Previewing the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles: Backup Cornerbacks

This is the eighth article in a series in which I will take a look at the expected backup positions on the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles.

As fans, we know who the starters will be for almost every position next year. Michael Vick is the quarterback, LeSean McCoy is the running back, DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin are the wide receivers. We know all that.

What we don’t know yet as fans is who will be the backups at most positions, so this ten-part series will highlight my predictions for the non-starters on the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles.

Click here to read the backup quarterbacks and backup running backs and the backup wide receivers and backup tight ends and backup offensive linemen and backup defensive linemen and backup linebackers.

Backup Cornerbacks:
Heading into the 2012 season, there’s no doubt at all who will be the starting cornerbacks for the Eagles.

Prized free agent Nnamdi Asomugha struggled for all of 2011 but expectations remain high that he will revert back to his old self, when he was the top cover cornerback in the National Football League.

Alongside Asomugha will be 26-year old Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who also struggled in his first year with the Eagles. DRC wasn’t comfortable playing in the slot but he will go back to his traditional role as a starting corner now that Asante Samuel has been traded.

The rest of the cornerbacks on the roster will be determined from the following players: Joselio Hanson, Brandon Boykin, Curtis Marsh, Trevard Lindley, Brandon Hughes, Cliff Harris, and DJ Johnson. It’s likely that the Eagles will keep five or six cornerbacks, probably five.

Boykin is an absolute lock. He was the team’s fourth round draft pick in 2012 and he has tremendous potential as both a cornerback and a return man. He may not be the third cornerback on the depth chart next season but he definitely will be on the roster. That’s three.

Curtis Marsh, the team’s third round draft pick in 2011, will also make the roster in 2012. He didn’t play much as a rookie and his signature moment as an Eagle is fumbling on a punt return in consecutive weeks (despite the fact that he wasn’t the intended returner on either of the two punt returns). He’s only been playing cornerback for three years, however, after switching from running back to cornerback after his sophomore year of college. The Eagles like him and he continues to improve. He’ll have to prove himself in 2012 to stay on the team in the future but pencil him in this season. That’s four.

Joselio Hanson is an interesting situation. He’ll be 31 years old when the season starts. Over his six years with the Eagles, he’s been one of the best slot cornerbacks in the league, although he did struggle in 2011, probably because he had his traditional role of slot cornerback taken by Rodgers-Cromartie. I think he’ll be on the roster again in 2012. That makes five cornerbacks.

That leaves at most one spot between the following players: Lindley, Hughes, Harris, and Johnson.

Lindley was cut before the 2011 season and then brought back after the season. He hasn’t shown the Eagles much and I don’t think he’ll make the team in 2012.

The Eagles have loved Brandon Hughes but he didn’t show a lot last season when he actually got a chance to play, against the New England Patriots. The Eagles have a lot of talent and depth at cornerback and I don’t think Hughes makes the team in 2012.

Harris is a tough one. He’s an undrafted free agent, who displayed a tremendous amount of potential in college before he was dismissed from the team for off-the-field issues. He is a threat as both a cornerback and a return man, and I think the Eagles will place him on the 53-man roster as the sixth cornerback.

And then DJ Johnson doesn’t make the roster.

That means Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie, Boykin, Marsh, Hanson, and Harris are the team’s cornerbacks.

This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for Eagles Central and a featured NFL columnist on Rant Sports. Bryn has written more than 1000 articles in less than two years as a member of Rant Sports. His blog, Eagles Central, was named the 2010 Ballhyped Sports Blog of the Year. To read a portfolio of Bryn’s best work, click here.


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