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SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah defensive back Eric Rowe was drafted No. 47th overall to the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft Friday.
Rowe is the second player selected by the Eagles in this year’s draft, joining Nelson Agholor from USC. He is the first player selected from the University of Utah in the draft.
"We felt (Rowe) was the guy we wanted all along," Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said in a press conference shortly after selecting Rowe. "I wouldn't have been surprised if he went a lot earlier. He and Byron Jones were the guys we kinda targeted."
Rowe entered the draft as a versatile athlete able to compete at a high level at both safety and the cornerback position. Throughout the draft process, Rowe’s stock continued to climb as the draft came near, particularly after an above-average showing at the NFL Combine and great showings at individual team workouts. Rowe was a top performer in all seven categories he tested in at the combine.
Kelly was in attendance at Utah's Pro Day and was seemingly high on Rowe during the workouts.
"From a height-weight-speed parameter, he's kind of off the charts in terms of what he can do from a physical standpoint," Kelly said. "There were a lot of things that stood out for him.
We felt (Rowe) was the guy we wanted all along. I wouldn't have been surprised if he went a lot earlier. He and Byron Jones were the guys we kinda targeted.
"He's outstanding," Kelly added. "Really strong from a mental standpoint. He's got a really good football IQ. I think those are some of the things that stood out with him."
Rowe played four years at Utah where he split time at both safety and corner. He finished his career at Utah with 261 total tackles (158 solo) and three interceptions — one he returned for a touchdown against Washington State in his senior season.
"The fact that he's got that many starts under his belt at safety, but then really excelled last year at corner, was kind of very intriguing to us," Kelly said.
The Pac-12 had a strong first round of the NFL Draft tying the ACC for the lead, with nine players from the conference being selected in the opening round. The nine picks in the first round is the most in Pac-12 history. The conference had eight players selected in the 2003 draft. Rowe is the 12th player selected from Pac-12 and the third from the conference selected in the second round.