Mayock, Kiper On Rowe And Hicks
The Eagles traded up five spots to grab Utah DB Eric Rowe in the second round. In the third, they grabbed Texas ILB Jordan Hicks.
Here’s a roundup of what the analysts on ESPN and NFL Network had to say about the selections, starting with Rowe.
Mel Kiper, Jr.:
“I like the pick, you move up, you’re aggressive, you get Eric Rowe because he has total versatility. Forty-five career starts, nine at corner this past season, 33 at free safety, three at strong safety and like Jaquiski Tartt, he only played one year of high school football as a senior. This kid is a veteran with a ton of experience, transitioning immediately as a freshman to the starting ranks to the power football situation and you talk about versatility, how about his skill set? 6-foot-and-a-half, 205, long arms, strong, his three cone short shuttle rivals Kevin Johnson, a corner at Wake Forest. He’s a little stiff, I wonder about corner, but he’s going to be a safety and I think in the right scenario, Todd, he can be a guy that can help you at the cornerback spot, but if he doesn’t, you move him back inside.”
“Chip [Kelly] wants leaders, he wants size, he wants speed and he wants smarts, and this guy has all of those things across the board. I look at my intangibles. He’s a natural leader, well-respected, everyone on the team looked to him to lead. This is exactly the type of guy that Chip Kelly wants on his football team. He started 45 of 47 games in his career and has played cornerback and safety for the Utes at Utah.”
“One of my favorite players in the draft. Almost 6-1, 205, Eric Rowe played free safety for three years before kicking over to corner this year. He’s got length and cover skills, he’s a top-50 pick all day long, and Charles, we both felt like this was a guy that could line up outside as a matchup guy against some of those big wide receivers in today’s NFL, but also kick inside on the tight ends like [Rob] Gronkowski.”
“That’s what he did at Utah last year. They used him as a specialty player, that chess piece that can move all over the board. Where they needed him on whatever down, that’s where he went. To me, this is a pick, Coach Strong, to deal with their division. You got to deal with Dez Bryant in Dallas. You got to deal with Odell Beckham in New York. This is why they went and got him.”
University of Texas head coach Charlie Strong:
“Well you look at corners now, you’re always looking for size, and even us on the college level, you’re looking for a guy who is 6-0 or taller, so that way you can always match up, where you can match up outside and inside, because what a lot of people are doing now in their offenses is they’re putting their best receiver inside and so they’re looking for a match up problem. So you would love to take a corner, and you look at it, Eric has enough ability where he can go play the nickel position and he can go cover the inside, and then if you need to bounce him outside on just base down play, he can go outside and play it.
Here’s what they said about Hicks. Strong, of course, coached the new Eagles linebacker last year:
“The thing about Jordan is, he’s a coach on the field. A young man who has battled a lot of injuries, and I’m just so happy for him, for him to come back and have the senior year that he had, I was telling our players, you go through a season, and there are some guys you wish you could have back. He’s one of those guys. I told big Malcom [Brown], he can go ahead on, but I would love to have Jordan back because he is a very physical, smart player and a guy who can play in space when you talk about spreading him out, he can play in space.
“I thought he would go a round earlier, but that’s me talking.”
“They’re getting four-year players, graduates and smart football players and individuals, and Jordan Hicks is exactly what Chip Kelly is looking for. He graduated with a sports management degree. He’s on the Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll, smart player. He doesn’t run the fastest 40. He ran a 4.68. 6-1, 238 pounds. I think people really appreciated him at the Senior Bowl. They saw his tape, and his tape is really good because he’s diagnosing quickly, and he’s making plays in that Texas defense, and I thought he had his best year of his career in this past year under Charlie Strong and that defensive coaching staff. But at the Senior Bowl, you really got to see him and his instincts take over: matching up man-to-man when he wasn’t as fast as the running back, but he was in his hip pocket because he was reading the route; reading the offensive linemen and getting his eyes into the backfield and diagnosing plays quicker than any of the other all-star linebackers at the Senior Bowl. I think Jordan Hicks really helped his draft stock during the pre-draft process. I think this is a really good pick and a really good fit for the Eagles.”
“Well the thing is, he couldn’t stay healthy, injury riddled seasons back-to-back. He finally was at full strength all year and had the best season of his career at Texas with 138 tackles. The UCLA game, 18 stops. Durability, though, with Jordan Hicks is the only concern.”