One thing is certain about the safety position: Nobody will ever replace Brian Dawkins. It's way past time to move on though. While "Dawk" is continuing his Pro Bowl career in Denver, the Eagles must find a way to properly fill that void.
While Quintin Mikell earned a Pro Bowl trip in 2009, his job would be much easier if he had a reliable free safety paired with him.
Mikell has improved tremendously over the years and has become a leader on this defense. He certainly didn’t crumble after Dawkins’ departure.
His Pro Bowl invite was one of the positives for the Eagles' defense in 2009
I initially thought Jones was a lock to start at strong safety and move Mikell over to the free safety position. As we all know, there is no such thing as a lock on a roster position.
He gradually earned more playing time as the season progressed, but I don't think it's enough to warrant resigning him.
For a rookie who played mostly corner back in college, it was shocking to hear that he would begin the season as the starting free safety. Harris’ versatility and special team ability make him a big asset.
Harris will be a good player in this league, but he has a lot to learn. As I said in a previous article, he could be used more as nickel/dime back if the Eagles find a pure free safety.
Demps has a lot of promise if he works hard. It was disappointing to hear that he thought the starting free safety spot was automatically his.
That attitude is one that no professional athlete can afford to have. His late-season injury hurt the Eagles on kickoff returns.
Addressing the free safety position is one of the top three priorities for the Eagles this off-season. Fortunately, the Eagles have their options.
There are rumors of a trade for the New York Jets’ Kerry Rhodes, but I doubt that will happen. If the St. Louis Rams’ Oshiomoghe Atogwe becomes available in free agency, he’d be an excellent fit if his shoulder’s healthy.
The Eagles are most likely going to draft a safety and they should do so within the first two rounds. There are quite a few whose scouting reports suggest they would fit the Eagles defensive scheme.
Many people want Taylor Mays (USC) because of his size or Earl Thomas (Texas) due to his play-making ability. I think the best fit for the Eagles would be Nate Allen (USF). He may be the most balanced free safety in the draft.
The Eagles could also use a strong safety to back up Mikell if Jones doesn’t return. Myron Rolle (Florida St.) was initially projected to be a late-round sleeper. He’s starting to gain a lot of attention and his Combine performance could lauch him to a second/third round prospect.
Andy Reid and company obviously didn’t prepare for Dawkins’ departure. They had a full year to make up for lost time. Let’s see how they address it.