It is no secret that the Eagles need help at safety. While re-signing Nate Allen is doable, the Eagles are likely to show Pat Chung the door and could avoid re-signing Kurt Coleman and Colt Anderson. Philadelphia is probably going to mix a free agent with a draft pick to make depth for the position. If they are looking toward the draft, they may take more than one safety.
If the Eagles decided to add a safety a bit later in the draft or plan on adding multiple players as the position, North Carolina's Tre Boston could be a target.
The 37th-ranked player in the state of Florida by Scout.com coming out of high school, Boston chose to commit to North Carolina. He played as a true freshman and was used as both a depth safety and a starting cornerback. A sprained ankle forced him to miss three games, but finished the season with 32 tackles, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Boston played safety as a sophomore and finished the season third on the Tar Heels defense with 70 tackles. He also collected three interceptions, two pass breakups, a forced fumble and two recoveries. As a junior, he received honorable mention All-ACC honors after leading the team in tackles with 86 stops. He also produced four interceptions and six passes defensed, as 12-game starter at safety.
A second-team All-ACC selection as a senior, Boston collected 85 tackles (team high) and four interceptions. He finished his North Carolina career with 12 interceptions.
He was invited to the East-West Shrine Game and performed well in practice. Here is what RealGM and DetroitLionsDraft.com Draft Analyst, Jeff Risdon, had to say about Boston at the Shrine Game:
North Carolina safety Tre Boston wins Mr. Congeniality. He's always got a smile on his face and is always making noise. Sometimes (see Sean Weatherspoon or Cam Thomas) that drives teammates nuts but Boston's act is well-received. Oh yeah, he can ball too. He showed great burst in breaking up a pass to Gallon, reaching around the Michigan wideout to break up the pass. Gallon did not attack the ball, and Boston took advantage.
Boston is a very vocal leader in the defensive backfield. He is comfortable against the run and pass. He has sharp ability in coverage and has more of hybrid (cornerback-safety) game. He can defend the slot and has no problem with bigger tight ends. At 5-foot-11 5/8, Boston has size and length at the position.
He is good at finding the ball and gets squared up against the run. Boston has good closing speed and wraps up well. He is more quick than fast but can stay close in coverage with speedy receivers. He is an interception machine and will fight for balls in the area with bigger targets. He has good hips and change of direction, which is apparent on tape. He is a nice two-way player that can play free or strong safety.
A bit of a tweener, Boston is not a natural safety and at 198 pounds needs to get a bit bigger for the NFL position. While he is a solid tackler, he does get run over at times by blockers and running backs. Boston is not as fast at reacting as you would like him to be. He can be a bit too hesitant at times against the run. He has good instincts but sometimes takes poor angles on tackles.
Boston is a polished player with a lot of talent and college football experience. While he may not have the ceiling of top-tier guys like Calvin Pryor or Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix, he is a likely ready-made player for the NFL. He is outstanding in coverage and can play either safety spot. He is likely a third or fourth round pick, so if the Eagles decided to go later on a safety or add multiple players at the position, Boston would be a great grab for Philadelphia. He is not a giant, but has size for the position, which should entire Howie Roseman and Chip Kelly. His ability to cover may also allow him to backup Brandon Boykin at defending the slot. Boston can be a starter in the NFL.
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