Senior Bowl Diary: Searching For a Safety

NCAA Football: Gildan New Mexico Bowl-Washington State vs Colorado State

Every time Howie Roseman meets with the media this offseason, he knows one topic that is guaranteed to surface: the Eagles’ plan at safety.

It’s become an annual tradition to a certain extent. The Eagles have tried time and again – through the draft, trades and free agency – to fill the two safety spots, but have been largely unsuccessful.




In 2013, Patrick Chung struggled throughout, while Nate Allen showed some improvement. Earl Wolff battled a knee injury and made rookie mistakes, but proved his athleticism translates to the NFL level.

Overall, though, safety is high on the need list this offseason. The Eagles could take a shot at one of the top free-agent options like Buffalo's Jairus Byrd or Cleveland's T.J. Ward. Or they could find a prospect or two in the draft.

Which brings us back to this week's Senior Bowl. Some of the top safety prospects - Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton Dix, Florida State's Lamarcus Joyner and Louisville's Calvin Pryor - were not in attendance. Pryor (6-2, 208) is one guy who has been popping up on early mock drafts to the Eagles with the No. 22 pick.

We'll have more on the top guys listed above in the coming weeks, but below are three safety prospects we tracked down in Mobile.

Deonne Bucannon, Washington State

Bucannon played against Chip Kelly in college. Washington State never held Oregon to fewer than 43 points while he was there, but Bucannon had three interceptions in his career against the Ducks.

At 6-0 7/8 and 216 pounds, Bucannon has excellent size for a safety and was known in college as a big hitter. During the pre-draft process, though, he wants to show he can cover too.

"I kind of feel like a lot of people didn’t see me as what I was sometimes," Bucannon said. "And that’s a lot of the reason why I decided to come out here - to show everybody that I am more than just a hitter, more than just aggressive. I can actually play football.

"I’m trying to make it my goal [to show people] that I can actually cover. I can actually cover and stay with the slot receivers, with the tight ends and my hips aren’t as tight as what people may think because I’m a big safety."

Bucannon played mostly zone in college and was a playmaker with six interceptions and three forced fumbles. If he can prove his versatility in the coming months, his stock will rise.

Ahmad Dixon, Baylor

The storyline is somewhat similar for Dixon. Considered a big hitter, he has to prove to scouts that he can cover.

Asked what he thinks the biggest question about him is, Dixon said: "It’s my coverage ability. And that’s because we don’t do very much man-to-man coverage at Baylor. We’re moreso a quarters-based team so more in zone a lot. But that’s what I’m here for, to show everybody that I can cover and I’m not afraid to do so.

"I’m not very good in [practice] one-on-ones, but in the game I’ll lock you down."

At 5-11 1/2, 205 pounds, Dixon also has good size for a safety.

"I realize that every hit won’t be a big hit," he said. "Sometimes you have to get nasty and grab an ankle or jump on the back, whatever it takes to pull a guy down. You won’t be able to get that big hit every time."

Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois

He was probably the best cover guy among the safeties in Mobile. And Ward's stock seems to be rising.

"Some coaches told me I wasn’t even on the list, and then I got interviews from ‘em," Ward said. "So I’m progressing each and every day."

At 5-10 3/8, 191 pounds, Ward isn't as big as Dixon and Bucannon. But he played some nickel in college and could be a nice fit for teams looking for someone to match up with tight ends and slot receivers.

Ward said his family didn't have a lot growing up and he didn't always eat right. But he's already put on 9 pounds this offseason and wants to add about 10 more to get up to around 201.

Ward will be a key player to watch at the scouting combine next month. If he tests well and adds some bulk, Ward will be an intriguing option for teams looking for safety help.

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  • Robin Wallace

    Anybody to replace Chung. Regardless of the reported 3rd week injury, he sucked before, during, and afterwards, He needs to go!!!

  • Tom W

    Rooting for jimmie ward. seems like a good kid a fighter. Alot of kids don’t go to bigger programs because of their family situations and still near home. Hope he rocks the combine. Heard he was best safety at the senior bowl.

    • RIP illa

      That’s only by default. Cuz no other safety at the senior bowl can cover to save their lives!!!

      • Tom W

        Huh? still draft eligible guys … still is a fact he is best cover guy at senior bowl. I didnt say he was best of all safeties … I didnt even say he was good at it i just said he was best at senior bowl.

  • Richard Colton

    TJ Ward in FA & Jimmie Ward in the 4th round? We could do a lot worse.

    • Rambler

      They would be the Ward’ens, patrolling the secondary.

    • Tom W

      I’d be thrilled w that. Howie will need to open up the pocketbook though. 7.7 — 8 mil a year .. 5 years ..15-17 mil guaranteed

      • cliff henny

        yeah, neither is picking up phone unless guarenteed starts with a crooked number. Byrd turndown 10-12m signing bonus and 20m guarenteed from bills. these boys want paid! see the offer 5yrs 43m, 12m signing bonus, 30m+-guarenteed (doesnt matter all that much, due to dead money, they’ll be on team for 4 yrs) with ’14 playing for league min to help cap, 2-4yrs at about 7m wirh non-guarenteed 5th yr at 10m. last yr have about 3m dead still. it’s gonna sting. but certainly do-able and wouldnt hamper any future draft re-signs.

    • Javi Echie

      Sounds like your giving up on the young Wolff already. I wouldn’t mind Jimmie Ward lined up next to Earl Woff next year.

      • theycallmerob

        I would, only in the sense that one guy is a rookie and the other is a 2nd year player with only a couple games’ worth of experience. Too hard a position to learn in the NFL to throw 2 new guys out there on a team competing for the playoffs/NFC

        • Javi Echie

          Yea I agree with what you’re saying. The point I’m saying is that as much as I would love tj ward or byrd I don’t think we have to break the bank for one of them. If we can draft jimmie ward and sign someone like clemons as a veteran insurance policy, if the rookie or wolff struggle, that would be great and it would save money to invest throughout the roster. I think its me just putting my GM hat on and thinking about the present and future lol

          • theycallmerob

            I love the philosophy; I’m just not that much of an optimist. Such a situation would also leave us very vulnerable depth-wise.
            Of the 3 current free agents (Allen, Coleman, Anderson) and Chung, I see only 1 of those 4 coming back (likely Coleman or Anderson).
            B-west said it best in a recent post below, but I don’t think the Eagles are really that gun-shy on spending $; the way the roster is set with young talent, any FA can get a front-loaded deal with 2 huge years initially before tapering off. It’s all about the guarantee. They see most of their money sooner, and the team always has a slight “out” possibility down the road without major cap ramifications. Win-win, with the caveat being a team has to be in a good cap situation immediately to take on such a contract (i.e., the bane of Jerrah’s existence)
            So my best case is grab Byrd or Ward; a lower level FA for depth and competition (Whitner, Clemons, Stevie Brown, Ryan Clark, Usama Young); keep Wolff + 1 of the currents; and at least one draft pick and UDFA (or 2 draft picks). That’s 6 safeties going into camp.
            That keeps about $12-15mil from the cap this year and next invested in the position, with the chance to cut ties if need be and restart or retain the young talent or FA on another deal (though cheaper since they’ll be older)

          • cliff henny

            you are undervaluing a, cap hit ward/byrd will be, about 12-13m alone. b, that lower level, still getting paid 5-7m with nice chunk signing bonus of about the same, in clemmons, probably 8-10m bonus, he’s getting a fat account too. with chung cut, taking 1m cap hit, and 3 other guys, you’re up closer to 22-25m range. i could live with FA, Wolff, Draft pick, Chung-renegotiated, Coleman. depending who, 12m to 16-18m cap hit. very do-able

          • JofreyRice

            I wouldn’t even ask Howie for the time to set my watch by, during this pre-FA, pre-draft time period.

    • theycallmerob

      I can definitely support this. I think TJ is a great S in his own right, and would not mind getting him for $10 mil less than what the Raiders pay Byrd. Grab Jimmie in the 3rd or 4th, allowing us to get some WR/OLB/DT earlier in the draft.
      Add in Wolff, and it’s the all-W safeties.

      • theedevilsadvocate

        the World Wide Web http://www.smashmouth.com

      • Will

        With the Raiders 70 Million under the cap they could sign’em both…lol…

      • Johnny Domino

        You think J Ward play the slot and let Boykin go outside?

    • Will

      T.J. Ward battled a shoulder injury this season…just a heads up…

  • Tom W

    I think what we do at draft at safety will depend on free agency and the coaches view of Earl Wolfe. Chip likes competition. Also we can play 3 safeties in coverage a lot like we did early last year. Davis wants to do that.

    1) New Free Agent Starter (want a stud but probably end up w someone who is at least better than Nate Allen or otherwise why not keep Allen). From the PFF rankings and other free agent grades I seen, Whitner and Clemons are a possibility (although i think witner is a tad overrated and is 29 maybe a deterrent). Mitchell and Brown a chance too and an improvement over Allen (grades dont lie) but there is the continuity thing to worry about. Personally, I think if chip gets a chance to upgrade talent and strengthen the roster – he begins to do it this year bc he already got the locker room to buy in year 1 and now its time to replace the dead weight. We have seen what allen can do and its not worth keeping him for what it will cost (probably a 4-5 yr deal for 4 mil a year)
    2) Wolfe – must give him a chance to start and grow from within the organization and draft.
    3) Rookie in first 5 rds to push wolfe and/or play dime his first yr and st.
    4) Vet — Free agent lower tier or Chung (owe him a mil and not a horrible backup) or Coleman (very cheap) or Allen only if deal is cheap and short (unlikely) or 1 yr vet deal in case Wolfe isn’t ready for primetime and can play special teams. If Chung can’t/doesn’t play special teams that he is probably gone. Anderson was exposed again as not a nfl safety. ST yes, but coleman could be brought back to do that. Maybe Keelan Williams jumps his game in his second yr and takes this spot. I’d take the chance to at least get an athlete w Chip’s measurables here.
    5) undrafted rookie or second yr guy like a Keelan Williams
    6) camp body

    • cliff henny

      nice post. why alot of us want byrd/ward. get top tier safety play, but then draft resources can be used on another position. wolff looks ok, along side chung and allen, really is no small feat, sure ward/byrd can help hide flaws as he grows. clemmons will be 2m less a yr not hide wolff as well, and there will be growing pains. length sort of doesnt matter with Eagles, they only have shady signed past ’15 besides picks, tons of wiggle room. since either of big 2, now swinging for fences in first 3-4 rds, double up on wrs, get lb, get joyner who is dback with no position except to makes plays, possibilities are endless. shortside themselves with an ok mid level guy, now safety is must have in first 3 rds. for 2m when 20m under, easily get to 30+m.

    • JofreyRice

      You have to be a little careful with Mike Mitchell’s raw PFF grade. He is a very shaky tackler. Missed 18 tackles against 45 made–that’s worse than Chung, who was an abysmal tackler. He was also the beneficiary of the way Rivera and McDermott were using him–they brought him on blitzes a lot, and set him up from way back, because he’s got really good closing speed–the very same closing speed that Al Davis coveted when he reached for him in the draft.

      The rush grade, in his case, compensates for a really poor grade against the run and just a so-so coverage grade. And although he does play with 3 safeties, I haven’t seen Davis use DBs in that same way–he likes to get guys somewhat closer to the line, like Blitzin’ Boykin.

      I’d much prefer Whitner, or Clemons–although Clemons isn’t the world’s surest tackler, either.

  • Will

    Thank you Sheil for the run down on the Safeties at the Senior Bowl…

    Good Safeties are thin in the draft as well as the FA market….I loved to have Byrd but do not see them doing a 40 million dollar contract on one player….I think they window shop but end up getting mid-level guys to plug in like Clemons to go with a drafted guy…or wouldn’t be shocked if they resign Allen in the end for cost effective reasons…So they go Clemons/Allen/Wolff and a drafted safety cutting Chung when it’s all said and done…

    Maybe they are on great terms and Byrd wants to play for Chip. Everything I’ve read Byrd just says he wants to be the highest paid Safety so we shall see…I think the Eagles go 3-4 million a year tops on Safety ….which is Allen/Clemons market numbers and you got 2 guys that do everything good but nothing great…and if we are lucky Deone Buccanon falls to us in the draft…

    • cliff henny

      hope you have the rest of the afternoon off. what’s scarey, Allen will get closer to 5m, safety play in nfl is just that bad. i wont complain if ward and byrd get 5yrs 45m with huge guarenteed and eagles go with Clemmons. then i will expect safety earlier in draft. Byrd or ward can help Wolff more, maybe take 5th for competition. clemmons isnt going to be free either. sure he’ll get 7m’ish. going to7m, why not go to 9m, but there is always a breaking point.

      • Will

        All great points…They will have to balance $ vs. Talent….Clemons has good speed at 4.41….The FA Safety market will favor the player’s more teams in need them…3-4 more top tier to be found in the Draft…This will be the spot I’m most interested in besides OLB….They can always get away with Trent Cole for another year.

        Do they resign Allen because 1 year in the system and would be cost effective, or pay more $ that doesn’t bring a better player?

        Do they break the Piggy Bank and go get the best in Byrd or Ward….

  • Eagle in VT

    I guess this is the 6 year old in me, but I’m kinda rooting for Dix…if only to hear that he and Cox combined for a big tackle. I can hear it now, “wow, he just got hammered by Cox and Dix!” Or, “Cox and Dix just rammed him!” Or, “they are having a great game, it seems like Cox and Dix are all over the place down there!”

    …ok, I’m done now. Carry on.

    • harty17

      Yeah, then we could trade for Bushrod and Johnson. We’d have the all-porn team……..Cox,Dix,Bushrod and Johnson……..I don’t know, every time I see the name Ha Ha Clinton Dix I can’t help but think of Monica Lewinsky……

  • B-West

    If the Eagles front load a lot of the money to any high price free agent, they should be ok. With the rookie salary cap, the talent of the 12 and 13 classes don’t get extensions for another 2 and 3 years. (It’s projection, I know, but even the pessimists have to believe that a decent number of those guys will be kept around.)

    Sign Byrd to a front loaded deal with a bunch of the loopholes that Vick and Nnamdi had in their deals to mitigate risk on the back end. Personally, I think the mid-level stuff was a good strategy last year, but a smoke screen this year. I think we come out of free agency with Byrd. It’ll be reported as a huge deal, but then a week later we’ll see the contract details and it’ll look fine.

    • anon

      why would he take that when he can get a real deal elsewhere?

      • NickS1

        All about the guaranteed money. Certainly no agent over here, but I want my player to get the most guaranteed money. If the guaranteed $ is the same just laid out in different terms over the same span, i.e., gets the money sooner but can be cut after year 3 instead of year 4, that almost works better for the agent so he gets another crack at a contract, meaning more guaranteed money = more fee income for agent. Just my initial thought.

        • anon

          so you’d sign a safety to a front loaded deal knowing you have a qb to pay next year?

          • B-West

            Doesn’t it seem almost too perfect to pass on this opportunity tho? An annual hole in the roster, an admitted evaluation weakness, and a strength of the free agent market have aligned. Seems to me, one of the reasons to stay so disciplined with the cap and the draft is so that you can jump on that opportunity.

            Every year, teams are up against the cap and they find a way to make it work. I’m not talking about disasters like Dallas, but teams with talent have to pay for it, and they find a way to juggle the numbers. The Birds can’t find a way to take advantage of this scenario when they are well under the cap? Like I said, its my opinion, but I hope they do and I’ll be disappointed if we’re 15 mil under the cap again next year.

          • NickS1

            If we can keep carrying over 10-12 a year, that’s beautiful. We have 20 now. Make the splurge, take a huge cap hit with Byrd now, and have the contract at managable numbers years 2-4 (last year of deal is rarely seen).

          • theycallmerob

            assuming that Foles plays himself into a big contract (which is a great problem to have), he’ll still end up somewhere in the 12-16mil a year salary. He’s not getting a top 5 contract, and probably only close to top 10 if he repeats near last year’s levels (which, again, is a problem worth paying for! )
            By 2015, we have almost NO cap concerns on defense. Boykin and Cox will be the only players receiving extensions that really make a dent in the cap (maybe Kendricks if he plays that well).
            Barwin may be the only other big-$ LB ($6.1 in ’15); Sconces will never see that last year of his contract with the 8mil+ cap hit, and aside from Safety there’s little chance of a big $ player.
            Even in the long-term, Roseman has the cap set up nicely.

            {addendum}: the only players currently signed past ’15 are:
            Barkely (last year of rookie deal)
            Shady (pry re-structure those years, bring that cap $ down)
            DJax (last year of current deal; he’ll never see that as is)
            Celek (last year of current deal; he’ll never see that as is)
            Ertz (last year of rookie deal)
            LJ (ditto)
            Herremans (last year of current deal; he’ll never see that as is)
            Mathis (last year of current deal; he’ll never see that as is)
            Kruger, Logan, Wolff (last year of rookie deal)
            Barwin and Cole (Cole will never see that as is; Barwin may restructure by then)
            Dorenbos

            May Jerrah live forever.

          • Tom W

            anywhere anybody know of where we can see the cap numbers in 2015 – 16 etc.?

          • Tom W

            found my answer. thanks. You think foles only gets 12-16 mil? what about the cutler contract? and schaub? can foles agent make a comparison if he hasnt put up a parade but good numbers. and kap’s new deal will be a marker if he doesnt win superbowl.

          • NickS1

            100% yes. We anticipate having to pay Foles next offseason, but that’s a) assuming another year having success and b) him be willing to take an extension vs. killing it a third straight year and essentially trying to Flacco us. Flacco is a verb in the NFL dictionary. Or at least it should be. You can structure the deals accordingly. My ultimate hope is that Foles agrees to talk extension and is willing to take a moderate QB salary (12-15) relative to others because he, based on quotes, seems to truly understand that he needs a team around him. What I wouldn’t do is sign a safety to a front loaded deal and expect us to try to land any other big money FAs, or even many “mid-level” guys, because of our need to resign some draft picks who, thus far, seem to be panning out quite nicely.

          • Tom W

            Foles contract is the sticking point … why would he not go for what cutler and schaub got and what kap gets … that well over 15 mil I would think. looking more like 17-19 mil no?

          • cliff henny

            remeber, have new cba. why would he play in ’15 for 700k, get twice franchised, plus think there’s a 2nd way teams can hold onto rookies, all non-guarenteed and never see that signing bonus. eagles should have some leverage to keep cost down (relative term albeit) to that 13-14m range over 4-5yrs and toss him nice fat signing bonus of 10m. he’d make out in long run, so would eagles. why drafting talent is so important, even moreso with new cba. issue is 3rd contract. players will have no reason to re-sign early since making millions, by end be playing on per year under-value (but not really, you know they’ll forget teams didnt have them playout last year of rookie contract).
            .
            also 9ers are way more relient on keap than eagles are on foles, or maybe it’s just me. say both situations explode, feel like kelly could figure offense/rebound with new qb alot quicker than 9ers.

          • Tom W

            Understood. And drafting talent is the name of the game. That’s why its imperative we fill holes in fagency and take bpa in first 4 rounds of the draft and try to acquire more picks if possible.

          • NickS1

            I’m not saying he won’t go for more. I think Cliff hit the key points below, but, also, mine is more of a hope, because of the kind of player that Foles appears to be. He’s a team guy, he’s got playmakers around him, and understands that this offense is as much about the playmakers as it is the QB. Is QB important? Obviously. But I get the impression that he’s a smart enough guy and a team first guy that wants to win more than anything, knowing that he’ll be set regardless of if it’s 14 or 18 mil a season. Kaep, from the very little I’ve read, is trying to break the bank. If he gets a top 5 contract, like I’ve heard he wants, say goodbye to that defense in the following 2-3years. Can’t keep them all.

          • Tom W

            Question — based on this dion jordan trade article by overthecap.com — doesn’t miami still take a big dead money hit on its cap? did the author ignore that or am I wrong?

            http://overthecap.com/salary-cap-financial-considerations-trading-dion-jordan/

          • Maggie

            You’re right last I heard.

          • Will

            I heard a 16.8 million dead $ hit so they say this ain’t gonna happen….
            http://www.overthecap.com/cap.php?Name=Dion%20Jordan&Position=43DE&Team=Dolphins

          • NickS1

            It’s funny. You read overthecap.com’s article and they say 16mil. You go to their own cap calculator and put the move in yourself and it comes up at 10mil. WHICH IS IT OVERTHECAP!?!?

          • Will

            They are not the most accurate found that out comparing The Philadelphia Eagles Salary cap to overthecap…Guys were talking about this earlier in the week and 16 mil was the figure they were using….

          • cliff henny

            yeah-cant happen, when trading, new team get no dead money in contract(see ryans-houston ate money, eagles got blank slate, outside guarenteed base… http://eaglescap.com/Players/DeMecoRyans.html ). trading team has to absord it. can spread it out over 2 years generally. weird coming from cap site. used to writers ignoring cap side and making stupid predictions.

          • NickS1

            Yeah, they eat 10mil in trading Dion Jordan. Haven’t looked at their cap numbers, but $10 mil is a lot of dead money for only one player no matter which way you slice it. Impossible to deal with? No, but difficult as a mofo.

            EDIT: Articles on overthecap.com say it’s 16mil. Their own cap calculater, as well as other articles I’ve read, say 10mil. Overthecap.com is definitely screwing up the integrity of the numbers they’re providing.

          • cliff henny

            it’s either june 1st(10m then 6m), or, the difference of 6m is guarenteed base. a guarenteed base does transfer to new team. regardless, no one is trading a 3rd overall pick previous yr, known when picking raw, eating 10m for 4th yr nobody brandan f’n graham. if overthecap is actually mentioning this as a real possibility, i’ll have to think twice about that site. though i only use it for numbers, never articles. not true, do enjoy cowboy cap crushing articles they have written.

          • NickS1

            Trent Richardson was a 3rd overall pick who had a pretty good first year, he got traded. Wonder what CLE ate to do it. Happened to be a good move for CLE. I don’t think it ever happens, but, not impossible.

          • cliff henny

            ’13, 3.5m, ’14 6.6m. looks pretty dumb. better be one great 25th, or whatever it is, pick.

      • B-West

        Its not really less of a deal, just structured in a way that favors the team. Nicks comment just posted… What he said basically.

        Nnamdi and Vick (to a lesser degree) had leverage and suitors at the time, and they signed the deals they did.

      • anon

        Hear you but he’s the top FA Safety at a time when there’s no safety and he wants to be the highest paid player. I’d be unprepared to spend 8-10 money most of which would be guaranteed when we have a number of players coming off of rookie contracts next year (Foles, Cox, Kendricks, etc.).

        • B-West

          The first group of rookies under the new wage scale has just entered their renegotiation/extension window. They get 3 months from the time of their last game played. It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out. Guys like Newton, Watt, Miller in Denver, Julio, and Smith in SF will be looking for deals.

          Since the Eagles whiffed in 2011 (Kelce excluded), they’ll get to sit back and let the market set itself. Plan all along?? I kid, I kid.

      • GEAGLE

        You think we outbid everyone for NNamdi? That’s not how it went down. Howie Talked to Nnamdi’s people. Made a nice offer, told his agent to just keep us in the loop, NNamdi came back, took a little less money because he wanted to be an eagle(it was supposed to mean something at that time smh). He had better offers on the table, it’s not like Howie was the only idiot who thought he was a top corner..
        ..
        Everyone hears how Byrd talks about wanting to be the highest paid safety, but no one talks about how he has talked about wanting to play in a big market and play for a winner…Front load the hell out of that contract, make it comperable to the first 3 years that the raiders are offering him! and let’s see what he says when his agent tells him you can make 38million and go reunite with chip Kelly, and one of the hottest teams in the NFL, in a Rabbid market who couldn’t be any more starved for a safety, or take that 41 million to go to Oakland and be forgotten,,you can leave the Bills and come to an ELITE NFL franchise clearly on the upswing…or you can take some extra money and go play for Bills west aka oakland

    • GEAGLE

      Totally agree with you….this is NOT the time of year to be trusting the words that come out of your GMs mouth…like do people expect him to announce “Lurie just gave me a blank check and he wrote Safety on the bottom, and now We will desperately pursue a top safety”???

      People can talk about how Howie says his “batting average approach is the way to go” but fact of the matter is he was interested in Dashon Goldson last year, but was turned off by the price,..some fool earlier threw it in my face like “see what would make you think he would pay for a top safety”???..you think he picked up his phone and called Goldsons agent thinking he was going to get Goldson on a cheap “batting average deal”??? Get real…you pick up the phone KNOWING you are going to have to spend some money if you want a guy like Goldson..I assume, they thought the safety market was so weak that Goldson wasn’t worth grossly overpaying for…but Goldson isn’t one of the beys safeties..he is probably in the top 6-12 range,so why wouldn’t Howie scoff at paying elite money? It also could be that we had 15 holes to fill last year, as opposed to this year where we have about 30% of the holes we thought we would have….Just because we didn’t want to pay for Goldson, it could mean we didn’t think he was worth THAT much…they could look at Byrd and think he is worth every penny. This is also a drastically better safety market then last year. Orakpo is this years Goldson, a good player we will like, but who we won’t like at the price the market over pays for…it’s what happens when, the next best player at your position on ether market doesn’t even compare to you…

  • Will

    Hope your right and they get BPA which is Byrd….

  • Giorgos Kassakos

    Bucannon is athletic and covers well, but must improve his angles. It’s the only thing that holds him back. He is a big hitter when he gets to the carrier from the right angle but that’s not very often.

    Dixon is a better fit, in my opinion. I haven’t watched Ward yet.

    • Will

      I’m thinking the bird’s might go OLB at #22…then Safety at #52 and trying to figure who will still be available…I would be shocked if they go Safety at #22…

      • Joe L

        As long as that OLB isn’t Trent Murphy.

        • Will

          Not sure who they covet or who will be left at #22 to pick for an OLB….gonna be a very interesting Draft and FA for the Eagles…

      • Giorgos Kassakos

        I agree. I think only Clinton-Dix is a value pick at no.22, but I doubt he will be available. Rounds 2-4 are where the Eagles should target a safety, unless they bring Byrd or Ward during free agency.

        • GEAGLE

          Pryor ends up being drafted ahead of Dix…
          ..
          We def going OLB at 22, unless their is a WR too ungodly impressive for Chip to pass on…really hoping Howie pulls one of his secret coups and announces the signing of Byrd so we can get a freak OLB and WR in the first two rounds, and wait til rounds 3-5 to draft a safety for Wolff to compete with for a starting spit next to byrd

          • Giorgos Kassakos

            Do you think Howie will give Byrd the contract he wants? Rumors have it that Byrd wants something like 5 years/40-45 million dollars.

            And even if Howie does it, how sure can we be that Byrd will not be the new Aso? Chances are he won’t be, but who knows..

          • GEAGLE

            I promise you Byrd can play..been obsessed with him for 3 years…no one had ever seen NNamdi play lol, everyone was just going off reputation. NNamdi has NOTHING to do with any of the future free agents we sign..Byrd is hungry to win and be the best..we want dudes like him

          • cliff henny

            have hard time seeing how byrd or ward + olb/wr is plan A, and and by a long margin. get there’s other routes, probably work since eagles have ton of flexibility. money wise too. ward/byrd will cost more than next batch of guys, but eagles can go with mid-draft rookie, wolff, cut chung or renegotiate, vet mins on coleman-pretty much done, 1 big contract and in-house the rest. sign whitner or brown, not sure you can be done and think drastically improved, need to add another piece.

    • reb

      That’s not good because that’s exactly the Nate Allen problem – always taking a bad angle.

      • cliff henny

        Chung sucked so much, in comparison, nate looked like he took good ones

      • RIP illa

        Wolff’s problems were bad angles. Nate’s were pretty much any problem that is derived from playing soft and his lack of range post injury, and his ability to make impact plays, in general and on the ball.

    • RIP illa

      He’s showed very lackluster coverage skills this week. So unless your talking strictly about zone, then I have to disagree.

      • GEAGLE

        Swear that watching him in games, he never struck me as a coverage liability…They used him in zone playing centerfield a lot, but with more and more freak TE emerging, safeties that can shut down TE in man will become a mythical unicorn like the “lockdown corner”

  • TNA

    Dixon: “I’m not very good in [practice] one-on-ones, but in the game I’ll lock you down.”
    Dixon: Not going to play for Chip or the Eagles so long as Chip is the coach.

    If you had to choose one physical attribute of a potential new safety to prioritize this off-season, what would it be?

    I think adding speed and agility (coverage ability) are more important than tackling ability (if you had to choose one over the other) for the current makeup of the defense. It would allow Cary and Fletcher do what they do best, which is press coverage. Also, tackling, as we saw with Allen, can be improved. Speed/agility is more of an innate skill.

    The combination of a more experienced/better front 3, a stud OLB, and a rangy cover safety would be good.

    • Will

      Spot on…speed and coverage ability should be the traits we look for and if a guy can bring the hammer too all the better…

    • cliff henny

      am i reading that 2nd quote right? uh, yeah, wanna bet kid? they take you in 3rd-4th, you’re playing for Philly…or kiss 2-3m goodbye

    • Ark87

      Tackling at it’s highest level is a mind set. You’ve got to want it. You’ve got to be fearless. Too many Safeties are just cornerbacks who were too slow and had to be moved. Look at Eric Reid during the NFC championship game, Beast mode coming at him, the last man standing, stopped, broke down, was hoping to catch the contact, rather than attack. So beast mode just went around. Nothing against Reid, he’s good, just saying that is a classic symptom of modern safety play. Some safeties will take a bad angle aiming for an easier hit from the side rather than a more direct hit that could save yards.

      Point is, I’d prefer to pony up for someone natural at both roles, because most safeties have a tackling ceiling at functional.

    • GEAGLE

      I would cry if we drafted Dixon…Every single time I watched him play, he reminded me of Kurt Coleman on Roids. He bites on EVERYTHING!!! I’ll take anyone over him

  • Stuart Philp

    Bucannon has good size and is a nasty hitter, the kind of guy that causes players to think twice about running over the middle. If he can prove his cover skills, he jumps up pretty high on my list.

    Ward and Dixon are a bit small I think, I don’t like the idea of them getting caught in a mismatch against 6-5 TE’s.

  • Ale (Brazil)

    You guys are forgetting about the underclassmen, especially Calvin Pryor. If he rocks it at the combine i think the Eagles will be tempted to pull the trigger on him. He’s 6’2, 208lbs, so passes the CK Quality Control. The only thing about him is the level of competition, same doubt i apply to Teddy Bridgewater. Played lots of bad teams if you ask me. Howie and Chip surely know that the Eagles need help at Safety, and will address that heavily. As you guys said, don’t see they splashing big money on FA, just pinpoint additions. I’m up for it as long as the cheapness doesn’t affect the competition in Training Camp. want to see at least 4 clear-cut favorites for the 2 safety spots and guys fighting madly for ‘em.

    • JofreyRice

      I’m generally more for signing a vet S, because it gives you an immediate solution to an old problem, but Pryor is definitely a guy that has value at #22. Charlie Strong, who has a strong and creative mind for defense, told Pryor that he was one of the best players he’s ever coached.

      The drawback would be that there will be some adjustment to the NFL, no matter how good he is. I thought Kenny Vaccaro was the bee’s knees, and a better prospect than Eric Berry, but even he had to adjust to the intricacies and complexity of the pro passing game. I don’t think Pryor would be that immediate answer, and this team might be a serious contender next year.

      • GEAGLE

        Pryor also doesn’t help Wolff much…signing a top veteran would be great for Wolff and whatever other safety we draft(obviously we won’t draft a safety in round 1 if we sign Byrd, but we are still forced to draft safety somewhere in first 5 rounds

    • Will

      Calvin Pryor and HaHa Clinton-Dix will most likely be the first two Safeties Drafted….they may both be gone before #22…Green Bay may take Pryor at #21….HaHa Clinton-Dix might go in the first 15…

  • JofreyRice

    I’ve read a lot of favorable stuff about this Ward kid, from a variety of sources. At least 4 separate draft writers have said this kid looks like a legit pro safety, despite being just a hair undersized.

    • GEAGLE

      Wonder how many have actually seen him with their own eyes, and how many games of him they have watched at this point In the process?

  • Chris Jones

    The only thing that frustrates me about these talks are hearing of Wolfe still being in the rotation. He’s alright but that’s the problem just alright. Sign or draft two big playmaking safeties and our secondary is looking pretty good. I want guys who get picks, force fumbles, and cover like white on rice. Easier said then done but there are a good selection of them this year.

    • peteike

      theres never a guarantee that a draft pick will be better than a guy on your roster so you wait to see how they perform in camp. You cant really think its as easy as cut guys and find studs

  • RIP illa

    Let’s be real here…most of the Senior Bowl Participants suck when compared to years past!!! The Safeties mentioned who participated are certainly nothing to write home about and it’s pissing me off to no end to keep hearing “so and so’s a big hitter”…ugh!!! That’s becoming such a freaking antiquated attribute in the league!!! Coverage is way more important, followed by willingness to provide run support while not missing tackles and displaying sound tackling technique. If anyone wants a “big hitter” than that player would be best being on the bench, trying to learn how to cover and being used sparingly and maybe for short yardage situations when there’s a unlikely chance of a pass.

    Bucannon: can hit can get picks…CANT COVER!!! He gets most of his picks by playing “centerfield”. Yes that’s better than what we currently had/have. Yet still, you can’t match him up in a TE or WR cuz he’s suspect in coverage. Can’t find the ball in the air to save his life!!! Doesn’t get his head around, hardly ever and then sub par ball skills when locked up w/ a WR or TE. And he. Is the best of this group…smh!!!

    Dixon: he’s so Meh!!! Everything about him. Size, speed, technique…you name it and I say meh!!!

    Jimmie Ward can cover and shows a willingness to be a good all around safety. Love a Safety that can cover slot WRs!!! Problem is tho, he’s small as hell and also slow!!! He’s gonna have to really really work on his 40 time for the combine. And still, that just gives a false positve cuz it doesn’t match his game speed and/or tape.

    If we’re not getting a top Safety (Dix and Pryor) then I’d rather us stay away from licking up one of these guys based on need. Cuz these guys are going to go seriously higher than their play shows that they deserve!!! In a so called normal/ideal draft I wouldn’t look at one of these guys till middle 3rd. So if not the top, then sit there and see which one of these 3 fall, or better yet…just pick up Tre Boston, who has the size, speed, range, and willingness to help in the run game despite his bad tackling technique. He’s so much like an Eal Wolff pick and I could definitely deal/stomach that until we actually solidify the position either through developing he and Wolff, or getting a Blue Chip guy.

    • GEAGLE

      Tell you the truth, I HATE both “Big Hitters” and “COVER” safeties…why the hell would I want either? Safeties are supposed to HIT, Tackle AND Cover, yet somewhere along the road it has become one or the other? I have no interest in one dimensional safeties. Hitting/tackling needs to be a prerequisite for ANY safety we ever even CONSIDER..then out of the acceptable hitters we need to sign the best cover guy of the bunch…
      ..
      I don’t care how much this has become a passing league, you CAN NOT be a liability in the run game. Call it a passing league all we want, but the NUMBER ONE GOAL of every defense, every single time they ever take the field is to shut down the run and make them one dimensional,and that doesn’t change whether you are playing Peyton or KAp……even if Nate continues to improve on the “Cover guy” he is supposed to be, he will always be a liability in short passes and the run game….

      Your safeties can’t be liabilities in coverage, but they HAVE TO BE the toughest and best tacklers in your secondary…I don’t care how much of a bad ass I think Cary Williams is, he can NOT be a tougher player then our safety…
      ..
      I don’t want to hear about how we drafted a “Hitter” or a “Cover” safety..get a well rounded safety who plays physical football like a mini LB in run support, but who isn’t a liability in coverage. TE are becoming FREAKS that just can’t be stopped man to man by a safety..so get a guy with crazy field covering speed, who will execute his assignments like “over the top help”, “not letting anyone get behind him”, but who is also an opportunistic playmaker..
      ..
      I think Highly of Earl Wolff. He is exactly the type of safety I’m talking about..what would you call Wolff? A hitter? Cover guy? I honestly can’t call him either, which makes him a well rounded safety. We need another well rounded safety with more Size and a talent level above Earl, if we want our secondary to be good enough to contend without having to replace Cary and Brad..

      ideally we invest in the BYRD, and a safety who is at the top of the board in rounds 3-5…That way Wolff and the Rookie can compete every day for a starting safety spot and both young players would have an ELITE VET to learn from…I can live with Ward, but he is a different type of safety. Dude is a gritty tackling machine. Solid in coverage,won’t give up much YAC yardage..and Wolff has serious potential in coverage(that TD to gates he broke up was serious business!!!..I can see Wolff growing into a nice playmaking centerfielder, so a gritty tackling machine like Ward would work lol (just look at his face and the size of his head to know you are getting a BEAST lol)…. But I can’t help Wolff learning to fly around, baiting QBs from the Byrd Man….I won’t call Byrd the best, because I believe that would be Eric Berry, but I would call Byrd 2a Earl Thomas 2B

      I put Ward in the cam Chancellor, more traditional strong safety category,,,,but those guys can both cover, it’s just their hits over shadow it…

      If you can’t cover, your ceiling is Bernard Pollard, and you will more likely just be another Taylor Mays

    • cliff henny

      with you on ‘big hitting’. think where people get confused is thinking when saying this we dont want a sure tackler, which as you wrote, isnt the case. get me a ball-hawk, who’s not scared to stick his nose in there on run downs, touches ball carrier he’s on the ground sure tackler and if every once in awhile he lays a crosser out, great, if not, so what. it sucks, cause i still have man-crush on Dawks, but he’d have to change alot of his style to play in todays nfl.

      • NickS1

        Ike Hilliard’s ribs wish they never saw action in the NFC East.

        • cliff henny

          my favorite hit ever was atl nfccg. alge caught it at the 8, as Dawk was hitting him i yelled ‘say goodnight to your ribs (and then a long list of explatives)!’.

  • Chris Jones

    Cut Allen, Coleman, and Chung this team has settled for mediocrity for too long especially at the safety position. Draft Pryor or Joyner if they’re still there. Sign Byrd or
    Ward or both even! And mix earl Wolfe in there and suddenly safety looks a whole hell of a lot better.

    • RIP illa

      No reason to cut Allen since he’s not under contract.

      • GEAGLE

        Coleman is no longer under contract, neither is Colt or Nate..

        Get 3 new safeties, and THEN I’d love to cut Chung.

        I also question if he is really that putrid, or if he was being a war playing then an injury that was hampering him because we were so thin at safety?…either way, I look forward to replacing him, I just don’t think it will happen until next offseason

        • RIP illa

          I think the shoulder definitely affected his ability in run support and tackling. A big difference from beginning of the year till after the injury. Still, I concur. Never wanted the signing and when so many we’re mocking him to us, I was puking and praying “God No”. Wanted speed and coverage ability and was banging the table for Clemons. I have no idea what we were thinking, cuz Clemons would have not cost considerably more, if more at all.

        • cliff henny

          think chung was brought in as 3rd safety, most to play around the LOS, and for special teams. maybe philips was hope to play next to nate. i just cant see how anyone could think chung is starter after multiple issues multiple years at NE. but he is a special teams beast. plus, paid that lbr from carolina that blew out knee good money and he was only ever STr. i hate chung’s play, but feels little like hating coleman, it was FO fault for being so thin at a position they had to play too many snaps.

      • JofreyRice

        Sign him to a one day contract, so we can have a ceremony to cut his ass.

        • RIP illa

          That’s just wrong man…hilarious, but wrong.

  • GEAGLE

    I would hate us drafting Dixon..dude is known to bite on every double move and play action pass he faces..

    Guys like Buchanon and Pryor are what I hate about this time of year lol.?all year long I drool over these guys and get a devilish grin everytime Mocks say they can be had in rounds 3 and 4..I get all excited like holy hell, we can get a secret stud in round 3, then this time of year comes around and all my “secrets steals” who I been drooling over ll year shoot into rounds one and two, and they aren’t so secret anymore :(
    ..
    I never even saw Buchanon as a coverage liability and I was always high on him for how he ran for a safety his size…this is the first I even heard about him having to show he can cover. I would be absolutely THRILLED to have Pryor or Buchanon. I’d take Calvin over Clinton Dix all day ever day…I also secretly like Dion Baily. But I find it difficult to publicaly endorse USC players…

    I would LOVE Buchanon or Pryor! but I don’t know how I would feel about being contenders and starting those rookies next to Wolff.

    I’m a huge Joyner fan like everyone else! but I don’t like him as a prototypical starting safety..I love him as a Honeybadger type. Now if we were to sign Jarius Byrd! I would LOVE to draft Joyner as our 3rd safety, and even incorporate a Dime defense since he can play slot CB like Boykin

    I hear good things about Jimmie Ward, but everyone hears good things, NO ONE has actually seen good things out of Jimmie Ward. Ii get the impression that everyone is just regurgitating opinions, or looking at the sexy stats and reaching the conclusion that he is impressive..I’m not saying he isn’t, but I haven’t seen him take a single snap, and I don’t too many people have, so I want to take a look before I praise or bash this kid. Very interested in seeing him at the seniorbowl

  • Will

    I hope the Eagles do not have tunnel vision when it comes to the Senior Bowl, there are a lot of Seniors and 102 underclassmen who declared as well.. There are arguable 3 better Safeties that did not participate. I wonder about all the other positions where they the best in the Nation. The Eagles draft more players from the Senior Bowl than any other team. Even though the best talent at certain positions were not present…It might explain in part the previous failed draft picks….