The Philadelphia Eagles had one of the most transformative offseasons we’ve seen from an NFL team in recent memory. But through all the glitz and glamor, the team still lacks real stability at the safety position. While this could be seen as a cause for concern, it’s allowed Reed Blankenship to seize the moment and make a case to secure his spot on the 53-man roster.
The current state of affairs
After Howie Roseman went through the offseason checking every box on his shopping list, it was almost certain he’d add a safety. The Draft passed him by, surely he’d add a safety. Tyrann Mathieu passed him by, surely he’d add a safety. The Eagles GM stood pat until a late addition of Jaquiski Tartt added some competitive depth, but even then, it didn’t do much to improve the long-term outlook.
Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps are both in contract years, Tartt has made little to no noise through camp, and K’Von Wallace appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth despite carrying so much promise out of Clemson.
Enter Reed Blankenship
The Eagles added Reed Blankenship as a UDFA following the NFL Draft. The former Blue Rider became Middle Tennessee’s all-time leading tackler and was named to the All-Conference USA First-Team in 2021. A former team captain, Blankenship is very reminisicent of a Marcus Epps-type player.
Special Teams appeared to be the ceiling early on for Blankenship. Scouting reports heralded his football IQ, but he didn’t have any excellent athletic traits that enabled him to really capitalize on it consistently. With ‘arm-tackling’ also being a concern, but you wouldn’t know it watching his preseason debut.
Reed Blankenship steals the show
The Eagles may have lost to the Jets last Friday, but Blankenship won the day. He led the team in tackles and predominantly played with the second team. After a couple of strong practices to end camp, Jonathan Gannon spoke glowingly of his rookie underdog.
He’s very smart, he’s instinctive, and has a unique skillset. When I say unique skillset, he’s not a post safety or a box safety. He can do it all. He tackles and he processes fast, and he just needs some reps and time on task.
There are certain things, as a rookie, he hasn’t seen like some of the older vets have seen. I really like though that he’s a guy that when he makes a mistake, he’s not a repeat offender.
From that, you know he’s going to continue to keep progressing. I’m excited about Reed.
If your defensive coordinator is excited about you, that’s usually a good sign. Given that the Eagles really do lack any kind of long-term depth at the position, having a player who is already progressing early is beyond encouraging. We may not see too much from Reed Blankenship in 2022, but provided he can keep this up and make the roster, his potential impact on special teams could be enough to send him down the same path that Marcus Epps walked en-route to his starting role.
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