Here we go, only two names remain in our list of our top 10 most critical players going into next season.
It was honestly extremely difficult to pick between these two as both are absolutely imperative to the team, but our number two is a more recent addition to the roster, in the form of 27 year old Corner Byron Maxwell.
The Eagles cut not one but both starting cornerbacks last year, Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. The reason, they wanted to replace them with better cover men. Alongside Thurmond, The Eagles took a leap of faith into a pool of money by signing the top corner on the market, Byron Maxwell, to help improve their frankly poor secondary.
The former Legion of Boom member and Superbowl winner signed a six year deal in Philly worth $60 million.
So, what can the star Corner bring to the birds nest? Well, let’s see what the previous starters weren’t bringing…anticipation, reading, speed, coverage to name but a few. Remember that disappointing loss to Green Bay in week 11? The Eagles secondary allowed Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson to both rack up more than 100 receiving yards. It’s bad enough that the entire defense has to deal with an arsenal the size of the US Army that was being commanded by Rambo himself..(Aaron Rogers) so the last thing the team needed was an unstable secondary. The two cornerbacks were a HUGE reason as to why the Eagles ranked second-to-last in pass defense last year.
At 6’1” Maxwell is of the perfect size and build for a shutdown corner, but there are some big question marks over whether he can shut down the best receivers in the game week in and week out. Philly need their corner to go head to head against the likes of Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Odell Beckham JR and Pierre Garcon not once, but TWICE per season. The talent level of receivers in the NFC East is at an all time high and if the Eagles can’t find a way to stop them and fall to offenses around the league like last season then all of the controversial off season moves may be rendered useless. It’s down to Maxwell to give the Eagles defense a new reputation. A fearsome one. A D that refuses to give in or yield to some of the fastest in the game. One that isn’t afraid to take a Penalty to prevent a game ending play.
Maxwell will go a long way in improving the biggest need for the Eagles and if he explodes in Chip’s system, the Eagles are going to own the East.