Sep 14, 2013; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks cornerback Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (14) before the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
The Philadelphia Eagles have had one major area of concern for a long time, a true shut-down cornerback. I have focused on a safety and an outside linebacker in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, so this week I want to focus on a player closely tied to the Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly. If you want to see the previous posts, the links are here:
There can’t be a Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft Series without looking at a former Oregon player. For better or for worse, it’s no secret that Coach Kelly loves his former Oregon Ducks. To be fair, most of those picks have been decent players and our overall roster has a great “team” feeling. Everyone seems bought in on what Coach Kelly is selling.
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The Philadelphia Eagles have struggled in the secondary for years now. Every season, Eagles fans around the world look for the Eagles front office to make an offseason move, or draft a top notch cornerback in the NFL Draft. Every season, the Eagles seem to skip over this critical position. Every year our secondary looks suspect and our passing defense is usually toward the bottom of the league.
Thats why for part 3 of my 2015 Philadelphia Eagles Mock Draft series, I wanted to focus on Oregon cornerback, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu.
A quick look at this seasons stats for Ekpre-Olomu are as follows:
★ 51 total tackles (1 tackle for loss)
★ 2 interceptions
★ 6 pass breakups
★ 8 pass defended
Those are some nice stats, but here is where Eagles fans need to pay attention. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is known as a top caliber cover cornerback that has above average tackling ability. Last year, before Ekpre-Olomu decided to return for his Senior season at Oregon, he was rated as one of the top cornerbacks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
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The good news for the Philadelphia Eagles is that while Ifo is having a good year, it’t not as great as his season last year. Why would that be good news? It is good news because if he produced at the levels he did last season, there would be no way the Philadelphia Eagles would be in any position to draft him. He would likely be a top 15 draft choice, if not top 10.
The Eagles, until recently, have always been known as a tough, hard hitting football team. Our defense was something that always kept us in games and was always showing up in the big time. The whole identity of the Philadelphia Eagles has changed, we are now an offensively driven team and while that is great, our defense could still use some upgrades.
Drafting a young, talented cornerback in the 2015 NFL Draft is exactly what the Eagles need. Ekpre-Olomu would be familiar with how the Eagles are running their defense. The Eagles leave their cornerbacks in man-to-man coverage a lot. This is a hard thing to do all game long. Ifo can cover with the best, but don’t forget he rarely misses tackles. Missed tackles have plagued the Eagles defense for a few years now.
Nothing against current Eagles corners, Bradley Fletcher and Cary Williams, but it is time the Eagles get some younger talent on the roster. Fletcher and Williams have had some recent success, but overall their time in Philadelphia has been spotty with missed tackles and giving up big plays in critical positions.
Some fans don’t like that Coach Kelly drafts his former players often, but this would be one case when I would tell those fans to relax. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu would be a welcome addition to a Philadelphia Eagles defense that is in need of defense stars. His attitude fits in the new Eagles, his college career mirrored the new Eagles scheme, and his skill set is exactly what is expected from our defense.
If Ifo Ekpre-Olomu is avaliable when the Philadelphia Eagles are selecting in the 2015 NFL Draft, I don’t think there are many (if any) players that would fit this team better.