The Philadelphia Eagles Rookie Free Agents: An Answer at Cornerback?

Leo PizziniAnalyst IApril 26, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 2: Defensive back David Pender of Purdue runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 2, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

So far, the Eagles have signed eight rookie free agents following the 2010 NFL draft. That brings the roster total to 79. When camp opens they will be restricted to 80 players, but likely will carry a few extra during the OTAs.

Out of the eight free agents there are three receivers, two running backs, a quarterback, a defensive tackle and a promising cornerback. All but two are offensive players.

Blue Cooper from Tennessee-Chattanooga (same alma mater as Terrell Owens) is 6'4" and managed 84 catches in his senior season. Pat Simonds from Colgate is 6'6" and accrued back-to-back thousand yard seasons recording 14 touchdowns in his final year. Kevin Jurovich from San Jose State is the runt of the bunch at 6'0".

The tall receivers are interesting, especially Simonds. But its a crowded bunch fighting for the fourth and fifth receiver position and these guys will have a hard time making this roster.

The Eagles also acquired running back Keith Flemming from West Texas A&M and fullback Chris Zardas from Massachusetts. 

Flemming was a pretty versatile small school player at 6'0", 210-pounds. He spent some time at safety as well as running back. The Eagles may have something to work with in Flemming if they can stash him on the practice squad and figure out what to do with him. 

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The mere fact that the Eagles signed another fullback is interesting. I don't expect Zardas to land anywhere but the practice squad, but the Eagles now have a backfield that includes three fullbacks to go along with a collection of powerbacks.

I continue to smell a significant change in philosophy.

I have to believe that Joey Elliot, the quarterback from Purdue is nothing more than a camp body. Still, if the Eagles get an opportunity to deal Michael Vick, Elliot could find a spot on the Eagles quarterback depth chart if he impresses.

The defensive tackle from LSU, Charles Alexander, is an interesting signing. I think he will compete for a roster spot with Jeff Owens (2010 seventh-round pick) and Trevor Laws (2008 second-round pick).

Now we can get to the meat on the bone.

The Eagles may have landed a keeper at cornerback in rookie free agency. David Pender from Purdue may be a name to remember. He's a tall cornerback at 6'0" and was a top-five performer at the NFL combine in both the 40-yard dash and the vertical jump.

He was a great player for Purdue and is the only rookie free agent that I actually expect to make this team.

There were so many quality cornerback prospects in this draft that Pender slipped through the cracks with the likes of AJ Jefferson from Fresno State and Donovan Warren from Michigan.

Great acquisition!

These rookie free agents tell us that the Eagles are serious about the prospects of big receivers and power running. It may also represent a solution for what the Eagles needed in the secondary.