Philadelphia Eagles: Howie Roseman keeps adding the wrong safety

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

While the Philadelphia Eagles are wise to continue to add safeties to their roster, Howie Roseman keeps targeting the wrong type of player.

Howie Roseman is a huge fan of depth; he straight-up loves the stuff and it’s a big reason why the Philadelphia Eagles have been so successful over the last few seasons.

When injuries started to pile up in 2017 and 2018, the Eagles had enough good players across the depth chart to mitigate the potential losses and field two incredibly successful playoff berths, one of which ended in a Super Bowl victory (obviously).

But as of late, certain positions have taken a priority in the depth chart hierarchy, in some cases to a comical degree.

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Like defensive tackles? The Eagles have seven, five of whom are good enough to make the team.

What about cornerbacks? Well, the Eagles have six who started at least one game over the last three seasons, four of whom are still on their rookie contracts.

But as of late, Roseman’s new favorite position is one the team has utilized since his return to power in 2016: strong safety.

Now sure, Malcolm Jenkins has been the Eagles’ strong safety since Chip Kelly signed him back in 2014 and he’s among the best players in the league at his position, he came into the league as a cornerback, and plays close to the line due to his advanced coverage skills coming out of the slot.

No, what we’re talking about is good old-fashioned in the box strong safeties: Players who hit like a linebacker and are able to body up against tight ends and running backs in coverage.

While Jim Schwartz has been a big fan of fielding a big nickel package over the past few seasons, he’s almost exclusively deployed safeties who’d previously played cornerback like Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Corey Graham, and even 2018 fourth round pick up Avonte Maddox, who moonlit at free safety for stretches of last season.

However, this summer has been different.

Right out of the gate, the Eagles signed ex-Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo to one-year prove-it deal and so far, he’s looked like the steal of the summer.

From there, the team added another proven veteran in Johnathan Cyprien, and so far, the ex-Tennessee Titan has looked pretty good both in coverage and on special teams.

And last but probably least, the Eagles pulled their second player-for-player trade of the summer by flipping Bruce Hector, a long shot defensive tackle from USF who appeared in eight games for the Eagles last season, to the Arizona Cardinals for second-year former sixth round pick Rudy Ford.

On the surface, this deal makes some sense, as both players have a better chance of making the final 53-man roster in their new homes, but it’s hard to imagine Philly carrying three strong safeties into the regular season when they have no true backup for oft-injured McLeod on the roster.

Sure, I guess they could always shift Maddox back to safety, but of all the players listed at safety on the roster, only one, Jenkins, has the speed needed the cover sideline-to-sideline from the single high position, and we all know how much Jenkins hates playing that far off the ball.

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While getting a little overzealous with the box safety is understandable after avoiding the position for three straight seasons, it may be wise for the Philadelphia Eagles to target a more rangy, athletic player to slot in behind McLeod before the final trim down to 53, or even after on the waiver wire, as free safety may be the team’s lightest position.