PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Eagles had six selections in the 2015 draft. Here’s a closer look at how their picks have contributed:
2015 draft class:
On the cusp: Second-round pick Eric Rowe has not started a game. He made an impact in the Eagles’ third game of the season against the New York Jets. Pressed into action because of injuries, Rowe intercepted a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass. He made three tackles the next week at Washington and two more against New Orleans. Since then, though, Rowe has not contributed much on defense. He hasn’t been on the field as the secondary has developed some chemistry over the past month. Chris Maragos and E.J. Biggers are getting the snaps that Rowe would be getting.
Undrafted free agents they like: Coach Chip Kelly really gives undrafted rookies a chance. Matt Tobin (2013) is starting at right guard. Trey Burton (2014) is the No. 3 tight end and a key special-teams guy.
So far, though, this year’s crop hasn’t produced much. That may be a sign that, in Kelly’s third year, it is getting harder to make the team. Cornerback Denzel Rice doesn’t play much on defense and is sometimes inactive. But he is probably the undrafted rookie with the best chance to stick with the team. Rice is learning behind Byron Maxwell, Nolan Carroll and Biggers.
Offensive lineman Malcolm Bunche and defensive tackle Travis Raciti, both rookies, and former free-agent linebacker Deontae Skinner are on the practice squad.
My take on class: This year’s class has been derailed by injuries.
First-round pick Nelson Agholor started the first five games of his career. He caught eight passes for 105 yards. That’s not great production, but Agholor’s slow start was tied to the Eagles’ overall poor play in the early going.
In his fifth game, against New Orleans, Agholor had a high ankle sprain. He hasn’t played since, although he appears to be close to a return.
Third-round pick Jordan Hicks was looking like a candidate for defensive rookie of the year before he was placed on injured reserve. In eight games, Hicks intercepted two passes, recovered three fumbles and sacked Tony Romo.
A few minutes after returning a Matt Cassel interception 67 yards for a touchdown in Dallas this past Sunday, Hicks tore his left pectoral muscle, ending his season.
Eric Rowe and fifth-round picks JaCorey Shepherd (on IR with a torn ACL) and Russell Evans (on the practice squad) have not made much impact. Seventh-round pick Brian Mihalik, a defensive end from Boston College, was released.
Grade: B-minus, with the chance for Agholor to lift that grade in the second half.
Mel Kiper’s take on class: Hicks was a contender for rookie of the year on the defensive side of the ball, but he's out for the rest of the season. (I think Shepherd was on track to be an early stud, but he got hurt too.) Agholor has to turn flashes into consistent performance, and Rowe has to show more. Can I repeat again how hard that cornerback transition is?