Philadelphia Eagles: Marcus Epps is tuning up before camp

(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

One month ago, Marcus Epps looked like he was about to be the man for the Philadelphia Eagles.

With long-time starter Rodney McLeod officially out, taking the Carson Wentz wagon-way straight from the City of Brotherly Love to Indianapolis, Epps was expected to take on a more expansive role as one of the Eagles’ starting safeties opposite the returning Anthony Harris and build on a statistically encouraging season from the year before. Suddenly, after being a goat – in the bad, Peter King sort of way – as a rookie, Epps might just earn a long-term contract with a long-term starting spot on the team to boot.

…and then the Eagles signed long-time San Francisco 49ers safety Jaquiski Tartt, and suddenly, everything changed for the collegiate Wyoming Cowboy; he went from a borderline lock to start opposite Harris to a three-way competition with Tartt and K’Von Wallace for a starting spot, with the loser destined to 500-ish snaps as a subpackage specialist.

Fortunately – for the player and the Philadelphia Eagles – Marcus Epps appears to be up for the challenge, as he’s spending his pre-preseason tuning up his game with a former Super Bowl champion.

The better Marcus Epps plays, the better the Philadelphia Eagles play.

Since retiring from the NFL in 2016, Will Blackmon has been up to a lot; he founded the Wine MVP – I’ll give you a guess what they do – became an advisor for the Inventory win app, somm-d at Nocking Point, and somehow, in his spare time, finds time to analyze the NFL as a part of Bluewire Pods.

And when he isn’t doing all of that? Well, he’s helping young performers like Bobby Okereke, Paulson Adebo, and the Philadelphia Eagles’ own Marcus Epps tune-up for training camp with his Haus of DBs.

Now, as you can see from the video, Epps and company are working on their footwork, their burst, their change of direction, and their lateral movement, all of which are very important for NFL safeties, especially in a scheme like Jonathan Gannon’s where a safety could play a variety of different roles from snap to snap deployed deep from a two-deep shell.

Will this short, hands-on outing magically pencil Epps into a starting spot for the next half-decade? Well no, but when you consider how important his potential is to the team’s long-term prospects, it certainly can’t hurt.

With all three of the team’s top safeties slated to become free agents at the end of the season and only one of them under the age of 30 – guess who – the Eagles have a vested interest in Epps winning one of the spots outright, as he could theoretically play out a three-year contract – one worth something like $4 million per year – before he’s the same age as Harris is today. If Epps can become a top-30 safety, which isn’t an unreasonable ask, he’ll be able to have a very nice career, especially if the Birds can secure a legit difference-maker at the other safety spot moving forward.

If a tune-up can help Epps to reach that level, then hey, why not see if Blackmon wants to schedule another mini-camp? Might as well go for it.

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Thre’s no doubt about it; the Philadelphia Eagles’ safety unit isn’t as elite as it used to be. After passing on Kyle Hamilton in favor of Jordan Davis in the draft and opting against signing Tyran Mathieu in favor of James Bradberry – which probably wasn’t correlated but is the ultimate result – the Eagles will get solid play out of their safeties this fall, even if the duo, whomever they may be, aren’t routinely tasked with being difference-making playmakers. If Marcus Epps can just reach that level and win a starting spot outright, he’ll likely be in the money – literally – before the start of the 2023 NFL season.