Why Rowe Is Starting Out At Corner
Cory Undlin was succinct in his explanation of why Eric Rowe is starting out at cornerback instead of safety.
“I strongly believe the kid can be a top-level corner in this league. That’s it,” he said.
What skill set does Rowe possess that gives him that type of ceiling?
“Mental. The guy is smart, the guy’s got some length, he’s got good change of direction, he’s got everything — obviously we took him in the second round — he’s got all the attributes that you would like to hope would make him a good corner in this league,” said Undlin.
There have been some positive signs here in the early going. Undlin pointed to “an unbelievable play” Rowe made on Wednesday that speaks to his level of growth in a short period of time. The new defensive backs coach didn’t want to offer up too many specifics, but explained that based off the offensive formation and split of the wideout, Rowe properly diagnosed the situation and made a call that put the defense in position to have the upper hand.
“Actually, it was really impressive,” he said.
Rowe (6-1, 205), who started 36 games at safety for Utah (compared to nine at corner ), is studying the safety position here in Philadelphia. Undlin is a proponent of having his DBs learn everyone else’s roles, believing that the better understanding you have of the defense, the faster and more confident you’ll play. So if he is moved back there eventually, he won’t be going in blind. But that’s Plan B at this point.
“I’m not going to project where he ends up,” said Undlin, “but we like him at corner.”
Nolan Carroll currently sits atop the depth chart at cornerback along with Byron Maxwell. “Nolan has stuck out. We do those competitions and he’s won a lot of them,” said Undlin. “You just feel it. You can ask anyone on the team, and they feel Nolan Carroll right now.” He cautioned, though, not to etch anything in stone this early in the process. “I would be careful with the No. 1 role,” said Undlin. “They’re all competing right now. We’ll find out where we get to when we start playing games.”
It’s to be determined whether Rowe will be able to make a push for the starting role this summer. But it’s clear that the coaches envision him becoming a contributor at corner before long.