Eagles Waive Safety Jerome Couplin
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) — It was said in regard to the disgruntled Sam Bradford but Howie Roseman's words from last week rang true for safety Jerome Couplin and wide receiver Freddie Martino on Monday.
“I think that when you look at the draft, whenever you’re drafting guys ... there are players that are affected,” Roseman said. “This happens all around the National Football League, no matter what position we would have taken, some veteran player would have been affected.”
Two days after drafting a pair of versatile defensive backs, it was Couplin, a core special teamer before a shoulder injury placed him on injured reserve in November of last season, who was affected as the Eagles waived him.
Philadelphia drafted two potential backups for starting safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod on the third day of the draft by nabbing versatile Auburn defensive back Blake Countess in the sixth round, and following that up with talented seventh-round option Jalen Mills of LSU.
Countess, 5-foot-10 and 184, was the first defensive player Philadelphia selected in the draft after four consecutive offensive picks. He played both corner and safety in college, starting at Michigan before finishing as a graduate transfer at Auburn. With the Tigers last season Countess amassed a career-high 71 tackles and two interceptions while starting the year at cornerback and finishing at safety.
“He played safety at Auburn this year, and he has some traits of guys like (Eagles starting safety Rodney) McLeod when he plays that,” Eagles personnel chief Howie Roseman said. “A phenomenal character kid. Just somebody that we think has a lot of value and versatility for our defense. He can play nickel. He can play safety. He can play on special teams.”
Asked whether he prefers corner or safety on his introductory conference call, Countess flashed an interest in both.
"I enjoy playing football," he said. "Corner and safety are very similar, and defensive back. I felt like when I was at Auburn, we kind of had a need at safety, and I could affect the game a little bit more at safety, so the coaches were thinking of moving me and playing safety my last year at Auburn. But I'm comfortable playing both positions, and I love playing football, so either way it goes, I'm going to be happy."
Mills, meanwhile, is a more of a natural free safety who fell in the draft a little because of an injury plagued 2015 season, appearing in only 434 defensive snaps for the Tigers. The year prior, Mills looked like he was developing into a solid coverage player at the position.
“I think he’ll be a long-time player in the league because he has pretty good feel in coverage," an AFC West scout told NFL.com.
The Eagles originally signed Couplin off the Lions' practice squad during the 2014 season.
Martino, meanwhile, spent most of last season on the Eagles practice squad after being cut in Atlanta.
He was deemed expendable after Philadelphia signed three veterans in free agency, Rueben Randle, Chris Givens and T.J. Graham, and made plans to sign undrafted wideouts Cayleb Jones of Arizona, Hunter Sharp of Utah State, Marcus Johnson of Texas and Byron Marshall of Oregon.
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973ESPN.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen