How Jimmy Moreland fits into a crowded Eagles secondary

On Monday, the Eagles claimed 26-year-old corner Jimmy Moreland off waivers from the Houston Texans, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

Moreland was originally drafted by Washington in the seventh-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. During his two years with Washington, the James Madison product appeared in 30 games and made 10 starts. He had significant playing time right off the bat for a seventh-round rookie, logging 470 defensive snaps with Washington in 2019. In 2020, his playing time went up a bit, as he played 57% of the team’s defensive snaps.

You may remember Moreland from that putrid 2020 season, where he helped set the course for the downward spiral of Carson Wentz in Week 1 at Washington.

This game gave me AIDS.

With Moreland in the fold, the Eagles now have a whopping 13 cornerbacks on their 90-man roster. Obviously, several of them will be cut or designated to the practice squad once the season rolls around.

As for Moreland specifically, he has a real chance to make the roster as Avonte Maddox‘s primary backup at the nickel. Throughout his three-year career, Moreland has lined up in the slot for 848 snaps, while only logging 143 reps as an outside corner.

He was quite effective in that role in 2020, allowing a completion percentage of 67.7 and a passer rating of 74.1 when targeted. Moreland also didn’t allow a single touchdown during his two-year stint with Washington; he was targeted a combined 104 times.

Along with his coverage ability, Moreland also showcased good tackling during his 2020 campaign, posting a Pro Football Focus run-defense grade of 71.7.

Moreland’s size also lends itself to playing in the slot, coming in at 5-foot-10, 182 pounds.

There’s been some speculation that this acquisition could mean a position change for Maddox, but I don’t see it. He spent the majority of his playing time at safety during his rookie campaign and was fine from that alignment, but he’s fresh off his best season as a pro and he was the primary starter in the nickel. Moving Maddox back to safety just as he’s starting to take steps in the right direction in the slot wouldn’t make any sense. Not to mention he just signed an extension with the team, so I hardly think they’re anxious to move him to a different position.

Nevertheless, Moreland’s addition should at least bring some more quality depth to the cornerback position. Of all the corners in the Eagles crowded secondary, Moreland is best equipped to backup Maddox in the slot.

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