Ranking the top five Eagles’ CB’s of the last 20 years

NFL: DEC 11 Eagles at Dolphins
11 December 2011: Cornerback (22) Asante Samuel of the Philadelphia Eagles puts his arms up against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of the Eagles 26-10 victory over the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL. Credit to Jeff Lewis/Icon Sportswire

The Eagles don’t have another scheduled practice until the end of July and free agency seems to have ended for the club. Barring any unforeseen news, we won’t hear from the team for at least a month. So while we have some down-time, let’s grade out the best Eagles’ players at each position over the last two decades. The Philadelphia Eagles have been one of the most winningest teams in football over the last 20 years with two Super Bowl appearances, one title, and six conference championship appearances. 

As we get closer to the end of this series, let’s take a look at the top five corners the team has had.

5. Nnamdi Asomugha

Haha just kidding

5. Jalen Mills

One of the top corners on the Eagles’ Super Bowl team, Jalen Mills was a serviceable starter for the team for four years. A seventh round pick out of LSU, Mills was one of the top steals the team had over the course of his first few years with the team.

Mills totaled five interceptions in five seasons with the Eagles but also was very solid against some of the league’s best. His performance in the NFC Divisional round against Atlanta basically won the game for the Eagles as he was in charge of taming Julio Jones.

Mills wasn’t the most talented corner the Eagles have ever had, but he sure made up for it in the red zone and against the league’s best.

4. Troy Vincent

One of three players on this list to be a first team All-Pro, Vincent was the next great lockdown corner the Eagles had after Eric Allen left.

Vincent made five straight pro-bowls from 1999-2002 and recorded 28 picks in eight season in Philadelphia. Vincent was as good as they came and the Eagles best playoff runs came because the defense was a major focus.

There’s a reason Dawkins asked Vincent to be his Hall-of-Fame speaker and it was rightfully deserved.

3. Lito Sheppard

Sheppard was one of the first ball-hawks the Eagles had. A first-team All-Pro in 2004, Lito’s best seasons came in 2004 and 2006 when he helped a secondary send multiple players to the Pro Bowl.

Lito’s finest moment came in T.O’s return to Philadelphia where his 101 yard interception return capped what was one of the more memorable regular season games in Eagles history. Why isn’t he higher on this list?

As good as Lito was in ’04 and ’06, he was maddingly inconsistent. When you miss on an interception, chances are the opponent will make you pay. While Sheppard got the accolades, his partner was a better overall corner.

2. Sheldon Brown

One of the more underrated Eagles and corners in NFL history. Sheldon Brown never made a pro bowl or an All-Pro, but was as consistent a corner as there was in the league.

In eight years in Philadelphia, Brown recorded 26 interceptions, and was a very good tackler recording 50+ in every season after his rookie year. The reason he is higher than Lito is simple.

In 2007, the Eagles were last in the league in turnovers. To solve the issue, the team signed Asante Samuel. The combination of Samuel, Sheppard and Brown meant that someone was going to need to sit.

Guess who was the odd man out? You guessed it…Lito.

Brown was the more consistent player and dependable in the back end. He paired nicely with Samuel and the Eagles were the 3rd best defense in football that year. Brown’s contributions are seldom talked about but absolutely should be.

1. Asante Samuel

There wasn’t a single defender in the last 20 years that made as large of an impact on the Eagles than the one that Asante Samuel made in 2008. We mentioned it before, but the Eagles were terrible in the secondary in 2007, Samuel came in, made the pro-bowl and was a huge part in the team getting to their fifth conference title game in eight years.

Samuel had huge plays in both playoff games. The pick-six in Minnesota that put the Vikings behind, or the interception return on Eli that set the tone for the Eagles upset win in New York both are some of Samuel’s biggest highlights.

His career ended disappointingly in Philly once Chip Kelly arrived, but Samuel was a three-time pro bowl player and first team all-pro corner in Philly.

In four years Samuel totaled 23 picks. He was and still is the best corner the Eagles have had in the last 20 years.

Photo by Jeff Lewis/Icon Sportswire