Since All-Pro safety Brian Dawkins left the Philadelphia Eagles, the team’s safety play has been the laughingstock of the NFL. Whether it was Patrick Chung missing a tackle, Kurt Coleman missing an assignment, or Nate Allen letting a receiver by him down field, the Eagles have not found their answer at either safety position. This offseason, there are plenty of prospects in the NFL Draft and in free agency that could improve the Eagles’ woeful secondary. Philadelphia had the worst secondary in the league last season, and improving both safeties is the start into rebuilding this defensive backfield.
So, the Eagles should invest as much as they can in the position, both in the draft and in free agency.
The Eagles have one of the best salary cap situations in the league and can afford to spend big to improve the secondary. The best option for Philadelphia is T.J. Ward. Coming off a Pro Bowl season with the Cleveland Browns (which is saying a lot), Ward finished the 2013 campaign with 112 tackles and two interceptions. He was one of the best strong safeties in the NFL last season. As a run stopper, he is one of the most aggressive, best tacklers in the league. He also has some familiarity with head coach Chip Kelly as he was coached by him at Oregon. With his pass rush from the strong safety spot, putting opposing quarterbacks under pressure would give the secondary even more opportunities. Ward would be one of the best safeties to play in Philadelphia in a long time and would be an instant improvement for the Eagles.
When it comes to the draft, Louisville safety Calvin Pryor is the best option for Philadelphia. He is ranked as the second best safety in the draft. As a free safety, he is known for both his playmaking ability and for laying a big hit over the middle. His physicality is something that the Eagles really need. A player who isn’t afraid to punish someone over the middle adds both attitude to a defense and instills fear in opposing offenses. Pryor could play this role, even as a rookie, in Philadelphia. He finished his 2013 season with three interceptions and was the leader of Louisville’s defense all season long. Although it may take him some time to get adjusted to the NFL, the potential for Pryor as a pro is extremely high. If he is coached properly, he could become one of the best safeties in the NFL.
This would be the best and most ideal tandem of safeties for the Eagles to have. Ward could help mentor Pryor, and the two bring totally different playing styles that would complement one another nicely. Ward would be the run stopper who can help up near the line of scrimmage while Pryor is more of the big hit, home run threat safety who could make a big play at any moment. These two would be a great tandem in Philadelphia and would have the potential to give the Eagles one of the best secondaries in the NFL.