While the jury is still out on the Eagles recent draft classes, there have been a few bright spots. They did draft Wentz Seumalo, Goedert, Dillard and Sanders who have all turned into pivotal players for the franchise. There’s one player that may still be on the fringe of something great even though he just suffered more than just a sophomore slump in 2019.
Avonte Maddox is a name that should be of importance to all Eagles fans. The kid was a stud in his rookie season. In just 13 games played, Maddox recorded 2 interceptions with a completion percentage of 45%. He allowed only one touchdown with a passer rating of 52.0.
Maddox started the 2019 season with nothing but hope beside him. The Eagles may have finally turned over a new leaf when it came to drafting corners but his sophomore season didn’t justify that thinking at all. Maddox had fallen into that same bubble that the other Eagles corners are currently in. He was off a bit but so many things could’ve played a role in his slump. One is the way that Schwartz has chosen to use his corners and safeties. Maddox has been used a hybrid corner but not much more than he was in his rookie season.
To the naked eye, you’re probably wondering, “I don’t remember him being bad this year.” I agree with that thought but numbers say otherwise. For example, Maddox allowed 27 more completions this year in 1 game less played. He also allowed a completion percentage of 61% while allowed receivers to run for 221 yards after the catch. In his rookie season, he only allowed 60 YAC.
With those numbers jumping, one still remained the same, Avonte only allowed one touchdown for the second season in a row. That’s pretty impressive given the cornerback room he’s in.
So what does the future hold for Pittsburgh product?
Well with the Eagles new DB coach Marquand Manuel, you can absolutely expect a more aggressive and focused player. Manuel is known for his wild energy and the standards that he holds his players to. Also, with free agency around the corner, Maddox could greatly benefit from new veterans that have a track record of being great corners. For example, Byron Jones. (Insert dramatic piano ballad here.) Yes, I said it.
Just imagine Maddox playing with Jones, there will be a confidence in him that could be only matched by another great corner. With the ability of Jones, Maddox won’t have to worry about his peer getting beat. His only focus will be on his receiver and making sure he matches what Jones is doing on the other side. It could pay huge dividends for Maddox to have a great talent on the other side of the field.
Fortunately, free agency is just a week away and soon we’ll know who will be joining or rejoining Maddox in the cornerback room. Even so, you should absolutely expect a big year out of Avonte Maddox. Whether it’s at the safety position or cornerback, Avonte will be one of the picks that Eagles’ fans remember. In the opposite way that you remember Sidney Jones for the time being.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports