Heading into the 2022 offseason, one of the biggest needs facing the Philadelphia Eagles was their secondary. Go figure.
Secondary has been the Eagles’ Achilles Heel for over a decade now. Some years have been better than others, but overall the secondary has never been a strength for Philly’s defense. Until now…. maybe? It’s still not the ‘best’ position group on the Eagles defense, but it’s far from their biggest weakness.
Pro Football Focus has been ranking every position group this offseason and they recently dropped their secondary rankings. While their review of the Eagles new-look secondary wasn’t as glowing as their takes on the team’s wide receiver room or their offensive line, it was still pretty good considering how bad the team’s secondary has been in recent years.
PFF ranked the Eagles secondary 13th in the NFL. Just behind the Tennessee Titans and Denver Broncos, and just ahead of Kansas City and Carolina. Here was their reasoning:
If you’re going to be strong anywhere in the secondary, having two potential shut-down cornerbacks on the outside trumps all. Over the past two seasons, James Bradberry ranks first in the NFL in forced incompletions, while Darius Slay ranks sixth in coverage grade.”2022 NFL secondary rankings: Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers take top spots
The strength within the Eagles secondary is clearly at the cornerback position, which PFF points out. Darius Slay is coming off a career year and James Bradberry has been a very good corner when put in favorable situations. Playing CB2 opposite of Slay should help Bradberry immensely.
The addition of Jaquiski Tartt should qualm some of the concerns facing the safety position, but it won’t suddenly make the position a strength, especially not long-term. He and Anthony Harris are fine safeties and will be able to hold their own. As long as they’re not complete liabilities, the Eagles defense won’t suffer.
The best thing that comes out of the Tartt signing is being able to keep Marcus Epps in the third safety role, a position he’s thrived in over the past two years. Putting players in favorable situations is the name of the game and Jonathan Gannon will be able to do just that with Epps in 2022.
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