Technically, three of the four positions in the secondary could occupy three spots on my list. For the sake of mixing it up and not sounding redundant, I’ll combine it into one of the main points for this write-up.
To this day, I still think that the 2002 draft was the finest of the Reid tenure. Nevermind the fact that they were able to steal Brian Westbrook in the third round that year, but the first three picks of that draft were essential to keeping the momentum of this team alive. It’s one of the reasons why they were able to keep the energy going after Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor left the team in 2003. Lito Sheppard, Sheldon Brown, and Michael Lewis were all Pro-Bowl caliber players that not only helped maintain the success of the secondary, but actually improved it with veteran Brian Dawkins. In fact, three of the four members made the Pro Bowl in 2004.
A similar transition is imperative in order for the secondary to stay afloat. Asante Samuel isn't necessarily a problem, despite his tackling ability that makes Sean Considine look like Sean Taylor or Steve Atwater. However, the other three positions that make up the last line of defense need to step it up.
Second round draft picks such as Nate Allen from last year and Jaiquawn Jarrett this year need to have immediate impacts with the play of Quintin Mikell declining. You can also throw 2010 seventh rounder Kurt Coleman into the mix as well. Of course Allen is coming off of a knee injury, so we really don’t know what will happen with him. It’s a crapshoot as far as I’m concerned. That’s what makes Jarrett’s presence even more important. He will need to fill in for both positions at safety if needed.
Right cornerback is the other glaring hole in the secondary. The team failed to find a legitimate replacement to Sheldon Brown after they told him to ship his bags and move to Cleveland in 2010. Ellis Hobbs was the assumed inherent, however, lackluster play and a career-ending neck injury put an end to that vision. The problem with this position is that Andy Reid and company refused to invest a high-round draft pick in it. They passed up on the likes of Devin McCourty and Jimmy Smith the past couple of years, and instead are rolling the dice with later round picks such as Trevard Lindley and now Curtis Marsh who was recently drafted in the third round. There really is no hope for current corners on the roster such as Joselio Hanson and Dmitri Patterson. Hanson doesn’t have the ability to play on the outside, and Patterson was very, very inconsistent last year. You know you have an issue when an undrafted player out of Tuskegee is your best option.
Because of this reason, it gives me a smidgen of hope that the highly sought after unicorn that is currently out there named Nnamdi Asomugha may still be in the cards. One can only hope though. He would obviously have a high price tag, but sometimes you have to overpay for needs.