The Ultimate Eagles OTA Preview: Defense edition



Ronald Darby returns, but he’s on a one-year deal, while Jalen Mills enters his contract year. To add to that, Sidney Jones is coming back from another injury stricken season, meaning the Eagles will be looking for insurance at all starting positions and there are plenty of candidates who not only want to compete for rotational/depth roles, but want to stake their claims to the eventual starting ones.

Whether it’s a recently bulked out Rasul Douglas, who led the Eagles in interceptions last season, or Captain Cre’Von LeBlanc, there’s an abundance of talent at corner that will be looking to pluck balls from the sky in OTA’s and hit the ground running.

Sidney Jones, especially, has to start out hot. LeBlanc and Maddox proved themselves worthy of a starting role last year, with Maddox slaying the outside and performing explosively over the top, while LeBlanc’s first-play interception against the Saints will still send Eagles fans into a roar of appreciation. Jones cannot afford to let more time and leverage slip away. The former second-round pick simply has to prove he can get on the field, win the day, every day in OTA’s and shed the injury label. If he doesn’t, the sharks are waiting.

Adding to an already competitive DB room, is small-school sleeper, Jamalcolm Liggins. During his career, Liggins competed in 43 games, tallying 151 tackles and three touchdowns. In the first round of the NAIA championship series in 2018 alone, Liggins had four interceptions for 91 yards. He has 13 career picks to his name. That kind of production simply raises eyebrows. And when you partner that with a 6’3, 210 lbs, defensive back, that turned into salivation for a lot of scouts. The Eagles could have a real hidden gem on their hands if Liggins’ athletic traits transpose to the NFL level.

It’s easy to view OTA’s as a small sample size, but let’s not forget, it was OTA’s in 2017 that remolded the backfield to fit in Corey Clement’s bruising skillset. It was OTA’s in 2017 that saw Patrick Robinson really struggle outside, spurring the August trade for Ronald Darby that pushed him into the nickel and into his prime. This is absolutely clinical for all of the Eagles cornerbacks. There may be no bigger competition on the roster right now and it all starts this week.


Andrew Sendejo’s arrival replaced what the Eagles lost in Corey Graham and for the most part, it’s situation normal. Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod will be your starting duo to begin with, while Sendejo and….ah, now it gets fun.

Jenkins plays down in the box, meaning McLeod is either on his own or will be joined by a third Safety. Enter Sendejo, who will be clashing with former Eagles draftee and Rams special teams ace, Blake Countess, who was signed just a couple of weeks ago.

Another name to watch here though is Tre Sullivan, who has somehow clung onto his place on the Eagles roster for quite some time now and started to have more of a defensive impact as time has progressed.

There isn’t a wealth of depth here, but the fighting over that third Safety spot will be vicious. Sendejo hits hard, Countess hits securely, and Sullivan has special teams value. It’s all about development for him, while Countess will be trying to beat out a veteran who is by no mean’s safe on this roster.