As pre-season rapidly approaches, there is still plenty of debate surrounding the Eagles cornerback corps. While competition is the name of the game and every spot on the depth chart is up for grabs, Training Camp has shined a light on the secondary that many of us expected. With such a young corps, it was always going to be among the weakest spots on the roster. But with the likes of Patrick Robinson struggling to find a rhythm, questions surrounding an infusion of help are beginning to arise.
Darrelle Revis, Kyle Fuller, Brandon Flowers. These are just three of the names who have been continuously linked with the Birds…but their recent signing of Tay Glover-Wright implies that they’re still looking down the developmental route. One of low-risk, high-reward.
After scouring the remaining free agent corners after a wild offseason, here are the five options I would not only believe to bring an upgrade to a certain area of the unit, but also fit the “low-risk, low-reward,” prototype with long-term growth in mind.
With a depleted secondary in 2016, 23-year old Jacoby Glenn stepped up to the plate. In just his second season, Glenn was forced into action much like Jalen Mills was…but his prowess shown at UCF shined through in a wobbly year. Through seven games, Glenn recorded 26 tackles, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble, batting down six passes in the process. Surprisingly however, he was waived after a draft where the Bears did not address the position. Yet to be picked up but another team, Glenn is still very much a project corner…but how does he fit the Eagles?
Glenn is an instinctive corner who plays with a lot of aggression. At 6’0, he possesses a slightly longer frame and plays with a lot of tenacity in his game. A reliable tackler who brings with him an eye for the ball, Glenn manned an underhanded Bears secondary and only really struggled against Dak Prescott (which is worrying). His ability to punch balls out of harms way with his long wingspan and re-direct traffic is impressive, and if there’s one thing that the Eagles need, it’s a corner who can get in the face of some of the most dangerous wideouts in the league two times a year.
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) September 20, 2016
— Erik Lambert (@ErikLambert1) September 12, 2016
Jacoby Glenn w/ the PBU. Contact was within five yards so no call there pic.twitter.com/4N3N1KrDkc
— ChiCitySports.Com (@ChiCitySports23) August 27, 2016
At just 23-years old, Glenn now has some NFL experience under his belt and a huge upside. An aggressive corner who fits the Jim Schwartz mold perfectly. While he often waits a little too late to try and undercut the route, spending too much time watching the quarterback as opposed to his receiver, the upside that Glenn would bring a young secondary is certainly worth a short-term deal.
This Dartmouth product is an interesting name to watch. After spending all of last year on injured reserve, Harris was waived by the Chiefs earlier this year. After missing OTA’s last year due to the NCAA quarter system, he was eventually waived by the Chiefs, bouncing on and off of their practice squad before the team parted ways for good in May.
When you look at the tape on Harris however, what you notice straight away is how he keeps the play in front of him. Comfortable in press coverage, Harris is able to use his upper-body leverage to keep wideouts in front of him before fluent hip transitions see him go stride-for-stride.
It’s easy to put the small-school label on Harris, but being named to the All-Ivy League First Team for two consecutive years says a lot. Being part of a unit that led the FCS in fewest points allowed and amassing 50 tackles, 3 picks and six PD’s in the process? That says a lot more.
At 6’2, 195 lbs, Harris fits the long-corner mold that Schwartz covets, as well as showing a serene level of comfort in press coverage. At the very least, Harris fits the prototype for a gunner on special teams. At best? He’s a guy who can come in and cause a few ripples int he final practices of camp and potentially sneak onto the roster during pre-season.
This is an interesting one, but if you’re looking for a slightly older corner with a lot of upside…Trevin Wade may be one of the best names not yet signed. A seventh round pick by the Browns in 2012, Wade played just one season in Cleveland before venturing to New Orleans. Two years later, he landed in New York and went on to play in 32 games for the Giants. Recording 78 tackles, forcing a fumble and recovering 3 more, Wade added some great depth for the Giants secondary…but inconsistencies limited his ceiling of one day becoming a starter.
Wade has often been regarded as an inconsistent corner that got burned on deep plays. Very reminiscent of Nolan Carroll, Wade gave up a lot of completions that often came on big plays. Surprisingly however, he only gave up 25 yards to Carson Wentz and the Eagles in week 16. A game where he also knocked down a pass and amassed 3 tackles. That pass defense? It was on the final passing play of the game against Jordan Matthews in a completion that would have handed the Eagles a victory. Instead, it was the Giants who walked out with a 28-23 win.
A look at the defenders Eagles QB Carson Wentz targeted the most in every game last year. pic.twitter.com/9Yei1dWHzt
— PFF (@PFF) June 15, 2017
One week later against the Bengals, Wade made a saving tackle at the goal-line.
— GiantsBlueBlooded (@RealTlkFB) November 15, 2016
I’m not saying that Trevin Wade is the next Richard Sherman. But the former undrafted free agent has certainly flashed a lot of potential throughout his career. A prove-it deal would not only give the Eagles a cornerback who hits hard, but one who understands the position at the NFL level and will act as a mentor to the younger guys. Something he’s been known for during his last two years in New York, building close bonds with his fellow corners in the locker room. At 28-years old, he fits the perfect free agent shape that Roseman has been cited as looking for.
A former Niners cornerback, Davis is another slightly older corner who brings a lot to the table. The 26-year old was San Francisco’s slot option before an ACL tear last season cut his year short. Coming full circle, the player signed after Davis suffered the injury in October was former Eagles corner JaCorey Shepherd. But back on topic…
Davis went undrafted in 2014 before signing with the Chargers. He fought his way onto the roster and played in a total of 12 games as a rookie, amassing 13 solo tackles and showing his strength as a tackler and run-stopper. After being waived due to injury, he eventually landed with the Niners in 2015…playing in 3 more games and proving to Trent Baalke that he can have a future as a slot corner. One season later, Davis played in 4 more games after earning the nickel spot, but injuries once again plagued him and cast him out of San Francisco.
It’s that red flag that’s seen him remain unsigned since then…but the thick-framed corner could be a sneaky good pickup for the Eagles. His mirror and match technique is excellent, and his tackling and commitment to tackling bigger wideouts speaks for itself. What really stands out however, is his ability in press (noticing a trend here?).
Davis fights with his hands at the line and plays every down with the same intensity. While ball skills aren’t his strong-suit and flags can often come his way, Davis is perfect for a slot role that lacks depth in Philadelphia. With Ron Brooks (who has struggled with injuries himself) and Aaron Grymes being the only candidates, ideally the Eagles would like to avoid prying Malcolm Jenkins away from the top.
Davis has the technique and aggression to body-up against tight ends and punch balls away. He may not have the top-end speed to be a reliable outside threat, nor the awareness or instinct to be an instant upgrade. However, Davis at the very least would give the Eagles some depth with starting experience in the nickel.
The former Detroit Lion might be my favorite free agent left available of all those listed. At 27-years old, Seisay’s NFL journey has been turbulent at best. The 6’2, 202 lbs, cornerback was originally signed by the Lions after going undrafted and bought plenty of size and speed to the table (4.4 40-yard dash). He spent time as a nickel and an outside corner after forcing his way onto the roster…only to be traded to the Seahawks one year later.
The Seahawks spent a sixth round pick to bring Seisay to Seattle who were hit by a sudden lack of cornerback depth. While the grass began to get greener, he then suffered a shoulder injury in a pre-season game, cutting his chances of making the final 53 completely and ending any opportunity for him to reap the rewards of an open competition in a scheme that lended itself to his build and style.
In 2016, injuries were a problem again as Seisay suffered an achilles injury that once again meant he wouldn’t play a single snap. The Seahawks parted ways with a player they once thought to be the perfect project…but Seisay took it upon himself to make sure his career ends on his terms. He posted a video online showcasing his road back to the NFL and how the last two years have affected him. It’s simply a must watch.
Seisay is still unsigned, but brings with him the upside that Seattle once saw to a team that has one of the healthiest rosters in the league and a leading sports science program. If it’s a prove-it deal Seisay needs, then there may be no better fit for this team than a rangy corner who has it all to prove and has experience under his belt.
Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports