Eagles Roster Breakdown: The 90-Man Rating System

TIER 2: The Contributors

Darren Sproles, RB – I’m anxious to see what the 31-year-old has left. The Eagles seem to believe Sproles is well-suited for their run scheme. I still think his impact will be felt most as a receiver and on special teams.

Riley Cooper, WR – A repeat of last year (or improvement) would be a win for the Eagles. Cooper has excellent ball skills, but he’ll have to prove he can be productive without DeSean Jackson on the other side.

Jordan Matthews, WR – I thought about including him in “The Difference-Makers” category, but ultimately decided against it. Only four rookie WRs in the last decade have had 1,000-yard seasons off the bat. I’m not sure Matthews will be the fifth, but expect him to be the primary slot guy and contribute right away. If Cooper or Maclin go down, he’ll likely move outside.

Brent Celek, TE – I might be in the minority, but I still think he’ll play more snaps than Zach Ertz this year. Celek was a key factor in the run game last year, and that’s the focus of this offense. He didn’t get as many pass-catching opportunities, but made the most of his chances.

Todd Herremans, RG – I have no idea what to expect from Herremans this year. Can he be an adequate starter for another season? Or will the wear and tear get the better of him? This is a storyline we’ll explore in the coming weeks.

Allen Barbre, G/T – In all likelihood, he’ll be counted on to fill in for Lane Johnson in the first four games. After that, Barbre will be the first backup off the bench at all of the guard and tackle spots. The Eagles need him to play well this season and fill a variety of roles.

Lane Johnson, LT – As I mentioned this morning, Johnson will not be allowed at the NovaCare Complex during his suspension. That is worrisome for a second-year player looking to make the leap. The momentum Johnson built up towards the end of last year is gone.

Bennie Logan, NT – The Eagles wouldn’t mind adding a monstrous nose tackle in the future, but they like Logan a lot and think he can get the job done as the starter. For the most part, the run defense was very good after Logan took over for Isaac Sopoaga last season.

Vinny Curry, DE – He was handed nothing last year and eventually made his way to the gameday roster and then into a rotational role. Curry plays with great effort and is one of the better pass-rushers on this team. If he can show the ability to two-gap and play the run as a four-technique DE, he’ll earn even more snaps.

Marcus Smith, OLB – Now is when we start getting into “X-Factor” territory. The safe bet is that the rookie will play a rotational role behind Connor Barwin and Trent Cole. But given his measurables and athleticism, I’m not ready to rule out the possibility that Smith surprises some doubters in Year 1. At the very least, his versatility should allow Billy Davis to try some things we didn’t see last year.

Trent Cole, OLB – I struggled with where to put Cole. He adapted last year better than anyone could have anticipated and led the team in sacks. I think he can still be a productive player, but with the addition of Smith, he’ll likely see fewer pass-rushing opportunities.

DeMeco Ryans, ILB – The coaches are hoping one of the backups can step up so they can give Ryans more of a break after he played more snaps than any other defensive player in the league a year ago. He’s a great leader who doesn’t make mental mistakes and is extremely effective against the run. But Ryans won’t wow anyone in coverage; if he plays fewer snaps, the breaks will come when the Eagles are in their sub packages.

Cary Williams, CB – He’s not a shutdown corner, but the Eagles just need him to be adequate and physical. Williams showed the ability to fill that role a year ago, and it would be an upset if he weren’t starting at RCB all season long (barring injury).

Bradley Fletcher, CB – He’s still the favorite to start at LCB. Again, like Williams, he’s adequate but not great. Fletcher will have to hold off Nolan Carroll II for the starting job this summer.

Nolan Carroll II, CB – As I’ve written previously, he was very active during the spring and started 22 games the past two seasons for the Dolphins. Best-case scenario for Carroll is that he steals a starting job. Worst-case is that he’s the No. 4 CB and a contributor on special teams.

Nate Allen, S – He deserves credit for improving last year. But let’s be clear: The Eagles brought him back on a one-year deal after exhausting their other options. Allen is the favorite right now to start opposite Malcolm Jenkins.

Earl Wolff, S – Of all the players on this list, Wolff presents the widest range of outcomes. He could end up being a starter and a difference-maker. Or there’s a slim chance he doesn’t even make the squad (I still think that’s unlikely). One thing is clear: The coaches are not going to hand him anything. Allen took the first-team reps all spring. If Wolff wants to start, he’s going to have to flat-out win the job in the preseason.

TIER 1: The Difference-Makers

Nick Foles, QB – As you might have heard, good quarterback play often correlates to success in the NFL. Foles will be without Jackson and has a less stable offensive line situation to deal with. Opposing defensive coordinators have more film on him, and there will be natural statistical regression. On the flip side, Foles gets another year in the offense, and this offseason he’s seemed as comfortable as ever. The problem some have when evaluating Foles is there’s no glaring stand-out quality like a huge arm, great athleticism or a fiery personality. I would argue that his elite skill could be decision-making. Or at least it was last year. Foles might not put up historic numbers in 2014, but the guess here is that he will play really well once again.

LeSean McCoy, RB – If there’s one area where I’m not going to question Kelly even a little bit, it’s the run game. Of course, finding answers is made a bit easier when you have one of the most talented and productive running backs in the league at your disposal. I’m expecting another monster year out of McCoy. This is a spread to run offense, and he’s going to carry a heavy load.

Jeremy Maclin, WR – The reason he’s in this category is because Maclin is an X-Factor. On one hand, the first year back from an ACL tear can pose challenges. On the other hand, Maclin saw his teammates put up career numbers under Kelly last year. I need to see how he performs in the preseason before making any projections, but Maclin is one of the guys who can swing the Eagles’ season in one direction or another.

Zach Ertz, TE – You might be wondering why I put him in this category and have Celek in the previous one even though I think Celek is going to play more snaps. The reason is simple: upside. Ertz has the potential to be a true weapon in the passing game if he can make the leap in Year 2. If the going gets tough against man coverage, the offense will look to him more and more.

Jason Peters, LT – Is he the same player he was in 2011? No. But he’s still one of the better left tackles in the game. The Eagles know what they’re getting with Peters: a great athlete who can dominate against the run and handle opposing edge rushers one-on-one in the pass game. That’s why they extended him this offseason.

Evan Mathis, LG – He’s not happy about his contract, but Mathis will be at camp and put in the work. He’s coming off three really good seasons – a technician in the run game and a consistent performer in pass protection. If the Eagles were to lose him, Peters or Jason Kelce, they’d face a certain downgrade.

Jason Kelce, C – He’s emerged as one of the leaders on offense and a key component to the Eagles’ foundation play: the inside zone. It’s easy to forget that Kelce was coming off an ACL injury last year. The individual expectation for him in 2014 should be Pro Bowl and nothing less.

Fletcher Cox, DE – He’s on the short list of “swing players” on defense. Cox has the talent and upside to be a true difference-maker on a weekly basis, but he hasn’t reached that level in his first two years. Cox held up well last year against the run, adapting to a new two-gap scheme. But for him to take the next step in his career, he needs to be a disruptive pass rusher.

Cedric Thornton, DE – He showed last year that it’d be a mistake to limit his upside. Thornton was the Eagles’ most productive player against the run and looked like a natural playing left defensive end in the 3-4. Like Cox, he needs to take the next step as a pass-rusher. But Thornton is probably the most underrated player on this defense.

Connor Barwin, OLB – The flexibility a player like Barwin gives a defense cannot be overstated. He filled a number of roles for Davis last year – setting the edge, two-gapping, covering tight ends, rushing the passer, etc. And while I sometimes think chemistry is overblown, there’s no doubt that Barwin is a well-liked figure and a respected voice in the locker room. He could get more pass-rushing opportunities this season in the Predator role now that the Eagles have Marcus Smith to take over some of the Jack snaps.

Mychal Kendricks, ILB – Like Cox, he’s a swing player. Kendricks has the upside to be a really good inside linebacker, and he started to put everything together during the second half of last season. I’d like to see his athleticism translate to elite coverage ability. And Davis should continue to send Kendricks at the QB on blitzes. Really looking forward to seeing whether he can take the next step and be a consistent playmaker for this defense.

Brandon Boykin, CB – I debated whether to put Boykin in this category considering he only played 51 percent of the snaps last year, but ultimately decided he is deserving. One of the best slot corners in the game, Boykin brings elite athleticism. He’s a sure tackler with a physical presence and had six interceptions last year. His contributions on special teams must be taken into account as well. Boykin was great as a gunner in 2013. I don’t think he’ll necessarily see more snaps on defense this season, but Boykin is a valuable piece.

Malcolm Jenkins, S – I can understand why the Eagles felt he was a nice fit on defense, and having spoken with him, Jenkins is an impressive guy. But it didn’t all add up during his time with the Saints, who chose to let him go and upgrade the position elsewhere. Jenkins is expected to be the quarterback of the back end and help with communication issues, but I’m not ready to say the Eagles have solved their safety problems. Jenkins will have to prove he’s a significant upgrade.

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  • Token

    You REALLY had to stretch to just get a few difference makers. The Eagles in reality have probably 3-4 true difference makers.

    Foles(maybe), McCoy….. if you consider OL difference makers then Peters and Mathis. Boykin maybe but he only plays half the snaps so I dont know that you can put him in that category.

    Ertz has to be one of the most over hyped Eagles in recent history. That kid has a ton to live up to.

    • Clamdigger

      The Ertz comment makes me wonder if you watched many of the games last season. If you didn’t see him playing out of his mind towards the end of the year, I don’t know what you were watching.

      He has some bad habits, like stumbling/falling down after the catch, but he’s a really impressive route runner and receiver.

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      Being second in the league in picks while only playing half the time makes you a difference maker, especially when you’re sealing games with some of those picks.

      • Token

        Preaching to the choir man. Im probably one of the bigger Boykin supporters here. But its hard to call a part time player a difference maker IMO. Should he be a part time player? No. But thats another discussion.

        • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

          Boykin’s playing time is one of the few areas we’re in total agreement on brother. But, he’s still a difference maker, at least he was last year and looks to be only improving. I asked the o/u question on another article regarding his INTs this year and MediaMike made a good point about the under with respect because QBs may very well be less inclined to throw his way. Something that’s possible, IMO, which makes you a difference maker, too.

    • aub32

      Ertz does have a lot to live up to, but it’s not just Eagles fans that are predicting big things for this guy. Ertz is being praised by both local and national sports writers and pundits. There’s probably something to it if everyone is saying it.

      • Token

        I think its just guys looking for a story. Im not gonna sit here and say Ertz sucks. But hes never done anything on the field that tells me hes any better then a Brent Celek caliber tight end. Sure, he may explode this year, but its all a guess. Its not based on anything on the field. Just projection because hes a tall TE in a Chip Kelly offense.

        • OldDuckMcDoc

          You don’t think maybe it could be that some people see something in Ertz that you don’t? Personally I think it’s bizarre to say he’s never shown anything to suggest he can be better than Celek. He’s bigger, faster, more athletic, runs better routes than Celek did at this stage of his career and in his first season achieved as much in terms of receptions, yards and TDs as Celek did in his first two years.

          Obviously there are no guarantees, but there’s plenty of on-field evidence to suggest Ertz is going to be a big part of this team.

      • Kev_H

        I think many pundits who love Bill B up in NE are on the record as saying the Gronk/Hernandez thing was the start of an NFL trend. Then you have Jimmy Graham and you can make a case that the offensive minded, NFL trend setters are putting up some big numbers exploiting mismatches with tight end sized receivers. Throw Kelly in there for consideration as an offensive trend setter, and almost by default, you have a buzz that Ertz will be catching balls, gaining yards, and scoring TDs, especially considering they let Jackson go.

    • paul from nc

      Agree there aren’t many
      McCoy – no question
      Boykin – For only playing 1/2 the snaps, he was a difference maker last year. Expect more of the same
      Foles -depends on his play this year. Needs to show he can carry a team.
      Maclin – Solid player. Never has been a difference maker.
      Ertz – Maybe. A lot of expectations
      Jenkins – I doubt it. An upgrade but that’s not saying much
      The rest of them — most are solid, but I don’t expect a difference maker.

  • macadood

    I’m going to be very sad when Jon Dorenbos finally retires, hope he sticks around for a few good more years and a Superbowl ring. Heck of a guy. Can’t imagine having a new long snapper, quite underrated and overlooked position.

    • mtn_green

      I remember a raiders game where there long snapper was injured, hilarious.

  • Andy Six Score and Four

    Not much to argue with there. I’d certainly put Thorton down in tier 2, probably Jenkins, and a case could be made for Donnie Longball living it up in tier 1.

    • OldDuckMcDoc

      I think Jenkins is just there because how well he plays will go a long way to determining if the secondary takes a step forward this year.

      Thornton’s a Tier 2 guy all the way for me (underrated nationally, real solid, but ultimately unlikely to ever really stand out) but apart from that very little to disagree with.

  • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

    If I put the over/under on Smith’s sack total at 4.5 and Boykin’s pick total at 3.5, which do you take for each guy? I’ll take the under on Smith (4) and over on Boykin (4 as well).

    • Andy Six Score and Four


    • mtn_green

      Under/under. Interceptions are highly variable, a stat that doesn’t just come from talent. Although we do play Eli twice….

    • MediaMike

      Flip that. Over for Smith and under for Boykin. I think Boykin gets less passes thrown his way this year. #respect

  • Fly High

    #5 and 6 WR – I’m an Oregon fan and love Maehl, but unless he shows more, I don’t want us to keep him, He potentially has Avant-like receiving skills, but if he doesn;t show that skill set, I would rather have Benn. Benn along with Jordan, and maybe Momah in a year or two, these are the only size/speed guys on our roster. This is a valuable skill set, I want us to have a couple.
    I know Brad Smith has the potential to do wildcat kinds of stuff, but is it just potential, an idea, will he ever really shine in that role?
    I hope we keep Benn, and maybe Momah too, unless Smith or Maehl really show something special.

    • Andy Six Score and Four



      I agree with the overall sentiment, but not with the specific statement on “only size speed guy”

      • Fly High

        I meant only sixe speed receivers, not on whole team

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      Smith’s a servicable return man, too, as well as ST in general. Plus he knows the offense now. He’s a solid #5 WR.

      • Kev_H

        Smith doesn’t have much upside. I could see Benn filling in, going nuts, and supplanting Maclin. I don’t see that with Smith. Health, not lack of ability, has held Benn back, but he still is fairly young.

        • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

          He’s the same draft as Cooper, but even when he was healthy for a season or two he didn’t show too much. Good hands, yeah, but he’s not taking Maclin’s spot. And, unfortunately, injuries have to be factored into the assessment. For a #5 receiver, utility is a great quality to have.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            If you look at history, there’s not much cause for hope for Benn. If you look at Benn the player, you still think that if health and opportunity ever synch up he could really cash in.

            You know how I roll, when in doubt, take the optimistic road. I’d rather keep the guy with the higher upside than the guy with the higher floor when we’re talking about #5 and #6 receivers.

          • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

            I hear ya. I just need my backups to actually be able to play when needed.

          • Tom w

            So based on your higher upside theory, wouldn’t m smith, Travis long and Reynolds have more upside than career special teamers in maragos and Braman????? ???! Smh

          • Kev_H

            After seeing Cooper become a regular NFL WR having been forced into action due to injuries last year at age 26, I don’t think it is likely, but don’t rule out the possibility that if Benn (26 this year, one year younger than Cooper) is around and Maclin or Cooper get hurt, or Cooper plays like he had in the past, Benn could come in, do well, and end up being a better option size, financially etc. than signing Maclin to a long-term deal going forward.

            I can’t see that happening with Smith, especially at his age, under any circumstances. Just comparing Cooper and Benn, did you think there was a chance in the world, at this time last year (pre-controversy) that today (or ever) Cooper would be on top of the depth chart with a 5 year contract and the Eagles would have a promising team? I’ve always kind of liked Cooper as a player, but I’m very surprised he is an NFL starter with a multi-year deal, so long shots do happen with some of these mid-twenties guys who figure it out or get healthy. Not likely to happen with a guy in his 30s if it didn’t happen yet.

          • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

            And that’s fine, but looking at it that way ignores a rather extensive injury history that really can’t be ignored in his case. I don’t need a #5 WR with upside, even if he is 4 or 5 years younger than the other potential #5 WR. I need him to be able to play ST admirably and reliably fill in should someone go down. Can’t bank on a guy with that injury history to be there ready to go if he’s in the training room.

          • Kev_H

            Obviously, you want your guys healthy and that’s what your training staff is for. If a guy isn’t ready to go, he shouldn’t be in the conversation, but if you start putting too much stock in injury history versus current status, I’m not sure how you make decisions. Brad Smith was put on injured reserve last year and had hamstring issues in 2011. Maclin. Peyton Manning. Wilbert Montgomery (old school).

          • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

            And Benn has missed more time than all of those guys you mentioned because of injury, in a shorter amount of time in the league, too, which is why I can’t see him on the roster.

    • Kleptolia

      Jeff Maehl reminds me of Ed McCaffrey and Wes Welker. A white guy who isn’t very big or fast, but runs smart routes and catches the ball well.
      Maehl does have very good hands. He blocks well. He’s faster than Welker. He’s a good route runner. I don’t think he gets enough credit for what he can do. I think he might not make it out of preseason this year; but if he sticks around, I’ll know why.

      But….”Oregon bias.”

      • Dominik

        Difference is: Welker is very agile – you can SEE that. Maehl may had a good combine in that aspect, but you DON’T SEE any of it.

        Now, maybe he hasn’t the self confidence to be effective, but I don’t care. If your talent is limited, you have to show something. He made the team last year because we had nothing behind Desean, Cooper and Avant before we signed Smith. When Smith came, he immediately took the #4 role. And rightfully so.

        Maehl wasn’t even a good #5 WR last year. If he doesn’t show a vast improvement, why would you keep him on the roster? I don’t see upside. I rather have Benn, despite the injury concerns, or even Momah – altough I’d rather keep 5 WR before I take Momah into the 53. If he doesn’t shine in Preseason, best case is PS.

        • Kleptolia

          I watched Maehl through his college years. And as a Dolphins follower, I was a fan of Welker. I would say that Maehl is as agile as Welker, maybe even more so.
          While Maehl didn’t get a lot of catches last year, he did open holes in the outside run game.
          Also, he’s a willing special teams player. I said I thought he might not last through preseason, but if he does, I know the reasons.

  • Tom w

    1) can we please get a backup guard who plays center well for once so we can save the roster spot

    2) Braman and maragos and Maehl do nothing for me and I don’t think it’s guaranteed either make the team by any stretch. Personally I would much rather keep upside backups who can actually play a position on defense like graham, Krueger, Allen, hart, Travis long or acho or a wr or rb or te w upside like momah lsu kid, josey, annen etc. Special team aces did nothing for us last year and we don’t need a bunch of them taking spots when we draft stud rookies like smith, huff, Watkins, and Reynolds who can play along with Boykin Carroll Goode Polk smith Wolfe. Keep one but not 3 or 4 please chip.
    3) I think Krueger is even w hart at this point based on him having a year to out in size and is so so young
    4) bring back geagle.

    • Andy Six Score and Four

      I’ve seen about as much of Braman and Maragos in an NFL defense as I’ve seen of Smith, Long or Reynolds. That is, none. Have you seen so much more to have a strong, educated opinion on these guys?

      • OldDuckMcDoc

        Things I know about Maragos:

        1. Not good enough to start ahead of Kam Chancellor or Earl Thomas.
        2. Looks far less geeky with the shaved head.
        3. Not Patrick Chung.

        Things I know about Braman:

        1. Unafraid to tackle people even when not wearing helmet.
        2. Looks fricking glorious.
        3. Not caseymatthews.

        So nothing negative, and quite a lot of positives there.

        • Andy Six Score and Four

          I’m ready to ink them in as starters after that write up!

        • MagatBrackendale

          Are there ANY safeties in the league good enough to play ahead of Chancellor or Thomas? In the Legion of Boom? Btw, I do get your humour. ~). I am almost tempted to re-post my Casey poem too.

        • Tom w

          Wow wasted a good five minutes writing that and can never get it back.

        • southy

          I watched a few minutes of NFL replay a couple days ago. Eagles Cowboys. I had to relive the moment where we 0-blitzed Orton and put Chung on Dez, and I remember thinking before the snap “WHY IS CHUNG ON DEZ!?!?!?” and boom. TD. Luckily I was able to avoid replacing my remote control a second time.

      • Tom w

        How about that neither of them have done anything to impress their former nfl coaches enough to get on the field and actually play defense, and smith and Long were dominant pass rushers at big div 1 schools and the eagles thought highly enough of Reynolds to spend a fifth rounder on him and a first on smith. you are trying to tell me you want one of the special teams overachievers over Marcus smith than I really can’t help ya. How bout that the eagles thought so highly of long that they purposely didn’t play in preseason last year so they could stash him on the practice squad. I seriously hope you don’t think at this point in Brahmans and maragos career they are gonna suddenly do a 360 and become legitimate olb and s backups beyond a one game stop gap and special team ” ace” whatever that is when backup Rbs and wrs often lead nfl teams in special teams tackles. Smith, long, and Reynolds all have much more potential just based upon their age and pedigree and athletic ability.

        • OldDuckMcDoc

          I say with absolute certainty the 124th of our Andys was not advocating keeping Maragos or Braman over any of those guys. He was just poking fun at your assertion that Maragos and Braman “do nothing for you” when you have almost certainly never seen them play any meaningful time in the NFL.

          The league’s full of guys who bounced around as back-ups then found themselves in a good spot on a team where they were a good scheme fit and they were given an opportunity, and just because a guy’s gotten a rep as a ST ace doesn’t mean he magically forgot to play his position.

          • Andy Six Score and Four

            Your absolute certainty is well justified.

        • cheapmeat.mariota.crackwh0re


          • southy

            James Harrison, Fred Jackson, Winston Justice (I know), Daniel Te’o’Neshisorry couldn’t get that one out with a straight face.

  • Kev_H

    Foles’ glaring standout quality is that he is good at everything. I think the guy is scary competitive too. The demonstrative loud mouths are usually that way out of insecurity. I was struck by his answers to Gruden’ s QB camp “why should I draft Nick Foles?” The guy, to me, showed crazy intensity. Like Liam Neeson in Taken; “I have a particular set of skills…” That scary, quiet intensity.

    • NickS FFLC/GM/DPP/Scout/HC/OC

      When you drop comparisons to Liam Neeson in Taken, you know it’s serious.

      • Kev_H

        Another one that stood out to me is an interview I saw with him in the midst of his 2012 pre-season hype. It was the same guy, same comments about working hard every day, getting better, Mike Vick is great….but he dropped in “I hate being on the bench”. It was subtle, but said in a way that made me think he wasn’t going to be on the bench.

    • Kev_H

      It especially struck me cause he looked like a goofy paper boy.

    • Andy

      That Gruden’s QB camp was really good.

  • Rambler

    How dare you put Donnie Football Jones in Tier 3! He is clearly the class of this team and a huge difference-maker. And do not even get me started about Pope Jordan… but we all know that he transcends all tiers and is omnipresent.

  • Kleptolia

    I’m just going to say: I’m a Bennie Logan fan.
    I like what I’ve seen if him on tape (not much, but what I’ve seen is good).
    I like his upside. He seems small for NT, but his weight is well-distributed. He has a good center of gravity. With a year under his belt, I would be surprised if he didn’t show improvement this year at getting leverage at the line of scrimmage.
    I think the Eagles offense will continue to be the media flashpoint in Philly this year, but the defense is what will put them over the top in the close games.
    End of season; Eagles 11-5. Get out of the first round, knocked out in semifinals.

    • GoBirds1

      Logan is still a reach to be an effective 3-4 NT. The Birds D weakness was exploited by the Saints in the PO game. They Logan with Hendricks behind him. Logan could not occupy two OL and Hendricks was dominated down field and the birds we consistanly gashed by the Saints O. Granted, they were playing to stop the pass, but when the game was in the line, they could not stop the run and get off the field. In meaningful games this year, it will be the same Achilles heal to be exploited again this year.

  • Guest

    What an awesome article/blog. I can almost smell the grass in my cleats.

  • Amar, CB who bought in

    You had me at ‘I don’t see a spot for Matthews this year.’

  • MediaMike

    Allen Rodriguez things you need to move Maclin down a few tiers, and I agree.

  • thefadd

    It’s just funny that the slot corner made Tier 1 while the starting corners made Tier 2. There’s a lot that can be said about that and I think the biggest take away lesson is just how specialized the NFL has become — that the guy will be on the field for likely 25% of total snaps in a game but by all accounts will be expected to make a hefty difference in the outcome of the game.