NFC East: Brandon Harris

Eagles' biggest weakness: cornerback

March, 16, 2011
3/16/11
12:00
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Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson examines the biggest weakness of each NFC East team and offers some potential solutions.

Outside of the ball-hawking Asante Samuel, the Eagles are extremely light at corner. The Eagles gave up a whopping 31 touchdown passes last season. Ellis Hobbs will retire, but the Eagles are set with their nickelback in Joselio Hanson.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Harris
Steve Mitchell/US PresswireThe Hurricanes' Brandon Harris could be a good fit in Philadelphia.
They really need to a find a starter. Depth here isn’t bad. Trevard Lindley could step up as he matures, and Dimitri Patterson has starting experience. But when Patterson is on the field, the offense targets him.

Obviously, the free-agent corner everyone is thinking about is Nnamdi Asomugha. Hey, I can’t argue with adding a truly elite cover man like Asomugha. But wow, is he going to be expensive. It is easy for me to spend the owner’s money -- and who knows what is going to happen with the salary cap. Asomugha will turn 30 in July; Samuel will turn 30 during the 2011 season.

The next best option would be the Bengals' Johnathan Joseph, who would be a big upgrade opposite Samuel. Joseph still has upside. He is very gifted but needs to stay healthy. Pittsburgh’s Ike Taylor and the Jets' Antonio Cromartie are well-known players, but Taylor could be starting to decline slightly and is older than Samuel while Cromartie doesn’t like to tackle. Still, either player would help immediately.

Baltimore has two corners who played well last year -- Chris Carr and Josh Wilson. The Eagles probably wouldn’t have to break the bank on either, and Wilson in particular is quite intriguing.

Although I have a hunch that Andy Reid will use the 23rd selection in the first round on an offensive lineman like Florida’s Mike Pouncey or Wisconsin’s Gabe Carimi, there are three corners worth considering with that pick. Colorado’s Jimmy Smith is the most physically gifted, and Aaron Williams from Texas has excellent size. However, the player I would target is Miami’s Brandon Harris. In fact, Harris is such a good fit that I would consider moving up to assure that he became the Eagles’ property.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

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