The 2015 NFL Draft is finally over and that can only mean one thing. It's time for everyone's favorite pointless activity: NFL draft grades!
It's a funny thing. Draft grades are completely meaningless and arbitrary at this point. It often takes several years to be able to accurately judge a draft class. Yet, here we are, giving out grades less than 24 hours after the picks have been finalized. We demand -- no, we need -- instant gratification. Here are your 2015 Eagles draft picks. Click on the link for more detailed write-ups on them.
1 (20) - Nelson Agholor, WR, USC
2 (47) - Eric Rowe, DB, Utah
3 (84) - Jordan Hicks, LB, Texas
6 (191) - JaCorey Shepherd, CB, Kansas
6 (196) - Randall Evans, CB, Kansas State
7 (237) - Brian Mihalik, DE, Boston College
Let's start off with my own grade.
My first impression of the Eagles draft class is that it looks solid. There aren't really any picks that make no sense at all to me. The team did a nice job of addressing needs by selecting players who fit their scheme and culture. Agholor gives the team a new pass catching threat. Rowe gives the Eagles some desperately-needed help in the secondary. Hicks could potentially be DeMeco Ryans' replacement. Shepherd and Evans could give the Eagles better depth than they've had in recent years. Mihalik is a large athlete worth taking a shot on with a late round flyer.
The obvious disappointment for the Eagles is that they didn't draft any offensive linemen. They certainly need to get younger an deeper up front, but their complete lack of desperation might show they have some confidence in current players like Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin. Failing to address the safety position also seems like a concern but perhaps either Rowe or Evans will get a look there.
This was Chip Kelly's first draft class where he (and not Howie Roseman) had final say on the picks. Heading into the draft, there were some concerns about Kelly understanding "value" properly. In hindsight, I would say Kelly did just fine in this regard. There's no real evidence Kelly "reached" for any of these picks. The Lions wanted Agholor at No. 23. The Eric Rowe trade was very fair according to the draft value chart. Hicks would have gone off the board to the Bengals if the Eagles didn't take him. Mike Mayock said he had a fourth round grade on JaCorey Shepherd. Philadelphia's trade of a 2015 fourth round pick for a 2016 third could more than double the potential value of the original selection.
Whether this class will turn out to be good or not is one thing, but for now they all seem like reasonable selections. My grade: B+.
See below for more hot takes and grades from around the web.
SB Nation - (B)
Best pick: Rowe - Getting Rowe at No. 47 was a nice value. He has a chance to make a big impact for the Eagles.
Questionable pick: Hicks - Maybe Hicks will take over Mychal Kendricks' job, but the third round seemed a round or two too early.
If the Eagles weren't making a move for Marcus Mariota in the first round, it was apparent the team needed to fix the secondary. The Eagles smartly did that with Rowe and Shepherd. Rowe Will be fine at either safety or cornerback and Shepherd has great instincts to play the slot. Agholor is a nice replacement for Jeremy Maclin.
Mel Kiper: ESPN In$ider - (B+)
Chip Kelly might not have the maestro he coveted to run his offense, but he didn't leave this draft empty-handed. He has put a premium on guys that will buy in, and I think he got those types and hit a couple home runs in the process. Nelson Agholor to me just screams "high floor." He's a great route runner, plucks the ball out away from his body, has the proven toughness of a return man -- you should hear Polian talk about that -- and is sneaky explosive. He can get behind defenses. I also think Eric Rowe at No. 47 overall was a steal. He is a great kid and offers up versatility (CB or S), and I thought he'd be a good value as early as the end of Round 1. Jordan Hicks was a bit of a reach, but I can see where depth need is, given the group they have at linebacker. JaCorey Shepherd was often overlooked at Kansas, but was a steady performer and certainly helps at cornerback, and though Derron Smith had a reputation that surpassed what he showed on tape, that's a good need fit in Round 6. Eagles fans feeling let down by this draft should cheer up -- they got some good pieces. If Sam Bradford is indeed the answer, they can be back in the playoffs.
[Ed. note: the Eagles didn't draft Derron Smith, so I guess Kiper is talking about Evans?]
Sports Illustrated - (B)
The Eagles missed the playoffs last season, and defense was the main reason. The secondary, to be specific. And after Philly selected USC receiver Nelson Agholor in the first round (ostensibly to replace Jeremy Maclin), the really wise pick came in the second round with Utah's Eric Rowe, who's played cornerback and free safety at a high level. In the third round, the choice was Texas outside linebacker Jordan Hicks, who could be a pass-rusher in a rotational sense. Then, two cornerbacks from the Sunflower State: Kansas's JaCorey Shepherd (No. 191), and Kansas State's Randall Evans (No. 196). Shepherd, a former receiver, might be the bigger project of the two, while Evans is the more polished player.
CBS Sports - (B+)
Best Pick: I love second-round pick Eric Rowe, a big corner who fits with what teams want now. He could also play safety if needed.
Questionable move: Third-round pick Jordan Hicks, a linebacker from Texas, has talent, but he has been plagued by injuries. The third might have been a little high.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round corner JaCorey Shepherd is a former receiver who has a lot of athletic ability. He has a chance to push for a roster spot.
Analysis: The Eagles didn't make the big move to go up and get Marcus Mariota, although they tried, so they kept their picks. They picked receiver Nelson Agholor in the first round, which I like. I love the Rowe pick as well. Nice job, Chip Kelly.
NFL.com - (B-)
Poor Agholor will have the distinction of being "Not Marcus Mariota" in Philly, but that doesn't matter. He'll be a great fit for Chip Kelly's offensive system. His return game is not to be underestimated either, and he's a picture-perfect replacement for Jeremy Maclin. Don't be surprised if he has the most catches of any rookie wideout next season. Rowe brings great coverage skills, and as a bonus, he can play both safety and corner. Hicks could turn out to be a quality player if he can stay healthy.
Bottom line: The team didn't land Marcus Mariota but certainly restocked the secondary and nabbed a perfect playmaker for Chip Kelly in Agholor.
Rotoworld - (B-)
Even after whiffing on Marcus Mariota, the Eagles kept their cool and made a lot of good draft-weekend moves. Not included here was a deal with Detroit that netted Philadelphia the Lions' 2016 third-round pick in exchange for the Eagles' 2015 fourth-rounder. I think it's good forward-thinking process for teams to make moves like that. Agholor will seamlessly replace Jeremy Maclin. Rowe was seen by some as a safety in the pre-draft phase, but will be a press corner in Philadelphia and is a good bet to start opposite Byron Maxwell right away. Hicks seems like a luxury pick considering the Eagles' inside linebacker depth, but will contribute on special teams and could replace Mychal Kendricks by as soon as 2016. Although Shepherd has athletic limitations, he was one of the best cornerbacks in college football last season. I'm admittedly not as familiar with Evans and Mihalik. This draft wound up generating few headlines, but I feel confident the Eagles got better. (And they get to keep Fletcher Cox!)
Sporting News - (C+)
Chip Kelly did well to resist trading away a lot of picks, and nailed Agholor as a direct great replacement for Jeremy Maclin. Rowe has a shot at starting right away, too. The rest is underwhelming depth for the defense, at the cost of ignoring the real position of need there (safety) and offensive line depth.