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A closer look: Darrelle Revis

One of the units the Eagles clearly value and have shown that they will draft high to stock is the secondary. We all remember the draft in which Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, & Michael Lewis were all drafted in the first two rounds. The Eagles secondary has begun to erode a bit however. SS Michael Lewis and Nickel CB Rod Hood are all but guaranteed to leave in free agency, Sheldon Brown had what many considered to be an off year last year, and Brian Dawkins is getting up there in years. It's certainly no crisis situation in the secondary, but it's certainly time to bring in some young talent to shore it up for the future. So today we take a look at highly regarded Pitt CB Darrelle Revis. Revis is not only a great prospect with good size for a CB(6'0), but he's also a very good return man. I've heard some suggestions that he could be moved to safety in the NFL. I spoke with Chas over at Pitt Blather, a fantastic site for all thing Pitt Panthers, about Revis.

BGN - The Eagles return game was pretty dismal last year, and while they drafted Jeremy Bloom last year to help with that he's still a question mark. The Bears showed this year just how valuable a dynamic return man can be. Is Revis a game changing return guy?

PB - Well, no one is like Devin Hester back there, so  let's reign in expectations. But Revis can be a very, very good. He started returning punts in his sophomore year and broke out. This past season, he struggled a lot more than expected. Part of that was trying to do too much -- take every return to the house. It resulted -- especially early in the season -- in some fumbles as he looked upfield before getting the ball in his hands.

Here's a Revis return that you might enjoy just a little, though the block of 2 players by Derek Kinder (a WR no less) to spring Revis is still my favorite part.

BGN - I've read that some scouts think Revis could project as a safety in the NFL. Now, I also have read that he's ranked as one of the top corners in the draft. So I guess my question is whether you think he could play safety and if you think that would be a waste of his talent?

PB - Let me answer in reverse. It would be be a waste of his talents to play at safety. He is a potential shut-down corner. Teams wouldn't throw his way for a reason. He is very athletic and very good speed, but doesn't rely on it to play corner. He is fundamentally sound, and can stay with a receiver, stride for stride.

Honestly I have never even thought of him as playing safety. I think of safeties and I think of guys who hit as well as tackle. He is not a real hitter. He tackles. There is no shying from contact, so much as playing smart.

Again, it would be a waste of his talent and speed. I realize the pro-level has very little use for Dave Wannstedt as a head coach, but there is (presumably) some respect for what he does with defense. He likes his defenses to be fast, even if undersized. To that end, he shifted players at Pitt. Some safeties were moved to linebacker and corners moved to safety. Mainly for more speed at the position. Revis never moved.

Some Eagles fans have said that Sheldon Brown could make a pretty decent safety? What if Revis where here for a year or two as a return guy/ nickel corner who could matchup against bigger WRs... then you move Sheldon to safety and start Revis? It's a thought.

BGN - Is there a pro right now or in the past that you think compares favorably to Revis?

PB - Body type, he's a lot like Champ Bailey. I'm biased, but I've always thought Bailey relies too heavily on his athleticism, though.
The way he covers a guy and tries to read the play reminds me a lot of Ty Law in his prime. That makes some sense since both are from Aliquippa and Law was one of the players he wanted to emulate.

BGN - Is there anything about Revis that could indicate maybe he won't be a very good pro? Any attitude issues?

PB - Well, he is the nephew of Sean Gilbert. So, there is always the risk that God could tell him he needs more money and holds out.

No, he's been a team captain, and not particularly mouthy in the press. He has mainly led by example. He has no injury history that has ever cost him a game, nor has he ever been suspended.

Much thanks to Chas over at Pitt Blather for taking the time to help us out. What are your thoughts on Revis? I think it's very likely that we will draft a corner this year, but do we need to be spending a first round pick on one? Revis will almost certainly be a first round pick.