With one game remaining in the 2015 season, Fran Duffy and Alex Smith delved into what the Eagles' rookies need to show on the field for the final time this year during the Enemy Intel portion of the Eagles Insider Podcast. As the team prepares to go up against the New York Giants, eyes will be on the youth of this football team, including wide receiver Nelson Agholor and cornerback Eric Rowe.
Take a look at the breakdown of how both players need to finish off the year ...
This season, Agholor has played over half of the Eagles' offensive snaps, but he only had 260 receiving yards to this point. Although an ankle injury kept him inactive for three weeks, many expected the first-round pick's stats to be more impressive at the conclusion of 2015.
He still has one final chance to go out on a positive note this Sunday.
"He's shown the ability to be able to win, now it's just can he do it consistently? Look, the issue with him for the majority of the season has been his hands. A lot of bad drops," Duffy said. "He had another bad one in the end zone on Saturday night against Washington.
"Can he capitalize on more of these opportunities when Sam Bradford is able to hit him square in the chest, square in the hands with some of these passes? He hasn't been able to consistently do it. I would like to see a big game for Agholor coming into this game against New York, and I think it would make fans feel pretty good going into the offseason."
After Nolan Carroll went down with a broken ankle, Rowe was forced to step in and take over the starting corner spot. His "Welcome to the NFL" experience came on Thanksgiving, as the rookie was matched up on Detroit's Calvin Johnson.
However, once he got his feet under him, Duffy believes Rowe showed that he is ready for the full-time starter responsibility. Now, with the chance of defending Odell Beckham, Jr. on Sunday, the corner will have one final test.
"I think that Rowe has played very well over the last few weeks," Duffy said. "I thought he played well against Washington. I thought he played well against Arizona. I think he's shown a lot. I think he's shown that he can be an NFL corner, and I'm excited about what his future holds.
"This will be a big test for Rowe because we know what he can be at the catch point. We know what kind of threat he is on the outside. I'm very excited to see how Rowe stacks up against the Giants."
Also on the Eagles Insider Podcast:
Three-And-Out at the 9:05 mark
Game Time at the 31:06 mark
Mailing It In at the 48:07 mark
Each week, Fran Duffy and NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell get together to take an in-depth look at the All-22 tape from the week prior, breaking down what worked, what didn't and what lies ahead for the Eagles. But in this week's Eagle Eye in the Sky Podcast, with Philadelphia eliminated from playoff contention and a coaching search underway, the two decided to go position-by-position and look ahead to the offseason.
They tackled the elephant in the room, the quarterback position at the top of the show. The Eagles acquired Sam Bradford via trade this past offseason, and in 13 games with the team heading into Week 17 he's notched 3,405 yards with a 64.0 percent completion percentage, 17 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and a 6-7 record. The 28-year-old will be a free agent this spring.
"I think he had an up-and-down season. The offense that he ran was very specific, and I didn't see Bradford as that kind of quarterback," said Cosell. "I always wondered how comfortable he felt in this style of offense. But here's the reality in the NFL. ... He's going to ask for a three-to-five-year deal at the going rate, which is $17-18 million, and that's a decision that in some ways goes beyond how he played on the field."
But after quarterback, perhaps the most important decision the team will make at any position will come on the offensive line. After parting ways with veteran guards Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis before this season, the Eagles struggled in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball. With Jason Peters, a Pro Bowler this season, turning 34 next month, the team needs to begin thinking not only about how it will upgrade the interior of its line but also how it will cope with the eventual loss of Peters.
"When you look at the play of the offensive line this season, that is the number one issue that needs to be addressed," said Duffy. "Whether it's guys that are here developing and improving their game, whether it's free agency, whether it's the NFL Draft, somewhere along the line the offensive line has to play better."
On the defensive side of the ball, Cosell keyed in on the cornerback position, where Byron Maxwell had an up-and-down season in his first year with the team and rookie Eric Rowe emerged late in the year after stepping in for free-agent-to-be Nolan Carroll after a season-ending injury.
"In the NFL, if you can't consistently match up at corner, you're going to have problems," Cosell said. "Byron Maxwell, he was kind of inconsistent. And Eric Rowe, he began to perform better as the year went on, and I think he has a chance to be a solid NFL corner. ... Obviously he's not going to be a quick-twitch, dynamic athlete, but I think he can be solid."
After the two wrapped up their analysis of the roster, Duffy was joined by Rowe at the 22:30 mark of the show to talk about quarters coverage, in which four defensive backs drop back into zone coverage. From the 26-minute mark on, Duffy and producer Bryan Thomas talked about the NFL Draft.
On a new episode of the Journey to the Draft Podcast presented by AAA, Alex Smith and Fran Duffy highlighted six 2016 NFL Draft prospects to watch in the early college bowl games this year. After talking about general draft buzz for the first 29 minutes of the podcast, the two talked at length about the following six players:
S Jordan Lomax, Iowa
A bit undersized at the safety position at 5-10, 195 pounds, Lomax makes up for it with toughness and a great nose for the football. He's finished each of his last two seasons with 90 tackles and has been compared favorably to former defensive player of the year Bob Sanders.
TE Nick Vannett, Ohio State
At 6-6 and 260 pounds, senior tight end Nick Vannett has the combination of size and mobility necessary to excel at the next level. More of a blocker in Ohio State's offense, many still believe Vannett can be a factor as a receiver as well.
TE Jake McGee, Florida
A first-year transfer from Virginia, tight end Jake McGee caught 41 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns as a senior with Florida. At 6-6 with a good wingspan, solid hands and decent blocking technique, he's an interesting prospect at the tight end position.
DE Carl Nassib, Penn State
At 6-7, 272 pounds, Carl Nassib is an interesting defensive end prospect. The brother of Giants quarterback Ryan Nassib, he walked on at Penn State and added 50 pounds of muscle to his lanky frame from the time he arrived until the beginning of his senior season. This year, he broke the Nittany Lions' single-season sack record with 15.5 and also notched 19.5 tackles for loss in 10 games. As a junior, he logged just seven tackles, 2.5 for loss and one sack.
CB Juston Burris, N.C. State
Blessed with a solid frame (6-1, 207 pounds), Justin Burris uses his size to disrupt receivers at the line and has the foot speed to turn his hips and recover. On the year, he had just 38 tackles with one interception and seven pass breakups, but he's considered a name to pay attention to in the later rounds of the draft.
WR Devon Cajuste, Stanford
A 6-4, 227-pound receiver out of Stanford, Cajuste actually had his most productive collegiate season as a junior in 2013, when he finished with 642 yards on just 28 catches to go along with five touchdowns. The fifth-year senior has 375 yards on 26 catches with three touchdowns through 11 games.