The Philadelphia Eagles are not a rebuilding team. The Eagles have a good chance to make the playoffs this year and they should be aiming to win their first playoff game under Chip Kelly. However, the Eagles do have some big holes on their roster and they will need some of their rookies to contribute immediately and not just in the future.
Here’s how I see the Eagles draft picks contributing to the team this year:
Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor
I expect Agholor to play the role of the Eagles number one receiver from week one.
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Agholor has more talent than any of the Eagles other receivers and I expect him to play a lot of snaps. I think Agholor will play the exact same role thatJeremy Maclin
played last season. This will leaveJordan Matthews
in the slot andMiles Austin
to battle it out for the third receiver slot.
Agholor obviously won’t perform as well as Maclin did last year, but I think he could have around 65 receptions for just over 1000 yards and about 5 touchdowns. I expect Matthews to catch a higher volume of passes than Agholor and Zach Ertz to catch a lot of touchdowns. Predicting 1000 yards for Agholor may be risky but if Sam Bradford stays healthy I think it’s possible.
Defensive Back Eric Rowe
It is hard to predict how Rowe will do next year because we don’t know what position he will play. However, I think he will be a day one starter whether he plays at cornerback or safety. I hope he doesn’t change position during the season and Chip lets him stick to one position for the entire season.
I think Rowe will start at cornerback opposite Byron Maxwell and have a reasonable year. I think Rowe might struggle early on in his career, especially if he doesn’t have a lot of safety help behind him. I expect he’ll get better as he gains experience and Chip will let him start the whole season.
Inside Linebacker Jordan Hicks
I have extremely low expectations for Hicks in year one. He’s had some previous injuries and I think the Eagles will keep Mychal Kendricks for this year and then let him sign with another team after his contract expires. However, I am not sure Chip will want Kendricks and Kiko Alonso playing together much if DeMeco Ryans gets injured so Hicks may replace Ryans if he gets hurt.
I wouldn’t expect a lot from Hicks in year one but I do think he’ll be extremely important to the Eagles on special teams. Hopefully Hicks can learn from the inside linebackers in front of him and get back to his pre-injury form for the 2016 season.
Defensive Back JaCorey Shepherd
If you’ve watched Shepherd on tape, you’ll probably love this pick just as much as I do. Shepherd has fantastic ball skills and he is an instinctive cornerback who doesn’t get beat a lot. However, he is a limited athlete and whilst I love the pick, I don’t suddenly expect him to start for the Eagles in 2015.
Even if Eric Rowe plays safety, I expect Walter Thurmond to start at outside cornerback and Brandon Boykin to play slot cornerback. I think Shepherd will make the roster and if Boykin is traded, maybe Shepherd even starts at outside cornerback if Rowe plays safety.
Defensive Back Randall Evans
I think Evans may struggle to make the roster at cornerback if Rowe plays there and Boykin isn’t traded. Chip may like to keep Evans around as he can play safety or cornerback. I wouldn’t be surprised if Evans ends up on the practice squad next season.
Defensive End Brian Mihalik
Mihalik was a great pick by the Eagles because he has huge upside. However, don’t expect him to contribute anything this year. Hopefully the Eagles can place him on the practice squad but another team may be intrigued by his skill set and sign him. I still think Mihalik will end up on the practice squad and will aim to make the roster next season.
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