Eagles Depth Chart Outlook: Cornerbacks
This is the second in a series. Throughout the next week or two, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Eagles’ roster. Yesterday, we broke down the safety situation.
The initial overhaul during the summer of 2011 didn’t work out, so the Eagles tried again this offseason.
Gone are Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha. In are Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher.
During the draft, the Eagles didn’t find corner help early, but they grabbed Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer in the seventh round.
Returning from last year’s roster are nickel corner Brandon Boykin, 2011 third-round pick Curtis Marsh and veteran Brandon Hughes. The Eagles also have Eddie Whitley, who spent the last four weeks of 2012 on the practice squad. And 2010 fourth-round pick Trevard Lindley is still around as well.
Here’s a look at all the cornerbacks on the roster (alphabetical order):
Pencil ’em in: Williams, Fletcher, Boykin.
While we’re still about four months away from the opener, Williams and Fletcher seem like the favorites to start. Williams started 32 games for the Ravens the past two seasons. Fletcher only started four games in 2012, but he will have every opportunity to win the job opposite Williams.
Boykin certainly had his share of growing pains as a rookie, but overall, he held up pretty well in what turned out to be a dysfunctional secondary. He’s got the inside track on the nickel job, although it should be noted that Poyer can play inside and should provide some competition.
Fighting for spots: Marsh, Poyer, Hughes, Lindley, Whitley.
The measurables on Marsh were good coming out of Utah State: 6-1, 197, 4.46 40. But we’ve seen no signs that he’s a starting-caliber player. Marsh has played a total of 75 snaps the past two seasons (per PFF) and is squarely on the roster bubble.
Poyer has a really good shot of sticking because of his wide array of skills. Poyer has experience playing inside, outside, safety and special teams (returner and coverage). Of course, if Chip Kelly and the coaches determine that Poyer is not particularly good at any of those skills, he could be let go. But at this point, he’s got a good chance of making the team.
Hughes’ value comes on special teams. He was the first man down in coverage a team-best 37 times last year, according to stats kept by the coaches.
Lindley and Whitley are long-shots.
Bottom line? There’s a good chance only two players from this group will make the team. My guess is Poyer takes one of the spots, but the other one will be up for grabs.