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Should the Eagles look to NFL free agency for a cornerback?

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With a deep draft class, is the free agent market worth a look?

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I'd like to first introduce myself. I'm Tyler Jackson, a recent graduate of Concord University where I studied Communications with an emphasis on Broadcast Journalism. Some of you may know me from my work with BGN’s Jonny Page and the podcast we do together. Aside from that, I also write for SB Nation’s Baltimore Beatdown. Aside from writing and helping with Eagles Film Room pieces, I'll be producing video content for BGN and I'm super excited to be part of the community!

Enough about me, and more about the Eagles. It’s not a big secret that the two glaring weak points of the roster are at wide receiver and cornerback. With the team’s recent failures capitalizing on free agent corners, and the depth the 2017 draft is anticipated to have at the position, the question then arises: “Will the Eagles will be looking to add in free agency?” Before diving into the question, it’s fair to take a look at the corners who are anticipated to hit the market. This list includes A.J. Bouye, Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore, Logan Ryan and Dre Kirkpatrick.

Three of the aforementioned players are former first round picks in Claiborne, Gilmore and Kirkpatrick, and all of these players have had success over different points of their career. Kirkpatrick didn't play much his first few seasons, as Bengals coach Marvin Lewis typically refrains from playing his younger players. Moving to Claiborne and Bouye, they are a buyer beware set of corners. It took Claiborne - who was drafted sixth overall - until his contract year to finally play like a starting corner, and even then he’s struggled to stay on the field. Out of 60 regular season games, Claiborne has only played in 43 games, essentially missing an entire season worth of games in only five years. In the case of Bouye, he was a relatively unknown player before this year that went undrafted. Now teams do miss from time to time on undrafted free agents, but you have to imagine that playing behind a defensive front that has had pass rushers from J.J. Watt to Jadeveon Clowney and Whitney Mercilus helps any defensive back.

Howie Roseman has said that the team had put a band-aid on the cornerback position in the past and you can argue that looking for a star on the market won't initiate the healing process. With limited cap resources and a draft loaded with prospects, the Eagles may be better off supplementing the offense in free agency and looking to the draft for a solution at corner.