NFL Draft 2011: Should The Philadelphia Eagles Draft a Safety Early?
After the Eagles Wild Card loss against the Packers, Quintin Mikell was visibly upset when asked about his future with the Eagles.
Mikell is a 30 year-old safety and an unrestricted free agent.
Mikell had 88 tackles and three interceptions this past season, solid numbers for a strong safety, but regressed considerably from the previous years.
He looked slow in coverage, many times was caught flat-footed, and though his strength was against the run, he sometimes was caught in traffic where he unable to make a tackle.
Mikell has lost most of his range and cannot cover the entire field.
When Adam Caplan reported the Eagles are likely to let him walk in free agency, I was not too surprised, as I was saying for a while that Mikell was regressing and hitting the age when the signs of rapid decline will show.
If the Eagles front office were reluctant to give a bigger contract to fan favorite Brian Dawkins, they would be the same with Mikell.
My expectation is for the Eagles to offer Mikell a one-year contract that he, most likely, will then reject.
Though I agree Mikell is one of the veteran leaders on the defense, when do the Eagles value leadership?
Is Kurt Coleman ready to be a starter?
That being said, if the Eagles let Mikell walk, Kurt Coleman would be slated to start at strong safety alongside Nate Allen.
Coleman filled in well at free safety last season after Allen's season ending knee injury.
Coleman is a solid player. He is physical and can support the run and also blitz the quarterback, but struggled to make the play.
He would be a great third safety, but as a starter, Coleman will not hold up. I would want Coleman to play on occasional downs and blitzes. Again though, Coleman is versatile and is a special teams ace, so he has value on the team.
With Mikell and Coleman out of the picture, the Eagles have to spend a high pick on safety.
The safeties in this year's class are all filled with great potential, though there are concerns regarding some of their character's, while some may be prone to injury.
Here are a few guys the Eagles could target:
Rahim Moore: He is 6'1" and 200 pounds and can fly around the field. His athleticism is second to none at the safety position in this year's draft, and is a playmaker.
Deunta Williams: He has fantastic size for the safety position, at 6'2", 215 pounds, and he is a defensive play maker and ballhawk.
Should the Eagles draft a safety early?
DeAndre McDaniel: He is a bigger safety at 6'1", 217 pounds and can play the run very well. His combination of size, athletic ability, and football IQ make him a very dangerous ballhawk at the safety position.
Quintin Carter: He is not the flashiest safety, but is solid in all facets of the safety position: run defense, pass coverage, and blitzing.
With Quintin Mikell's future uncertain, the Eagles must spend a high pick on a safety to play alongside the rangy Nate Allen, even though backup Kurt Coleman will improve.
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