Instant analysis: Corey Graham returns the Eagles, signs a one-year deal

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It took a while, but Corey Graham is returning to Philadelphia for one more season after all. After a report from our own Gino Cammilleri earlier this offseason hinted that the return was likely, the veteran safety has penned a one-year deal with the team, according to an official announcement from the Eagles.

Graham is coming off a season where he saw 36 percent of the teams defensive snaps. Additionally, Graham was instrumental in winning the Super Bowl as he was on the field for 84 percent of the snaps. Currently, the Eagles are lacking at safety depth. Consisting of the inexperienced Tre Sullivan, special-teams-ace Chris Maragos, and an array of rookies. Graham was a key cog in the Eagles defense last year and this didn’t get past Jim Schwartz, who said this earlier in the year.

“Corey Graham did play a significant part in being able to move Malcolm around. Corey was another guy that had played corner, played nickel, played a lot of special teams, and played safety, a little bit like Malcolm…. all of them (Jenkins, Bradham, and Graham) were able to play a lot of different positions for us and get us over the hump when it came to injuries. You’re gonna have injuries, you gotta be able to deal with them. We were fortunate enough to have multi-dimensional players that were able to keep our level of play high even though we did have those injuries.”

 

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The 6’0, 187 lbs, safety recorded 2 interceptions and 38 tackles last season, but his impact stretches far beyond the numbers.

As Schwartz alluded to, the presence of Graham allowed Malcolm Jenkins to run rampant inside the box, while McLeod would be supported by Graham and Watkins in three-safety looks. His play enabled Jenkins to play on his versatility, while Graham and Watkins were the backbones behind Rodney McLeod.

So what does this mean for the position overall? As things stand, Jenkins would be joined by McLeod and former undrafted free agent, Tre Sullivan, with Chris Maragos captaining the special teams unit. The obvious underdog here is Jeremy Reaves, who has enjoyed a stellar camp so far and will be gunning to displace Sullivan as preseason rolls around.

The addition of Graham to the secondary will put plenty of concerns at rest. Losing Graham and Watkins left the Birds’ light in the defensive backfield and with unproven talent grinding to earn their spot, Graham’s return at least gives that talent time to marinate before taking flight into key defensive situations.

Experienced and consistent, Graham’s return is a huge move for the Eagles.

 

Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

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