Will the Philadelphia Eagles add a safety early in the draft?
With the defensive front the Eagles currently have in addition to the cornerbacks, there should be some pressure taken off of the safeties this upcoming season. It doesn’t make a ton of sense to invest more resources into the position when the Philadelphia Eagles can win by investing elsewhere.
However, the depth behind Anthony Harris and Marcus Epps is thin, and Jordan Battle is difficult to ignore if available. Additionally, Harris and Epps will both be free agents at the end of the year so the Birds will have decisions to make.
Why not go back to the SEC route? Battle has played at a variety of different spots for the Alabama Crimson Tide which would allow the Eagles to disguise more of their pre-snap looks.
By the time next April rolls around, Rodney McLeod will be long gone, as is the case with Malcolm Jenkins. Without that type of talent, the Birds don’t have a versatile, do-it-all safety.
One of the traits that stands out the most with Battle is his hip fluidity. It’s silky smooth. He can stay with receivers downfield as the lone safety or man up in the slot and play coverage. It doesn’t matter which direction or route the opposing receiver takes.
That and his Battle’s physicality throughout the route makes him a strong option for defensive coordinators when it’s time to cover tight ends.
The single-high ability is there. He has the hips and eye discipline, but he could improve a bit from an athleticism standpoint. He could also improve his tackling. Open field tackles can be hit or miss. He generally takes good angles to ball carriers but can be prone to miscalculate versus quicker and more elusive ball carriers.
In 2022, Battle will need to demonstrate a better ability to fill in the run game from two-high looks. That is an especially important element to evaluate the potential fit with this Eagles team that is expected to play two-high frequently. He has the size for the position along with respectable athleticism but right now, he has work to do in order to be a jack of all trades safety. We tend to agree with NFL Draft FN‘s projection: he is “more suited for playing in the box at the next level”.