With talk of Mariota putting half the Eagles defense in jeopardy, fans fond of the defensive side of the ball feared for their Eagles two days ago. After Friday night’s events, the Eagles have not only kept their opportunistic defense intact, but they have also added two young pieces to fill it out.
In the second round, the Eagles traded up five spots to take defensive back Eric Rowe. Philadelphia swapped first round picks with Miami, and gave up two fifth-round picks for a sixth. Rowe has strong coverage skills, and could play either cornerback or safety. He seems to be ready to start in the Eagles’ secondary, which was upgraded in free agency after the team signed cornerback Byron Maxwell.
The team surprised many fans in the third round, selecting Texas inside linebacker Jordan Hicks with their pick. Bill Davis now has six inside linebackers to work with, three of which are basically Pro Bowl caliber. One of those is Hicks, and the other two are solid backup options. Kelly mentioned Kiko Alonso could play as an edge rusher, but the team has considerable depth there as well with Brandon Graham, Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry, and Marcus Smith.
All in all, these two picks cannot be judged until they hit the field. The Eagles have yielded mixed results on second round defensive backs, and Hicks’ role and ability have yet to be established.
With four picks to go, the Eagles will round out the roster tomorrow. Kelly could potentially draft either Hundley or Petty for their value at the stage, the same way he took Matt Barkley two years ago. The offensive line still needs more depth, as does the receiver and tight end position. Nothing is guaranteed in these final four rounds.
The 2015 team is, however, now largely in place.