Philadelphia Eagles: Anthony Harris is taking on a leadership role

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

When the Philadelphia Eagles broke the huddle before their preseason game at Lincoln Financial Field versus the New York Jets, Jalen Hurts didn’t deliver the pregame speech.

Now granted, had Hurts been asked to deliver the goods, he certainly would have, as the OklaBama product is a legit leader of men who generally gets players to line up behind him to go into battle, but for one reason or another, he wasn’t asked. Curiously enough, neither was the Eagles’ longest-tenured player, Brandon Graham, their highest-paid player, Fletcher Cox, or even their biggest edition of the 2022 NFL offseason, A.J. Brown.

No, the player who broke the huddle and got his guys fired up for a show was none other than Anthony Harris, the veteran safety who is entering his second season with the Eagles after a decent maiden campaign in 2021.

But why? Why did Harris, a player who most fans would have been just fine saying goodbye to in free agency, earn such an opportunity when someone like T.J. Edwards, the middle linebacker and de facto leader of the team, could make more sense in the role? Well, probably because Jonathan Gannon trusts Harris to help him translate his defensive vision onto the field, which, in the NFL, is just about the highest praise a player can be afforded.

Anthony Harris’ spot with the Philadelphia Eagles appears set in 2022.

As you have almost most certainly heard by now, the Eagles are not completely sold with their depth at safety. Sure, at least a few spots are all but locked up, with Marcus Epps and Harris penciled in at the two starting spots, but behind that duo, there are a lot more questions than answers.

K’Von Wallace is still with the team, but the former fourth-round pick out of Clemson has had a beyond quiet summer to go with two beyond quiet seasons to start his career. While it would be a tad surprising to see his name on the ‘cut’ list when the roster is trimmed down to 53, the collegiate Tiger eventually has to do something to warrant a spot on the roster, even if it isn’t right now.

Josiah Scott is also more or less a lock to make the Eagles’ roster, as he’s an interior swiss army knife who can play both slot cornerback and now safety and may eventually fill the third safety role Gannon has been looking to fill all summer long.

And what about Ross Blankenship? After being one of the least-heralded players in the team’s UDFA class, he very well may end up making the roster over someone like Andre Chachere, who can do a little bit of everything but is a master of nothing but being a special teams gunner.

Could the Eagles trade for a safety? Ed Kracz seems to think so. Or maybe the team will simply get lucky and swoop in to sign away a veteran safety let go by their current team a la the addition of Jaquiski Tartt earlier this calendar year.

Sidebar: *sigh* had Tartt worked out, maybe the Eagles’ safety unit would be looking good, but alas, his chances of making the 53-man roster aren’t looking too good.

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Will Anthony Harris rebound from an otherwise down year in 2022 and look like the player who was once given the franchise tag by Minnesota? Or will his usefulness as an on-field leader be more valuable than his actual play, with Howie Roseman looking to replace him heading into 2023? Only time will tell, but no matter how the rest of the summer shakes out, it’s clear Harris isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, Philadelphia Eagles fans.