The Eagles are entering the draft with numerous pressing needs this offseason but there may be one need that surpasses the rest of them. Since 2011, the secondary has been one of two positions of need that has yet to be truly productive and filled “correctly”.
Howie Roseman attempted to draft a pair of corners in 2017 in hopes that the Eagles could pull a repeat of the Sheldon Brown–Lito Shepherd era but that project failed miserably as Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas never met the organization’s expectations.
Avonte Maddox was the next prospect that the Eagles invested in and after a stellar rookie season, it seems as if Maddox has continued to regress instead of progressing into the talent that many expected him to be. He’s still a very serviceable slot corner but his ability outside of that is still questionable.
At the end of the 2020 season, the cornerback group found themselves ranked 20th in PFF’s secondary rankings as the entire unit was pretty much dismantled due to injury. Darius Slay was the only consistent presence of the group but even he struggled at times in his first season with the birds. The defense allowed a completion percentage of 69% which had them a part of the lower tier of the NFL. They also had the fourth least amount of interceptions last season with 8 total.
The Eagles currently have 9 cornerbacks on their roster. Lavert Hill, Jameson Houston, Michael Jacquet, Craig James, Avonte Maddox, Elijah Riley, Kevon Seymour, Shakial Taylor, and veteran Darius Slay. Out of the 9 that are currently on the roster, only 6 of them played last season with only two of them being starters since week 1.
With the franchise holding 11 draft picks in next week’s draft, you should expect the team to invest 2-3 picks into the secondary with the possibility of their first-round pick being a corner. Both Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn would be great early first-round picks for the team while Caleb Farley and Greg Newsome would be good picks if the team trade back or even attempted to trade back into the first round.
Unfortunately, the cornerback position is too heavy in this year’s class but they are still several gems to be found in the second round and on such Asante Samuel Jr, Eric Stokes, Aaron Robinson, Ifeatu Melifonwu, and even Rodarius Williams.
The team is on the clock from here until April 30th and with the secondary being a huge position of need, who do you hope the Eagles draft this year?
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