The Philadelphia Eagles traded Zach Ertz to the Arizona Cardinals today in exchange for a 2022 fifth-round pick and rookie cornerback Tay Gowan. Here’s everything you need to know about the newest Eagle to the nest.
Getting to know Tay Gowan
Like most DB’s who graduate from UCF, Gowan is long. At 6’2, 185 lbs, he has ballhawking instincts and proved it during a solid 2019 campaign that saw him bat away 8 passes and pick off 2, rallying to 31 tackles in the process. He makes his living at the catch-point but has some solid speed as well which helps him stay in-phase and recover if beaten early, running a 4.4 40-yard dash.
Gowan has some solid physicality to his game and isn’t afraid to get involved when it comes to run-defense. He’s not a super-athletic corner outside of his speed and does lack some hip fluidity in transition. His Relative Athletic Score sat at 7.16, which is good enough, but not quite the freak-athlete level we’ve become used to seeing.
A competitive corner who wants to high-point every pass, he’s very reminiscent of a Rasul Douglas-type corner. He’s going to produce plenty of pass defenses and picks if given the opportunity and this zone defense may take some of that strain off that may otherwise expose his lack of athleticism. He’s a project for sure, but Jonathan Gannon might have something special here.
How does Tay Gowan fit the Eagles?
The next question is one of fit. It’s important to note that the team drafted Zech McPhearson in the fourth round of this year’s NFL Draft and he’s played in 2 defensive snaps thus far. While he’s likely a nickel corner, he did spend a chunk of time during camp and preseason being thrown to the wolves on the outside.
If the team view McPhearson as a nickel corner, the next question is whether or not Avonte Maddox will be here next season. He’s having a really solid rebound year (as expected since he’s playing in his natural position where he’s always shined) and the team may want to keep him around. If so, this either pushed Zech outside or leaves him as a backup to develop away from the limelight.
The other wildcard here is Steven Nelson, who was signed as a free agent deep into the offseason. He’s only on a one-year deal and while he’s played well, the Eagles may be willing to let him flee the nest this offseason. This gives Gowan time to learn the ropes and and at least put together a body of work this upcoming offseason to convince Gannon and company that he’s ready to take the leap. If not, he’ll be a solid backup at either outside spot and the team can spend some of their draft capital on stronger reinforcements.
There’s a lot to like about the arrival of Tay Gowan, but how much we see of him will really depend on a few other dominos falling first.
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