Eagles Stay or Go 2021: Cornerbacks

Dave Zangaro
·7 min read

Eagles Stay or Go 2021: Is there hope for the CB position? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Reuben Frank and Dave Zangaro bring back Stay or Go in 2021, trying to figure out the futures of every Eagles player on the roster.

Today, we’ll look at cornerbacks:

Lavert Hill

Roob: Hill spent the last month of the season on the Eagles’ practice squad and considering he plays a position where there’s no sure things, I guess he has a chance to stick. He’s obviously a long shot, but around here lately, long shots from the practice squad wind up as starters, so ya never know.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: You might not even know his name but Lavert was an undrafted rookie out of Michigan in 2020. He didn’t join the Eagles’ practice squad until December and then signed a futures deal last month. At 5-10, Hill obviously lacks some length but he was a really tough and feisty player at Michigan. He’ll get a chance to compete for a job and maybe he can come back as a practice squad guy if he doesn’t make the team.

Verdict: Goes

Jameson Houston

Roob: Houston’s another practice squad alum. He got into three games late in the season, one on defense, and he’s in the same category as Hill. It’s hard to imagine him being a contributor here, but considering the Eagles’ injury history at cornerback over the past few years he could end up as a captain.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Houston spent a good portion of the 2020 season on the Eagles practice squad and was even elevated for two games, playing 22 defensive snaps. Houston will be in a group of players competing for a roster spot in training camp. But it’s an uphill battle for him.

Verdict: Goes

Michael Jacquet

Roob: Another practice squad corner. The more he played, the worse he looked. Jacquet was 3rd on the team in sacks in December. With one.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: I know Jacquet ended up betting burnt by DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Gallup and Amari Cooper in his rookie season but that was a tough ask of the undrafted corner from Louisiana. But there’s a reason Jacquet was given a chance to play when injuries struck the secondary. He was one of the Eagles’ favorite UDFAs but asking him to cover All-Pro receivers 1-on-1 was never going to end well. I still think Jacquet has some tools but not for the active roster.

Verdict: Goes

Craig James

Roob: Four corners, four practice squad alums. See a trend here? No wonder the Eagles’ struggled to cover people. James actually missed most of the 2020 season with injuries, managing only 15 snaps in four games. He’s mainly a special teamer. All these corners are mainly special teamers. Which is not good.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: It was a surprise to many that the Eagles kept James last season and let Rasul Douglas and Sidney Jones go, but James earned his roster spot. Injuries derailed his season. He went on IR in September, came back and then landed on IR again. That hurt because the Eagles could have used him in 2020. This might be a surprise but I really like James’ ability on special teams and he’s still just 24. I think he’s worth keeping around.

Verdict: Stays

Cre’Von LeBlanc

Roob: LeBlanc has never been on the Eagles’ practice squad, but he was on the Lions’. And the Eagles did cut him last year. He does some good things when he’s healthy, but he just can’t stay healthy. But probably deserves a look-see with the new staff.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: This is a tough one because Strap is a free agent and he’s really struggled to stay healthy. He has played in just 13 games over the past two seasons. But I think he’s a pretty good nickel and he could be a good special teamer too. I went back-and-forth on this one but since he’s a free agent, I think the new coaching staff would rather start with their own guys.

Verdict: Goes

Avonte Maddox

Roob: Maddox goes into his fourth year and honestly hasn’t played well since he was a rookie. At least he’s experienced, which puts him ahead of just about everyone else on the cornerback depth chart. But we all learned last year he’s just not a starting outside cornerback. I’d bring him back as a slot or a back-up corner / safety, but the Eagles have got to do better at outside corner.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: It was pretty unfair for the Eagles to make Maddox their CB2 in 2020. We’ve seen him play outside corner, nickel and safety during his young NFL career and outside is his weakest position. While the Eagles need to upgrade the CB2 spot, Maddox is a fine depth piece and I’d like to see him get a chance to play nickel and even some safety in 2021. I actually really liked him at safety a couple years ago. Looking forward to seeing how the new coaching staff wants to use him.

Verdict: Stays

Nickell Robey-Coleman

Roob: Robey-Coleman was one of the most disappointing Eagles in a disappointing 2020 season. He arrived with a reputation as one of the league's top slot corners after several solid years with the Bills and Rams and the Eagles got him on a bargain contract, but he never seemed comfortable here, he struggled from the get-go and never showed any sort of playmaking or consistency. No reason to bring him back.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: The Eagles weren’t looking for a nickel corner last offseason but they ended up getting NRC for a really cheap price and couldn’t turn it down. After a rough starts, NRC got better as the year went on but he didn’t end up being a top player at his position like the Eagles hoped. He’s a free agent now and the Eagles should let him walk.

Verdict: Goes

Kevon Seymour

Roob: Here’s your fifth former practice squad corner on this list and fourth who was on the Eagles’ practice squad last year. As far as I’m concerned, they all need to go. Outta here. Gone. Bye.

Verdict: Goes

Dave: Seymour has a great backstory and it was cool to see him get a chance to join the Eagles and play some meaningful snaps. But I didn’t see enough reasons to keep him around. So he’s in the group of guys who will compete in training camp but I don’t think he’ll be able to do enough.

Verdict: Goes

Darius Slay

Roob: I wonder if the Eagles might try to trade Slay. Obviously, he’s their only proven corner, but if this year is about getting rid of veterans, slashing salary and rebuilding with youth, I’m not sure where a 30-year-old cornerback making $12 million fits in. Slay played well for the most part this past year but I suspect his best years are behind him. But I think he’s more than likely back for one more year.

Verdict: Stays

Dave: I still think Slay is a very good cornerback. Is he elite? No, probably not. But he played at a high level in 2020 and if this team was ready to compete in 2021, it would be a no-brainer to keep him, even with his $15.8 million cap hit. But the Eagles are clearly rebuilding and could use some cap space. So I think it would make more sense to trade Slay while they can, get cap relief and some decent compensation by dealing him to a team with a real shot this season. Nothing against the player, but if the Eagles are really going to rebuild, let’s do it. Because will Slay still be a good player when the Eagles are ready to compete? I’m not so sure.

Verdict: Goes

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