Heading into the off season, the Eagles biggest need was their secondary. Over the past two years, the Eagles have had one of the worst secondaries in the league and a huge make over was in store. Before free agency started, the Eagles cut Nnamdi Asomugha, opted not to re-sign Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and the Eagles front office made it a point that they were going to try to restore the Eagles secondary through the draft an free agency.
During free agency the Eagles added 4 starting caliber players to their secondary: Bradley Fletcher, Cary Williams, Patrick Chung, and Kenny Phillips. The Eagles front office made good on their promise, but they weren’t done there.
During the draft, the Eagles selected a corner and a safety to continue the trend they started in free agency. Though these selections came later than most of the fans wanted (rounds 5 and 7), the Eagles did grabbed two players with tremendous upside.
In the 5th round, the Eagles drafted safety Earl Wolff out of NC State. Wolff is a hard nose safety who loves to tackle. Wolff has totaled over a 100 tackles in each of his last two seasons and he has also forced 7 fumbled in his career. Dana Bible, former offensive coordinator for the Eagles and the current offensive coordinator for NC State, had this to say about Earl Wolff when talking to Eagles head coach Chip Kelly.
“The first thing he said, he said, ‘Go get him.’ Physical. Explosive. Will really hit you,” said Kelly. “Just the type of guy that will make your team better. He’s a real leader. People are going to follow him.”
After drafting Wolff in the 5th round, the Eagles had to wait through the whole 6th round (because they didn’t have a 6th round pick) to draft the man they had rated as a 5th round prospect.
Jordan Poyer is a 6’0″ corner from Oregon St., who was regarded by many as a 4th-5th round talent, but he likely saw his draft stock fall because of off the field issues. Poyer is a strong safety with some good speed and he also has the ability to play nickel. Chip Kelly has this to say about his new corner.
“I don’t know,” Kelly said. “You see it all the time. How they fall, I don’t know. … The guys you had fourth-round grades on are still sitting there in the seventh round. So we felt really good about that. Why? I don’t know.”
Though Eagles fans may have wanted the Eagles to add secondary help in the first three rounds, the Eagles got two prospects that had early round talents, but saw their stock drop for different reasons. Though these two players aren’t expected to start right away, they will both be in the competition from day 1 and they’ll both a chip on their shoulder because of where they were drafted.
“I kind of want to have an idea of who passed me up because I kind of use that stuff when I play,” Poyer said. “I’ll remember who passed me up and I’ll use it and let it fuel me.”