Philadelphia Eagles: George Iloka is a horrible Cowboys consolation prize

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

After striking out on Earl Thomas, the Dallas Cowboys have signed S George Iloka, however, this move shouldn’t make Philadelphia Eagles fans lose any sleep.

The Philadelphia Eagles have had a great free agency so far.

Outside of missing out on a running back, and maybe moving on from Michael Bennett, all of Howie Roseman‘s moves seemed calculated and made a ton of sense.

The Dallas Cowboys, on the other hand, are a whole ‘nother story.

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After targeting Earl Thomas as their big get, the Cowboys largely sat out the first few days of free agency, only needing an over-the-hill Randall Cobb to replace departing slot man Cole Beasley (more on that here).

Sure, they brought in Eric Berry, one of the best safeties in the league, for a tryout, but he ultimately left without a deal; leaving Dallas’ fanbase wondering what their team is doing.

We now have an answer to that question; they’re signing ex-Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings safety George Iloka.

On paper, Iloka looks like he could be an absolute freak of nature, but so far over his seven-year NFL career, we’ve never actually seen that on the field.

At 6-foot-4, 225 pounds, Iloka is taller than most NFL linebackers, but when examining his game, he may as well be 5-10.

Iloka isn’t particularly effective in coverage and lacks the pop one would associate with a player his size.

That has largely relegated Iloka to a super-sized center fielder role, but again, he hasn’t exactly shined in this area either.

Running an average 4.66 40 at the NFL 2012 combine, the Boise State product often looks slow on tape, both physically and instinctually. While players like Malcolm Jenkins and Harrison Smith play the game at a cerebral level, reading and reacting on a dime, you can almost see Iloka thinking about what to do next as the play breaks down, a bad sign for the last line of defense.

Honestly, last season Iloka was the Vikings’ third best safety, being thoroughly outplayed by Andrew Sendejo before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 8 against the Eagles.

Now Sendejo is slated to be the Eagles’ third safety in big nickel packages, while Iloka is projected to be the Cowboys’ starting safety.

That’s good news for Philadelphia, but a pretty tough pill to swallow for fans hoping the Dallas defense would take a step forward.

Don’t get me wrong, Iloka isn’t a bad player by any means, as last summer I genuinely wanted Howie Roseman to sign him to fill the Eagles’ big nickel safety role, but that’s because in very specific roles, Iloka could shine.

If asked to simply play center field for 30-40 percent of the team’s snaps, there’s a good chance Iloka could have a pretty good career, and maybe gain some confidence along the way.

The Cowboys, on the other hand, will probably try Iloka out in deep centerfield for something like 90 percent of their defensive snaps, and somehow feign an artifice of surprise when players like DeSean Jackson torch their defense for big play after big play.

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While it’s hard to honestly grade any move this spring, it’s pretty safe to say the Dallas Cowboys’ best addition this offseason so far has been 36-year-old Jason Witten, a player who spent last season in a broadcasters booth. Ouch.