Position series: Eagles cornerbacks

June, 22, 2012
6/22/12
2:25
PM ET
Yes, the NFC East position series rolls on, a fine way to pass a slow offseason Friday. We're doing cornerbacks today, and this stop takes a look at those of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Projected starters: Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

Reserves: Joselio Hanson, Brandon Boykin, Brandon Hughes, Curtis Marsh, Trevard Lindley, Cliff Harris

[+] EnlargeNnamdi Asomugha
Drew Hallowell/Getty ImagesEagles cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is at his best in man coverage.
Potential strength: Asomugha was signed as a marquee free agent last year, and should be one of the strengths of the entire team. As you know if you watched, he obviously had his moments, but he also had some rough spots. The conventional wisdom is that the Eagles played too much zone coverage last season, and that went away from Asomugha's strengths in an effort to minimize Asante Samuel's weakness. But with Samuel gone, it's possible the Eagles will play more man coverage, where Asomugha shines. With a full year in his new surroundings behind him, and assuming the coverage schemes are tweaked to make him more comfortable and use him the way he should be used, Asomugha should find himself in position to re-establish himself as one of the league's elite cornerbacks.

Potential weakness: The departure of Samuel not only eats at the team's depth at the position, it deprives them of the cornerback who actually played the best for them last season. Samuel's playmaking was an asset, and it remains to be seen whether Rodgers-Cromartie, whom they got in return for Kevin Kolb last year and is earning rave offseason reviews, can be the same kind of player. But the big question is that the nickel corner spot, where Hanson wasn't as good last season as he'd been the year before, and now faces a challenge from the rookie Boykin. With Samuel gone and Hanson a question mark, have the Eagles left themselves too thin at a critical position?

Keep an eye on: Harris. He was looked at as a first-round talent during a brilliant 2010 season at Oregon, but his 2011 season disappeared in a haze of suspensions and legal troubles. So he wasn't drafted, but the Eagles took a shot on him as an undrafted free agent. If he can keep himself out of trouble and focus on football, he could turn out to be a huge steal. He was an elite playmaker at a top college program just two years ago. And if not, no harm done. Lots of upside with this young man, and he's a guy to watch. ("Guy to Watch!")

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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