Training Camp is in full flow for the Philadelphia Eagles. With Live hitting and the sounds of pads clashing in the Summer filling the air once again, positional battles throughout the roster are beginning to heat up. There’s arguably none more intense than the raging war at nickel cornerback, largely because a starting role is up for grabs. With so much talent in the secondary, the big names are already making their mark, but there’s one underdog still barking on this team of champions.
When OTA’s kicked off back in May, most of the hype surrounding the position, centered on second-year cornerback Sidney Jones and it’s hard to really argue with the reasons why either. After a very promising week 17 debut, the Washington product looked fully healed from the horrific injury that saw his first-round potential trickle into the laps of Philadelphia in round last year and as if by magic, the Birds’ finally have a secondary to boast once again. But then something happened. Another player entered the fray. Somebody else started making big plays, swatting balls loose. This didn’t just occur once, it was almost every day.
That man is De’Vante Bausby. A Pittsburg State product who joined the Eagles practice squad during the 2017 season. A former undrafted rookie, many assumed that the 25-year old would simply work the scout team and fill the numbers during the offseason. After one week of Training Camp, it’s safe to say he’s making many heavily reconsider.
Bausby’s brilliance has continued into the heart of training camp, leading him to yet more first team looks inside and some glowing words from his Head Coach.
“When I was in Kansas City we had him there, so I got some familiarity with him.” Pederson told reporters earlier this week. “He’s really got a lot of confidence right now. Again, another smart guy, very athletic, physical [defensive back] that’s getting some reps inside. We’re a long way from obviously making any type of decisions, but it’s a great opportunity for him to really show what he can do in that position.:
In a worst case scenario, Bausby could be primed to contribute heavily to Fipp’s prestigious special teams unit, but his ceiling could be far higher. In 2016, Bausby played in 4 games for the Chicago bears, notching 12 tackles and 2 passes defensed. 7 of those tackles came against the Packers, in a game where his awareness and play-speed were on full display. Here’s a closer look at those qualities:
Even dating back to college, Bausby was a menace around the ball, notching 30 passes defensed, 11 interceptions and 6.5 sacks during 49 games at Pittsburg State. If there’s one thing Jim Schwartz, loves, it’s a fiery cornerback.
“He’s a competitive player.” Schwartz told reporters. “He did a really good job for us on the scout teams last year. He was ready to play for us last year if need be. He did a great job not just on the practice field but in the meeting room, being up on the game plan. We were fortunate that we didn’t have so many injuries there that he needed to go. But he was ready, and he had the confidence of the coaching staff. He sort of spread his wings a little bit, working in some different positions. He’s a very, very competitive player. He’s got good size, but his competitiveness stands out. You guys will see that.”
The sky seems to be the limit for the 6’2, 190 lbs, cornerback and so far, so good. If Bausby can continue this red-hot form deep into the preseason then there’s no reason he can’t climb out of this contested competition on top.