Eagles analysis

Maddox makes most important list after injury-plagued season

After injuries hampered his 2022 season, Avonte Maddox is still an important player entering 2023

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Over the next few weeks leading up to training camp, we’ll be counting down the top 25 most important Eagles for the 2023 season.

25. Nolan Smith
24. Quez Watkins
23. Kenny Gainwell
22. Marcus Mariota
21. Reed Blankenship
20. Brandon Graham
19. D'Andre Swift
18. Avonte Maddox

Avonte Maddox might be one of the best nickel cornerbacks in the NFL but he struggled to stay on the field in 2022.

During the Eagles’ Super Bowl season, Maddox dealt with a few different injuries and missed a total of eight games throughout the regular season and he missed the first playoff game. He played 457 snaps (41%) in the regular season. 

At OTAs, Maddox was still not practicing after undergoing offseason surgery.

When Maddox was out last year, the Eagles were forced to play Josiah Scott at times and then late in the season they actually moved safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson to the slot and began to play Reed Blankenship. But CJGJ is now with Detroit so that contingency plan is out of the way.

What the Eagles really need is for Maddox to stay healthy in 2023. One of the problems is that Maddox is 5-foot-9, 184 pounds and plays with a very physical style.

In the games Maddox did play last season, he had 43 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 pass breakups, 3 forced fumbles and an interception. He ranked as the 25th-best overall cornerback in the NFL last season, according to PFF. Darius Slay ranked 21st and James Bradberry ranked 27th.

Maddox, 27, has been in the NFL since the Eagles drafted him in the fourth round back in 2018 out of Pitt. So he’s already entering Year 6 in his career and he has yet to play a full season. The closest he came was in 2021, when he played 16 of 17 games. Aside from that year, he hasn’t played in more than 13 games in any season. It’s becoming a bit of an issue.

But there’s no doubt that Maddox is a key player when he’s on the field. And given the somewhat precarious situation the Eagles find themselves in at safety, his ability to take snaps at that position is certainly intriguing. Could we perhaps see some sort of a multi-use role for Maddox this season? I wouldn’t rule it out.

Even if Maddox just plays at the nickel, he’ll have a huge role with the Eagles in 2023. With the returns of Darius Slay and James Bradberry outside, adding Maddox to the mix as the nickel makes this one of the best cornerback trios in the NFL.

Maddox signed a three-year extension in 2021 season that will keep him under contract with the Eagles through the 2024 season. There’s no doubt that he’s an important part of this defense.

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