Do The Eagles Need Another Veteran Safety In 2018?
It was the first week of August last season when the Eagles brought in some veteran help at the safety position, signing former Buffalo safety Corey Graham to enter a position group that was desperate for veteran experience behind Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod.
They might have to go down that road again.
That’s what Graham, 33, would bring the Eagles, if the two parties were to have a reunion. For now, that doesn't appear to be happening with Graham still on the free agent market, and the Eagles taking a look at some younger players, like, Tre Sullivan, 24, who the Eagles signed as a undrafted free agent out of Shepherd College in 2017.
As the Eagles move forward in camp, they will do so giving a long look at Sullivan before they decide on pulling the trigger on a veteran, like Graham.
"Tre had a really good camp last year for us," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said back in June at the teams mini-camp. "He got hurt, obviously, but came back. He's one of the guys that's kind of in the mix right now."
The Eagles do still have veteran Chris Maragos, a special teams ace, to turn to if Sullivan isn't ready for the bright lights, but the Eagles elected to pass on drafting another safety or making a move in free agency to upgrade the position behind their two solid starters.
"Learning from [S] Malcolm [Jenkins] and [S] Rodney [McLeod] and some of the vets back there," Pederson said when asked what he saw fro his young safety back in June. "It's different when we put the pads on, so we'll see just how it is in a couple of months. But encouraged by where they're at right now."
Currently, the Eagles have seven safties on their roster, but of the guys competing for spots behind Jenkins and McLeod, only Maragos and Sullivan has any NFL experience.
Names like Stephen Roberts, Jeremy Reaves, and Ryan Neal are all undrafted rookies that the Eagles will need to see more from.
It’s Sullivan, the 2017 undrafted free agent, who might be the last man standing of that group.
"He's smart. He's learning the defense," Pederson said.
Right now, the Eagles are betting on young players at a position lacking much depth.
That’s where a player like Graham makes sense.
Graham’s 65 career starts in 11 NFL seasons definitely dwarfs anything the Eagles currently have competing at the safety position, and oh yea, a couple of Super Bowls on his resume.
Graham performed well last year, making 34 tackles, picking off two passes in 367 defensive snaps.
While there hasn't been any interest in the 6-0, 195-pound veteran coach Pederson said last month the team would "love" to have him back.