Eagles analysis

Breaking down Eagles' crowded CB room heading into OTAs

As the Eagles prepare for OTAs next week, here's a breakdown of their most crowded position group.

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As the Eagles prepare for OTAs to kick off next week, they have 14 cornerbacks on their 90-man roster.


The Eagles secondary was a weak spot in 2023 and general manager Howie Roseman has thrown resources at the issue. And there’s going to be a major competition for roster spots and playing time this spring and summer.

On my early 53-man roster prediction, I had the Eagles keeping seven cornerbacks: Darius Slay, Quinyon Mitchell, Cooper DeJean, Kelee Ringo, Isaiah Rodgers, Avonte Maddox and Eli Ricks. I still had to leave off good players.

Seven cornerbacks may seem like a lot but it’s certainly in play. Here’s a look at how many cornerbacks the Eagles kept on their initial roster in recent seasons:

2023: 7
2022: 6
2021: 5
2020: 5
2019: 5
2018: 5
2017: 5
2016: 6

While it was surprising to see the Eagles keep seven cornerbacks last season, based on their depth at the position this year — and based on the lack of depth at safety — it would make sense to keep a lot again in 2023.

Let’s take a look at all 14 cornerbacks under contract, going in alphabetical order:

James Bradberry
Age: 30

After a dismal season in 2023, Bradberry is still on the roster … for now. The Eagles signed Bradberry to a three-year extension before the 2023 season but then he really struggled. Last season, Bradberry was targeted 101 times and gave up 60 catches for 740 yards and 11 touchdowns. Opposing quarterbacks had a passer rating of 114.3 when targeting Bradberry last season.

While Roseman said at the Combine that Bradberry was a part of the Eagles’ plans, the team then drafted defensive backs with their first two picks. Cutting Bradberry after June 1 would spit up the dead cap hit over the next two seasons and make it a little more palatable. Perhaps the Eagles take a look at their young players in camp before making a decision.

Cooper DeJean
Age: 21

The Eagles traded up in the second round to draft DeJean, the rookie out of Iowa, with the No. 40 pick. He was a player who was thought to be a legitimate option at 22, so getting him at 40 felt like good value. While DeJean might have the skills and frame to play safety in the NFL, that’s more of a projection. The Eagles officially list DeJean as a defensive back — he’s the only player on the roster with that designation, which speaks to his versatility.

But DeJean mostly played outside cornerback at Iowa and even though he’ll be moved around in the secondary, the Eagles are going to begin teaching him the outside cornerback and slot cornerback positions in Vic Fangio’s defense first. While DeJean has more experience outside, the path to playing time there is more difficult. There’s a chance that DeJean will play some nickel early in his career.

Mekhi Garner
Age: 24

Of all the cornerbacks on this list, it might make the most to see Garner switch to safety full-time. The Eagles signed Garner (6-2, 212) as an undrafted free agent out of LSU last offseason. Even though Garner didn’t make the Eagles’ roster last year, he spent all year on the practice squad and was elevated three times during the season and for the playoff game in Tampa. During the regular season, Garner played 27 defensive snaps and another 45 on special teams.

While Garner is still listed as a cornerback, his best path to the roster and to playing time is at safety instead of corner. Perhaps we see a full-time move this offseason.

Mario Goodrich
Age: 24

Goodrich (6-0 186) was signed by the Eagles as a UDFA out of Clemson before the 2022 season and spent his rookie season on the practice squad. Goodrich actually made the Eagles’ initial 53-man roster last season, going into 2023 as the backup nickel corner after Zech McPhearson tore his Achilles in the preseason. 

After Avonte Maddox got hurt in Week 2 last year, Goodrich was thrust into action, playing the final 39 snaps of that Vikings game. But he was inactive the next week even as Maddox missed time. In all, Goodrich played just 70 snaps last season before getting released in mid October. He then spent the rest of the season in the practice squad.

Tyler Hall
Age: 25

The Eagles signed Hall (5-10, 186) in March to compete at corner. He was initially signed as a UDFA out of Wyoming in 2020. During his four-year career, Hall has played for the Falcons, Rams and Vegas. In total, he has played in 30 games with 6 starts. All six of those starts have come over the last two years with the Raiders. Hall has mostly played nickel corner in the NFL. Of his defensive snaps last year, 129 of 160 came inside.

He has been somewhat overlooked this spring but Hall has a lot of experience at the nickel cornerback position. Roseman after last season admitted he didn’t give the team enough options at that spot after Maddox.

Josh Jobe
Age: 26

Jobe came to the Eagles as an undrafted free agent from Alabama in 2022 and he has carved out a role as a backup outside cornerback and special teams ace. Over his two seasons in the NFL, Jobe has played in 28 games with three starts. By the end of the 2023 season, he had lost his top outside backup role to Ringo but had become a huge special teams contributor. He is one of the better gunners on the punt coverage team and earned the nickname Wild Stallion from special teams coordinator Michael Clay.

Jobe has made the Eagles’ 53-man roster each of his first two seasons in the NFL but this is obviously a much more crowded room these days, especially after the additions in the draft. Still, Jobe’s best chance to make the team is as a backup and a special teams player.

Avonte Maddox
Age: 28

This offseason, the Eagles actually released Maddox and then brought him back on a cheaper contract. So even though the Eagles decided to bring Maddox back, they were clearly comfortable enough with the idea of not having him in 2024. When healthy, Maddox has proven himself to be one of the better nickel cornerbacks in the NFL. But staying healthy has clearly been a problem. The 2018 fourth-round pick out of Pitt has played a total of 13 games over the last two seasons and played just four games in 2023 after getting hurt in Week 2. Maddox returned late in the 2023 season but didn’t look like himself.

The Eagles can’t put all their eggs into the Maddox basket anymore because of the injury risk. But Maddox is a solid and versatile piece of the secondary who can play all three spots. His ability to play safety — especially given the lack of depth there right now — could end up helping him make the team. Even if Maddox ends up being the starting nickel, the Eagles need to have better options behind him.

Zech McPhearson
Age: 26

The 2021 fourth-round pick is entering the final year of his rookie contract and is coming off a preseason Achilles injury that took away his 2023 season. Before that injury, McPhearson was the backup nickel in training camp and it was his injury that left the Eagles without much depth at the position following the Week 2 injury to Maddox.

During his first two years in the NFL, McPhearson played in 33 games with 1 start. He has primarily been a backup outside cornerback but began to play inside more last offseason. His biggest contributions came on special teams, playing well over 300 special teams snaps in each of his first two years. He’ll be competing for one of the final spots at the position.

Quinyon Mitchell
Age: 22

Last month, Mitchell became the first cornerback selected by the Eagles in the first round of the draft since Lito Sheppard back in 2002. The Toledo product decided to stay in the MAC but there was plenty of interest in him from top college programs. Heck, even Alabama wanted him to come to Tuscaloosa.

Years ago, we didn’t used to see many rookie cornerbacks step into the NFL and play at a high level but that has changed in recent years with guys like Patrick Surtain II, Sauce Gardner and Devon Witherspoon. Not only are rookies playing, but they’re playing really well early. Mitchell should have the opportunity to see the field in Year 1 and is expected to be lining up opposite Darius Slay in this defense.

Eli Ricks
Age: 22

Ricks (6-2, 188) ended up being a nice UDFA signing after the 2023 draft. The Alabama corner was expected to be drafted but all 32 teams passed over seven rounds so the Eagles brought him to camp and he ended up making the 53-man roster as a rookie. Even though Ricks showed promise last year, the numbers crunch is obviously on at cornerback and he is in danger of not making the roster this season.

As a rookie, Ricks ended up playing in 16 of 17 games. He played 301 snaps on defense and 212 on special teams. He learned both the outside corner and slot corner positions in the defense and his time was split pretty evenly between the two.

Kelee Ringo
Age: 21

There was some Day 1 buzz with Ringo last draft but he ended up lasting until the fourth round, when the Eagles traded away a 2024 third-round pick to draft him. While Ringo didn’t play very much on defense early in his rookie season, he ended up playing way more down the stretch. All together, he played in 17 games with 4 starts in the final four games of the regular season. He didn’t start the playoff game but played 35 snaps.

Had the Eagles not addressed the position in the draft, then there would be a really good shot of Ringo opening the 2024 season as a starting outside cornerback. It’s fair to expect Mitchell to now take that job. But Ringo should be the top backup on the outside should Slay or Mitchell get hurt. And with some experience under his belt, the Eagles’ coaching staff would be able to trust Ringo if he gets thrust into action.

Isaiah Rodgers
Age: 26

The Eagles had nothing to lose when they signed Rodgers before last season. Rodgers was released by the Colts and had to serve a year-long suspension for violating the NFL’s gambling policy. But he has been reinstated and will be competing for a job this summer.

While Rodgers has been out of football for a year, he does have experience. In three seasons with the Colts, the sixth-rounder out of UMass played in 45 games with 10 starts — 9 of those 10 starts came in 2022. While he’s just 5-foot-10, 170 pounds, Rodgers has primarily played outside corner. But given his size, it’s reasonable to think he might be a fit inside.

Darius Slay Jr.
Age: 33

At some point, Slay is going to slow down. Father Time is undefeated and all that. But Slay played at a really high level again in 2023 despite the time missed late in the season. He was named to his third consecutive Pro Bowl and his sixth in the last seven years. He is under contract through the 2025 season but even Slay knows his time in the NFL is coming to an end.

In the last five years, there have been just five cornerbacks 33 or older to start 12+ games in a season: Stephon Gilmore and Patrick Peterson in 2023, Josh Norman and Jackrabbit Jenkins in 2021 and Brandon Carr in 2019. That’s it. The Eagles are hoping to get another season or two of high level play out of Slay but they hope they have the depth to withstand if he can’t be that anymore.

Shon Stephens
Age: 25

Stephens came to Eagles rookie camp on a tryout and did enough to earn a spot on the 90-man roster. Stephens (5-9, 180) has an interesting backstory, having played at Division II West Liberty and Ferris State in his college career. He turned some heads at the Michigan State pro day, running a sub-4.40 time in the 40-yard dash.

Stephens will be competing with a bunch of guys in the summer but his roster chances aren’t great. Perhaps he can do enough to earn a spot on the 16-man practice squad.

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