Well, the NFL’s version of downtime is officially here and with it comes a whole lot of nothing. With players heading home to get a little rest and relaxation before the grueling days of training camp hit, everything has simmered down into the calm before the storm. With that said, not all is lost as teams are finally able to sit back and scour opposing rosters, looking into ways of upgrading wherever it is they deem fit.
The Philadelphia Eagles did a great job adding talent on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball this offseason. While the stars seemed to align at wide receiver, it’s the cornerback position that still holds a few question marks. The team started off great by drafting Sidney Jones and CB Rasul Douglas who will eventually join Jalen Mills, and veteran Patrick Robinson. But that is where it seems to stop in terms of starters. The potential that C.J. Smith, Aaron Grymes and Jomal Wiltz, bring into the picture is something worth watching, but the truth of it all is that the Eagles should at least entertain the idea of looking to trade for more talent in the CB room.
With that said, we decided to look across the league at different rosters to find players who could help this defensive backfield and wouldn’t break the bank (either financially, or draft picks wise). Here are a few players that made sense.
1). DB Jimmie Ward (Current team San Francisco 49ers): I
f you notice it says DB, and not just CB…the reason being is Ward has the skillset to play every position in the defensive backfield. At 5’11, 200 lbs, he has the size to play inside and out and possesses the playmaking ability to be an issue for offenses as a corner and a safety.
The former 2014 1st round pick may not have had the type of career expected of him up until this point, but there is a lot more to it than just his play. To put it simply, the entire team was just bad…and anytime you add an injury to a bad situation, it will only end badly. But the truth about Ward is this; he plays the run well, never seeming to shy away from the big hit. With light footwork to play in the slot and the savvy to cover the middle, Ward could help the Eagles in more ways than one.
Up until now, he has had 130 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 20 pass deflections, and 2 interceptions. With the 49ers in a complete rebuild, it would not be too farfetched, to see the Eagles pull a trade off for the young talent without hurting their pockets.
Potential Compensation: Late round pick, Maybe a player for player swap.
2). CB Darqueze Dennard (Current team Cincinnati Bengals):
Coming out of Michigan State, Dennard was highly considered one of the best CB’s in his draft class. With speed and strength in his arsenal, he was drafted 6 spots ahead of Jimmie ward in the 2014 draft, with some believing he could of gone in the top half of that years class.
He is more than interested in mixing it up in the run game and adds a true presence on all cores of special teams. He doesn’t have a lot of wear on the tire, as he only played 41 snaps in his rookie year, but would go on to become a fixture in the Bengal defense, over the past season or so. The 5’11, 205 lbs, playmaker has 84 tackles, an interception, and a sack to his name, which many would consider modest numbers. However when watching the tape, you see a player who has the potential to become a solid starter at minimum. Cincinnati picked up Dennard’s 5th year option, so the Birds’ would probably have to give up a little more than hoped for, but if he reaches his potential, it could be worth it.
Potential Compensation: 3rd-4th round pick.
3). Vontae Davis (Indianapolis Colts):
We all saw the episode of Hard Knocks when Davis was traded live on T.V. from the Dolphins to the Colts, his reaction was priceless (Can I call my grandma?). Fast Forward a couple of year and the 29-year old seems to be as good as he was when he was traded. Built to play anywhere on the field, Davis would bring a veteran presence to a young Eagles CB room, all while giving the team a true option as their number 1. Good in both the run, and passing game, Davis may not be a household name, but it doesn’t mean he can’t completely ball out at times. In his career, the 5’11 corner has 372 tackles, 2 sacks, 95 pass deflections, 3 forced fumbles, and 22 interceptions.
Needless to say that Davis is a playmaker on the outside and a true force against the run. He may be a little longer in the tooth at this time, but he still brings a lot with his skillset. With him going into his 9th year, the price for the veteran wouldn’t be too crazy. Whatever Davis has left would be completely worth it for a team in need of playmakers on the outside.
Potential Compensation: late round pick, Player swap.
4). CB Delvin Breaux (New Orlean Saints):
Breaux is probably the least known of all the prospects listed, but don’t be fooled, he can play. The 6’1, 201 lbs, corner has the youth and ceiling to become a true shutdown corner. In 2 seasons with New Orleans, he has 45 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 19 pass deflections. The numbers don’t tell the full story however, as Breaux seemed to be the only bright spot on a Saints defense that was really bad at times.
Although he missed the first 6 games due to a fibula injury in 2016, Breaux would be a big upgrade to the birds’ defense. He is a force in the run and when playing at his highest level, he can take away a teams biggest WR threat. There have been rumors of a bad attitude at times and a guy who can be a bit lazy, but it could be worth pulling off the trade to find out. The former LSU stand out, would fit right in as he plays with a nastiness that coach (Jim) Schwartz covets in his players.
Potential Compensation: Mid to late round pick, possible player swap & conditional picks
5). CB Bradley Roby ( Denver Broncos):
Roby has been a big part of that stern Bronco defense and could cause the birds to have to give up more. But when you watch him play, you quickly see that he would be worth a draft pick as he would automatically make the defense better on the back end, becoming the number 1 CB, from jump.
Picked 31st overall in the 2014 NFL draft, Roby has easily been one of the best players from the entire draft class. With a total of 144 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 31 passes defended, 5 interceptions, and an impressive 3 touchdowns, What makes his game even more impressive, is when you see that he did it as the teams 3rd corner.
Could Roby fly as a lone Eagle and number one cornerback? Potentially. While being able to kick inside and take away speedier slot wideouts, at 5’11, 195 LB’s, he has good size and never seems to shy away from making a tackle or delivering the big hit. He has a nastiness to him and plays with a sort of controlled aggressiveness that defensive coordinators covet from their man outside.
Given how quickly Roby has developed, the Birds would have to give up a bit more for his services, but when it was all said and done, it would be worth it.
Potential compensation: 2 mid to late round picks, 3rd round pick, player swap.
Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports