Eagles Starter Reportedly Has Already Lost His Job After Day 1 of Draft

It looks like James Bradberry may have lost his starting job following the Philadelphia Eagles drafting Quinyon Mitchell in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft.
Will CB James Bradberry be forced into a backup role next season?
Will CB James Bradberry be forced into a backup role next season? / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Improving the secondary was one of the Philadelphia Eagles' top priorities this offseason and they did exactly that on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft. With the first round's 22nd overall selection, the Eagles drafted standout cornerback Quinyon Mitchell out of Toledo.

Given the promise he showed throughout college, it isn't surprising that Eagles fans are excited to see what Mitchell can do on the gridiron. Having said that, his addition to the franchise has allegedly resulted in his stealing a starting job away from one Philadelphia veteran.

Eagles Rumors: Mitchell to Replace Bradberry as a Starter

NBC Sports' Reuben Franks is under the belief that Mitchell will start over veteran CB James Bradberry in 2024. Although the Eagles have yet to confirm anything, Franks states that it would be "football malpractice if opening day rolls around on Sept. 6 in São Paulo and Bradberry is starting and Mitchell isn’t."

It's hard to disagree with Franks — Bradberry was horrendous last season. According to Pro Football Focus, the veteran CB was targeted 95 times in coverage in 2023, allowing 56 completions (58.9%) for 689 yards and nine touchdowns with a 108.6 passer rating allowed. He was graded as the No. 100 cornerback out of 127 candidates and even finished 106th in coverage.

Given that Bradberry is now in his 30s and looks slower than ever, it's fair to say that his best days are behind him.

Meanwhile, Mitchell presents a potential immediate upgrade. In the last two seasons, the former Rocket only allowed 54 receptions on 132 attempts (40.9%) for 560 yards and three touchdowns while hauling in five interceptions. It's also worth noting that he didn't surrender a single TD pass on 62 targets during his final collegiate campaign.

Bradberry may have the experience edge, but Mitchell has the vet beat somewhere where it matters the most: athleticism. The 22-year-old ballhawk tallied a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds at the NFL Combine while his 90 NFL Next Gen Stats score was No. 1 among graded cornerbacks.

If Mitchell can live up to the hype, time will tell what that means for Bradberry's future. The 30-year-old defender is still under contract through the 2025 season, after all. The Eagles won't save any money by releasing him this summer, but they can save $1.2 million if they trade him after June 1, per Spotrac. That number jumps up to $4.7 million if they wait to move on until June 2025.

If the Eagles decide to hold on to him, let's hope that Bradberry re-discovers his groove. He was an All-Pro defender only two years ago and while he might not be able to get back to that exact level, a turnaround after last year's debacle could make for a solid 1-2 punch alongside Mitchell.

If both Bradberry and Mitchell can live up to expectations, Philadelphia has as good of a shot at anyone to win a championship. For now, the Eagles are tied for the eighth-best odds (+1700) to win Super Bowl LIX on DraftKings Sportsbook.

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