Are the Philadelphia Eagles seriously in desperate need of a new cornerback?
NFL Mock Draft season has been here for quite a while now, and already we see a variety of picks for the Philadelphia Eagles. Some have the Eagles taking a defensive lineman. Others have the Eagles taking a cornerback. While many believe that the Eagles must take a corner in this upcoming draft due to some struggles that we had witnessed last season, let’s take a step back and really analyze this situation. Do the Eagles really need to spend a high-end pick on a corner?
First of all, let’s take a look at who’s departing from the roster, and who’s on board for next season. As of right now, the Eagles are set to lose one of their cornerbacks next season to free agency. 25-year-old Ronald Darby wrapped up his second season with the Eagles early last year, and word around the football world is that the Birds are letting Darby test the market.
So, who does that leave the Eagles with moving forward?
- Rasul Douglas (Age: 23, Yr: 3)
- Avonte Maddox (Age: 22, Yr: 2)
- Sidney Jones (Age: 22, Yr: 3)
- Cre’Von LeBlanc (Age: 24, Yr: 4)
- Jalen Mills (Age: 24, Yr: 4)
Even without Darby, the Eagles are headed into the 2019 NFL season with five cornerbacks under contract, who are still on their rookie deals with an average age of 23. Not only are the Eagles young at the position, but they are quite experienced as well.
No thanks to injuries throughout the entirety of the 2018 season, each and every one of the Eagles cornerbacks above has received a significant amount of playing time at some point last season. And by the time the end of the year rolled around, the Eagles secondary was beginning to hit their stride with Douglas, Maddox, and LeBlanc. Now, imagine the battle of the secondary with a healthy Mills, and Jones as well.
Patience is key for a young secondary
Listen, I know this is a tough pill to swallow for those who have watched the Eagles over the years, but Philly’s secondary is a lot better than we think. Sure, there were growing pains along the way last season, but the towards the end of the year when guys like Douglas and Maddox were healthy, the Eagles were quite productive on the defensive side of the ball.
Rasul Douglas was regularly leading the entire defense in tackles since he decided to step his game up after an awful showing against the New Orleans Saints. Avonte Maddox proved that he deserved an opportunity to start on the outside for next year as he made some plays on the ball that we haven’t seen out of a corner in a long time. And Cre’Von LeBlanc ended up surprising everybody who’s ever watched him when he started thriving in his temporary role in the nickel.
How many times are we going to call for the Eagles to bring in more cornerbacks until we realize that not every draft selection automatically turns into a Jalen Ramsey or a Darrelle Revis in his prime? The Eagles need to start developing guys, not replacing them.
Think about it; the Eagles realistically got a top-ten value in Sidney Jones back in 2017, but many are ready for the team to cut ties with the former second-round pick already after an up-and-down year due to injuries. Patience is key for a young secondary, and it’s time for the Eagles to start banking on what they got.
Once everybody is healthy again, we can expect an exciting battle as all positions within the secondary will be open for opportunities. In all honesty, the cornerback position will be the least of the Eagles defensive needs headed into the draft. This season, they will be focusing on the defensive line, and linebacker, which are units that need immediate help in depth.