When the Eagles entered the NFL Draft, I viewed the corner position as the biggest need for the Eagles. This is where I felt the Eagles should direct their first round pick. The offensive line clearly had some holes, but I felt that they should start to be addressed in the second round.
Despite my beliefs, the Eagles decided to go with an offensive lineman in the first round. Don’t get me wrong, I do like the Danny Watkins pick. He should come in and start from day one, and I think he’ll be very successful.
However, the draft has been completed, and I still see the same need for a starting corner that I saw before the draft took place. Of course, this year is different than in year’s past because the draft has taken place before free agency. Every team has filled some of their needs in the draft, but they all still have needs they’ll be able to attack in free agency.
So, when free agency starts, the Eagles number one priority will be finding a starting corner. Clearly, they’ll be looking to heavily pursue Nnamdi Asomugha.
If you don’t believe it, here are five signs from the draft that point right to it.
1. Eagles Didn’t Trade Up For Prince Amukamara
As expected, Patrick Peterson went off the board early. Once this happened, the Prince Amukamara watch began. The question was whether or not he would fall far enough down the board for the Eagles to make a play on him.
He fell out of the top 10, which wasn’t too surprising. He fell out of the top 15, and it really started to catch my attention. As he kept falling into the late teens, I kept waiting for the announcement that a trade had been made. However, that announcement never came.
Amukamara fell all the way to 19th overall before being taken by the Giants, a team that already had good depth at the corner position.
I don’t know how likely of a trading partner the Giants would have been, but the Eagles could have easily traded in front of them to take him. However, they chose not to, and he was no longer on the board.
2. Eagles Passed On Jimmy Smith
With Peterson and Amukamara off the board, Jimmy Smith clearly became the best corner available on the board. With the Eagles picking just four picks behind where Amukamara went, it seemed like there would be a pretty good chance that Smith would be available at 23.
When the 23rd pick came up, Smith remained on the board. The Eagles chose to pass. Was this because they had already determined that Watkins was their guy or because they had concerns about Smith’s off the field mentality? We’ll never know, but they chose to pass.
Smith was a guy the Eagles brought in for a workout before the draft. He clearly has a ton of talent, and I don’t think the Eagles really questioned that. In the past, Smith had gotten into some trouble, and this made teams a bit weary of him. Perhaps the Eagles were one of these teams. Again, we won’t know.
3. Eagles Passed On Brandon Harris
After the first day of the draft, the top three corners were off the board. They were clearly the top three players in their class, but there was a second-tier of corners out there that still had a lot of talent.
The second round opened with two corners coming off the board with the first two selections, Ras-I Dowling and Aaron Williams. After this, there was a large span before the Eagles picked, but there was still talent at the position when the Eagles selection came up.
Brandon Harris was a player I liked and definitely a guy who could compete for a starting spot from day one. With Harris remaining on the board, I was confident this was the guy the Eagles would take to address the hole at corner.
Again, I was wrong, and the Eagles decided to take safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.
4. Eagles Waited Until the Third Round to Take a CB
With the Eagles passing on the corner position with both their first and second selection, I thought maybe they’d try to pick up an additional second round pick with the number of selections they had as ammunition.
Harris fell a little bit after the Eagles selection of Jarrett, but the Eagles decided not to make a play up into the second round.
The third round came and the thought crossed my mind that maybe they’d trade up at this point to ensure they could get a guy they really liked. This didn’t happen. Instead, when the Eagles selection came in the third round, they traded back five positions with the Ravens.
When this selection came, they finally decided to draft a corner, Curtis Marsh out of Utah State.
5. Eagles Drafted a Developmental Corner
Could Marsh be a solid corner down the line? Absolutely. However, he definitely doesn’t appear to be a guy who’s going to come in and compete for a starting position from day one.
Marsh came into Utah State as a running back and played the position for two years before making the move to corner. He’s a great athlete and has the ability to use his size to play up on receivers, but also has the ability to give receivers a cushion and use his speed to close.
He was sixth in the nation as a senior in passes defended, but he’s still learning how to play the position. He’ll see much more talented receivers in the NFL, and isn’t going to come into the league as a shut down guy.
The corner position opposite Asante Samuel was a circus last year, and the Eagles need a guy who can come in and solidify that position. There’s no better option than Nnamdi Asomugha, and the Eagles need to do everything they can to bring him in.