Eagles’ James Bradberry Decision Has Major Backfire Potential in Week 3

James Bradberry's latest injury update is bad news for Eagles fans. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
James Bradberry's latest injury update is bad news for Eagles fans. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Avonte Maddox injury has sent the Philadelphia Eagles into a bit of a scramble. In the immediate aftermath, it was widely hinted by reporters that Mario Goodrich would step into Maddox’s place, especially since no moves were made to bring in any outside help.

However, just hours before kickoff on Monday, it was revealed that James Bradberry will start in the nickel role instead. While the decision is understandable, it also has the potential to backfire.

James Bradberry News Week 3

First and foremost, Bradberry is a very talented cornerback. He has good size (6-foot-1, 212 pounds) that’s allowed him to go toe-to-toe with top wide receivers on the outside for three different teams. He’s also a major ballhawk, racking up 18 interceptions and 100 pass breakups since entering the league in 2016.

It’s no wonder that Bradberry made an immediate impact during his first season in Philadelphia (3 INTs, 17 PBUs) last year and thrived in the system, which led to the first All-Pro selection of his career.

However, shifting Bradberry over to the slot is an entirely new realm. He’ll now be tasked with covering wideouts who rely on their speed more than their hands or route-running to make plays. Bradberry is obviously athletic, but he ran a 4.50 40-yard dash at the combine before being drafted, so he’s not exactly a speedster.

Asking Bradberry to keep up with Tampa Bay Buccaneers slot man Trey Palmer, who ran a 4.33 40 time out of college, isn’t realistic. You also negate some of Bradberry’s physical advantages by playing him in a spot that relies more on quickness, which will likely limit his ability to impact games. So not only will the Eagles run the risk of being burned in the slot, but their outside CB position will also take a hit by losing a clear-cut starter.

Instead, Josh Jobe or Goodrich will be asked to fill in for the reigning Second Team All-Pro. With a whopping 1 combined start between both players, Philadelphia is throwing an inexperienced player into the fire on the outside. Neither has the size of Bradberry, either, with Jobe checking it at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds and Goodrich at 6 feet and 190 pounds.

Any way you slice it, the Eagles’ secondary takes a hit with this decision.

Just think about Monday night’s matchup. While Bradberry is attempting to chase Palmer across the field, either Mike Evans (6-foot-5, 231 pounds) or Chris Godwin (6-foot-1, 208 pounds) will get to line up across from Jobe or Goodrich.

Those are two deadly wideout talents who’ll also enjoy a size advantage over any Philadelphia CB. That sounds like a recipe for disaster as opponents recognize the obvious mismatch on whoever isn’t being guarded by Slay and gameplan ways to take advantage of that.

The Eagles are obviously in a tough spot suffering a loss at such a key position, but we may find out soon that moving Bradberry over isn’t the answer to this problem.

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