Perhaps the biggest disappointment for the Philadelphia Eagles in training camp and the first preseason game has been safety Jaiquawn Jarrett.
The second-year player out of Temple was originally drafted at least two rounds before he was expected to go, largely because a) head coach Andy Reid knew a lot about Jarrett because Temple plays their home games in Lincoln Financial Field, and b) the Eagles lacked a big hitter since Brian Dawkins left the team two years earlier.
Although Jarrett was largely disappointing in his rookie season, the Eagles chose to blame his struggles on the lockout, which cost all rookie players an opportunity to work with the team during the spring and beginning part of the summer.
Jarrett’s rookie season consisted of blown coverages, missed tackles, and an inability to get to the ball carrier or receivers.
Heading into the 2012 training camp, nobody gave Jarrett much of a chance to start, but he was expected to be a major contributor on the defense this year.
An accurate comparison would be cornerback Curtis Marsh, last year’s third round draft pick who participated in just 12 snaps on defense last year, but showed from the beginning of training camp that he is vastly improved from his rookie season.
However, Jarrett has been just awful so far in training camp.
The low point was the first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, when Jarrett looked almost as bad as middle linebacker Casey Matthews did in the first preseason game of 2011.
Rumors have circulated that Jarrett will be cut by the Eagles soon, and it does seem likely that he won’t be on the team in 2012 if he doesn’t improve his play.
He’s even been playing with the third team defense. Tom Nelson has taken his spot on the second team.
Despite Jarrett’s low points during camp, I expect him to be on the team in 2012.
The Eagles really don’t have much of a choice, having invested a high draft pick in Jarrett and not having adequate replacements should they give up on him.
Let’s look at the safeties. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are the starters and veteran OJ Atogwe will make the team as a backup. But Nelson doesn’t have very much upside in his career and special teams ace Colt Anderson is still recovering from a torn ACL.
I think the Eagles will keep Jarrett and place Anderson on PUP, which will keep him out for the first six games of the season. They’ll use that as an excuse to monitor Jarrett’s performance and if he doesn’t play well in the first six games, they’ll cut him when they bring Anderson back.
But I really don’t think the Eagles will give up on Jarrett before the season starts. Besides, he still has three more preseason games to play before the final roster cuts are due.
This article was written by Bryn Swartz, the top writer for the Philadelphia Eagles 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.