The Eagles will have options to fill their safety needs in free agency and the draft. This year’s group of safety prospects is considered deep and talented. But as we’ve seen in years past, going into the draft searching for specific needs can lead to mistakes.
And this is not an either/or situation. The Eagles should look to identify young safety talent in free agency and address the position if possible in the draft. As we wrote about on Sunday, the Birds are in good cap shape and could be in position to take advantage of a market where the supply might very well out-weigh the demand.
Here is a look at some of the Eagles’ options.
It seems to be a story we write pretty much every offseason around these parts: The Eagles are looking for safety help.
They’ve tried and failed in previous years to fill the gaping hole in the back end of the defense. And so, Howie Roseman will try once again this offseason to find safety help in the draft and/or free agency.
“To me, that’s the hardest position to evaluate in college football is safeties,” Roseman said last week at the Senior Bowl. “The guys that used to be the most explosive athletes and were playing in the back end, they’re going to play corner because they feel like maybe at corner, they can play 10 years. You look at the franchise tag numbers, the corner position is higher than the safety position. That is going to be the constant struggle. When you talk to people around the league, it’s hard to find safeties.”
The good news for the Eagles is that this appears to be a pretty good group of college prospects.
The top of the Eagles’ 2010 draft has been a popular topic of conversation here in Philadelphia, and not for the purposes of throwing verbal bouquets at the parties in question.
Brandon Graham, the choice over Jason Pierre-Paul and Earl Thomas.
Nate Allen, the Donovan McNabb pick and successor to Brian Dawkins that just doesn’t have those Dawkins’ qualities.
Both have spent time recovering from serious knee injuries and both have spent time down on the mat. Graham’s struggles have been highlighted more given that he was the 13th overall pick and it’s so easy to contrast the start of his career with that of Pierre-Paul’s. Beat up and labeled a bust, Graham looks like he has turned the corner and his stock has rebounded.
Allen’s, meanwhile, has taken a hit, as Andy Reid announced on Wednesday that Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson would be the starting safeties against the Redskins this week.
LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick are in Phase 5 of the rehab process from concussions suffered last month and returned to practice in a limited capacity today.
“We’re not listing them as out,” said head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder. “They’re still very much alive for things. We’ll see how they do today and take it day by day. Of course, they have to get through this fifth phase, they have to get to the independent [neurologist], which could be tomorrow, and they have to see [team doctor] Dr. [Gary] Dorshimer and get his clearance as well.”
A sad and maybe symbolic scene unfolded in the Eagles locker room just before reporters were ushered out late Sunday night. A pained Kurt Coleman, who needed assistance getting his shirt off moments before, walked up to Nate Allen and asked if he would be able to put his deodorant on for him, as he was unable to lift his arms and do it himself. Allen sustained a shoulder injury in the game and was also limited. But using his good arm, he dutifully performed the task for his fellow safety.
Officially, Coleman was listed with a chest contusion. But he was hurting bad, and it wasn’t all physical.
“It’s a little bit of everything right now,” said Coleman, his voice unable to get above a whisper.
“This sucks. It just sucks. I can’t piece one thing — it just sucks right now…We knew what we were doing, we knew what they were doing. It’s inexcusable really. We’re trying as hard as we can but that’s not enough, we have to be able to execute all the time.”
Does you expect to finish out the season as the Eagles’ head coach?
“I haven’t been told any different, so I’m going to keep going, but you can keep asking me because I appreciate those questions,” he said after the team’s 38-33 defeat to the Cowboys. “I’m sure you’ll be the first to know.”
“We have possible lineup changes, and people compete everyday,” Bowles said. “There are no spots set in stone. We’re playing our best guys. If there was somebody that was stepping up to play better, they would be playing.”
Bowles didn’t mean it as a slight on the Eagles’ depth, but his comment spotlights the team’s lack of young talent at cornerback and safety.
Earlier this week, Todd Bowles talked about how the Eagles had problems executing a “high school cover-3” against the Panthers.
What did he mean? Let’s take a look at a few of the plays to see what exactly is going on with this defense right now.
When answering a barrage of questions about what exactly is going on with the Eagles’ defense right now, Todd Bowles made it clear that his players are failing to properly execute the simplest of assignments.
“The first one was high school cover-3,” Bowles said after the team’s 30-22 loss to the Panthers. “The ball was thrown down the middle of the field. We gave up a touchdown. Inexcusable. The second one was inexcusable too.”