Richard LeCounte could find a home in the Philadelphia Eagles secondary.
While there is still one game remaining, it’s sadly time to start looking forward to the 2021 NFL Draft if you’re a Birds fan. It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Eagles have a horrendous salary cap situation. That makes the draft even more significant for them. They have to land impact players.
Safety is going to be one of the positions for the Birds to look at. Rodney McLeod just tore his ACL and will be a free agent in 2022. Marcus Epps is not the answer. The Eagles have a few versatile safeties who can play in the box and in the slot as well as in two-deep sets.
While K’Von Wallace has been used in the single-high role, he’s best fit to be a swiss army knife underneath blitzing, playing in the robber technique, or filling a gap in the run game. Based on defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz’s pattern of not playing to his player’s strengths, he’ll probably continue to play K’Von in that role. Maybe if the Eagles add another safety, he will move K’Von down to the box for the majority of his snaps. Georgia Bulldogs safety Richard LeCounte III might be the perfect fit.
LeCounte is somewhat comparable to McLeod. For starters, they’re both not the biggest safeties with McLeod at five-foot-ten, 194 pounds and LeCounte at five-foot-eleven, 190 pounds. In addition, while they both tend to play the single-high role, their range is limited. McLeod ran a 4.60 forty-yard dash. While 40 times aren’t everything, even in his tenure with the Birds, his limited range over the top has shown at times.
LeCounte is the same way. He’ll run faster than a 4.60 40-yard dash. At the combine and his pro day, he’ll probably run a 4.40 at best and realistically probably close to a 4.45 or 4.50. He won’t wow any scouts while doing any drills. Despite that, teams are going to love his tape. Similar to McLeod, LeCounte is a highly instinctive player.
What does Richard LeCounte bring to the Philadelphia Eagles?
One of the things that stands out with LeCounte on film is that he does not get overaggressive and take the bait that offenses want him too. LeCounte is phenomenal at diagnosing play-action passes, screens, reverses, and trick plays. Misdirection is something that the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has had an extremely difficult time with for years. LeCounte would provide a big boost here.
His preparation is evident whenever he touches the field. He’s always communicating adjustments to his teammates on the back end. Not only that, but he played in Kirby Smart’s defense which is more complex than most college defenses. Smart disguises a lot of his looks and LeCounte never gave away any signs. He always helped disguise the looks pre-snaps.
There were multiple instances in which LeCounte baited quarterbacks into bad throws. Instead of getting his eyes caught in the backfield, he has his head on a swivel waiting to see the route concepts develop. This showed when he picked off Tua Tagovailoa in the SEC Championship in his sophomore year. He’s always looking for a game-changing play. In his last 33 games, he collected eight interceptions and four forced fumbles.
The biggest areas of improvement for LeCounte are man coverage and tackling. At his size, it’s not going to be easy to cover tight ends in the NFL. In addition, he often got fooled by wideouts in the slot. It’ll be best for him to stick to the single-high role a decent amount of the time to start. The tackling technique is a bit alarming. Wrapping up ball carriers and getting off of blocks are not his strong suit. Sometimes, he takes poor angles to the ball carrier. Other times, he just isn’t physical enough.
Although LeCounte won’t be the biggest safety at the combine, he’ll probably be the smartest. What he lacks in size he makes up for with his football IQ. That alone will earn him plenty of looks. Philly should do their due diligence and keep him in mind in Round 3.