The 2016 NFL offseason has begun for the Philadelphia Eagles, which means Howie Roseman and new head coach Doug Pederson will spend the next couple of weeks evaluating the 2015 roster. The team went 7-9 last season and improvement is clearly needed. By the time NFL free agency starts on March 9, the Eagles will have a good idea of which players they'll want to bring back for the 2016 season. Today we'll continue this offseason review series by looking at the safety position.
Numbers: 1235 snaps, 87 tackles, 2 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown, 10 passes defensed, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 QB hurries, 12 missed tackles
Review: By strict definition, Jenkins was a Pro Bowl player in 2015. He was originally snubbed by the Pro Bowl since he was only named as a seventh team alternate. Due to players ahead of him backing out, however, Jenkins got the call. It was well deserved. Jenkins played very well once again in 2015. The highlight of his season is when he became the first player in NFL history to record a pick-six on Tom Brady in the red-zone. Jenkins finished 2015 as the number one rated safety by Pro Football Focus.
Jenkins wasn't perfect. He still dropped a few easy interceptions, which was also an issue in 2014. If he had caught some more of those, he wouldn't have been originally snubbed by the Pro Bowl.
Numbers: 1141 snaps, 52 tackles, 3 interceptions, 7 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 defensive touchdown, 2 sacks, 2 QB hits, 2 QB hurries, 13 missed tackles
Review: Thurmond had never played a single snap at safety in his entire playing career prior to the 2015 season. It was a surprise, then, to see the Eagles use him at that position. Despite his lack of experience, Thurmond made an impact. He was typically solid in coverage and made big plays on the ball. Thurmond wasn't perfect. He had a high rate of missed tackles. All told, he ended up being a low-cost, high-reward signing for the Eagles.
Numbers: 314 snaps, 16 tackles, 1 interception, 1 pass defensed, 8 missed tackles
Review: Reynolds spent most of the season on the practice squad before being signed to the main roster. Reynolds contributed on special teams and got playing time as the team's nickel and dime safety. Reynolds held his own in coverage but tackling was an issue. His eight missed tackles to only 16 made is obviously a bad rate. He needs to improve in that area to stick around.
Numbers: 309 snaps, 6 tackles, 3 missed tackles
Review: The Eagles tried to get Maragos involved in more than just special teams last season. It didn't really work out. Reynolds replaced Maragos as the team's third safety later in the season. Maragos was still a good special teams player but he's not going to excel as a significant contributor on defense.
Numbers: 8 snaps
Review: Couplin originally beat out Reynolds for a roster spot. He mostly played on special teams before suffering a season-ending injury in Week 9.
Who Could Leave
For approximately the millionth year in a row, the Eagles enter the offseason potentially needing another starting safety. Usually this is because the Eagles have struggled to find talented players at safety. This year they finally found a talented player in Thurmond but his fit as a safety in Philadelphia's new defense remains to be seen. It's been reported that the Eagles haven't talked to Thurmond's side yet. Based on comments after the season ended, Thurmond himself seemed unsure if he'll be back.
Who Could Sign
The Eagles have some options in free agency. Here are the top nine safeties listed by Rotoworld:
Walter Thurmond III
Berry won't be leaving Kansas City. Weddle could be headed out the door but the 31-year-old might be looking to play on a proven contender. Nelson will turn 33 in September so he's probably too old to be an ideal fit for Philadelphia. Gipson had a good year in 2014 before struggling last season. Iloka could be the most intriguing option for the Eagles. He's young and he has great size.
NFL Draft Options
There probably isn't a safety worth taking at No. 13 overall. The Eagles might look at add someone in the middle rounds. These are Mike Mayock's top five safeties:
1. Karl Joseph, West Virginia
2. Vonn Bell, Ohio State
3. Darien Thompson, Boise State
4. Miles Killebrew, Southern Utah
5. Jeremy Cash, Duke