NFL Rumors: Power Ranking Best Fits for Philadelphia Eagles' Asante Samuel

John RozumCorrespondent IApril 10, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - AUGUST 27:  Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts after a play against the Jacksonville Jaguars on August 27, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Although he's 31-years-old and will be 32 by the end of next season, Asante Samuel is still one of the NFL's best cover corners in the game. For one, the man has earned four Pro Bowl and three All-Pro selections and has played in three Super Bowls.

Sure, he's not the most impressive corner when it comes to run support, but that's not his priority as a coverage defender in a pass-heavy league. Samuel's purpose on the field is to lock down and when the opportunity arises, make plays.

Even more impressive, Samuel has maintained a high level of consistency throughout his career

Impressively, he's defended at least 10 passes every season, with the exception of his rookie year. Since 2005, he's recorded at least three picks each year and Samuel has also forced six career fumbles.

That being said, in an article by Les Bowen of Philadelphia Daily News, Bowen feels that the Eagles may trade Samuel soon, although they may want to reconsider:

If you throw at him long enough, he'll make you pay with a pick that more often than not will end up being a pivotal moment in the game.

But to me, that doesn't mean Asante's critics are all crazy, or that the Eagles shouldn't trade him, as they almost certainly will by the end of the month.

So to determine where Samuel could end up, here are his best fits for the 2012 season.

5. St. Louis Rams

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 30:  Chris Long #72 of the St. Louis Rams rushes against the Miami Dolphins at the Edward Jones Dome on November 30, 2008 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Dolphins beat the Rams 16-12.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Playing opposite of Cortland Finnegan would immediately create of the league's best cornerback tandems. Finnegan is another complete player who can dominate in press coverage, play up to the run and has the awareness to react quickly in zone.

St. Louis also has a stud pass-rusher in Chris Long, so Samuel will benefit from playing a lot of man coverage. The Rams will get challenged more on the ground with the upgraded secondary, but an improved offense via the draft will change the game complexions in Asante's favor.

Hence, more opportunities to make plays in high-scoring affairs.

4. Cleveland Browns

BEREA, OH - AUGUST 04:  Joe Haden #23 of the Cleveland Browns slaps hands with teammate D'Qwell Jackson #52 during training camp at the Cleveland Browns Training and Administrative Complex on August 4, 2010 in Berea, Ohio.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Along the same line as St. Louis, Samuel to Cleveland creates an awesome cornerback tandem with Joe Haden to take pressure off the Browns' front seven. Fortunately, Cleveland has promise up front with Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard, not to mention linebacker D'Qwell Jackson and two first-round selections.

Provided that the Browns add an offensive weapon to help Colt McCoy and defend better against the run, Cleveland can make significant strides with Samuel locking down in 2012.

3. Buffalo Bills

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 11:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers is sacked by Marcell Dareus #99 and Chris Kelsay #90 of the Buffalo Bills during their NFL Game on December 11, 2011 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo
Donald Miralle/Getty Images

With what has potential to be the NFL's best front seven in 2012, the Buffalo Bills need one more piece to complete their defensive puzzle. Asante Samuel at cornerback is the perfect solution as he'll rarely have to worry about playing against the run with Mario Williams, Mark Anderson and Marcell Dareus controlling the line.

Also, Buffalo will be expected to apply a lot of quarterback pressure: therefore, allowing Samuel many more chances to get interceptions. After all, the man has supreme field awareness skills (42 picks and 120 defended passes over the last seven seasons).

Just imagine how dominant the Bills' defense can be with Asante taking away half the field behind a consistent pass rush.

2. Carolina Panthers

GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 11:  Defensive end Charles Johnson #95 of the Carolina Panthers during the NFL season opening game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Carindals defeat
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last season, the Carolina Panthers fielded a top-10 offense and finished the regular season with a 4-2 record. Unfortunately, the defense was one of the worst and is desperate for help in the secondary.

Now, there is promise with defensive end Charles Johnson and a healthy Jon Beason. Plus, the 2012 draft is upcoming, and we can expect defense to be the main priority. Still, the Panthers need that shutdown corner in the pass-happy NFC South to compete with Atlanta and New Orleans.

Samuel is the perfect complement to the front seven and offense, because he'll allow more time for the pass rush and the Cats will be in many high-scoring games. In short: numerous playmaking chances for Samuel.

1. Detroit Lions

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 13: Cliff Avril #92 of the Detroit Lions talks with Ndamukong Suh #90 in pre game prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on November 13, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

The biggest problem area for Detroit in 2011 was the pass defense. It cost the Lions the No. 5 seed after allowing a boatload of yards to Green Bay in Week 17 and the Saints just thrashed in the postseason.

The addition of Samuel on the outside will allow the safeties to play more to the weaker side of the field and Detroit to blitz up the middle. Samuels can play with consistent inside leverage to take away the slant and since the safeties are helping with coverage opposite him, the linebackers are freed up to make plays.

Now, consider that Detroit made the postseason with just a dominant passing offense and the Lions become legit NFC title contenders with an upgraded secondary.

John Rozum on Twitter.