Aug 2, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jerome Couplin (21) during training camp at NovaCare Complex. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
No surprises here, although not keeping Brandon Bair may disappoint some. At this point, Taylor Hart is just a better version of Bair with much more upside. Hart spent his rookie season improving both mentally and physically off the field by putting on some weight and getting his mind prepared for the NFL level. It looks as though the time off has helped Hart and he’ll likely have a rotational role in 2015.
Bennie Logan looks like he’s reached another level heading into 2015. He dominated during preseason action and looks ready to make his first Pro Bowl appearance this upcoming season. His back-up, Beau Allen, has had an up and down performance during the preseason but his ability to both take up blockers and also rush the passer at his size is intriguing and worth keeping around.
This may be the deepest unit on the team, besides running back. Kiko Alonso finally took the field for the first time as a member of the Eagles on Thursday night and looked impressive. Although he made a mistake in coverage, Alonso looked like his old self and was active, getting in on multiple tackles. It’ll be a joy to watch both Alonso and Mychal Kendricks on the field this upcoming season. It’ll also be interesting to see how defensive coordinator Bill Davis includes DeMeco Ryans into the mix as well.
Bryan Braman deserves some rotational spots at outside linebacker. Sure the team looks at him as mostly a special teams player, but he played his butt off during the preseason, consistently putting pressure on the quarterback. While the team likely hoped to see more from second-year player Marcus Smith by this point, multiple injuries held him out from both practice and preseason games. That being said, the team has too much invested in Smith to give up on him just yet. He’ll live to see another season in midnight green, but this time he better make it count.
Now here is where things start to get ugly on the defensive side of the ball. Luckily the starters looked great throughout the preseason but the back-ups have yet to stand out on a consistent basis. Second-round pick Eric Rowe has struggled far more than you’d like to see but we have to remember he only played cornerback for one season in college. Biggers and Watkins aren’t exactly ideal back-ups either at this point, look for the team to search the waiver wire to acquire some more talent at cornerback.
Following the first preseason game, it looked like Ed Reynolds was on his way to locking up a final roster spot. But after his two interception performance, he failed to stand out again. While the Chris duo makes the final roster due to their special team’s abilities, the final spot will go to Jerome Couplin instead of Reynolds. Couplin has been far more consistent than Reynolds and his size and athleticism make him an interesting project to keep around as well.
Next: Special Teams