Bouye fits the bill on a couple fronts. The most obvious is that the Eagles are in serious need of an upgrade at corner, and Bouye was one of the best in the business in 2016. Though he had just one regular-season interception, his 16 pass breakups ranked second in the NFL, per ESPN Stats & Information. Bouye allowed just 54.5 percent of the throws in his direction to be completed this season for an opponent passer rating of 73.1, according to Pro Football Focus.
Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz values confidence and physicality, and those are two elements that are a strength for Bouye (6-foot, 191 pounds), who added 10 pounds heading into this past season and improved in press coverage and against the run (63 tackles).
Bouye also meets one critical requirement when it comes to the Eagles' approach to free agency. Executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman noted at his end-of-season press conference that he wants to get away from the "Band-Aid" approach and find young, longer-term players that will be poised to take off when quarterback Carson Wentz does.
For a while there, it was fun pretending that elite quarterbacking wasn't as important as it has been for the past 15 years or so. Didn't the Texans win a playoff game with Brock Osweiler? Didn't Alex Smith and the Chiefs go 12-4 and earn a first-round bye? Didn't Drew Brees and Andrew Luck miss the playoffs?
But neither Osweiler nor Smith will take the field in Super Bowl LI. The quarterback who represents the AFC will be, for the 13th time in 14 seasons, Brady, Roethlisberger or the now-retired Peyton Manning.
Which brings us, in a roundabout way, to the Eagles, and to former Eagles/current Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who held his wrapup news conference Monday.
Kansas City's 18-16 demise Sunday in the divisional round at the hands of the visiting Steelers might have held several lessons for aspiring teams such as the Eagles, but, given what happened in KC and elsewhere in the NFL over the weekend, the biggest lesson probably was this: Getting that QB decision right, getting one of those true top-tier guys, is the real gold standard.
Ranking All 32 Defensive Front Sevens This Season - Pro Football Focus
It was a difficult decision between the Eagles and the Seahawks for the No. 1 spot, as this front-seven propped up a hodge-podge secondary to form one of the league’s most effective defenses for a good portion of the season. Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox finished with the third- and fourth-highest pass-rushing productivity marks at their respective positions. Philadelphia’s front-seven also features a budding star in second-year linebacker Jordan Hicks, who led all players at the position with five interceptions.