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Eagles look for Improvement in Secondary with McLeod, McKelvin

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In 2015, the Eagles finished 30th in team defense and 28th in pass defense, leading to the demise of Billy Davis and another offseason of searching for answers in personnel.

The Eagles hired Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator, but are hoping for so much more than just improvements with Schwartz now in the organization.

The additions in the secondary of safety Rodney McLeod and cornerback Leodis McKelvin were meant to add more talent and depth to the secondary and create what will hopefully be improvement in the defensive numbers next season.

McKelvin comes to Philadelphia after eight seasons with the Buffalo Bills. In his career, he has 304 tackles, 13 interceptions, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and 64 knockdowns. In 98 career games, McKelvin has been a starter 60 times.

McLeod has played four seasons with the St. Louis Rams, starting in every game in the last three seasons. He has 289 tackles, five interceptions, seven forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and 16 knockdowns in 64 career games, with all of those stats coming in the 48 games he has started over the last three seasons.

McKelvin is a product of Schwartz. He played one season under Schwartz in Buffalo, and suffered a season-ending injury with a broken ankle, but McKelvin was signed by the Eagles at Schwartz's recommendation. That's something that doesn't fall lightly on McKelvin.

"I'm going in there with my mind on winning a starting spot, but I am a new player coming into the team," McKelvin said to NJ.com. "Jim Schwartz basically recommended me. I have to make sure that I have his back and the confidence in myself."

"The year I had him he was playing at a really high level before he got hurt," Schwartz said to NJ.com. "He broke his ankle against Miami, and really was playing at a high level. He's not the tallest guy around, but he can jump, he can play the ball in the air. Mentally and physically tough. I don't know if you see that just seeing his body shape. But he'll go throw his body around and hit. He was a first round draft pick. He's played at a high level in this league."

McLeod, along with McKelvin, were among two of the players that on Day 1 of OTAs were showing a ton of emotion and energy, something not commonly seen at early workouts. McLeod said that's all about giving off a good first impression.

"They see a guy that's giving 100 percent each and every play," McLeod said to PennLive.com. "A guy who is passionate and comes out to work each and every day in the weight room and out on the field. A guy that sticks around for extra work and is just going to grind."

Schwartz couldn't help but get excited talking about the possibilities of McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins in the secondary. McLeod was signed days after the Eagles extended Jenkins with a new contract.

"That was money well spent," Schwartz said to CSN Philly. "I'm sort of violating my rule of judging too much into this time of year, but both are veteran players. And you can see that right away that both are multi-dimensional. They communicate very well, cover a lot of ground. They can blitz, they can play man, they can play zone. I'd be very surprised as the year went along if they're not one of the better safety tandems in the NFL."

The 2016 season is just another year of the carousel of players that have paraded in and out of Eagles camp looking to be the missing piece of the secondary. For the past few seasons, it hasn't worked at all and many of those hopefuls are now playing elsewhere.

The carousel keeps turning for the Eagles, and hopefully this is where everyone can get off the ride and start season the improvement.

Kevin Durso is managing editor for Eagledelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.

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