Improving Secondary a Necessity for Eagles

By Tom Long, Sports Talk Philly staff writer 

The Philadelphia Eagles' secondary will look much different in 2017 — which is wonderful news after the Eagles secondary in the 2016 campaign.

The Eagles secondary has been criticized for several years now, as the team struggles to find talent like Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown and Asante Samuel during the mid 2000s, when the team's secondary was an asset, rather than a liability.

Cornerback Leodis McKelvin was released last week, freeing up $2.3 million on the team's salary cap. McKelvin, as well as Ron Brooks, were brought to the Eagles following defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's hire. Brooks, who was playing the slot corner position relatively well, was injured in Week 7 against the Vikings and remained injured for the rest of the season.

McKelvin finished the season with a team-high 20 pass breakups and two interceptions, however, was extremely inconsistent for most of the season.

Nolan Carroll is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March. Carroll never really gave the Eagles secondary a feeling of long-term stability and could possibly move teams during the offseason. Of all of the players here, Carroll is a candidate for leaving.

Jalen Mills, the team's seventh round draft pick last year, played very well, playing in all 16 games for the Eagles. In the future, Mills can provide the type of stability the secondary is looking for. He is, in reality, the only true certainty for the secondary going into 2107.

Meanwhile, Eric Rowe, a former Eagle who was traded to the New England Patriots, proves himself to be a valuable asset, a player the Eagles would desperately like back. The potential for a Mills-Rowe era would have Eagles fans excited. Rowe, of course, was part of a team that won Super Bowl LI.

Doug Pederson and Howie Roseman will have the task of trying to clean up the Eagles mediocre, middle-of-the-road secondary, which ranked 13th in passing yards allowed. It is imperative, given the Eagles ongoing lack of consistency that has plagued the secondary for several seasons.

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