Philadelphia Eagles to Sign Veteran Safety O.J. Atogwe to Upgrade Defense

Cody SwartzSenior Writer IJune 19, 2012

The Philadelphia Eagles are on the verge of signing safety O.J. Atogwe to bolster their safety corps, and Atogwe will be given every opportunity to compete for a starting job for the 2012 season.

Atogwe played 13 games for the Washington Redskins last year, starting seven. He registered three interceptions for 42 return yards, half a sack, 35 tackles and six passes defensed.

Atogwe dealt with toe injuries, missing three games, and he was rated as an average safety around the league, according to Pro Football Focus.

Atogwe was solid in pass coverage. He recorded three picks while giving up just one touchdown. He allowed opposing quarterbacks to a 76.8 passer rating, which puts Atogwe as slightly above average in that aspect.

He was subpar in the running game, however, grading negatively in run defense.

Atogwe was initially a third-round pick of the St. Louis Rams back in 2005 where he played for six seasons, starting 75 games from his second season through his last.

Atogwe topped out in 2007, establishing career-high stats with eight interceptions for 125 return yards and a touchdown, while also totaling 12 passes defensed.

He is a tough tackler who has registered 16 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries in his career, and he averaged 60 to 75 tackles per season.

Atogwe isn’t quite the same player now that he was back in St. Louis, and I really don’t expect him to start over either Nate Allen or Kurt Coleman.

Allen is the free safety, which is the position Atogwe plays. Atogwe will likely be the veteran backup the Eagles have desired all offseason.

The team fell short in its attempt to sign former Miami Dolphins safety Yeremiah Bell, and Atogwe will likely be the veteran safety who will provide a key part of the rotation in 2012.

The Eagles also have last year’s second-round pick, Jaiquawn Jarrett, in the mix.

Colt Anderson and Tom Nelson are the third-stringers, although both primarily play special teams. Anderson is a special teams whiz and he will probably make the team for that reason, although I don’t expect Nelson to make the final 53-man roster.

This signing likely won’t make or break the 2012 Eagles, but he should be a key part of the puzzle next year.