1. Adding more talent on defense
How does the song go? “Be aggressive. B-E-aggressive, yeah!”
Nailed it. And so did the Eagles.
There is a laundry list ways to approach free agency. You could take the Green Bay Packers approach and ignore it, rarely ever making your team any more interesting than the year before, or storm free agency like the Miami Dolphins by handing out gobs of money to anyone with a big name. Free agency isn’t Pokémon, guys. You really don’t have to “catch’em all.” Ideally, you want your team to land as somewhere in the middle as possible. The Eagles have hit it dead center this time.
Now, let me state, again, that I do not believe in building a team through free agency. However, I do believe you can build depth while potentially addressing a few needs.
Before you go nuts on me, likening McLeod to Dawkins isn’t blasphemy, but more a nod to something the young safety has said he aspires to be. Honestly, McLeod is someone that Philly fans should and will embrace. He is a hardworking, tough-nosed safety that plays bigger than he looks. Walter Thurmond was a fine pairing with Malcolm Jenkins and made for one of the best duos in the league. But if you can believe it, Jenkins and McLeod will be even better. In fairness, I am starting to think Jenkins can help make anyone look great. All of Philadelphia’s signings so far were to help build depth. This is how you help a team in free agency; you create safety nets.
Chris Givens and Rueben Randle will not be star receivers, but they give the Eagles intriguing speed in four-wide sets, and out of the slot position (likely). The same can be said about new cornerback additions Ron Brooks and Leodis McKelvin. The corner position has been something that has plagued the Eagles for quite some time now, and although these guys might not be the next big thing, they will give the team “starter” level depth at that position.
Not sold? Think of it this way, the Eagles have not had three solid starting defensive backs since Andy Reid was the coach. Nowadays, you need at least four to seriously compete. The team has had guys that have flashed here and there, but nothing seriously consistent. Ultimately, that is what you need. Consistency. Solid starters at just about any position.
What I truly love about the free agents Philadelphia has brought in, isn’t so much their talent, but their experience. Six out of the eight recent hires are players entering their fifth season. Which means, those players are just hitting their stride. Players who still potentially have their best years ahead of them. And of the defensive players brought in, three of them have played for Jim Schwartz before. If you skipped it, go back to the previous page to see how I feel about Schwartz. Go ahead. This will still be here when you get back.