The Philadelphia Eagles solidified the depth in their secondary Friday evening with the signing of safety, Jaquiski Tartt.
Tartt joins a loaded defensive unit that has seen newcomers like Haason Reddick and James Bradberry mix with current stars Darius Slay and Brandon Graham.
What was once a team barren of talent on the defensive end, has now become a loaded unit with plenty of flexibility.
So what exactly does Jaquiski Tartt bring to an already-loaded unit?
The answer? A whole lot.
Depth. Depth. Depth.
Injuries happen in football. It doesn’t matter the team or position, the injury bug can hit anyone. So it’s important for each and every team to have quality depth at every position.
The Eagles have learned that the hard way in almost every single position over the last few years.
After the team signed James Bradberry to a one year deal, the only true hole on the roster was depth at safety. While Marcus Epps and Anthony Harris are solid starters, the combination of K’Von Wallace, and Andre Chachere are not quality backups when it comes to experience in a system.
With Jaquiski Tartt, the Eagles now have a quality safety with a ton of starting experience.
Last season, Jonathan Gannon’s scheme required three safeties sometimes being on the field at the same time. Having Tartt join Harris and Epps not only allows for stronger competition in training camp, but also adds much needed depth in case either get hit with the injury bug.
It also allows cornerback, Avonte Maddox to still play in the slot, which is a position he thrived in last season. Not having to move a key piece to your defense is incredibly important in a playoff run.
Jaquiski Tartt’s versatility is well known. In a complex 49ers’ defense, Tartt playing well in a unit that held the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams all to under 20 points in each playoff game tells you all you need to know.
Versatility is key in Gannon’s system.
Jaquiski Tartt’s ability to play quarters coverage is dictated by how good the safeties are. While the Eagles’ secondary wasn’t really the issue last season, every time you can get a versatile player who has played in different systems, it allows the defensive coordinator to get more creative.
Every single Eagles defender, when talking to the media, has praised the work ethic and skills of Marcus Epps.
Even if plenty of people are excited to see the young safety get his chance to start every play, it would be foolish to not have a contingency plan in place in case the 26-year-old is not ready or up to the task.
While many will argue it opens up an unnecessary position battle, it’s key to remember that under Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon, every practice and position must be earned. Jaquiski Tartt’s presence allows fans and coaches to see just how good Marcus Epps is with someone ready to go behind him.
It’s an excellent move from an Eagles front office that has made a plethora of solid moves all off-season.
Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire