Eagles earn mention among NFL's most improved units at a key position

The Eagles continue to receive rave reviews for their roster upgrades, particularly at the secondary.
Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Something tells us we have driven a wedge in what is sometimes a revolving door. Ahead of the most recent NFL Draft, Philadelphia Eagles fans were dealing with a dilemma we seemingly agonize over every offseason. 'What are the Birds going to do about their secondary?' Once upon a time, we were spoiled by the knowledge we would swap Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor out for Lito Sheppard and Sheldon Brown. Boy.... If only we had a time machine!

Playing in a league where there's parity, free agency, and a salary cap, some things seem inevitable. There will be times when every NFL team needs more talent than it has, especially at specific positions, and recently, every time we arrive at March, we're constantly asking ourselves if Philly's defensive backfield is good enough.

Sure Darius Slay is a Pro Bowl talent, but he's also getting old. You see how quickly regression came for James Bradberry.

We could rewind the tape further. Philly has experienced more than its fair share of hit-or-miss moments while trying to stock the cupboard at corner. Nnamdi Asomugha committed robbery. Guys were drafted who didn't work out. Injuries at times occurred which meant free agency was explored to find band-aids.

There are a ton of failed experiments resting in that section of our brains where we house disappointment. Don't even get us started talking about the safety position and guys like Kevin Byard. The tide may be turning though as Philly seems to have retooled

Pro Football Focus names the Eagles among the most improved secondaries following the 2024 NFL Draft.

While we realize this next statement is overly emotional and inaccurate, we'll let you in on the thought process anyway. There were times we thought we could suit up and do a better job in the Eagles secondary than some of the guys we saw play in 2023.

There have been several offseasons where we thought massive improvement and depth. As mentioned earlier, this most recent offseason was no different.

Howie Roseman went to work, reacquiring C.J. Gardner-Johnson and adding both Quinyon Mitchell and Cooper DeJean in the most recent NFL Draft during rounds one and two respectively. That didn't go unnoticed as most have given Philly a passing grade for its most recent draft class.

The stat enthusiasts over at Pro Football Focus joined the party recently. They mentioned the Eagles' secondary as one of pro football's most improved secondaries after the most recent draft that we all watched in Detroit.

Trevor Sikkema is the writer of this one. Here's what he said to substantiate the argument:

"James Bradberry and Darius Slay fell off a bit last year. They earned 77.1 and 77.3 coverage grades, respectively, in 2022 before posting 52.0 and 65.4 marks in 2023. The Eagles subsequently went out and hit not one, but two home runs in that area in drafting Mitchell and DeJean...

Mitchell will likely start right away, while DeJean could be eased into things as he recovers from a foot injury suffered in 2023 that hampered his draft process. That doesn’t mean we won’t see DeJean at all in 2024, though. He should be good to go by training camp and is one of the more versatile secondary players from the 2024 class. He could get looks in the slot or at safety."

The theory makes sense, but it begs the question. What in the heck happens with James Bradberry?

We recently named James as one of Philly's returning veterans who aren't safe. We wouldn't be shocked if he was a post-June 1st cut candidate. We wouldn't be shocked if he was on the field for Week 1 of the Eagles' 2024 regular season.

The point here is the Birds are stocked at corner and look better at safety than they have in a while: They'll enter training camp with 13 cornerbacks battling for what we believe will be sixth spots on the 53-man roster: Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Kelee Ringo, Quinyon Mitchell, Cooper DeJean, Isaiah Rodgers, Josh Jobe, Eli Ricks, Mekhi Garner, Mario Goodrich, Tyler Hall, Zech McPhearson.

There are also five safeties: Reed Blankenship, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Sydney Brown, Tristin McCollum, and UDFA Andre Sam. There's a lot to be excited about when you look at all of those names on paper. Keep in mind the fact that last year, we though Maddox and McPhearson would be the top two slot cornerbacks on the depth chart. This time around, we're wondering if there's a chance they might be left off the roster.

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