley acknowledged earlier this week that he perceived fans were sometimes frustrated with Rowe, who finished his collegiate career with just three interceptions. He wasn't the ball hawk that previous Utah safeties like Scalley, Eric Weddle and Robert Johnson were.
But Rowe — whose dad said he was a much better at basketball than football in high school — drew raves from NFL scouts for his natural athleticism, steady tackling and his professional demeanor.

And here’s one super off-the-wall name to keep in mind for later today:

In case you missed it at PhillyVoice:

Scroll through Jimmy’s author page if you’re afraid that you didn’t catch something draft-related. 

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann