SENIOR BOWL: Cornerbacks to Watch
The Eagles will be remaking their cornerback group this offseason.
Ronald Darby will not be back and it’s looking like Jalen Mills won’t be either after Mills took down all references to being with the Eagles on his social media sites. If Mills doesn’t die his hair green again, then you know he isn’t coming back for a fifth season.
Both Darby and Mills were the team’s starting cornerbacks when healthy, which wasn’t often, and both are free agents.
The Eagles are also still in the market for a defensive backs coach to replace Cory Undlin, who left to be the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions.
Reports surfaced Wednesday that the Eagles will be players in the corner market during free agency. It makes sense.
The targets according to those reports will be the Broncos’ Chris Harris and/or the Cowboys’ Byron Jones. That makes sense, too, since they are considered two of the better ones in a decent free agent crop.
It hasn’t worked out well for Philly when Cowboys become Eagles, though.
Most recently, cornerback Orlando Scandrick trashed them after being released for a second time this past season.
Other former Cowboys who flopped in Philly include running back DeMarco Murray and receiver Miles Austin.
The Eagles could also make a splash at cornerback in the draft, and that is where this week’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., comes in.
It isn’t a particularly deep class of cornerbacks and the ones considered the high-end corners aren’t playing in the Senior Bowl, which be held Saturday at 2:30 eastern and televised by The NFL Network.
To make a splash, the Eagles will need to draft one with their 21 pick overall or in the second round.
That would mean probably moving up to grab Ohio State’s Jeff Okudah, who is projected to be the top cornerback in the draft and a likely top 15 pick.
Or they could stay put at 21 and likely find someone like Florida’s C.J. Henderson, who some draft experts say remind them of Marcus Peters, Alabama’s Trevon Diggs, or LUS’s Kristian Fulton.
Waiting until the second round could net them someone like Clemson’s A.J. Terrell, Mississippi State’s Cameron Dantzler, or Ohio State’s Damon Arnette.
None of those players will be in the Senior Bowl.
Here are some who are and could be of interest to the Eagles.
Michael Ojemudia, 6-2, 201, Iowa. He was one of the standouts on the first practice day this week. He is physical enough that he could even transition to safety and move down to linebacker occasionally. In other words, he could be a bigger, younger version of Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins. Ojemudia had three interceptions in each of his last two seasons.
Troy Pride, 6-0, 190, Notre Dame. Numbers don’t tell the whole story with Pride, who had 40 tackles and six pass breaks ups as a senior. What Pride has is speed. He has reportedly run in the 4.3s in previous 40-yard dash times, so it will be interesting to see how he does at the Combine. A time like that could push him from a third or fourth round pick into the second round.
Lamar Jackson, 6-3, 215, Nebraska. A good athlete with size, Jackson isn’t considered strong against the run, which wouldn’t make him a candidate to move to safety. But that might be OK with the Eagles.
Others: Wake Forest’s Essang Bassey, Utah’s Terrell Burgess
Reggie Robinson, 6-1, 197, Tulsa. This is an important week for Robinson, who is currently projected to be anywhere from a third to fifth round pick. He has good size and speed with overall athleticism. His senior season numbers were decent, with four interceptions and 13 pass break ups and 38 tackles. With a good week and strong Combine, he could work his way into the second round.
Kindle Vildor, 5-11, 190, Georgia Southern. Loves to compete and will battle hard on every play, after feeling he must always prove himself because he played at a small school. Vildor played well as a junior against Clemson receiver Tee Higgins, who is projected to be a first-round drat pick in the spring. Certainly one to keep an eye on this offseason as he tries to position himself to become a second-day draft choice.
Others: Oklahoma State’s A.J. Green, Pittsburgh’s Dane Jackson