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Eagles Draft Preview - Safety

If there's anything close to a "glaring" need on this team it's probably safety. Unfortunately this probably is the wrong year to be looking for a safety at the top of the draft.

On the roster
First and foremost it's the man, the myth, the legend... Brian Dawkins. In my eyes Dawk is a sure fire hall famer and clearly will go down as one of the greatest Eagles ever. On a personal note, #20 is my all time favorite player and despite the fact that I'm grown man I totally geeked out with excitement when I got his autograph last year in training camp. Actually, to complete a true story I had Dawkins sign a copy of Eagles Insider magazine but then also had Thomas Tapeh sign it because he was standing right next to Dawk and I didn't want him to feel bad. He just reached for it despite the fact that I really only wanted Dawkins' signature... Oh well, to get back on track. Last offseason Brian Dawkins' wife gave birth prematurely to twins.  He literally stayed up nights to make sure his kids were still breathing for the first couple months. He lost nearly the entire offseason of training and conditioning as well as missing a good portion of camp. It showed... He was never able to get into the flow of the season and struggled to stay healthy. His kids are now healthy and Brian has been able to dedicate himself fully to getting back and he should be entering camp this year back in top form. While I have nothing but faith in the man, it's still fair to say that he will be 35 years old this October... That's old for even the greats and even if Dawk is fully back this year, this could very well be his last.

Outside of Dawk, there's a lot of questions. First and foremost we have Quintin Mikell who was the team's most reliable and consistent safety last year. I don't think Mikell is ever going to be a pro bowler or top level kind of player, but he's solid and can play either safety position. He excels in run support(ask Marion Barber) and is good enough in coverage. He's also a great special teamer and all around good guy to have on the roster. That said, we could certainly stand to improve.

Outside of  Mikell the question marks are even bigger. There's the oft injured and sometimes ineffective Sean Considine and the tough but limited JR Reed. Considine was handed the starting job after Michael Lewis simply forgot how to cover anyone midway through the 2006 season, While Considine certainly has done a better job than Lewis in coverage, that's not exactly hard to do. I'm sure we all have the image of Mushin Muhammed catching that TD pass with Considine covering him at the end of the collapse against the Bears. Just as vivid is the image of Deuce McCallister literally running over Sean in the 2006 playoffs. Aside from these troubles, Considine simply hasn't been able to stay healthy. Injuries limited him in his rookie year and held him out of 8 games last year. If Asante Samuel was signed because we can't trust Lito to stay healthy, surely Andy Reid and co must have their doubts about Considine.

JR Reed makes for a nice story, but is still an effective player? I have my doubts. Reed showed up on the highlights a few times last year laying some absolutely devastating hits in the secondary, most notably on Randy Moss. However, he also seemed to be out of position on a TD pass in that same game. All too often it seems to me that Reed gets lost out there, both in the run and pass game. In the final game of the year against Buffalo it certainly looked to me that Reed totally missed his assignment on that big Marshawn Lynch run that ended up as the Bill's biggest play that day. To be fair, Reed hasn't played a whole lot of safety over the past few years so he could possibly improve his general awareness with some playing time. Reed also returned kicks(and on disastrous punt) last year but was generally ineffective.

So it's pretty clear that even the greatest optimist would have to say that the Eagles are "questionable" at safety.... A realist would say that they're downright weak.

In the draft
Last year, all the real top quality safeties were off the board by the time the Eagles picked. This year, they should have their pick of any safety they'd like... but is there much to like?

The consensus top guy at Safety is Miami's Kenny Phillips (highlight film). He's got great size at 6'2, 212 and he's pretty quick. Plus, he loves to deliver big hits. Sounds great right? Well, the knock him is that he's a great talent that hasn't turned into a great player. He has all the elements of a great safety and was one of the top prospects in the country coming out of high school... but didn't really deliver on those lofty expectations. Most scouts do give him a first round grade, but not all.

Outside of the first round there are guys like Dajuan Morgan from NC State(scouting report). Morgan's position coach at NC State worked for the Eagles from 02-06. Thomas DeCoud from Cal(scouting report) who the Eagles met with at the Senior Bowl. Josh Barrett from Arizona St.(scouting report), who the Eagles met with at the combine. Marcus Griffin from Texas(scouting report), who is the twin brother of the Titans' Michael Griffin. Griffin has met with the Eagles. And Tom Zbikowski from Notre Dame(scouting report). Not a very inspiring group...

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