Philadelphia Eagles training camp 2017 is almost here. The first practice starts on July 24. The Eagles' entire training camp schedule, including information on practices open to the public, can be found by clicking here. As we count down the days together, Bleeding Green Nation will be previewing every position on the Eagles roster. We continue today by taking a look at safety.
Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod, Chris Maragos, Terrence Brooks, Jaylen Watkins, Tre’ Sullivan
Something that shouldn’t be taken for granted the Eagles finally have some stability at safety position. That wasn’t the case for many years after the Eagles let Brian Dawkins leave in free agency.
Jenkins is a very good player. He’s very active in coverage (two pick sixes last year) and he’s reliable as a tackler. Jenkins also contributes to organizing the defense on the field and serving as a leader in the locker room as well.
McLeod finished with a career-high three interceptions last season. He’s capable of making big plays in coverage as well as dishing out big hits.
There’s not much to say about Jenkins and McLeod that we don’t already know. That’s a good thing.
Behind the two obvious starters is where things begin to get a little more interesting. There’s a battle at the safety position for the third spot. The two competitors: Brooks and Watkins.
Watkins has the benefit of being a former Howie Roseman draft pick (#GatorBias). He actually had a good summer last year but then he didn’t play well during the games.
Brooks has a real chance to beat out Watkins this year. The 25-year-old has the benefit of being a former Ravens draft pick (#JoeDouglasBias). More importantly, however, he had a strong spring this offseason. Brooks broke up a number of passes.
Maragos isn’t just one of the team’s best special teams players; he’s the leader of that unit. His job is safe after signing a three-year extension with the team last November.
How will it play out?
Jenkins and McLeod are obviously the starters - no question about that. If the Eagles have more stability at the nickel corner position this year, they won’t need to move Jenkins down to play that role as often. If the Eagles do utilize some three safety sets, I think Brooks will be that first guy off the bench. Maragos will continue to serve as a special teams ace and an emergency backup on the back end. Watkins will likely get cut. Sullivan is a practice squad guy at best.
Who could be a surprise cut?
I’d be surprised if Brooks was cut. He’s shown more promise and he’s slightly younger than Watkins.