The Eagles need a right CB. Now that we know free agency is going to include 4-year players it is time to start talking about the targets. I’m going to begin not with a free agent, but someone who might be available via trade.
I don’t think we’ve had much media speculation on this, but a few wise Eagles fans have come up with the notion of dealing Kevin Kolb to the Cardinals for CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC from here on) and a pick.
The Cardinals drafted Patrick Peterson back in April to be their elite shutdown CB. They hoped to pair him with DRC to give them a really good duo. Peterson has great potential. DRC was good as a rookie and played really well in 2009, but fell off last year. He’s still a very gifted CB and the Cards thought they might be set for years.
The Cards know they need a QB. Their passing offense was brutally bad in 2010. They had an arrogant attitude about the retirement of Kurt Warner and thought they could get by. Nope. Now they must be aggressive to solve the situation. They’d love to trade a 2012 draft pick for Kevin Kolb, but that won’t do the Eagles any good this year. You wonder if the Eagles might try to pry DRC away.
The move would make some sense. He had a down season in 2010. His tackling was poor and he didn’t show any sense of urgency. When the offense is down, the defense must rally. See the 1991 Eagles for example. DRC seemed to know 2010 was a lost season and played as such. Not a good way to go about things.
I watched a couple of games last night to check out DRC. He is still a very talented player who could be really good in the right situation. He has good size at 6’2, 182. DRC is one of the fastest DBs in the league and he can run with just about any receiver. He mainly played press in the games I watched. He’s not a real physical bump and run guy, but can be hands on at times. Often he just plays close and runs with the receiver. He has the recovery speed to make up ground when he does get beat by a receiver. There are times when he still gets burned, but that recovery speed gives him a fighting chance when other corners would be toast.
DRC isn’t limited to man coverage. I was impressed with his awareness, something that is critical for zone coverage. He showed a good feel for releasing his receiver to another DB on combo routes and then picking up the receiver who came into his area. Some guys are lost in this type of situation. DRC communicated with his teammates and looked comfortable in zone.
DRC has very good ball skills. He has good hands and can pluck the ball when it comes his way. He’s got 13 picks in 48 career games. He tracks the ball well in the air. You’ll see him on some downfield routes go up and play the ball like he’s the receiver. You want CBs that are aggressive and go up for the ball. DRC can play off in coverage. He then uses his speed to break on short throws. DRC has 61 pass deflections in his career, an excellent total.
So what is the downside? His tackling is bad, especially so in 2010. You have to remember that his idol is Deion Sanders. Deion even befriended DRC back in the pre-draft process a couple years back. That’s great when he needs coverage advice, but not so much when he needs tackling tips. DRC gets thrown at an awful lot for a guy with his ability. And it isn’t like he’s playing across from some elite CB. Teams are willing to go after him. DRC will make them pay at times, but no one is scared of him.
Would he fit the Eagles? Yes. DRC played both sides in Arizona. Being the RCB here would be no problem. He’s got the size and speed we’d love in a RCB. He likes to press, which is also something we need. He can play man or zone. We don’t yet know exactly what Juan Castillo will do with his secondary so having a guy who can do both things is a good way to go.
DRC could have a bounce-back year in 2011 and turn out to be a steal or he could be inconsistent just like 2010 and drive us all crazy. This move has definite risk, but the upside to DRC makes it real intriguing. He has the potential to be an elite CB when he’s playing his best. We saw that at times in 2008 and 2009. I think putting him back on a winning team and making him part of a good defense would bring out the best in him. I’m sure some fan will joke about our troubled defense last year, but Arizona’s was far worse – 30th in scoring, 29th in yards allowed.
I would absolutely be willing to make a move for DRC.
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A few people asked about Greg Toler, the CB who played opposite of DRC at times last year. He looks like a talented young player, but wouldn’t be the answer to our problems at RCB. I think we’re looking for a better player. I’m not sure that Toler would be a substantial upgrade on Trevard Lindley.
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Someone in the comments asked about the possibility of Dawk being cut by Denver and coming back here. I’m sure Andy Reid and Castillo would be open to that for one year. Beyond that, they want Jaiquawn Jarrett and Nate Allen on the field. Dawk is very much a descending player. Right now there is some speculation in Denver that Dawk could be the #3 Safety for them. If he were cut and brought here, Dawk would have to win a starting job. We love the guy, but at his age nothing is given to you.
Someone asked about our DTs and their contracts. We are in a tenuous spot with them. Mike Patterson is signed through 2037 (or does it just seem that way?). Dixon is entering his 3rd year here so we’ve got another year with him. Laws and Bunk are the guys we will be making decisions on. Both guys want to start, here or elsewhere. They need to play well this year to impress the Eagles and other 4-3 teams.
One note about the backup QB discussion…remember we are talking about backups. Matt Hasselbeck should be a terrific backup. Jake Delhomme could be a good backup. Same for Marc Bulger. You don’t want these guys as your primary starter because they’ve each got issues, but as backups they’d make complete sense. Jeff Garcia flopped as a starter in 2004 and 2005, but was a very good backup for us in 2006. A.J. Feeley flopped as a starter, but was a good backup for us in various years. Big difference in what you see in a starter and backup. The targets we’re talking about are descending players, but they can function well in the right role. Don’t hold them to an overly high standard.
Someone asked about Detroit QB Shaun Hill as a possible target. I think he’s a very good backup, but don’t think he’s a free agent this year.