The Eagles are starting from scratch at the cornerback position. Last year, the team believed it had two elite cover men, but Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie failed to bring any energy or physicality to the defense.
In 2013, the Eagles are back to square one and will roll out two brand new starters. The Eagles did not draft a corner in April’s draft, but inked former Raven Cary Williams to a $17 million contract. The team lost big on its super-talented gambles, but there’s reason for optimism as the Eagles added tougher players at the position.
Who makes the team:
Brandon Boykin, Bradley Fletcher, Curtis Marsh, Jordan Poyer, Cary Williams
Boykin, Fletcher, and Williams are locked in as the team’s top three corners, and the Eagles are likely to keep two more players at the position. Curtis Marsh ran with the first-team in Cary Williams’ absence, so he appears to have the early leg-up on the competition. Jordan Poyer is the best bet to round out the group because although he is a limited athlete, he excels in zone coverage and was hand-picked by the new regime. Brandon Hughes is on the outside looking in at this point.
Who starts week 1:
Bradley Fletcher (left corner) and Cary Williams (right corner)
As the clear cut two best cover men on the roster, Fletcher and Williams are both near locks to start week 1. Brandon Boykin will be the nickel corner, but does not have ideal length for a boundary spot. Both Fletcher and Williams have good size at 6’0″ plus.
How the position stacks up:
The corner position has gone through a lot of roster turnover, so nobody can be sure how the new additions will fit in just yet. Brandon Boykin was a solid nickel corner as a rookie, and there’s no reason to expect a drop-off. Cary Williams is an average starting corner in this league. He’s not a shutdown player, but he has solid physical traits and excellent competitiveness. Bradley Fletcher’s young career has been marred by injuries, but when he’s on the field, he shows great size, smoothness, and discipline. The Eagles don’t have any great players at the position, but they patched up their deficiencies well in free agency.