Earl Wolff to Eagles: How Does Safety Fit with Philadelphia?

Bryn SwartzSenior Writer IIIApril 27, 2013

CLEMSON, SC - NOVEMBER 17:  Andre Ellington #23 of the Clemson Tigers jumps over Earl Wolff #27 of the North Carolina State Wolfpack during their game at Memorial Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Clemson, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Philadelphia Eagles selected their fifth safety over the past five drafts, grabbing NC State's Earl Wolff at the top of the fifth round. 

Wolff has been described as an explosive player with a high motor. He is physical and a tackling machine, a necessity for an Eagles defense that watched Nate Allen, Kurt Coleman, Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie miss tackles left and right in 2012. 

He also has tremendous speed, running the second-fastest time in the 40-yard dash in the past three seasons, according to the Scouting Combine

He'll likely compete for a starting job with Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung, both free-agent signings. Nate Allen and Kurt Coleman are also in the rotation, although Coleman played poorly enough in 2012 that I wouldn't be surprised to see him cut before the start of the season. 

Head coach Chip Kelly says that his safeties will need to be able to play both free and strong safety, which shouldn't be a problem for Wolff, who has experience playing both.

When drafted, Wolff said that he was aware that the Eagles had a couple of problems at safety. He's completely correct. 

The Eagles' secondary combined to allow 33 touchdowns and intercept just eight passes in 2012, which included just four interceptions in the final 15 games. The Eagles also endured a brutal eight-game stretch without a single interception, the second-longest streak in the history of the National Football League. 

Wolff seems like the type of player who could become a fan favorite in Philadelphia. If he can cover adequately and deliver a few big hits every now and then, he'll be an immediate improvement over Allen and Coleman. 

Hopefully he can avoid playing like the last few safeties selected by the Eagles. Jaiquawn Jarrett turned into an enormous disappointment and the former second-round pick was cut early in the 2012 season. Nate Allen has failed to live up to his worth as a second-round pick. Kurt Coleman has probably overachieved for a seventh-round pick but he isn't good enough to be a starter. And Macho Harris, a seventh-round draft pick in 2009, was released after one disappointing season in Philadelphia.