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Dec 15, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll (center) is brought down by New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich (right) and New England Patriots defensive tackle Chris Jones (left) during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 24-20. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles Could See Huge Gain With Carroll

Interesting piece on Philly.com yesterday, with Jimmy Kempski discussing Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll.

Carroll, as you may recall, was signed as a free agent in the offseason, one of the many unheralded moves the Birds made to improve their defense.

It sounds like this is one they may have gotten right. According to Kempski, Carroll had another impressive day in training camp. This, coupled with his performance in OTAs and minicamp, has gotten a lot of attention.

Carroll gives the Eagles’ secondary the kind of depth teams need to be successful in the NFL. Injuries can and do happen, and last season when Bradley Fletcher missed time it was Roc Carmichael getting a lot of action on the outside.

That didn’t go so well and it’s unlikely Carmichael will even be on the team this season. Fletcher and Cary Williams figure to be the starters at the corner positions, though there is some thought that Carroll could give them a push. Brandon Boykin should return as the nickel corner, a spot he excelled in last season, and fourth-round draft pick Jaylen Watkins (Florida) should grab the other spot.

A guy like Carmichael would have to prove his worth as a special teams player and win a roster spot that you’d otherwise figure goes to a safety.

But back to Carroll, who should see a lot of time on the field and has the kind of experience teams don’t necessarily see in their depth guys. Carroll has played four seasons with the Miami Dolphins and started 22 times in the last two seasons.

He’s not exactly the kind of guy who’s going to lead the league in interceptions, with only five career picks. And, as Kempski noted, he’s dropped a lot of would-be interceptions thus far in training camp.

But so long as he’s keeping the ball from ending up in a wide receiver’s hands, I don’t really care. Defending the pass is his primary job and all indications are he’s pretty good at it.

The 2013 Philadelphia Eagles, as exciting as they were to watch, were a defensive disaster, unable to get key stops, unable to stop the pass, unable to keep teams out of their end zone. If not for a prolific offense, things would have been very ugly.

Now, imagine a slightly better version of last year’s offense, plus a defense that could at least rank in the middle of the NFL.

That’s a scary proposition for the rest of the league. Nolan Carroll will play a big role if that leap happens.

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