Rodney McLeod hadn’t missed a single snap this season prior to suffering a knee injury against the New Orleans Saints. But now the veteran Philadelphia Eagles safety won’t be taking another one this year.
Doug Pederson officially confirmed McLeod will miss the rest of 2020 due to a torn ACL. Terrible news.
McLeod was having a solid season prior to getting hurt; Pro Football Focus has him graded as their 18th best safety this year. McLeod’s leadership both on and off the field was also more important than ever before with the Eagles allowing Malcolm Jenkins to leave in free agency.
It’s hard not to feel bad for McLeod, who previously suffered a torn ACL/MCL back in September 2018. The 30-year-old faces another long road to recovery that could potentially impact his availability and performance during the Eagles’ 2021 season.
In the short-term, the Eagles are looking pretty thin at safety. Jalen Mills might be forced to play cornerback again with Avonte Maddox expected to “miss some time” and an already-gimpy Darius Slay also now in the concussion protocol. Other than Mills, Marcus Epps and rookie K’Von Wallace are the only two healthy safeties on the 53-man roster.
Pederson seemed optimistic that the team could get undrafted rookie free agent Grayland Arnold, Rudy Ford, and/or Michael Jacquet back in the near future. Those returns would help the Eagles in terms of having available bodies but they’re very much unproven options. Ergo, Philly’s pass defense could really be in trouble over the final three games.
The Eagles desperately need their young talent to emerge because they do not have long-term answers at safety. McLeod turns 31 this summer and is only signed through 2022. Mills will be a free agent this offseason after an unspectacular year. Neither Epps nor Wallace are sure-fire full-time starters. Arnold showed some promise in training camp but his limited athleticism prevented him from being drafted.
Will Parks is no longer on the team after being cut a couple weeks ago. Naturally, he just had a nice outing in his first game back with the Denver Broncos.
Will Parks — The Broncos safety made his presence felt in his first game back. He was also over the field. Parks finished with six tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. Welcome back to Broncos Country, Parks.
Here’s wishing McLeod a speedy recovery.