The Eagles made a total of six picks during the 2015 NFL Draft. Of those six, only three selections made Philadelphia's final 53-man roster. Overall, the Eagles got mixed contributions from their rookies last season. There were highs and lows. Moving forward, the Birds will need to see more production from this group.
The Eagles made a highly disappointing choice in 2014 when they selected Marcus Smith with the No. 26 overall pick. Smith only played 105 snaps as a rookie. Philadelphia followed up that poor first round selection with what looks to be another bad decision so far. Agholor struggled a lot as a rookie. He ranked as the NFL's worst wide receiver, per Pro Football Focus. His flashes were few and far between. He struggled with drops and was never able to make a consistent positive impact on game day.
Agholor isn't off to a great start heading into Year 2. He dropped a number of passes during spring practices. Now he's being investigated on a sexual assault allegation. Agholor has a lot of ground to make up this summer. He doesn't even need to be a star, which seems unrealistic at this point anyway. Being merely average would be an upgrade on last year.
Rowe's first extensive NFL experience ended up with him getting destroyed by Calvin Johnson on Thanksgiving. It's hard to blame the rookie for not being able to lock down one of the best receivers to ever play the game. In addition, Rowe actually looked pretty good at times late in the season. He finished the year on a strong note.
The bad news for Rowe is that he doesn't seem to be off to a great start heading into Year 2. He took a bunch of reps with the second team and struggled this spring. We shouldn't make too much of that at this point, but it could be a sign that he's not as much of a lock to start as we once thought. With that said, I do think Rowe ends up winning the job and playing well. He's a very good athlete with very good size at cornerback.
Some thought Hicks was just a wasted pick at the time he was drafted. Whoops. When healthy, Hicks was a total stud last season. He didn't look like a rookie at all. Hicks made a ton of impact plays. You could really see how much the defense dropped off after he suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9, too. The big issue for Hicks moving forward is his health. As long as he can stay injury-free, he has the potential to be a great player.
Part of the reason why the Eagles traded Brandon Boykin away last offseason was because they felt really good about Shepherd's performance in spring practices. Then the rookie defensive back went down with a season-ending injury during training camp. Shepherd spent the whole year on injured reserve and wasn't able to fully participate in spring practices. There's no guarantee he make the team this year. The Eagles have a lot of bodies at cornerback and Shepherd needs to play really well again to earn his spot.
Evans spent most of last season on the practice squad before being called up to the 53-man roster in Week 17. It's going to be tough for Evans to crack the roster this year. As I just mentioned, he'll be facing a lot of competition at his position. Evans could be practice squad material for the second year in a row.
Undrafted Free Agents
Denzel Rice was the only rookie undrafted free agent to make Philadelphia's final roster last season. He had a really good summer but didn't play much during the year. Rice has looked good so far this offseason so he might actually be able to make the team again.
The Eagles kept Malcolm Bunche on the practice squad for the entirety of last season. He'll be competing for the starting job at left guard after taking second team reps at that position during the spring.
Hicks and Rowe have the potential to be two important starters on the Eagles' defense. Agholor will probably get a lot of playing time in Year 2 but it's hard to count on him being good. Right now I don't have Shepherd or Evans making the team. I think Rice makes the cut instead.