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Eagles claim former draft pick Blake Countess off waivers

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Called it.

Los Angeles Rams v New Orleans Saints Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles did indeed claim safety Blake Countess off waivers, according to a report from NFL insider Ian Rapoport. The team has also officially confirmed the news.

BGN speculated about this possibility shortly after the Los Angeles Rams waived Countess on Thursday:

This news is of interest to the Eagles because Countess was Philadelphia’s sixth-round pick (No. 196 overall) in the 2016 NFL Draft. We also know the Eagles have interest in adding safety depth considering 1) they didn’t draft a safety this year and 2) they claimed defensive back Godwin Igwebuike off waivers earlier this week.

The Eagles waived Countess — an Owings Mills, Maryland native — in final cuts prior to the 2016 NFL season. He signed with Rams’ practice squad in September before being promoted to the active roster in November. Countess stuck in Los Angeles by carving out a role as a backup safety and special teams contributor.

In three seasons with LA, Countess has made four starts in 37 games played. He’s logged 44 total tackles, three passes defensed, one interception, and one sack in that span. Countess led the Rams in special teams tackles the past two years and he also averaged 24.6 yards on kick returns.

The Eagles should look to put a claim in on the 25-year-old Countess. At the very least, he could be a good Chris Maragos replacement. He might even be able to get some rotational playing time at safety.

By claiming Countess, the Eagles are taking on his $2.025 million salary for 2019. The Rams reportedly cut him because they didn’t want to pay him this much. Los Angeles seemingly did have interest in bringing him back at a lower rate, however.

Countess will likely compete with the likes of Andrew Sendejo, Tre Sullivan, Deiondre’ Hall, and Igwebuike for a backup safety spot behind projected 2019 starters Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod. Adding Countess could especially make Sendejo — whom the Eagles can cut to save $800,000 AND receive a fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft — expendable.

On the same day the Eagles filled a roster hole at linebacker by signing Zach Brown, they also addressed a need for more safety depth. (And, as a side bonus, stuck it to the Rams a little bit.) Nice job by Howie Roseman.

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