When the Philadelphia Eagles drafted defensive back Eric Rowe in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft, he didn't know what to expect. Billed as a cornerback/safety "tweener" coming out of college, Rowe began his transition to the NFL working at both safety and cornerback. After an preseason injury to projected slot cornerback JaCorey Shepherd, Rowe was inserted as the team's starting slot cornerback. In Week 3, he showed why the Eagles made the right decision.
Trailing by multiple scores in the second half, the Jets challenged Rowe deep on several pass attempts to Devin Smith -- Rowe broke them all up. That didn't stop Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from attacking the rookie. Later, in the third quarter, he attempted a deep pass into the end zone for Smith, and Rowe came down with a key interception.
"It's a big boost of confidence," Rowe said afterwards to reporters, per Matt Lombardo of True Jersey. "Because I really haven't gotten a chance for any coach to call my number, so it was like, 'This is it, it's finally my time to get out there.'Maybe he thought I was a rookie and was trying to throw me up top, so it was a big confidence boost."
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Fellow defensive back Nolan Carroll was particularly impressed with Rowe's play. Carroll believes Fitzpatrick was lucky enough to get away with just one interception thrown when targeting Rowe.
"He should have had two [interceptions]," cornerback Nolan Carroll said of Rowe. "The first one he had in his hands and I guess he dropped it. He made up for it the second time. I guess Fitzpatrick thought he could try him again just because he's a young guy, but he made him pay for it."
The Eagles defense took a major step forward in Week 3. After shutting down the run game early, they pinned their ears back and attacked Fitzpatrick all day forcing errant throws. They will look to continue their progress in Week 4 against the Washington Redskins and struggling quarterback Kirk Cousins.