Entering the 2010 season, the Eagles found themselves still trying to fill the void of losing Brian Dawkins to the Broncos a couple season ago. The Eagles tried to address that situation by drafting Nate Allen with their second round pick in the 2010 draft.
There was some solid play from both the free safety and strong safety this season but there was also some inconsistency. Let’s take a closer look at the safety position and see what the picture looks like entering the 2011 season:
Nate Allen: Allen easily won the free safety spot in training camp, and made a significant impact right from the start as he began the season with three interceptions in the first four games. Allen showed that he has playmaking ability, and that is exactly what this defense needs. Unfortunately, Allen was not able to take in the playoff experience because he went down with a season ending knee injury. Overall, Allen was one of the most consistent Eagles on the defensive side of the ball this season.
2011 Outlook: Although Allen went down with a significant knee injury, he should be ready to go by the start of next season. Look for Allen to become more comfortable as the free safety of the Eagles, and take on more of a leadership position in 2011.
Quintin Mikell: Mikell was somewhat of a disappointment this season. He was the one Eagle in the secondary that really had experience, but he struggled in pass defense and missed far too many tackles. I understand that this defense was young and inexperienced but Mikell, in my opinion, didn’t play up to his ability this season. There was not enough consistency from Mikell, and it should be interesting to see what the Eagles do in the offseason concerning the strong safety position.
2011 Outlook: Quintin Mikell officially became a free agent at the end of the season. I personally don’t think that the Eagles are going to bring Mikell back, because he is 30 years old and is coming off of an average season. Look for the Eagles to draft a strong safety in the draft and possibly acquire a veteran through free agency.
Kurt Coleman: Kurt Coleman was, without a doubt, a pleasant surprise. After being drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, expectations were at a bare minimum for the Ohio State product. Coleman was called upon when free safety Nate Allen went down with a season-ending knee injury and performed remarkably. Coleman was without a doubt, the steal of the 2010 draft.
2011 Outlook: Coleman gives depth at the free safety position, but there is an outside chance that the Eagles try to use him in the strong safety position. Coleman certainly has played his way into a position on the Eagles roster.
It should be interesting to see what the Eagles do at the strong safety position. It’s evident that the Eagles have found the free safety of the future in Nate Allen. I expect the Eagles to try to pick up a veteran in the offseason to bring some leadership and experience to the defense.