The Eagles endured a rollercoaster of a season in 2015 and this years draft class were no exception. From incredible plays to some worrying lows, the rookie’s had a more eventful season than most. It’s time to evaluate all of their seasons as we reflect on who shined and who maybe lost their sparkle during the 2015 campaign.
1st round pick- Nelson Agholor:
“Nelly” as Chip Kelly nicknamed him earlier in the season seemed to struggle at first in the NFL. A quiet first few games saw Agholor fly under the radar as the running back controversy and talk of Bradford began to flood social media. The USC standout only had four catches in his first two games and none against the Jets. At that point we looked at is game a little closer. Agholor played the most snaps of any Eagles receiver, constantly escaped Revis island and was still targeted fewer times than anyone else.
The perfect synopsis for the rookie season of Nelson Agholor would be flashes of brilliance (including that glorious catch against Washington)
— C2CSchools.com (@c2cschools) October 4, 2015
clouded by constant mediocrity. He ended the season with 283 yards and a touchdown. In the closing games he finally showed his burst speed and route running with his first TD catch against Buffalo on a deep Sam Bradford pass in which he beat two corners before bursting out of coverage in a play against the Giants. There are a few reasons Agholor wasn’t as successful as we would have hoped but over the course of the season his impact was much more significant. Not the best rookie season but the foundations are there and with the help of Jordan Matthews, next season could well be the breakout season many hoped to see.
2nd round pick- Eric Rowe
Rowe was one of the more pleasant surprises of the season that fell to a lot of unfair criticism. With no Maxwell or Carroll, Rowe essentially became the teams number one corner..which when matching up against some of the most threatening receivers in the game is incredibly daunting.
There were some low points and again they aren’t all down to him. Who Davis left the rookie matched up against Megatron after watching him being beaten time after time still confuses me, but in the long run it helped Rowe because there was no time to be self critical or beat himself up..he had to get up and learn because if he didn’t, the teams season could have come crashing down much sooner.
Rowe showed a LOT of potential and was unphased in both zone and man coverages..I wish the same could be said for Piggy Baxwell. (Yep, that’s a thing now). Rowe registered at least 3 tackles in each of his last five games and with some vital pass breakups and an interception as well, Rowe’s rookie season can be seen as nothing but successful.
He wasn’t perfect, but nobody expected him to be. The Secondary was supposed to be much thicker in terms of both depth and talent but Rowe improved week in and week out, his footwork became lighter, he began to run much closer to his opponents and very rarely gave up a penalty..a solid rookie season.
3rd round pick- Jordan Hicks
The surprise of the season and a touted DROY candidate until injury, Hicks shocked the world when he stormed onto the scene and racked up seven tackles against Dallas, sacking Romo and forcing a fumble in the process. He turned heads the moment he stepped onto the field and turned what was a nice Coupe into a monsterous supercar with a rampant V8.
The pressure and fight Hicks bought play after play is something that Eagles fans can resonate with as they can see the same qualities in the Texas star that made Brian Dawkins so special. Hicks was faultless and hit 50 tackles in just 7 games, leading the team at one stage. Not to mention is #HicksSix interception that he returned for a touchdown and some key pass breakups.
Hicks got fans excited..truly excited. In a time of turmoil and disarray, Hicks emerged as a young leader on what was a faltering Eagles pass rush and transformed it completely. This season may have ended very differently if he had stayed healthy, but Hicks left fans purring and wanting more..next season is going to be very fun to watch that’s for sure.
6th round pick- JaCorey Shepherd & Randall Evans
We can’t really grade the two corners as Shepherd was sidelined all season with an injury suffered in training camp and Randall Evans was called up for the final game of the season in which he played minimal snaps. All we know is that there is a lot of hype around Shepherd and in a Secondary that could use some consistency, extra talent is always a bonus.
Grade: Go home and finish the essay and hand back to the teacher when complete
7th round pick- Brian Mihalik
Mihalik is in a similar situation to the two previous picks only Mihalik was waived very early on in the season with injury. Surprisingly though, he actually worked out with the Steelers this past Tuesday which is something not many people knew..he wasn’t signed but it’s nice to see the 6″9 DE still bouncing around.