Philadelphia Eagles Rookies Stepping Up Big


In week three of the regular season, the Philadelphia Eagles got their first check in the win column.  With multiple players out, the Eagles had to rely on a few rookies to get them a win against a previously unbeaten New York Jets team.

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The one rookie who started today was inside linebacker Jordan Hicks, this year’s third round pick of the Eagles.  A former 5-star athlete, Hicks struggled in his time at Texas due to a few coaching/scheme changes.  Hicks got his first NFL start due to the injuries to starting inside linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso.

Hicks graded out as a top 15 inside linebacker in his NFL debut according to Pro Football Focus.  He had 10 tackles and looked pretty good in coverage, only allowing Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick a passer rating of 41.7.  On a per-snap basis, that was the best mark among inside linebackers in the league.

Hicks, who is proving himself to be a true three down linebacker, played 79 snaps, the second most among rookie inside linebackers and the third most among all inside linebackers.  After one week starting, Hicks is looking to be an absolute stud.

The other rookie who stepped up big was second round cornerback Eric Rowe.  In his regular season debut, Rowe played only 15 snaps.  What he did with his first 15 snaps, though was quite inspiring.  In only 15 snaps, Rowe graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 17th-best cornerback. On three targets, Rowe gave up one catch for twelve yards.  His other two targets were an interception and a pass deflection.

On Rowe’s interception, Rowe had perfect coverage against speedy second-round rookie Devin Smith. It looked as though Rowe was attached to Smith’s hip.  For this being just his second year player cornerback, Rowe flashed great instincts and technique in his coverage.  This guy is going to be a big time player.

Aside from those two, let us not forget two other rookies who should be mentioned.  First, I’d like to bring up sixth round pick JaCorey Shepherd.  Shepherd looked like he was going to be our starting nickel cornerback before tearing his ACL in the offseason.  He was quite possibly the best off-man cover corner in the draft.

The other rookie I want to mention is first round pick Nelson Agholor.  Agholor has not put up huge numbers on the stat sheet to date.  Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford seems to dislike throwing the ball deep to his outside targets.  However, to date, Agholor has 175 offensive snaps, behind only Amari Cooper among rookies.  Agholor seems to be open more often than not and his time will come.

Overall, this year’s draft seems to be paying dividends in the regular season.

Fly Eagles Fly

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