Thursday, May 5, 2011
Breaking down the CBs: Philadelphia
By Matt Williamson
Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson breaks down the cornerbacks of each NFC East team. Today: Philadelphia Eagles.
I considered cornerback the Eagles' biggest need heading into the draft. This defense gave up far too many big plays -- including a whopping 31 touchdowns through the air -- even though it is a good pass-rushing defense. Danny Watkins is a fine prospect and an excellent fit in Philadelphia, but the Eagles bypassing Jimmy Smith gave me great pause. It also made me think that the Eagles will be big players for Nnamdi Asomugha once free agency rolls around. Philadelphia did use a third-round selection on the talented but raw Curtis Marsh. He fits their system quite well and could excel in time as a press corner, but asking him to start at this juncture seems extreme. So the Eagles very much need a starting cornerback opposite Asante Samuel.
Samuel is truly one of the elite cover men in this league. He has terrific ball skills and big-play ability. Samuel does have 36 interceptions over the past five seasons, and teams no longer throw in his direction with regularity. But he offers nothing against the run and is among the worst tackling corners in the league.
Undersized Joselio Hanson isn’t the type of corner you want starting, but he is an excellent slot corner. Ellis Hobbs' career is probably over, and the Eagles certainly cannot count on him for the 2011 season.
Although it is pretty clear Philadelphia has to find a starting-caliber cornerback, one wild card in this equation is second-year player Trevard Lindley. He played sparingly in 2010, but does have a lot of ability and could be primed for a substantial role next season.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.