Eagles Look To Chung For Safety Help

The Eagles’ latest search for safety help has led them to 25-year-old Patrick Chung.

Chung was a second-round pick by the Patriots in 2009. He started 29 games in four seasons with New England, including seven in 2012. Chung played his college ball at Oregon and was there for two seasons when Chip Kelly was the offensive coordinator.

The good news is that Chung is a young, physical player. The bad news is he got pushed down the depth chart on a defense that ranked just 23rd against the pass, according to Football Outsiders.

Here’s a recap of Chung’s 2012 season from Field Yates of ESPN.com:

Chung began the season as a starter, but injuries and ineffective play pushed him down the depth chart, as he played just two defensive snaps in the AFC Championship Game. The issues for Chung appeared to be as a deep half-field defender, as he was unable to get to the sideline on deep throws down the field, and he also missed some critical open-field tackles due to poor angles. He had his best performance of the season in registering two interceptions against Jacksonville in Week 16. He has been a physical defender in previous seasons for the Patriots, but that style of play was not as prevalent in 2012.

And in an interview with CSNNE.com last year, here’s what Matt Bowen of the National Football Post (a former NFL safety) had to say about Chung:

“I wasnt that impressed with Patrick Chung,” said Bowen, referring to his play in both games. “I’m not trying to come down on the guy, but it seems like he’s guessing a lot, his eyes are in the wrong place. A couple of times he left the deep middle of the field in the Seattle game. Anytime a safety leaves the middle of the field on a trick play or a deep pass, that’s discipline. That’s looking in the wrong place and not looking in the right place with his eyes.”

Bowen says that Chung’s aggressiveness is a liability. Or was in each of the games he watched.

Staying healthy is also a concern. Chung has missed 14 games in the past three seasons. Last year, foot and shoulder injuries sidelined him for four games.

Chung has the physical tools. He ran a 4.51 at the Combine coming out of college. But clearly, there are question marks. By all accounts, he’s a good special-teams player, and while he’ll certainly get a chance to compete for a starting safety job, I’m not ready to pencil him in there quite yet. Let’s see what else the Eagles do in free agency and the draft.

Follow Sheil Kapadia on Twitter and e-mail him at skapadia@phillymag.com.
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