NFL Rumors: Latest Buzz on Candidates for Eagles' Defensive Coordinator Job

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 22, 2013

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 17: Chip Kelly talks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles during a news conference at the team's NovaCare Complex on January 17, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The former Oregon coach surprised many after he initially turned down NFL clubs saying he would remain at Oregon. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

According to reports, the Philadelphia Eagles have already filled one of their coordinator vacancies, hiring former Browns Head Coach Pat Shurmur. CBS Insider Jason La Canfora tweeted:

The Eagles deal with Pat Shurmur to be their offensive coordinator is complete. May not be announced until Tuesday.

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) January 21, 2013

With that, the Eagles appear to have shown (at least some of) their cards regarding whom they want to surround Chip Kelly with. Shurmur is a safe, seasoned assistant whose experience will help the new head coach assimilate to the league.

With one coordinator position officially in the books, the Eagles can now shift their focus directly onto the defensive side of the ball. Numerous names have been bandied about, with little cohesion between their backgrounds.

Things are far from settled, but here's a quick update on three of the hottest names:

Jim Herrmann

Current Position: New York Giants LB Coach

Let's get this one out of the way quickly.

Herrmann was the hottest name in the race for a while, interviewing for the position earlier this week.

However, according to Newsday reporter Tom Rock, Herrman has informed the team that he plans to stay in New York:

Jim Herrmann has informed the Eagles that he is withdrawing from their DC search after weekend interview. He'll stay with the NYG.

— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday) January 21, 2013

Prior to joining the Giants, Herrmann spent 20 years at his alma mater, University of Michigan—nine as the defensive coordinator. That blend of college and NFL experience would have seemed to bode well with Kelly, but apparently it's not meant to be.

Todd Grantham

Current Position: Georgia Bulldogs Defensive Coordinator

According to early reports, Chip Kelly was touting Georgia defensive boss Todd Grantham as his defensive coordinator. Per CSNPhilly.com:

A league source tells CSN's Derrick Gunn that new Eagles head coach Chip Kelly is trying to convince Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham to take the same position in Philadelphia.

Kirby Smart's name was thrown into the mix for a little bit too, but those claims appeared to be pure speculation. Grantham is the only college coach we know Kelly to be interested in.

That being said, it appears the Eagles might prefer to surround their new coach with seasoned NFL assistants. Per Albert Breer of NFL.com:

Eagles are focusing their DC search on NFL guys first, is the way I hear it. For now, plan isn't to dip into the college ranks.

— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 21, 2013

It makes sense for the Eagles to surround Kelly—who has no NFL experience—with guys who better understand the league. It's why they went with Shurmur on offense and why, supposedly, they're looking in other directions on defense.

For now, that is...

Ed Donatell

Current Position: San Francisco 49ers DB Coach

The new hottest name on the Eagles' list, Donatell has done wonders shaping the Niners' vaunted secondary. 

He previously served four years as defensive coordinator in Green Bay under Mike Sherman, and three years under Jim Mora in Atlanta. Like Herrmann, he also has recent college experience—serving under Ty Willingham at University of Washington—but he's more seasoned as a professional.

Accordingly, he would seem to be a perfect target for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. Unfortunately, as Geoff Mosher of CSNPhilly tweeted on Monday, they won't be able to interview him until after the Super Bowl:

Hearing that 49ers DB coach Ed Donatell has surfaced as a potential DC for #Eagles. Obviously, can't happen until after Super Bowl.

— Geoff Mosher (@GeoffMosherCSN) January 21, 2013

The Eagles will continue their search in the interim, but they would be wise not to rush their decision before giving Donatell a chance.