Our eight-day look at who makes the Eagles’ 53-man roster continues today with a gander at cornerback (Defensive end, offensive line and running back have already been tackled).
A year ago the Eagles carried only five cornerbacks, two of whom split starts at right cornerback and are now gone. Ellis Hobbs has retired and Dimitri Patterson we’ll get to see tonight alongside another former Eagles cornerback in Sheldon Brown when the Eagles host the Browns. What a difference a year makes. Cornerback has become the team’s deepest position after two high-profile moves, giving the Eagles some flexibility in case they need to make a trade to fill holes at some other key spots.
First cuts come Tuesday when the 90-man roster is pared down to 80. Final cuts are on Sept. 3.
Likely to keep: 5-6.
Locks: Signed to a five-year, $60 million contract, Nnamdi Asomugha will start at right cornerback – just an minor upgrade over the Hobbs-Patterson combo former defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was dealt. As impressive as the Kevin Kolb-for-Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie-and-a-second-round-draft-pick trade was, it has lost some of its luster with Rodgers-Cromartie no longer starting and mostly playing the nickel. He’ll be involved often, but in retrospect the Eagles may have been better off addressing a position of need, like linebacker, if they truly had Asomugha in their sights. Some believed the Eagles would plug another hole by trading Asante Samuel after Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie were brought aboard. But he’s staying at left cornerback.
Near lock: Rookie Curtis Marsh is a virtually guaranteed a spot on the roster. A third-round draft pick the Eagles aren’t going to give up on the corner after a promising training camp. That being said, Marsh still has lots to learn and will occupy a low spot on the depth chart.
Bubble: Joselio Hanson has become a mainstay on the Eagles defense, handling nickel duties now for more than four seasons. But the Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie acquisitions make the 30-year-old expendable. The hot rumor has Hanson being dealt to the Panthers to be reunited with McDermott. That’s possible, but Hanson is at this point more reliable in the slot that Rodgers-Cromartie, who has never played there before. Plucked from the Giants’ practice squad last season, Brandon Hughes could make life miserable for Trevard Lindley. He’s playing at a higher level, but the Eagles have more invested in Lindley, who they drafted in the fourth round a year ago.
Gone: Jorrick Calvin primarily handled kick returns last season but his value has been diminished by the new kickoff placement rule. Jamar Wall has been injured most of camp. Isaiah Trufant is short.