Philadelphia Eagles five easiest roster decisions for the defense

Derek Barnett #96, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Derek Barnett #96, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Philadelphia Eagles
Stephon Gilmore #9, Carolina Panthers (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Eagles can’t overspend on aging free-agent cornerbacks. Why not draft one?

One of the Eagles’ best players, Darius Slay, is coming off of a Pro Bowl campaign in 2021 and is signed through the coming regular season, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2023. He’s 31 now. Those guys are often seen as senior citizens, but Slay is still at the top of his game. Still, you have to wonder if deterioration will come at some point.

The Birds have a question to answer though. Who’s going to man the outside corner position on the other side of the formation?

Philadelphia has some young players, most of whom don’t appear to be ready. That’s led to questions about whether or not it will be feasible to spend some coin on one of the guys who figure to be available in free agency.

That’s an option, but again, there’s no need for a huge spending spree or overpaying for a youngster like J.C. Jackson, Carlton Davis, or Darious Williams, even if they are talented. The Birds should also rule out some of the aging veterans at the position. Guys like Stephon Gilmore and Casey Hayward are still earning high grades, but the Eagles should give serious thought to infusing some youth into the position.

We don’t know how much longer we’ll have this version of Slay, and the man Philly adds should be someone who eventually slides into the CB1 role.

With three first-round picks, there’s some debate about whether Ahmad Gardner (Cincinnati Bearcats) or Trent McDuffie (Washington Huskies) will be available when the Eagles are on the clock at 15, 16, or 19. We assume Derek Stingley (LSU Tigers) will go early, but both of those guys could slide.

Philadephia hasn’t taken a cover guy in Round 1 since they took Lito Sheppard in 2002. It may be time to do so. That can drive a wedge into a revolving door that seems to have been opened at cornerback.