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Report: James Bradberry will be the Eagles’ starting nickel cornerback against the Buccaneers

Confirming what we expected to be true.

New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

With Avonte Maddox suffering a pectoral injury, the Philadelphia Eagles will have a new nickel cornerback.

And it will be James Bradberry starting in the slot in Week 3, according to a report from NFL insider Jordan Schultz.

This news hardly qualifies as a shocking development; Bradberry has been speculated as an option to help replace Maddox. The veteran corner was seen working with Eagles nickels coach Ronell Williams in practice leading up to this week’s game:

Bradberry’s experience in the slot is hardly extensive. According to Pro Football Focus snap count data, he’s lined up as a nickel corner for just 3.35% of his career defensive snaps (239/7,129). Here’s the year-by-year breakdown:

2023: 2 snaps
2022: 10 snaps
2021: 68 snaps
2020: 60 snaps
2019: 19 snaps
2018: 57 snaps
2017: 10 snaps
2016: 13 snaps

Bradberry did log some nickel cornerback reps during Eagles training camp this year. He specifically lined up against Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku during joint training camp practices.

But the vast majority of Bradberry’s practice time came playing at his normal boundary cornerback position. And that’s still where he will line up when the Eagles are not using nickel packages.

When the Eagles do move Bradberry inside, it’ll be Josh Jobe who comes in to play on the outside. Jobe had a strong training camp and he’s mostly looked good in limited game action this year.

Bradberry moving to the slot doesn’t speak to the Eagles having much confidence in Mario Goodrich. The second-year defensive back struggled as Maddox’s in-game replacement in Week 2. It’s possible that Goodrich could still see some rotational snaps in the slot, especially if the Eagles don’t like Bradberry matched up against a smaller, shiftier slot receiver. But we’ll just have to wait and see how defensive coordinator Sean Desai handles the playing time there.

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