Three Eagles underdogs who could win the CB2 role this offseason

NFL: AUG 04 Arizona Cardinals Training Camp
GLENDALE, AZ – AUGUST 04: Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tay Gowan (32) celebrates a big play during Arizona Cardinals training camp on August 4, 2021 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

It’s been two weeks since the NFL Draft and the Philadelphia Eagles are still lacking a viable CB2 candidate…or are they? if we take a look at the current depth chart, an interesting pattern emerges.

Right now, there appears to a line of succession in the secondary. In the nickel, Avonte Maddox, Zech McPhearson, and Kary Vincent Jr. form the pecking order. There are three outside corners sat behind Darius Slay, all vying for a starting role this upcoming season and they may be a lot closer to making that jump than you think.

Tay Gowan

Gowan was the second corner acquired by the Eagles via a trade during the heart of the 2021 campaign. He was a 2021 draft selection, coming out of UCF and being picked by the Cardinals in round 6.

At 6’2, 185 lbs, he embodies everything it means to be a UCF DB. He’s rangy, has great instincts around the ball, and is a true dinner corner. In 2019, Gowan batted away 8 passes and picked 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, with a 4.4 40-yard dash time in his back pocket

He’s a tough tackler and while he’s a little stiff and lacks the ridiculous athleticism that we’ve come to expect in new players, he fits the mold of a dinner CB who can sit 10-yards off the ball like Steven Nelson and come downhill to make plays, while having the requisite speed and football IQ to hold his own on the boundary in man-coverage matchups.

Gowan is a true developmental CB and the Eagles wouldn’t have traded for him if they didn’t forsee a role. It’s easy to see that role being on the outside opposite Darius Slay.

Mario Goodrich

To this day, I’m stunned Goodrich dropped out of the NFL Draft. He sustained cracked ribs at the Senior Bowl and as a result, was at less than 100% when it came to individual drills. Perhaps this contributed to his NFL Draft dream coming to an end. Either way, Howie not only picked him up, but paid him a huge contract by undrafted standards.

Why? CB2? Maybe.

He’s no Andrew Booth, but he played in that same defense and did more than hold his own. Goodrich tied for the team lead in pass breakups with 9, picking off 2 passes last year, registering 48 tackles. He’s solid in zone coverage and while he’s far from a great athlete, he has the needed aggression and awareness to position himself in the right spots to make a play on the ball.

Goodrich is going to be a fun name to watch compete this summer and is likely going to be Gowan’s stiffest competition.

Josh Jobe

At 5’11, 182 lbs, Jobe might be a little shorter than the others, but that shouldn’t detract from his ability. After holding down the fort alongside Patrick Surtain II in 2020, he returned for one more season at Alabama…although it didn’t pan out as hoped.

A foot surgery at the end of the year summed up a disappointing campaign for Jobe, but the Eagles saw the value. He’s a physical corner who is just nasty in the run game and makes his living at the beginning of the route. Unfortunately, this can lead to a lot of PI calls and snappy arms which will only be punished at the NFL level.

With that said, if the Eagles want a high-character guy, look no further. He’s used to standing firm against SEC competition and will have good chemistry with the other Bama graduates in the room. He’s fast enough to recover if he’s beaten early in the route and aggressive enough to be a nuisance at the catch-point.

Eagles fans, pick your fighter.

Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire