Some people feel the Eagles are now set at CB. They have starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher returning. They added Nolan Carroll in free agency. Brandon Boykin is already one of the better slot guys in the league. And Roc Carmichael is still a young guy in the mix. To some, that group seems pretty set.
I’m not in that category.
Let’s start with the incumbents. Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are not good CBs. I would describe them as being effective starters. They can have good games. When officials let them get away with a bit of contact, the duo is much more effective. There are times when the duo will struggle and give up some plays. I don’t think you can ever be comfortable with marginal starters.
There are other factors. Williams will turn 30 in December so he’s got that working against him. Fletcher has durability issues. He missed 3 games last year and has had major injuries in the past.
I do agree that adding Nolan Carroll was a good move and makes me more comfortable with the depth on the outside. Still, it isn’t as if he’s some shutdown corner.
The subject of Brandon Boykin is complicated. He is a very talented player and is coming off a good season. Boykin has the potential to be a great nickelback. Will the Eagles ever move him outside on a full time basis? I don’t know. Some argue that they’ll have to when he’s going for his second contract. If not, he’ll leave. That makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure the Eagles want him outside. Bill Davis tends to prefer big CBs who can re-direct receivers as they release off the ball. Boykin is only 5-9, 183. That’s small for a corner.
I guess we’ll find out how the Eagles feel about him moving outside when we see if they go for a CB early in this draft. If they don’t, maybe the team does see him moving there in the future. I’ve got my doubts.
As to Carmichael…he’s a non-factor at this point. He showed very little last year. He wasn’t some awful player that looked hopeless, but he didn’t impress me. We can hope he does well this summer, but you sure don’t count on him.
This is the time to draft a CB. Get one and let him sit and learn for a season. Williams is a smart, veteran player. I’m sure the young guy could learn from him. You always prefer the ability to work a guy into the lineup rather than having to throw him out there from Day One.
I’m not saying the Eagles must go get a CB in the 1st round. I do think they can go for one that early if the right guy is on the board. I don’t mind having the guy sit. Lito and Sheldon sat as rookies and both turned into very good players.
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The Eagles have LB Jordan Tripp from Montana in for a visit today. What I’m curious about is if they see him as an OLB or ILB.
Tripp is 6-3, 243. He is listed by most as an OLB, but I think that is in the 4-3. He had 9 sacks in college so clearly he wasn’t used as a primary pass rusher. He is good in coverage.
The Eagles could see him as a backup to Connor Barwin or they could see him as someone for the inside. DeMeco Ryans isn’t a long term answer at ILB. Tripp would be someone to draft and develop for the future. The Eagles do have Jake Knott, Najee Goode and Emmanuel Acho there now. If they spend a mid-round pick on Tripp, that could tell you that the team isn’t that high on the guys already there.
Per Elliot Shorr-Parks, the Eagles have already shown serious interest in Tripp. They met with him at the Combine and also sent a key guy to his Pro Day.