In recent weeks, a once coveted Eagles Secondary has become a shadow of its former self. From the injury of Nolan Carroll to the poor coaching that left rookie Eric Rowe on Megatron island, the Secondary has lost its spark.
But there’s one corner who is yet to take a Defensive snap this season, in fact if he lines up as a Corner this game it will be his first ever defensive snap in the NFL. That man is undrafted rookie free agent Denzel Rice.
Rice has played in just 12 Special Teams snaps all season but as the talent wears thin, his number is close to being called. First JaCorey Shepherd fell injured which opened the doors for the likes of E.J Biggers to perform and then it was Nolan Carroll who suffered a broken ankle less than a week ago, ending his season. With the teams best corner out for the remainder of the season, it’s anticipated that Ed Reynolds will be seeing an increase in snaps. But here’s the catch 22…Walter Thurmond is still suffering with a hamstring injury.
If Thurmond does actually miss snaps for the first time this year , Reynolds’ natural position is at Safety. So who will fill in for Carroll? Insert Denzel Rice.
Rice has been overlooked throughout his career, largely because he never played for a big School. But still, he helped guide Carver to the state championship game in his senior year and also helped Coastal Carolina to an FCS Playoff berth.
During his tenure at Coastal Carolina, Rice played at safety, corner and Nickel so he definitely has the familiarity with the position. The best comparison that Chip kelly eluded to would be New England Corner Malcolm Butler. An undrafted rookie who won the Patriots the Superbowl with an interception in the closing stages. It’s been done before…why can’t it happen again against that same team?
After impressing everyone massively in OTA’s, stripping the ball away from Tim Tebow and shutting down some of the Eagles toughest wideouts, the 6-foot, 196-pound was kept on the roster but is yet to make an impact on the Defensive side of the ball. With the odds stacked against him as they always have been, Rice may..just may finally get his shot against one of the NFL’s most notorious opponents.
It would make the perfect underdog story..an undrafted rookie free agent who makes his debut against the Patriots and is able to to maybe record an Interception or swat down a few passes. We have already seen one surprise defensive breakout in Jordan Hicks, are we about to see another?