At the end of Saturday's deadline to cut rosters down to 53 players, the Eagles were heavy in the defensive backfield. The 53-man roster featured 11 defensive backs, which drew the ire of several Eagles fans. Cornerback is seen as a weakness on the roster, and even a liability to some spectators. Understandably, fans and media questioned why a team with such a mediocre secondary would keep so many mediocre players.
Clearly, there is a strategy behind keeping the 11 defensive backs and we will find out what the plan is for the secondary depth shortly. While the Eagles still have the same number of defensive backs on Sunday, there has been a move made at the cornerback position. On Sunday afternoon, the Eagles were awarded cornerback Shaun Prater, who was waived by the Bengals on Saturday. In a corresponding move, the Eagles waive/injured former third-round pick Curtis Marsh, who will go on injured reserve if he is not claimed by another team by Monday.
Prater was a fifth-round pick out of Iowa in last year's draft. He missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury that caused him to be placed on injured reserve. At 5-foot-10 and 190-pounds, Prater isn't really the prototypical cornerback for Billy Davis but he was an excellent tackler in college. He was a three-year starter for the Hawkeyes and collected seven interceptions (two for touchdowns) as a starter. Prater was a two-time first team All-Big Ten honoree.
The 23-year old appeared in three games this preseason with the Bengals and had five tackles during those games. The Bengals kept five cornerbacks, all of which had more experience than Prater. He was likely waived as a direct result of a crowded cornerback unit. He will now likely play special teams and compete for dime formation snaps with with Brandon Hughes and Jordan Poyer. BGN will take a more in-depth look at Prater on Monday.
For Marsh, his waive/injure designation (broken hand) allows the Eagles to avoid giving up on all three of their picks from first two-days of the 2011 NFL Draft in less than three years. Marsh was a running back-turned-cornerback at Utah State that failed to ever develop with the Eagles. While he played well on special teams at times, he really couldn't get on the field on defense. As previously mentioned, if he goes unclaimed over the next 24 hours (likely), then he will be placed on injured reserve. He has two-years left on his rookie deal, so he will eligible to compete for a shot on the Eagles' roster next summer.
Continue to follow BGN for updates on waiver wire claims, the practice squad and other moves as the Eagles approach Week One of the NFL season. You can follow Mike Kaye at @mike_e_kaye.