Philadelphia Eagles: Pierre Desir know how to play for Jonathan Gannon

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Though the Philadelphia Eagles effectively swooped in and stole away the entire second tier of coaches from the Indianapolis Colts, the team really haven’t tipped their toes back into the well for many of Nick Sirianni/Jonathan Gannon‘s former players.

Sure, they landed a few, including Le’Raven Clark, and lord knows Howie Roseman has returned to Gannon’s roots with the signings of two former Minnesota Vikings, but big named former Colts like Justin Houston, Jacoby Brissett, Malik Hooker, and Xavier Rhodes all hit the open market back in March, and each weighed their options and opted to sign elsewhere regardless of their fits in Philly.

Tough break? Eh. While all four of those players would have looked good in midnight green, the team was able to replace them with relatively comparable talent across the board, with Anthony Harris specifically providing the best value-above-replacement over Hooker.

But hey; it’s cool. As NFL teams gradually widdle down their rosters from 90 to 85, down to 80, and eventually 53 plus a 16 man practice squad, plenty of former Colts will hit the open market and give Roseman/Sirianni/Gannon another bite at the proverbial apple to further fortify the Philadelphia Eagles’ roster with pre-existing schematic experience.

One of those players is Pierre Desir, and he’d look darn good in midnight green.

Pierre Desir is another depth outside CB option for the Philadelphia Eagles.

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In the NFL, it’s hard to pick off a pass.

I know that may seem like an overly general statement but think about it this way: There are roughly 800 defensive players on NFL rosters in any given season (25*32), right? Well, in 2020, only 231 of those players recorded a pick, good for a 28.8 percent clip.

But how many players recorded at least three interceptions? Surely that number couldn’t be much lower, right?

40. 4.0.

And one of those players is none other than recently-released perimeter cornerback Pierre Desir.

Now as you, a well-educated football fan surely knows, interceptions do not a good cornerback make. There are plenty of fantastic corners who seldom pick off passes, and there are others who aren’t particularly good but seemingly fall into a few INTs every season out of pure dumb luck. Even if some of Desir’s interceptions aren’t what you would call “elite football plays,” they do at least signify a player who routinely finds himself in the right position to make something happen and do so pretty well.

Measuring in at 6-foot-1, 192 pounds, Desir initially joined the NFL ranks as a fourth-round pick by the Cleveland Browns out of Lindenwood, a Division II University located in
St. Charles, Missouri that is known for its motto, “Real Experience. Real Success.”

Though Desir only played two seasons with the Browns, as he was waived in September of 2016 due to his ill-fit in new defensive coordinator Ray Horton’s scheme, he played a season for the then-San Diego Chargers and the Seattle Seahawks before landing with the Indianapolis Colts in 2017, where he’d play from 2017-2019.

Hmm… who else joined the Colts ranks during that tenure? Yeah, that’d be both Nick Sirianni and Jonathan Gannon, both of whom joined the team as their offensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach, respectively in 2018.

Under Gannon’s tutelage, Desir turned in the two best seasons of his NFL career, amassing four interceptions, 129 total tackles, and 19(!) passes defensed, all of which were among the best marks of the Colts’ cornerback room. His 2018 season was so good, in fact, that he was handed a three-year, $22.5 million extension with $12 million in guaranteed money heading into the 2019 season; a season where he started 11 of the 12 games he appeared.

Now granted, Desir was waived the following preseason, as the Colts ultimately opted to go a different direction with their cornerbacks room in 2020, but Desir quickly latched on with the New York Jets on a one-year $5.5 million deal, where he recorded three more picks – including a pick-six on Brett Rypien – before once again being waived to help facilitate the losing team’s youth movement.

Desir caught on with the Baltimore Ravens, where he appeared in three games of reserve action and most recently signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal to return to Seattle, before ultimately being waived to make room for the return of on-again, off-again tight end Luke Wilson of Raiders Hard Knocks fame.

Sounds like yet another setback in the career of Desir, right? Well, maybe not. As even Ian Rapoport pointed out when breaking the news about the Seahawks’ game of roster musical chairs, the NFL is always looking for experienced cornerbacks, and the 30-year-old should have options as to where he latches on next.

Considering the Eagles’ lack of outside cornerback depth behind Darius Slay and Steven Nelson, the City of Brotherly Love should be pretty darn high on Desir’s list.

While the Eagles could go into the 2021 regular season with Zech McPhearson as their primary outside reserve option, if Game 2 of the preseason versus New England is of any indication, that may not end too good for the boys in blue midnight green (more on that here). Sure the team could reach out to former draftee Rasul Douglas, who is a better fit with Gannon’s scheme than Jim Schwartz’s (more on that here), but he’s already headed to Houston for a visit and may not leave the Lonestar State considering the Texans’ lack of depth at the cornerback position.

No, if the Eagles want to take the path of least resistance and avoid as much on-the-job training as possible for a cornerback signed a few weeks before the start of the regular season, they’d be wise to land a player with real experience playing under Jonathan Gannon in the past.

Is there a player available today who better fits that bill than Pierre Desir?

dark. Next. Is it finally time for a Rasul Douglas reunion?

If 2020 is of any indication, the Philadelphia Eagles can never have enough quality depth at the cornerback position. I know, I know, sometimes it feels like a young, intriguing option might just be ready to turn the corner and play in a big way, but everyone in the Delaware Valley would sleep oh so much more soundly with another 30-year-old vet under contract who at least won’t give up double-digit catches in his debut and have his confidence forever stained in the process. Is Pierre Desir the man for the job? He very well could be, but frankly, I’d be fine with pretty much any option out there that won’t force Zech McPhearson onto the field before he is truly ready to contribute.