This offseason has brought a lot of changes to Philadelphia’s secondary. With 3x Pro-Bowler Malcolm Jenkins returning to the Saints after six years on the Eagles, Howie Roseman and Jim Schwartz have put together a defense to accommodate for these changes.
One of the most notable of these changes was moving CB Jalen Mills to the SS position for 2020. By signing a one-year contract with the Birds, Mills is switching to a position that he hasn’t played since college and plans to replace Jenkins.
Although Mills hasn’t played safety in years, he may benefit from a position change, as the safety position often requires less speed and athleticism than CB. This could end up helping Mills a lot because in 2018 and 2019 he began getting beat more by wide receivers on the outside.
Another notable change to the Eagles’ secondary was trading for top CB Darius Slay. In this trade, the Eagles were able to acquire a lockdown corner for a third and fifth round pick.
Not only does Slay fill in for the Eagles’ much desired need at corner, but he is also a near-perfect scheme-fit as he was drafted by current Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz in 2013 when he was HC of the Lions. Because of this, Slay has been working with similar zones as the Eagles and should be able to easily fit into their defense.
In addition to rebuilding their secondary through free agency and trades, the Eagles have also attempted to add depth at safety through the 2020 NFL Draft. Through this, the Eagles were able to make a late-round steal by drafting SS K’Von Wallace in the 4th round.
As a versatile player who was used by Clemson all across their secondary, Wallace could end up being the Eagles’ closest replacement for Malcolm Jenkins. Although Wallace is expected to start the year as the Eagles’ third SS — behind Jalen Mills then Will Parks — it is very possible to see him make an impact in the Eagles’ starting team at some point this year.
With Slay likely starting at the left corner position, the Eagles also signed 8th year CB Nickell Robey-Coleman to likely play in the slot. Although Robey-Coleman will need to compete for this position with CB Cre’von LeBlanc, he adds some much-needed experience to the Eagles relatively young secondary.
Despite the Eagles losing one of their defensive captains in Malcolm Jenkins, it seems as though Schwartz and Roseman have sought to revamp their secondary. Through bringing in young/versatile players along with more experienced ones, the Eagles are attempting to create a foundation for a strong secondary to complement their already-dominant defensive line.
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