Top Defensive Backs the Eagles should watch at the NFL Combine

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 02 Cincinnati at Notre Dame
SOUTH BEND, IN – OCTOBER 02: Notre Dame Fighting Irish safety Kyle Hamilton (14) runs in coverage during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Cincinnati Bearcats on October 2, 2021, in South Bend, IN. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

As we get closer to the NFL Combine, let’s take a look at the defensive backs that the Philadelphia Eagles could be looking at a little more closely. With many questions surrounding the safety position and #2 corner, the secondary is an area that the Eagles could be looking out for.

Players to Watch

Kyle Hamilton – Notre Dame

The top safety in this class, Hamilton could absolutely be taken before the Eagles pick at 15. The perfect blend of size and speed, Hamilton is one of the best safety prospects over the last decade. He can cover athletic TE’s and quick running backs. His instincts are superb and he’s a truly consistent tackler. It’s doubtful that he is the first player in the secondary taken in April, but a solid combine, could vault him potentially into the top five selections.

Derek Stingley Jr. – LSU

If you talked about him last year, there were arguments to be made that Stingley could be in contention to be selected the number one pick in the draft. It’s been an up and down road since then. He only played in 10 games the last two years and has shown inconsistent play. The intangibles are certainly all there though. He’s tall and excellent in coverage. While he could improve against the run, him being a cover and lock-down corner would be his calling card. The combine will be big for Stingley, particularly for his health. While the talent is there for him to go in the top 10, there’s absolutely a chance that the Eagles could see him fall to 15.

PASADENA, CA – SEPTEMBER 04: LSU Tigers cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. (7) looks on during a college football game between the LSU Tigers and the UCLA Bruins played on September 4, 2021 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Ahmad Gardner – Cincinnati

A hard-nosed athlete who was the best man-to-man corner in college football, Gardner continues to climb up draft boards. A strong combine could all but ensure that he would be the first corner taken in the draft. He didn’t give up a single touchdown in coverage last season, even when Cincinnati lost to Alabama in the CFP. Gardner is the perfect lockdown corner that teams are looking for, that makes it almost impossible for him to be available at 15.

Box Safety

Jaquan Brisker – Penn State

The true box safety that can be a very physical player. Brisker has always been very good at blitzing and against the run. His issue will be overall speed. He works pretty well in zone coverage, especially in the flat, but doesn’t do a good job with complex schemes and has a tendency to struggle against speed receivers and backs. The safety class is pretty barren after Hamilton and there’s no true sleeper you look at. But Brisker could use a good combine to getting into the first-round late or an early 2nd rounder.

The Sleeper

Coby Bryant – Cincinnati

He wasn’t better than Gardner, but Bryant was still one of the best corners in college football last season. At 6’1″, Bryant has excellent size to be a number two corner, and has the physicality to make a lot of scouts love his game. He does have some issues against speed receivers and a strong combine could get him into the first two rounds. As good as Gardner was, the Bearcats defense would not have been as dominant as they were if Bryant didn’t play as well as he did. He’s an absolute stud that will only get better with time.

Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire